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by Trinka Hakes Noble

Unit Study written by: Joan LaCelle

Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
Published by- Dial Books for Young  Readers -
2 Park Avenue
New York, NY  10016

This is a wonderful read aloud family book.  My children enjoyed our reading of the Ansterburgs and how they lived  in upstairs of the barn.  They enjoyed the simple pleasures of life with Katrina and Josie their daughters.  This the story of an apple tree and how they harvested the apples and the goodness of it all- how the bitter disappointment of losing that beloved tree in a snowstorm brought a different kind of happiness on Christmas day.  It's a wonderful story - that is so good in putting what Christmas is really about back in it's proper setting.

Below are some neat activities you may love to do with your children.  Don't try and do them all - just enjoy the book and the opportunity to spend time together.

Make an Apple Pie- Make two pies and share one -  this can be shared with a grandparent, neighbor, or someone who needs some uplifting.

Learn how to make Apple Butter - this is very simple to do and so good.  This can be shared with friends and family for Christmas.

They ate Apple Fritters in the book - why not try to make some healthy Apple Pancakes.

Make some clove apples like they did in the story.  Take cloves and push them into an apple - if the apple is hard - you can easily prick the skin with a small nail and then insert the cloves into the apple - covering it!  Smells so nice!!

Have you ever made applehead dolls? - this is so much fun and can make nice gifts too.  There is a video on Applehead dolls in our library system - it might be worth the effort to see if your system has one.  Basically to make Applehead dolls you just peel the apple & gentle core - cut slits for eyes & mouth and shape a nose (realize all this with shrink up and look like a very wrinkled face).  Take your apple head and soak it for 1/2 hour in 2 Tbs lemon juice and a quart of water.  Remove from the water and allow to dry.  This will take a few weeks.  Once it has dried out you can decorate with cottonballs for hair or anything else. One year we did this and the boys made pipecleaner body (that were wobbly) and sewed some neat felt clothes for their Apple Person.

Read a good book on Johnny Appleseed.  And then chart his travels on a US map to see how far he traveled and planted appleseeds in the North East.
A couple of good titles to read:
Johnny Appleseed - John Chapman God's Faithful Planter by David Collins - Sower Series
Johnny Appleseed - A poem by Reeve Lindbergh - Paintings by Kathy Jakobsen
Johnny Appleseed - by Aliki

Find kind things to do for others - including most of all, those in your immediate family.  One good story for this is "The Last Straw"  in Volume 2 of Christmas in my Heart by Joe Wheeler.  This story is included in our newsletter this month - we pray you really enjoy this!

Make a "story" book of your own Christmas memory or a family heirloom story with your child.  Is there a Christmas that stands out in your memory as being memorable? - journal it - if you don't have photos to remember it by - make drawings/sketches to dress up your story.  Is your church or community doing some nice Christmas outreach to the less fortunate?  Why not use this opportunity to photograph the going-ons and making a book to remember it by.  Another idea for a booklet - how about photographing the steps in making applesauce or applebutter as a family - then writing about it - you can bind the book using Valerie Bendt's book Creating Books with Children or just stapling it together or using a notebook.  Anyway you do it - it will be a treasure.

Make a cardboard box barn with the house above just like Katrina lived in.  Use wallpaper sample books, contact paper, odd fabrics, carpet samples and wood pieces, cotton and so forth to decorate both the outside and the inside of the barn/house.  Make people and animals out of homemade playdough or clay (or store bought).

1 cup flour                                      1 Cup warm water
2 tsp cream of tartar                        1 tsp  vegetable oil
1/4 cup salt                                    food coloring or koolaid to color it
Optional: you can also scent the dough with Frangrance or Essential oils - Some Christmasy scents would be nice: cinnamon, vanilla, spice etc. Make sure Small children don't eat this, though!

  Make some homemade Ornaments.  We've done different ones over the years.  Our favorites are the Cinnamon ornaments - they just smell so nice and look so nice on the Christmas tree.

1 cup cinnamon        1 Tbs Cloves     1  Tbs  Nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce (let this drain in a  strainer for an hour or so)
2 Tbs white glue

Mix cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg add applesauce & the glue.  Work mixture with hands until smooth and well mixed.  Divide into 4 portions roll out to 1/4 inch thickness cut with cookies cutters.  Use straw to make hole for hanging (if needed).  Put on wire rack to dry at room temp for several days.  These need to be turned a few times a day so that they do not curl up.  We poked a hole in ours and hung these with gold ribbon.  Really nice!

 Make snowflakes out of paper and put glitter on them - hang these from the ceiling of the child's bedroom  or make Christmas cards with them.

Read good stories - spend time as a family just really enjoying some good stories this Christmas Season.  My favorites are the Christmas in MY HEART!  Joe Wheeler compiled these and they are absolutely wonderful classics that your family will love.  There have been some we've laughed over and some we've had a hard time not shedding tears reading - but they've given us some really good "stuff" to talk about.

Don't get bogged down this season in the rat race of Christmas presents and shopping!  - Remember it's not our birthday - it is Christ's!  No, we don't know the day that Christ was born - but we do know that He chose to lay down His GLORY and come to this world and was born to save us.  With whatever little you have the this season - just enjoy it in His name and glory Who came and GAVE us HIS ALL!  That is what matters!

This free online unit was written by Joan LaCelle!
Please feel free to share this unit with friends - just link or print the entire page.  Thank You!



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