Daily Stuff 12-25-21 Dies Natalis Solis Invicti

Hi, folks!

The shop is closed for the holiday, today. Winter hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm. Holiday hours Closed 12/25 and 1/1. Closing on 12/31 at 4pm.I’m not going to try to put out a newsletter for Sunday, so the next one will be on Monday. Here’s hoping you have a good holiday! (Just be super-careful travelling! Check Trip-chek https://www.tripcheck.com/?fbclid=IwAR2xE14w9I5pVo3f8vKqOW1_N5Ce3lBZYhMa2Omiyn02CmHtrcmTc-ykPv4 for road conditions!)

 [posting at 6:30pm] Rain gauge at noon on 12/24 – 1.1 in.] Cloudy, although there were sunbreaks during the afternoon. 42F, wind at 0-14mph and gusting into the 20’s in spots, AQI 40-55, UV1. Chance of rain/snow 83% today and tonight. WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY from 4pm today to 4am Monday for snow, accumulating above 200 feet. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY through this evening. Today should be rain, heavy at times and temps dropping below freezing in the evening. Snow mixed with rain is likely to happen tonight, Sunday & Monday nights. Sunday afternoon could be quite windy, as well. Monday afternoon should be mostly dry. Tuesday should be warm enough to melt anything left at sea level and Wednesday we could even see some sun! Thursday on we’ll be back to showers but with highs in the mid-40’s and lows closer to 40F.

When I got home on Thursday I frantically made Tempus a sandwich and a snack, because it was too late to feed him at home. Once he was back out the door. I got my supper and then slept until midnight. I worked on getting the wine made, then realized that I had no cork-puller, so it’s only going to get one night to steep, drattit. I chopped and peeled and was getting things ready to start the tea-bread, which there was a “snap” and 1/2 the house went dark. I can’t reach the breaker and I didn’t want the fridge/freezer (on that circuit) to warm up any, so I tidied up and went to bed and wow, did I *sleep* for some reason! I woke when Tempus got in, but that’s about all until 12:30!

There were lovely blue “sucker holes” surrounded with puffy bits of white…and then dark, grey, rain clouds around that. I saw the crane (I’ve been calling him an “egret”, oops!) in one of the flooded wetlands along the river and started giggling. He was in the pose that makes me think of some grumpy gus saying, “Too blasted cold and wet, drattit!”. When we passed the Eckman outflow one of the herons was there in the same pose and I just lost it. Pretty sure Tempus thought I was nuts… 🙂

We stopped to get Jeffrey paid for our maple syrup and he and Tempus got to chatting, so we were late again. We got the shop open and had people almost right away, but then they trickled off to nothing by midafternoon. I was doing paperwork and after I chased him out to pick up the mail (his last xmas gift came and he has no clue!) I suspect he went soundly asleep on the sofa.

I kept on with catching up on e-mail (I’m way behind) until about 5pm when I realized I’d better get this out.

I have prep to do tonight, to finish the Christmas wine (which just takes pouring the bottle into the jar with the fruit!), set up the chicken… I might bake it tonight, so that all the dish needs is the sweet potatoes and the sauce and heated tomorrow, and the veg all need to be finished, so that it’s all just heating. I still have the marzipan to make, but I’m hoping I can get this out and then quickly finish that, at least Sasha’s share.

Today we’ll be celebrating with Sash during the afternoon and then trying to catch up on sleep so we can be back in the shop on Sunday, on time. I’m not going to try to put out a newsletter for Sunday, so the next one will be on Monday. Here’s hoping you have a good holiday!

