Christmas is truly about traditions. Hanging stockings, decorating a tree, sending cards, baking cookies, singing carols all are customs that are practiced and shared by people year after year.
How did some of these traditions get their start?
For many years, individual notes of good tidings were sent at Christmas time. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole had 1,000 specially designed cards printed, thus, the custom of sending Christmas cards began and continues today (although who would have dreamed that we could super-impose photographs of loved ones on a card with printed wishes and artificial backgrounds).
There are also certain foods associated with Christmas, as well. Christmas cookies, plum pudding, and mincemeat pie are treats we sometimes only think of at this holiday time.
Christmas cookies originated with pre-Christian Romans, who gave sweet cakes to their senators.
Mincemeat pie is filled with fruits and spices that represent the treasures of the East that the Wise Men brought as gifts to baby Jesus.
Plum pudding was brought to be by an English king who was stranded on Christmas Eve and used what he could find to make a special dish at holiday time.
Holiday crafts are also part of some families customs. Creating holiday masterpieces out of our children’s handprints and footprints are always keepsakes. Here’s another idea to add to the collection or to begin a new one.
Prints of children’s hand and feet always serve as good and personal sources of crafts for the holidays. How about making a reindeer with a footprint head and two handprint antlers?
To create the head, trace one of your child’s feet on foam, paper, or poster board. Add some eyes and a mouth with markers, crayons, felt, etc. Add a Rudolph nose with a red pom pom, felt, etc.
Now add the antlers by tracing your children’s hands on paper and gluing onto the head. Punch a hole and hang on the tree with some string, ribbon, or thin wire.
(idea source: www.dltk-holidays.com)
Some good Christmas reads with your children
• “The Winter Wren,” by Brock Cole (Farrar, 1984). A brother and sister want to wake up spring so they must first conquer winter.
• “The Log Cabin Quilt,” Ellen Howard (Holiday House, 1996). This is about survival in pioneer Michigan. Children use scraps to stay warm.
• “The Snowy Day” Ezra Jack Keats (Viking, 1962). Caldecott Award winner. A child in the inner city enjoys a winter day in the snow.
“Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.”
Helen Steiner Rice
“There is no ideal Christmas; only the Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.”
Bill McKibben, uthor, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For a More Joyful Christmas.”
I love this quote. Christmas is about your own values and traditions. It is about what matters most for your family.
“And the Angel said unto them, ‘Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
Luke 2: 10-12
“Nollaig Shona Dhuit” means merry Christmas in Irish gaelic.