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Warm up the darkest day of the year with this winter break craft for kids


Today, December 21, is the shortest day of the year. So it definitely has to be a cold, dark, depressing day where everyone mopes around and then goes to bed early, right? Wrong! The Winter Solstice is a time of celebration. Some communities, like Toronto’s Kensington Market, even take this opportunity to craft lanterns and puppets and parade through the streets as part of their Festival of Lights.

A simple way to celebrate the Solstice at home is by making a pomander, a clove-studded orange with an amazing fragrance. These festive balls were traditionally used to ward off illness. The modern version can be used as a DIY decoration/air freshener. And if your kid is afraid of the dark, tell them that a pomander acts as their special protective amulet, as citrus fruits are symbolic of the sun.

How to make a pomander

What you need:

An orange (or a lemon, if you so prefer)

A jar of cloves

Fragrant spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg

A pair of dishwashing gloves (this is to protect hands from the acidic juice of the orange)

Push the stems of the cloves into your fruit of choice to create a design. Your kids can make a pattern of stripes or spirals, give it a face or even write out their names. If need be, a fork can be used to pierce the skin of the orange before inserting the cloves.

Once your clove design is complete, place your fragrant spices in a bowl and roll your fruit around in them. The spices will stick to the fruit thanks to the juices that have been released.

Your pomander can now be hung from the Christmas tree, placed in a bowl or put in a drawer to give your socks a fresh, spicy spent.

Photo by Pille – Nami-Nami via Flickr.

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