Yes, those are cookies! Hope you have a good holiday! These are called “Pernik”. More here:https://housecapuchin.com/stories-and-bardic-tales/8729-2/

HOLLYIlex aquifolium in Europe or Ilex opaca in the Americas, also called Bat’s Wings in old herbals. It’s usually used as an ornamental, but sometimes as a good wood for carving. In heraldry, holly is used to symbolize truth. Harry Potter’s wand is of holly. Some cultures use a tea of the leaves as a medicinal. Holly is one of the evergreens brought into the home by Druids. It symbolizes a willingness to allow the nature spirits to share one’s abode during the harsh, cold season. The traditional crowns for the bride and groom are made of holly (a male plant) and ivy (a female plant), wreaths and altar decoration are made of these as well. CAUTION: the berries are poisonous!  – Masculine, Mars, Fire – protections, dreams, luck, anti-lightning, holly water for wiccaning, Planted around the home for protection against evil. Cast it about to repel unwanted animals and spirits. The leaves and berries can be carried by a man to heighten his masculinity, virility and to attract a lover. Mixed with ivy for good luck to newlyweds. A Druid sacred tree. Sacred to the Winter Solstice, when it is used for decorating. Carry to promote good luck. Energy; Power; Strength; Protection, Enchantment, Dream Magic, Protection and Anti-Lightning.

newsletter feast Sol Invictus

Today is the Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” and may be the actual “Reason for the Season”. This is the first day that the sun (if you’re watching *very* closely) has a shorter shadow at noon. Today is actually less than ½ a minute longer than on the solstice, but accurate sundials & noon marks predate accurate clocks by a long shot! More on the god of this day  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_Invictus  More on noon marks  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noon_mark and sundials  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundial This is also the birthday of Mithras. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism_in_comparison_with_other_belief_systems

The shop is closed for the holiday, but will open at 1pm on 12/26! Winter hours are 11am-6pm Thursday through Monday, Holiday hours Closing on 12/31 at 4pm. Closed 12/25 and 1/1. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at ancientlight@peak.org If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.

Love & Light,


Today’s Astro & Calendar

Moon in Virgo

Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 1/17/22? Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. – Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 12/26 at 6:24pm.

Jupiter has moved some 6° to the upper left 3rd-magnitude Delta Capricorni, while Saturn has migrated nearly to the center of Capricornus’s dim boat-shape. And can you catch Mercury below Venus yet? Look early!

Mars passes from Scorpius into Ophiuchus today and stands close to its noted rival, Antares, in the predawn sky. An hour before sunrise, they’re 4.7° apart, with Mars north (above and to the left) of Antares. Mars glows at magnitude 1.6, while Antares is a slightly brighter magnitude 1.1. Compare and contrast their colors as they shine together in the lightening sky. Through a telescope, the Red Planet presents a tiny, 4″-wide disk. Mars is now nearly 2.4 astronomical units (AU) from Earth, where 1 AU is the average Earth-Sun distance. By December next year, that disk will have grown to span some 17″ on our sky, with Mars shining a much brighter magnitude –1.9.

Slightly higher in the sky are the stars of Libra the Balance. Zubenelgenubi, the constellation’s magnitude 2.8 alpha star, can be split into two with binoculars. Although it carries the alpha designation, it’s dimmer than magnitude 2.6 Beta (β) Librae, also known as Zubenesch.

The Hyades cluster – The stars of the Hyades lay scattered across Taurus’ face, along with the bright red star Aldebaran. – Giuseppe Donatiello (Flickr)

High above Orion shines orange Aldebaran with the large, loose Hyades cluster in its background. Binoculars are the ideal instrument for this cluster given its size: its brightest stars (4th and 5th magnitude) span an area about 4° wide. Higher above, the Pleiades are hardly more than 1° across counting just the brightest stars. The main Hyades stars famously form a V. It’s currently lying on its side, open to the left. Aldebaran forms the lower of the V’s two tips. With binoculars, follow the lower branch of the V to the right from Aldebaran. The first thing you come to is the House asterism: a pattern of stars like a child’s drawing of a house with a peaked roof. The house is currently upright and bent to the right like it got pushed. The House includes three binocular double stars that form an equilateral triangle, with each pair facing the center. The brightest pair is Theta1 and Theta2 Tauri. You may find that you can resolve the Theta pair with your unaided eyes.

Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) is less high in the south-southwest after dark.

