Oh the Humanity!

Happy Human Light coloring sheet with the wording colored in with green, purple, blue, red, and yellow | hafuboti.com
Are you worried that your solstice program may be perceived as being about paganism? Or do you want to focus on the pagan aspects of the solstice and not get bogged down with science? Then the Humanists have the perfect holiday for you and your library: HumanLight! This December 23 celebration focuses on how awesome human beings can be.

There are so many ways that you can take your HumanLight storytime: biographies, heroic true stories, science discoveries, special people from that year or throughout history, community role models, etc. Have the kids share something awesome they did in the previous year and have them think of some awesome things to do in the following year. Accept nominations for a community’s Person of the Year as voted by its children. There are so many exciting ways to explore this holiday!

Of all of the holidays that I’ve been looking into to share here, this one is the most positive, uplifting, and inspiring. There’s nothing scary, judgmental, or negative about it. You don’t lie to or manipulate kids into “good” behavior. It gives you so much freedom to create a special event that everyone can enjoy.

Because of this flexibility, I won’t be listing books in this post – it would quickly get overwhelming. But I put together a few helpful things to give you a few more ideas as well as resources to include this empowering storytime at your library.

Displays

gif of a completed HumanLight mobile with biograpy picture books and Bill Nye science DVDs | hafuboti.com

Here are the images that I created for this twirling mobile (click on each image for the larger size):

The Humanists' HumanLight symbol simplified to pure blue human figures, and an orange and yellow sun | hafuboti.com

Happy HumanLight with the words reason, compassion, and hope in yellow, purple, red, and green colors | hafuboti.com

I printed off two copies each of the above images onto ledger paper. I then cut them out and sandwiched cutout pieces of a card stock page to make the pieces more rigid and less likely to rip. I glued each section together, punched holes, and then used string to tie everything together.

In case you’d like to add anything else to your marketing, know that I used this font for the words.

Songs

This Little Light of Mine
You Are My Sunshine
The More We Get Together

Activities

You can use the top image as a coloring sheet or have older children fill the sun and human figures with text about awesome things they’ve done. Or here’s the same coloring sheet without the text filled in with color:

A black and white Happy HumanLight coloring sheet for children featuring the Human Light symbol and Humanism's core values of reason, compassion, and hope | hafuboti.com

And there you have it: a good foundation for adding HumanLight to your library’s holiday celebrations.

Why I’ve written about this holiday.

Happy Holiday!

An illustrated depiction of the Flying Spaghetti Monster giving the Pirate Captain Mosey the Eight I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts

You may have heard of Pastafarianism a.k.a the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but did you know that they have a very special holiday in December? It’s called…wait for it…Holiday. Therefore, they are thrilled to hear people say “Happy Holidays” since they just assume that you’re inaccurately pluralizing the name.

One of the great things about Holiday, is that you can choose the date(s) that you’d like to celebrate it which makes planning so much easier. I’d suggest trying to make your celebration be on the most sacred day of the week for Pastafarians: Friday. AND because pirates are very important to Pastafarians, you can add piratey fun to the celebration.

Many Pastafarians have their Holiday on Christmas Day, which is then called FSMas. You can see what Pastafarians around the world do for their Holiday and other craft ideas on their site. I’ll be sharing some of those ideas in this post – they’ll be the ones that I thought would work best for a range of ages.

Now let’s get to it!

FLYER/DISPLAYS

Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday event flyer template for a special library celebration | hafuboti.com

Please use the above flyer template for your FSM-filled event.

I should add that the wonderful Kaddywhak on Deviant Art made the FSM that I’m using the most in this post. It’s labeled for non-commercial reuse with modification which is awesome. So go ahead and use that great FSM image for your displays or marketing.

Here are the words Happy Holiday! written with pasta:

The word HAPPY spelled using a green, yellow, and red pasta-filled letters for FSM's Holiday | hafuboti.com

The word HOLIDAY spelled out using green, yellow, and red pasta-filled letters for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's Holiday | hafuboti.com

Download and print off each of these files onto a ledger-sized paper and then cut them out to assemble a bigger banner that can be sticky-tacked to a wall, or be a bunting on a table, etc.

And if you’re wondering, I used the meme-riffic font Impact for both this and the flyer.

You can fill your display with books, movies, and more about pasta, pirates, or both! You can even get some cheap pasta strainers as a fun way to add levels to your display.

BOOKS

Again, raid your collection for pirate and pasta books. Here are some that I think would work very well:

  • Noodle Kids by Jonathon Sawyer (978-1592539635)
  • Let’s Cook with Noodles! by Nancy Tuminelly (978-1617834226)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett (978-0689306471)
  • ABC Pasta by Juana Medina Rosas (978-1101999783)
    *This title comes out in February 2017
  • Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (978-1442433557)
  • Spaghetti with the Yeti by Adam and Charlotte Guillain (978-1405263511)
  • Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman (978-1442485129)
  • There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish by Jennifer Ward (978-0761461968)

And these two books would be PERFECT for FSMas:

  • A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas by Philip Yates (978-1454913573)
  • A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas by Philip Yates (978-1454916826)

SONGS/RHYMES

On Top of Spaghetti! ON THE UKULELE!!!
 The Librarian Is on the Loose has a cute Noodle Song.

