In our house, holidays are a big deal. We decorate the entire house for Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, and Independence Day. We eat special foods and read books about these holidays. But not often enough do I make a point to celebrate the holidays of the Catholic Church, specifically holy days of obligation. With four kids under 8, these days have become just that: obligation. “Get your shoes on, we’re going to Mass! Why? Because we’re supposed to!” Recently, however, I’ve turned my focus to actually nurturing a love for these days and including my children in special ways to celebrate. Of all the holy days, their favorite quickly became All Saints Day.
Teach About It
Both fortunately and unfortunately, my children have experienced the passing of loved ones that organically brought about conversations of Heaven and the Communion of Saints. We’ve discussed how everyone who gets to heaven is a saint and how some people are canonized, meaning the Church thinks they are great examples of living holy and Jesus focused lives we should try to imitate. The kids have all picked out favorite “friends in heaven” – mainly saints that share their names, but also ones that share their interests or are patron saints for those interests.
Quite possibly my favorite tradition to celebrate All Saints Day is having my kids dress up as various saints. The idea was first brought home by my oldest from school, but we’ve embraced it all ages. So far we have created four different Saint costumes:
St. Timothy – A close friend of St. Paul, St. Timothy was a fearless evangelist that spread the word of God and willingly sacrificed his comfort to bring the Faith to others. For a St. Timothy costume, I used a long, narrow piece of white cotton fabric, sized to wrap around my son’s shoulders once and down to his waist. Using sheets of adhesive black felt, I cut out enough crosses to cover the length of the white fabric. Wearing a red shirt, my son draped the white fabric over his shoulders, drooping it once in front of himself. To make St. Timothy’s scroll, I took a piece of paper, rolled it up and tied it with a red ribbon. If you’re feeling really creative, you can even write a secret note or a verse from one of St. Timothy’s letters in the New Testament.
St. Margaret of Scotland – Known as an intellectual, compassionate and fiercely faithful woman, St. Margaret of Scotland has become a favorite in our household. To complete this look, I dressed my daughter in a simple, navy blue maxi dress with a gold fabric ribbon belt around her waist. We braided her hair in two braids and worked in strands of white ribbon. We placed a white Muslin blanket over her head as a veil and topped it with a gold toy crown. To top it off, she carried around our Children’s Bible, as St. Margaret is often pictured holding the Bible she used to convert her husband, the king of Scotland to the Catholic Faith.
St. Agnes – Not much is known about St. Agnes, aside from her steadfast dedication to chastity and willingness to sacrifice her life rather than contradict the Lord’s will. To create a St. Agnes costume, my daughter wore a simple, cream colored maxi dress and was wrapped in a light blue shawl. She carried a stuffed lamb and a sprig of fake greens. We rounded it out with a plastic pink tiara, as St. Agnes is sometimes shown with a crown, a symbol of her high rank as a martyr for her Faith.