Runic half-month of Jera/ Jara 12/13-12/27 – Jara signifies the completion of natural cycles, such as fruition, and has a more transcendent meaning of mystic marriage of Earth and Cosmos. *Ø* Wilson’s Almanac free daily ezine | Book of Days | December 13 Runic half-month of Eihwaz/Eoh 12/28-1/11 Represents the dead, and the yew tree, sacred to Winter shamanism. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books,

NIGHT SKY MAP FOR DECEMBER 2021https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-december-rotation-stars

Sun in Capricorn

Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22

Celtic tree month of Ruis (Elder) (Nov 25 – Dec 22)
Uranus (1/18/22) Retrograde
Color – Grey
©2021 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright


Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20, Beith – (BEH), birch – The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch. The three trees in my front yard form root sprouts that would take over the bed where they are planted if I didn’t cut them back. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils. It can reach 20 m (65 feet) in height. Birches are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae). Curtis Clark

Beth – Birch – Ogam letter correspondences –
Month: November
Color: White
Class: Peasant
Letter: B
Meaning: New Beginnings; Changes; Purification.

Phagos – Beech Ogam letter correspondences to study this month
Month: None
Color: Orange-brown
Class: Chieftain
Letter: PH, IO
Meaning: New experiences and information coming


Tides for Alsea Bay

Day        High       Tide  Height   Sunrise    Moon  Time      % Moon
~            /Low      Time     Feet   Sunset                                    Visible
Sa  25      High   5:02 AM     6.8   7:51 AM     Set 11:59 AM      73
~    25      Low  10:41 AM     3.6   4:42 PM    Rise 11:20 PM
~    25      High   4:00 PM     6.6
~    25      Low  10:53 PM     0.9


Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Don’t tell GOD how big your storm but tell the storm how big your GOD.


Journal Prompt – Expository – Write whatever comes into your mind when you read the following Spanish proverb: “Three helping one another will do as much as six men singly.”



~   You must learn the difference between persistence and entanglement. – Kerr Cuhulain
~   Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. – Jim Rohn
~   I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.  – Mother Teresa
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. – Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Welcome, friend! St. Nicholas, welcome!
Welcome to this merry band!
Happy children greet thee, welcome!
Thou art gladdening all the land. – Mary Mapes Dodge (1831–1905)


Yule Magick – Lore

The Calendar of the Twelve Days of Christmas

Christmas Eve – Several weeks before the start of the holiday was always a period of fasting and preparation behind the scenes. Many traditions keep their houses undecorated until Christmas Eve. Some only have a big supper after midnight on Christmas Eve when the house is revealed in all its magic and glory.

And start your Christmas later: don’t decorate until December 24. Then let the Twelve Days unfold as their own season; after its over, its really over for another year. Christmas should not begin at Labor Day.

Here is a good book for Christmas Eve; it is one of the most wonderful and profound books in the English language. The story has been adapted and abused for many years, but this is the original tale. Its not always pretty, its a roller coaster ride of emotions, from bright light to deep dark and its not like any movie version you’ve ever seen—its the story of amazing grace, the man who was lost and found his way again


Print it out to read when you have time: and read it aloud! The power of the words is like magic.

FIRST DAY–December 25–the Partridge in a Pear Tree– Christmas Day

For the duration of the Twelve Days it was always the custom to keep the house scrubbed and tidy: you never know what visitors might come knocking on your door. It might be an angel—it might be the holy family looking for shelter or three kings. Keep the cupboard filled with food and sweets, and cheerful drink on hand; its bad luck to turn anybody away.

The weather is often bad at this time of year: The Twelve Days became a time to look for dark forces loose in the outdoors—dangerous weather, ghostly hunters, mischievous fairies. People scurried through the dim and dark countryside looking for the next warm fire.

These Twelve Days are a journey through the darkest part of the year, moving from hope to hope, leaving despair behind with stops on Christmas and New Year, moving always toward the bright revelations of Twelfth Night.

SECOND DAY–December 26–Two Turtledoves—

…is St. Stephen’s Day: he was the first Christian martyr. In Ireland, children parade around with a toy bird on an evergreen branch singing the ‘Wren Song,’ and begging for pennies and food. The Wren traditions are so ancient and mysterious that they may have been performed since prehistoric times.