Let’s Play Music has 4 Pirate Song for Kids.

CRAFTS/ACTIVITIES

Make something using PIRATE PASTA!!!
Bonus: they also have Christmas Tree shaped pasta.

The ladies at Library Village show you how easy it is to make colorful dry pasta.

Miss Meg’s Storytime has some awesome dyed sensory noodles.

The possibilities are endless!

Storytime Katie shares lots of ideas in her Pirates! storytime.

Lots of wonderful pirate storytime ideas on Sturdy for Common Things.

Oh wait! My library had a pirate-themed month: Septembarrr.

Again, the possibilities are also endless!

Here’s a coloring sheet that I made from Kaddywak’s art:

Black and white Flying Spaghetti Monster by Kaddywak on Deviant Art for use as a coloring sheet or clip art | hafuboti.com

And here are two ideas from the FSM’s official site:

  • Let a balloon artist, and have them make balloon FSMs for some of the lucky participants.
  • Upcycle your office’s shredded paper (you might need to get some pink or red paper to crumple into meatballs – googly eyes would send this craft over-the-top).

There you have it: a foundation for an epic Holiday program!

Worth noting: 
As I have learned more about Pastafarianism (such as The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts), I realized that it does have some issues. Mainly that the first human being was a little person which is great (but they use the “M” word), and that women are encouraged to dress like pirate wenches. ::sigh::

But if we can overlook explaining immaculate conception or the fact that Santa isn’t real to kids at storytime, then I think that we can gloss over the less-than-ideal aspects of this religion.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas on this (or if you’re a Pastafarian and think that I’ve gotten something wrong, then please let me know!). Or, ya know…a penne for your thoughts. ::snort::

Why did I create this storytime? Find out here.

This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Krampusnacht

Copyright-free PNG image of Krampus leading a group of naughty children to hell | hafuboti.com

HAPPY KRAMPUSNACHT EVERYBODY!

Over the past few years, Krampusnacht has become more acknowledged and celebrated in the United States. This celebration takes place on December 5, the day before Saint Nicholas (who approves of the Krampus’ work) rewards the good children on Nikolaustag. Read more about it here since I’d rather get to the storytime resources for planning an children’s library event around this holiday than break down the holiday and its history.

FLYER/DISPLAYS

Here is a flyer template that I made for you to download and use. It includes the image at the top of this post which I wanted posted as a separate png in case you’d like to use it for anything else. I basically erased the bright red background from the original.

Blank flyer template for a children's Krampusnacht storytime at a library | hafuboti.com

The free fonts that I used for this flyer and other literature for this program are graphik_text, st_nicholas, and gotenborgfraktur.

For a display, you could use the top image from this post and then print out the images below onto card stock, cut them out, punch a hole, and hang them from the ceiling using fishing wire. That would add some movement to the display and make it more eye catching.

The silhouette of three children praying and screaming in Krampus' bag | hafuboti.comThe silhouette of one child screaming in terror after being stuffed in Krampus' bag | hafuboti.comThe black silhouette of two terrified children in Krampus' sack | hafuboti.com

BOOKS

This was one of the trickier aspects of creating this storytime. However, if you expand the theme of good vs. bad, antiheroes, or children behaving badly then your book options are much more varied. Here are just a few:

  • Matt Lake’s Night of the Krampus which includes some Krampusfied Christmas Carols (978-0692495223)
  • Bailey Quillen Cooper’s Kris & Krampus Kringle (978-1483585017)
  • The No, David! series by David Shannon (No, David! 978-0439129657)
  • Quite a few of Shel Silverstein’s poems such as Sick and Listen to the Mustn’ts (Where the Sidewalk Ends 978-0060256685)
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Bully by Stan & Jan Berenstain (978-0679848059). This one will need discussion such as “who in this story would the Krampus want to grab?”
  • Ellen Javernick & Colleen M. Madden’s What if Everybody Did That? (978-0761456865)
  • Lots of Eilleen Cook’s books such as But It’s Not My Fault! (978-1934490808) show kids behaving badly.

SONGS/RHYMES

Here are several classic children’s songs that I’ve modified to be more festive. There are lots of opportunities for acting out the words. It would also be fun to get some cheap pillowcases and have each child stand inside one like it’s a potato sack race. Then they can jump to the rhythm while pretending that the pillowcase are Krampus’ bags.

Feel free to download and use:

Alternative lyrics for Baa Baa Black Sheep to make it Krampunacht-appropriate | hafuboti.com

Alternate lyrics for London Bridge Is Falling Down to make the tune more appropriate for Krampusnacht celebrations | hafuboti.com

A doom-filled Krampus-approved version of Zoom Zoom Zoom (wer're going to the moon) song for Krampusnacht storytimes | hafuboti.com

CRAFTS/ACTIVITIES

Make Krampuskarten: Think “Christmas Cards,” but featuring Krampus.

