Green Friday

Written by contributor Heidi Scovel of Mt. Hope Chronicles

As our home school heads into the holidays, we tend to stray from the beaten path of desk work, adding activities and outings into our schedule as often as possible. The festive months of November and December are ripe with possibilities.

Pumpkin patches and corn mazes, musical performances of all kinds, unit studies about Pilgrims or early American traditions, Christmas celebrations from around the world (I’ll be sharing more about those next month), our special holiday collection of books and music, Advent reading and activities, and creative giving opportunities all play a part in our broadened studies.

Thanksgiving weekend, in particular, is a special time of family and feasting, and one of our favorite traditions is Green Friday.

The boys and I are ready to embrace the changing seasons and more than ready for a little fresh air. Rather than fight crowds at the popular shopping locations, we head straight out of town for a nature hike–buckets in hands and anticipation in hearts.

Here are a few tips for enjoying a Green Friday celebration of your own:

Photo by Heidi Scovel

Choose a location.

Wilderness preserve. Hiking trail. Local farm. A friend’s home in the country. Even a large city park.

Photo by Heidi Scovel

Share the experience with friends.

Traditions are even more memorable when you invite others to join the festivities.

Photo by Heidi Scovel

Bring buckets.

Gather pine cones, twigs, apples, moss, rose hips, cedar branches, nuts, and other nature goodness with which to decorate your home (inexpensively!) for the holiday season. (Be sure to check the rules or get permission ahead of time.)

I love filling an old red wagon with cedar branches and rose hips to decorate the front porch. Pine cones look lovely lightly sprayed with silver spray paint. Place them in a bowl or hang on the Christmas tree. Apples fill large glass vases on the mantel. Have your children create an autumn display for their nature table.

Photo by Heidi Scovel

Observe the wildlife.

Pack the binoculars. Look for animal tracks.

Bring trail guides or sketch books.

Photo by Heidi Scovel

Don’t forget a thermos of hot cider and a bag of trail mix!

It often seems easier to enjoy and observe nature during the spring and summer seasons, but autumn has a magic all its own. Celebrate it!

There is music in the meadows, in the air —
Autumn is here;
Skies are gray, but hearts are mellow,
Leaves are crimson, brown, and yellow;
Pines are soughing, birches stir,
And the Gipsy trail is fresh beneath the fir.

There is rhythm in the woods, and in the fields,
Nature yields:
And the harvest voices crying,
Blend with Autumn zephyrs sighing;
Tone and color, frost and fire,
Wings the nocturne Nature plays upon her lyre.

~William Stanley Braithwaite, Lyric of Autumn

Do you change your homeschool routine during the holidays? What is your favorite way to incorporate holiday traditions into your lessons?

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About Heidi

Heidi documents Living Lovely at her blog, Mt. Hope Chronicles. There she celebrates (in words and images) her journey as wife, homeschooling mother of three rambunctious boys, photographer, book collector, and lover of the little things.


  1. love the tradition of Green Friday- it is a great way to gather natural materials for easy holiday decorating
    priest’s wife’s latest post: The Perfect Catholic Mom

  2. love this idea!
    andie’s latest post: a lesson in generosity and i wasnt the teacher

  3. What a great tradition! This is only our second year homeschooling but I am thinking I want to spend some time making handmade gifts for our loved ones, volunteering in our community, and going to the various green markets in our county.

  4. Love the idea of “redeeming” Black Friday and turning it into something that feeds our spirits by spending it focused on His Creation instead of consumerism!! 🙂
    I Live in an Antbed’s latest post: Class Clown

  5. Green Friday! I love the idea. The happiness is evident on the photos! What a great time for the whole family to bond. I also suggest customizing homeschool projects for the kids on upcoming holidays.
    Homeschool Projects’s latest post: Easy Thanksgiving Craft Activities – 5 Ways To Make Thanksgiving Extra Special!

  6. I’d so much rather be out in Creation than at the mall! Gorgeous pictures, as always!
    Sarah at SmallWorld’s latest post: Weekly Wrap-Up in Photos

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