Second Day is also Boxing Day in the British Commonwealth: this is the day when boxes of food, gifts or money are given to people who work for you—gardeners, rubbish collectors, postal workers, and to those in need. Boxing Day is a good day to go see a panto, or a special movie.

THIRD DAY—December 27–Three French Hens—

… is St. John the Evangelist Day: the story is that St. John was once given a cup of poisoned wine, but he made the sign of the cross over it before he drank, and was saved: have a cup of warm spiced wine, tonight.

FOURTH DAY–December 28–Four Calling Birds— [Anja’s note – The original here was “colly birds”, i.e. blackbirds (colly being an old word for coal)

…is Holy Innocent’s Day or Childermas: this is the day when mad King Herod heard that the coming King of the Jews had been born, so he sent his men out to slay all boys under two years of age.

In folk tradition, its the day when all the youngest boys in a household are treated with special honors and are allowed to playfully beat and tease the adults with decorated evergreens until they get candy and gifts.

At church, they would elect a boy to be a bishop for the day and he would have a good time commanding the deacons and vergers and canons, ordering feasts and revelry.

Supposedly a traditional food is Childermas Pudding: some kind of fresh white snow, shaved ice, vanilla pudding or ice cream (to represent the pure innocence of childhood) is served with a spoonful of red raspberry or strawberry syrup or cordial to represent the blood of the innocent martyrs. Well, probably tastes good anyway.

FIFTH DAY–December 29–Five Gold Rings—

…is St. Thomas a Becket, who was martyred at Canterbury Cathedral in England by four men sent by the King who was once Becket’s best friend.

SIXTH DAY–December 30–Six Geese a Laying

In the dark midwinter, when the sunlight fades early and fast and the wind brings cold and damp for so many hours of dark, its no wonder people found reasons to stay indoors, telling stories—these were called Winter’s tales, often full of fantastic characters and magic told around the crackling fire.

Outside—who knows what lurked in the shadows of midwinter? Some saw black dogs, or wolves: others were chased by fairies; Herne the Wild Hunter was seen thundering through the forest with his pack of dogs and hunters. What travelers would survive these nights to knock on your door? Surely anybody who came knocking must be a special visitor!

This is the Sixth Day of Christmas: its your day. Volunteer at a community event, if you can: in these dark and uncertain days of midwinter, you never know who needs you—or whom you might need.

Dispel the gloom! Go to a panto—  Address:http://www.btinternet.com/~nigel.ellacott/illustrations.html

SEVENTH DAY– December 31–Seven Swans a Swimming—

…is New Year’s Eve: called St. Basil’s Eve, is good for telling fortunes for the coming year.

Young women put gingerbread men under their pillows so they they might dream about their future husbands

EIGHTH DAY–is New Year’s Day–Eight Maids a Milking—

St. Basil’s Day—also is the day when the Jewish baby Jesus would have been formally circumcised. In Scottish tradition this is Hogmanay, once a bigger celebration than Christmas which was a strictly religious holiday to the conservative Scots.

The first Monday after New Year is called ‘Handsel Monday’—its the day you give token gifts to friends and family to assure prosperity and good luck in the new year.

In the old Christian tradition, this was the Feast of Fools: somebody would be elected to play the Bishop for a day, and the church went riot with all kinds of crazy pranks and jokes on the churchmen—the church put a stop to that hundreds of years ago, but if you want, this was the day for it.

NINTH DAY–January 2–Nine Ladies Dancing—

…your day! Take a long walk with all of your family. Go ice skating.

The Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Days are a time of renewal; just as the earth is sleeping under its mantle of cold, ready to wake up in a few months when the sun comes around, we can do the same. The busy period of Christmas and New Year are past and you can now relax and plan the coming year. These three days are a separate season unto themselves in the Twelve Days: they are the darkest, quietest part of this twelve day journey, a time away from time.

January Second is also the Feast of St. Macarius, patron of confectioners and chefs! Pastries, candy and a feast of delicious food are required.

TENTH DAY–January 3–Ten Lords a Leaping—

The Feast of St. Genevieve, patroness of the City of Paris, of secretaries, actors and lawyers. Send a special greeting to any secretaries, actors or lawyers you know.