Masks: Have the kids make scary Krampus masks to wear (or for their parents to wear). Bonus level – cutting out a slot for a tongue to stick through.

Stickers: Give these out for either attending the program, or for completing a passive program such as a scavenger hunt. Here’s one set and another.

Photos: Either create a face-cutout photo op stand where the child (or parent) can be the hapless victim in Krampus’ bag, or if your library has a green screen, add them to a vintage krampuskarten.

A Surprise Krampus visit: Purchase this mask and have a staff member come charging into the storytime yelling. Please keep safety in mind! You might want to advertise that Krampus will be visiting depending on the age group.

Download and print out this drawing/writing prompt:

My Krampus passive program worksheet or worksheet for a Krampusnacht storytime | hafuboti.com

Now, I can imagine some knee-jerk reaction that this is all too scary for children. For sure it would be too intense for some, but others will revel in the scariness and monstrous aspect of this. You could do a version of Tickle Monster with flannel pieces and board where kids can see the monster changed into not being scary.

And there you have it: a good foundation to build a storytime around Krampusnacht and/or to add to your all-inclusive celebrations! As always, I’d love to hear what you think – especially if you have ideas and/or resources that I left out (or if I need to adjust anything here if I was unintentionally insensitive to those who celebrate this).

Find out why I’m doing this.

Decor and program inspirations for a library's Krampusacht celebration | Hafuboti.com

Holiday Challenge Accepted

Ah, what a magical time of year! ‘Tis the season to both make warm and fuzzy memories for the majority of the population all while alienating and/or denigrating the minorities.  Where staff hang garlands and deck their halls although they feel incredibly uncomfortable with this practice – all while feeling required to participate in the celebrations or be considered a Grinch or Scrooge who is waging a personal war against Christmas. Oh man, that Elf on the Shelf at the library is so gonna tattle on that person! Don’t forget to put out the token menorah!

But let’s take a step back and look at a group of Christmas celebrators who may feel alienated by your library’s Christmas decor: those in mourning. Over the past three years my husband and I have had three major loved ones die – two in this year alone. And let me tell you what: neither one of us feels like slapping on a fake smile in order to make others feel good about this time of year. We are surrounded by constant reminders that we will never again have a Christmas together with those we’ve lost. It sucks to say the very least.

Over the course of the years that I’ve been writing this blog, I have had a major shift in how I view holidays at the library. Because our community overwhelmingly celebrates Christmas, I thought that I was doing what was best by making our space join in on the festivities. Now I feel incredibly uncomfortable with this. Last year I chose to keep up my previous holiday blog posts. This year I removed them. Why? Because of horrible anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic comments written on posts of Storytime Underground‘s Facebook group. On Christmas-related posts. This is a youth services librarian group. These things were being said by youth service librarians. Merry Christmas?

So, this year I have decided to not participate in feeding the Christmas beast. I mean, if you can’t put together a Christmas-tastic program or come up with ways to decorate your library on your own? Um. Maybe make time for learning how to use Pinterest and/or google “library christmas decor.” You will find an overabundance of help and ideas – just no longer on this blog.

Instead, I’ve decided to put together several posts highlighting winter holidays that somehow get constantly ignored. These are ones that, for whatever reason, all-inclusive children-level holiday-program celebrating librarians tend to leave out (although they automatically leave out Atheists or others who just don’t do holidays – this is why I’m specifically focusing on Children’s programming/decor because if you’re gonna be all-inclusive, there must be a discussion about how Santa isn’t real, and that’s more of an Adult thing that I could write another entire blog post on). These are holidays that could cause controversy because they’re not warm ‘n fuzzy, or not celebrated by as many people in the US.

In the comments section of another site’s pandering post about holiday celebrations in the library (I’m choosing not to link to it), a librarian joked that finding a picture book on Satanic holidays wasn’t going to happen.

My immediate thought?

So, I’m putting other posts on hold for now until 2017 (including this year’s awesome non-holiday Decemberley theme that has warm fuzzies out the wazoo). Until then I will be putting together alternative holiday programs for youth service librarians. The posts will have sign templates, imagery that can be used in displays, passive program ideas, etc.

All of this said, I am in no way an expert in any of these celebrations, so if you celebrate any of them that I cover, then I’d truly appreciate your thoughts and reactions to what I’ve created. I want to get it right. Though, I truly do believe that libraries should not do holidays. If you want to help the sad children who won’t have a Christmas without the library’s intervention? Then please help those children by volunteering your time and talents to local organizations – that would be awesome and way more appropriate.

Finally, I have two thank yous to share:

I’d like to thank the youth service librarian who gave me the idea for this series. She very seriously wrote to me that she would absolutely love to see a Krampusnacht display at her public library since it’s one of her favorite holidays and Christmas is super-de-dooper represented with their decor. You know who you are – and you’re gonna be thrilled with the kick-off post for this series. 

And to the librarian who joked about Satanic picture books: I appreciate the shove that you gave me to make a difference in this world. I think it’s gonna be great.

Here’s links to the various celebrations as they are posted: