The sun is going down earlier and suddenly evenings in the garden, or at the park, or going for a walk don’t work anymore. It’s too dark. It’s too cold. The long evening hours stretch forth interminably. Bleak. Formless and void.
But luckily I’ve recently read two books that painted beautiful pictures of quiet family evenings at home. The Trapp family sang all evening, of course. And Almanzo Wilder’s family knitted and popped popcorn. And they painted such beautiful pictures of family togetherness that a tear came to my eye, and I resolved that there would be no more shapeless, bleak evenings this fall.
Tonight, the girls and I (Devo’s at meetings tonight) cooked macaroni and cheese from scratch, singing and dancing to the Chipmunk’s Christmas album. Over our candlelit dinner, we began the season of thankfulness by going round and round with things we are thankful for. Even Amelie got into the spirit of things and would pipe out “Ama” whenever her turn came around. We translated “Ama” as Emma, Grandma, and Ouma, to keep the conversation from stagnating. (She was also thankful for apples).
Some more dancing to the Chipmunks while we cleared the table (“Mommy, why can’t we cry because Santa is coming to town?”). And when the teapot whistled we bedewed our marshmallows with hot chocolate and were blissfully happy. A book about being thankful for the bedtime story and I tucked my chipmunks into bed.
So after one successful night of family togetherness on a fall evening, I believe myself to be sufficiently experienced to offer suggestions to the world in general.
Here’s a little list of suggestions for things to do on a fall evening. Think cozy. Think comfort. Think togetherness. Resist the urge to be busy and just enjoy being…together.
Eat an early dinner so that you can savor the evening. Soup and bread, baked potatoes…comfort food.
Light a fire. Real wood or duraflame or even your own techy iYule, a fireplace in your pocket. I know someone who should totally put this in their rigged up Christmas stroller this year. Not only all the Christmas music you could want, but a portable crackling fire, as well.
Blankets. Snuggling always works better with blankets.
Hot chocolate with marshmallows, apple cider, or tea.
Sing songs. Fall is a perfect time to teach your children the Christmas songs and carols so they’re ready to sing along in December. Five weeks simply is not enough time for Christmas songs.
Roast things in your fire (not the iYule, though, unfortunately). Marshmallows, apples, nuts, potatoes, corn on the cob, or, as google suggests is extremely popular…a whole pig. Oink.
Make s’mores or that crazy yummy variation, banana boats.
Make popcorn. Or popcorn balls.
Act out Bible stories.
Memorize Rindercella together.
Listen to music.
Make crafts. Get started on Christmas presents.