How does Nia House do the holidays?

At Nia House we recognize this time of year as a special one for many families, faiths, and customs. As the season changes, many settle into warmth, light, and celebration. At Nia House, we love to join in, honor, and investigate this season and it’s celebrations. 

Chanukah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, and Christmas are all a part of the Nia House curriculum. Nia House’s approach to each holiday is academic, inquisitive, and places the celebration into a historical and contemporary context.

What, you might wonder, do we do about Santa Claus?! Since we honor a plurality of experiences and celebrations, Santa Claus falls right in place with a history, a cultural context, and an honored space in the lives of those that incorporate Santa into their holidays. Our storytelling of the Santa Claus ritual stems from the history of Saint Nicholas, “a kind and generous man who left gifts of gold in the socks of a family in need.  He was so kind and so generous that some Christian people named him a Saint- the highest honor of all!  Christian people around the world believe that Saint Nicholas, also called Santa Claus, magically delivers presents to people on Christmas each year.”  The story continues with global traditions around Christmas trees, lights, gifts and other specific Christmas rituals.

The attached article “Santa Claus: Making The Invisible Visible” by Maren Schmidt offers a unique approach to Santa Claus. Schmidt muses on who picked her coffee beans or built an airplane, thus honoring the invisible labor that brings great luxury and comfort to her life. She shares, “I see Santa Claus being all these people in the world, who strive to serve humankind, to make life more enjoyable, more comfortable, more magical.”  Maren Schmidt brings forth an interesting social economic concept during a holiday season that can be laden with materialism. No matter what holiday a family celebrates, there are people that work, sometimes invisibly, to generate comfort, enjoyment, and magic. Some of us may incorporate Santa into this holiday season, and even if we do not, we can all gather around the value Schmidt describes in a developmental framework,

As the young child enters a developmental stage of reasoning, around age six, and begins to wonder about Santa, we need to give them opportunities to work and contribute to something bigger than themselves. We need to show them how to choose to be part of the magical power of giving, service and surprise.

Thank you to the Nia House families that modeled this spirit of giving and service with donations to Standing Rock.  As Nia House recognizes the many holidays of this season, we remain committed to instilling the value of service and of caring for one another and our environment. We always strive to honor each child and family’s truth and customs and by doing so the children at Nia House become aware of multiple truths, diversity in celebration, and a rich awareness of the winter holiday season.  

Nia House

A Montessori Toddler & Preschool Program serving Berkeley since 1974