ELEVENTH DAY–January 4–Eleven Drummers Drumming—

your day! Just take a nap by the fire.

TWELFTH NIGHT–January 5–Twelve Pipers Piping—

…the Vigil for the Epiphany begins at sunset. Also Edward the Confessor’s Day. This is called Three Kings Day or Little Christmas Eve, or Wasail Eve and in the old days was the festive celebration of the holiday (Christmas Eve being mostly a solemn religious observance). The night shines with brilliant stars against a deep blue sky: diamonds, silver, sapphires, cobalt.

This is a night of magical revelations: a night of unexpected discoveries and surprises. Nothing is as it first appears. A beggar might be a great king! Masquerades are popular on this night, and good natured practical jokes. All secrets are hidden in fun, only to be revealed at the last moment.

Our holiday fruitcake used to have a holiday all its own: thats Twelfth Night. The cake is full of precious spices and expensive fruits which symbolise the gifts brought to the manger: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The candied fruits are like precious jewels in a richly decorated golden gift box made of fine cake.

On this night you have a special feast with a big fruit cake served at the end: the cake had a hard dried bean baked in it along with other small silver trinkets—but whoever got the bean was made the King of the party: this may be the origin of the term ‘bean feast’ which means any kind of elaborate dinner.

Twelfth Night is also for Apple Howling, the time when you go out to serenade your apple trees for a good harvest, and drum on pots and pans or fire unloaded guns to frighten the evil spirits; pour apple cider around their roots in a toast and put piece of your Twelfth Cake in the branches for good luck. “Stand fast root!” you bellow at the tree a midnight “Bear well, top! Pray God send a howling good crop!”

In many countries you exchange your gifts on this night.

[THIRTEENTH DAY] January 6th–The Feast of the Epiphany:

…this is when the Magi arrived at Bethlehem revealing that Messiah had been born. The sun rises, all his glory revealed.

You’ve survived the twelve day journey through the deepest darkest part of every year! This day is like the new dawn after a long dark night: it marks the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas. in the old days the first Monday following Twelfth Night was Plough Monday when farmers went back to the fields after a twelve day rest (an occasion for morris dancing and cadging pennies and drinks from the neighbors by itself)

You can have a good time burning your Christmas greens in a bonfire, and putting away the decorations. After Twelfth Night it should all be completely over and gone from the landscape in all but memory—that’s the beauty and the magic: its only here for a short while and you have to enjoy it before its gone. Who knows if it will be back?


These are old ideas and ancient traditions, but find some significance in your own holidays you can apply to the Twelve Days: foods, feasts, games, songs, community service. When Chanukah falls within the Twelve Days, why not include it?

Make a Twelve Days Calendar with special windows that open: or a Twelve Days Box that has secret compartments of candies or gifts for each of the days. There is plenty of room for your own special touches, even if you just take the time to slow down and rest. Its your time.

Share your ideas, and I can add them to this calendar for everybody to see:


Some of these “twelve days” ideas can still apply this year, but this is mostly for *next* year, to get the thinking started. 

To be started on 12/12 of next year!

Day: 1 – It’s Christmas – Share the Merry! – Giving to others reduces stress

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and for many of us, that can be a very busy, stressful time. But the real gifts of Christmas have a way of reminding us of the things that matter most—the gift of love and the special way it shapes our lives, the gift of sharing and the closeness it creates, and the gift of family and friends and how much they mean to us. The spirit of the holidays is not found under a tree, it is found in our hearts.

Here are 12 small ways to share your heart and put the merry in someone else’s Christmas:

  • Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru.
  • Send holiday cards to soldiers through your local Red Cross.
  • Candy cane the cards in the parking lot.
  • Bake treats for the police and firemen.
  • Feed someone’s meter.
  • Donate to the poor.
  • Shovel your neighbor’s driveway.
  • Leave a treat for your mail carrier.
  • Be a Secret Santa.
  • Volunteer at a food bank or shelter.
  • Donate toys to children who may not receive any.
  • Give your “presence” to friends and family members.

Day: 2 – Tips for Planning Your Holiday Party – A list for planning a stress-free party

Candles glowing, wintry weather, warm and happy times together. The holidays are a friendly, festive, happy time– a time for warm traditions, making memories and spreading joy. Christmas and entertaining just seem to go together, but it’s easy to get your tinsel in a tangle when planning a holiday party. You can make your party a merry memory by planning ahead and trying some of these holiday party planning tips:

Send the Invitations – You’ve set the date and made your guest list. It’s time to send the invitations. Calendars fill up fast around the holidays, so be sure to send them at least three to four weeks in advance. There are numerous online services for creating your special invites.

Plan the Menu – Choose a holiday party menu for which many of the items can be made ahead of time. Some appetizers and desserts can be made and frozen several weeks in advance. Other recipes can be mixed together a few days before and stored in the refrigerator. On the day of the party, you can simply bake and finish them, leaving time for you to get dressed in your holiday best. For the beverages, wine and beer are always crowd pleasers, but you may want to consider instead, a festive fruit punch for the non-drinkers and a signature cocktail. That way you won’t need to stock a full bar.

Create Your Decorations – Decorations can be as elaborate as you have the time and budget to create. But if you’d like to keep it simple, create a lighting concept with candle glow and bright metallics to reflect the light for a festive feeling. Focusing on one or two colors can tie it all together.

Prepare a Toast – A Christmas toast adds a merry touch to the festivities. A few favorites:

  • “May you live as long as you wish, and have all you wish as long as you live. This is my Christmas Wish for you.”
  • “Joy to the world-and especially to you.”
  • “Here’s to us all! God bless us every one!” -Tiny Tim’s toast from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Make a Music Playlist – Nothing sets the mood like holiday music. Create your music playlist ahead of time, mixing traditional favorites by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole with party tunes, such as “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Also consider holiday radio stations, your cable providers, and online streaming for music stations that include a “Sounds of the Season” offering.

Time to Get Your Merry On – As you greet your guests and take their belongings, introduce people by pointing out what they have in common. Accept gifts graciously and make sure everyone finds their way to the treats. Try to relax and enjoy your party. And remember, “Old Christmas comes but once a year.”

Party Planning Checklist Click for full size image

Day: 3 – Make the Holidays Extra Special – Tips for adding sparkle to your holidays

So how do we convey those feelings of warmth and love to those who mean the most to us? Some of us do it through our cooking, baking and entertaining. We make our loved ones their favorite dishes, we take special care in decorating and creating a welcoming atmosphere in our home, we think of those little things that will add a touch of magic to their holidays. And for those we won’t be seeing, we write our heartfelt thoughts in Christmas cards and newsy letters.

Here are 5 ideas to add some extra Christmas sparkle to your holiday celebrating this year.

Create a warm welcome to your home by lining your driveway and walkway with luminarias. To create your own display of these lighted lanterns, cover the bottoms of white paper bags with sand and then insert votive candles or battery-operated lights. Using die-cut hole punches, you can create designs for the light to shine through. Place each of the luminarias about two feet apart along both sides of the walkway.

When deciding on your big holiday dinner menu this year, consider adding something unexpected to your traditional dishes.

  • How about spreading some bacon, cut into small pieces, over your green bean casserole? Nothing says love like bacon.
  • Try adding pomegranate seeds to some of your baking recipes. They are good for you and each bite starts with a crunch that bursts into juicy flavor. Pro tip: Freezing the entire fruit makes it easier to separate the seeds
  • “Oh bring us some figgy pudding…” It’s in the second verse of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and it makes a wonderful addition to your dessert selections. Figgy pudding is a spice cake-like souffle made with figs and walnuts, and you can add some rum for extra holiday cheer!

Hang mistletoe throughout the house for some extra Christmas kisses. And remember, what happens under the mistletoe, stays under the mistletoe.

Bake some gingerbread. It will fill your house with a heavenly scent and warm your family’s tummies and hearts.

Write a warm and friendly Christmas letter to send across the miles to family and friends. You’ll find beautiful online Blue Mountain Christmas stationery atbluemountain.com/printable-cards/santa-letters . It’s okay to keep it short and sweet. People always appreciate it when we take the time to remember them, especially at the holidays. Here’s a little inspiration to get you started:

  • Thinking of special people like you makes the holidays warm and happy…
  • Miss you and wish we could be together.
  • The best part of the holidays is remembering you.
  • Wishing you and your family a Christmas to remember.
  • Thank you for all you do all year. I’m so grateful to have you in my life.
  • This may not be your best Christmas, but I hope it helps to know I’m sending you warm thoughts and prayers.
  • It’s been a challenging year for you. Our hearts go out to you and your family.
  • Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.
  • Wishing you His love and blessings at Christmas and always.
  • In the great Christmas stocking of life, you’re the best Christmas present ever!
  • Hope your Christmas is as special as you are!
  • Sending you hugs and kisses at Christmas and always!

Day: 4 – Holiday Stress Relief – Tips to relax and enjoy the season – Even if you love the holidays, ’tis the season to be overwhelmed by shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, card sending, and party going. If you find it getting to you, here are

10 Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress:

  1. Go for a walk. – The rhythm of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain. Shoot for a brisk 20 minute walk each day.
  2. Set a budget. – Overspending is one of the biggest causes of holiday stress. Remember, the best gift you can give anyone is your time and attention.
  3. Get some sunshine. – There’s nothing like a little fresh air and the feel-good serotonin boost we get from the sun to give us a lift.
  4. Stick with your daily routine. – Try to maintain your regular schedule as much as possible. Your body likes routine.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep – It’s more important than ever to schedule enough time to get your zzz’s.
  6. Don’t over schedule. – It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. Manage your time wisely and remember the time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.
  7. Stay well. – Though we can’t always dodge those winter germs, remind yourself and your family to take your vitamins and wash your hands.
  8. Eat healthy. – Leave the belly to Santa. Don’t go overboard on sugary cocktails and party treats. Eat a balanced diet with lots of whole grains and veggies and drink lots of water.
  9. Don’t sweat the small stuff. – Let go of the idea of a perfect holiday and enjoy the one you’re having. In the end, it’s all about spending time with the people you love.
  10. Close your eyes and breathe. – Promise yourself more time to savor the best parts of the season and plan to have a worry-free, hurry-free, smile-filled holiday.

Day: 5 – Perfect Christmas Gifts for Everyone – Give the gift of a unique experience – We all eventually reach a point in our lives when we have enough stuff. Just figuring out what to do with our stuff takes up more time than we’d like. Whole businesses have been built around containing and organizing our stuff.

This year, let’s think outside the stuff and give moments and memories instead. An experience is something the recipient will always remember. And making memories is what Christmas is all about.

What is the gift of experience? It can be whatever you think the person would enjoy—tickets, lessons, memberships, and adventures. Here are a few suggestions:


  • Theater
  • Orchestra
  • Ballet
  • Rock Concert
  • Favorite Performer
  • Movies
  • Sporting Event
  • Comedy Night


  • Flying
  • Horseback riding
  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Glass Blowing
  • Bagpiping
  • Survival Training
  • Golf or Tennis with a Pro
  • Musical Instrument


  • Zoo
  • Botanical Garden
  • Museum
  • Aquarium
  • Warehouse Club
  • Fruit or Flower of the Month Club


  • Tandem Skydiving
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Kayaking
  • Zip Lining
  • Tarot Card Reading
  • Spa Treatments
  • Sight Seeing Tours
  • Wine Tasting Tours


  • Night diving with manta rays in Hawaii
  • Moulin Rouge show in Paris
  • Gondola ride in Venice
  • Safari in Nepal
  • Whale watching in Madeira
  • Swim with the dolphins in Mexico
  • Ayurvedic massage in India
  • Rum tasting in Puerto Rico
  • Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls
  • Candlelight cruise in Amsterdam

Day: 6 – Family Time Christmas Craft – Let’s make pom-pom decorations – One of the best gifts of the holidays is the gift of time spent with family. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, because you are giving a part of your life. Money spent is meaningless, but time spent is priceless.

Making pom-pom ornaments together is a great way to turn moments into memories. It’s a craft that can be done by young and old and a great way to build connections between generations. The ornaments are bright and whimsical, reminiscent of a Whoville Christmas tree. They are soft and durable and won’t break if you drop them!

All you need to get started is colorful yarn, scissors, a spool of heavy-duty thread, embroidery needle, and a large pom-pom maker. You can download a free template to make one from cardboard, or you can find a pom-pom maker at your local craft store. Step-by-step directions are included with your maker and how-to videos are available online.

  1. Begin by wrapping each side of the arch with yarn
  2. Close your maker and cut the yard down the center.
  3. Wrap the thread around the pom pom and tie it tightly with a knot.
  4. With the embroidery needle, pull yarn through the pom pom to create a loop for hanging, or a continuous line to string pom poms for a garland.

In addition to ornaments, the pom poms make unique package decorations. They can be strung together to create a garland you can hang anywhere—across the mantle, around the Christmas tree, down the staircase and looped around a chandelier. You can fashion a wreath from pom poms for a festive welcome on your front door. By adding extra details, you can turn them into snowmen, animals, flowers, zipper pulls and key chains for great gift ideas.

Day: 7 – Christmas Spirit in a Mason Jar Decoration – Make meaningful Christmas gifts – The holidays are a friendly, festive, happy time– a time for warm traditions, making memories and spreading joy. Christmas mason jar crafts are fun to create and fun to receive as Christmas gifts. You can buy the jars online or anywhere that sells crafts or canning products. Mason jars were invented in 1858 by a Philadelphia tinsmith named John Landis Mason. They are made of soda-lime glass and come in a variety of volumes including ½ pint, pint, quart and ½ gallon. Our projects here are designed for the quart size.

Decorating jars is limited only by your imagination. Jars can be painted in solid colors or with holiday designs, if you are feeling artistic. We recommend using a matte acrylic paint.

Jar lids can be covered with 6 ½ inch circles of burlap or festive fabrics and tied with raffia, twine or holiday ribbons. Messages and recipes can be attached as tags around the lid, or glued to the outside of the jar.

Decorated jars make great vases and containers. They are perfect for holding Christmas greenery, plastic party ware, candy canes and candles. You can make a delightful scene by placing whimsical elements inside a jar, such as tiny trees and reindeer. Epsom salts makes great snow. A visit to your local craft store will provide you with additional inspiration.

For a perfect hostess gift, why not fill your jars with tasty treats? 
Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Mistletoe Kisses and Christmas Wishes (chocolate kisses)
  • Peppermint Candies for Someone Sweet
  • Holiday Movie Munchies (popcorn and movie tickets)
  • Happy Trails (snack/trail mix)
  • Reindeer Food (bird seed)
  • Dog or Cat Treats from Santa Paws
  • For a fun surprise, place a gift-wrapped toilet paper roll in the center of the candy and add a little Christmas cash or gift card.

Chocolate Holiday Cheer

Fill a Mason jar halfway with hot cocoa mix and top off with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. For extra cheer, tie a small bottle of Baileys to the jar.

M&M Cookies – Hope your Christmas – is M & M — – Merry and Magical!

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup M & M’s
  1. Combine the white ingredients, except the sugar, and pour into the bottom of a 1 quart Mason jar. Top with M & M’s, then brown sugar, then granulated sugar.
  2. Decorate the jar and attach recipe below:
  3. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl and stir.
  4. Cap tightly.


  • 1 stick melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract.
  1. Stir until combined.
  2. After chilling for 30 minutes,
  3. drop dough by heaping tablespoons
  4. onto lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 360 F for 8–10 minutes

You’re on your way to creating heartwarming gifts for your family and friends. Before you go, here is one more recipe:

Recipe for a Merry Christmas

Take a…

  • Crisp December day and sprinkle it with snow…add a
  • Helping of the special joys you cherish so…blend in
  • Rings of laughter and the glow of candlelight…mix
  • In wreaths of holly and a tree all shiny-bright
  • Season with the greetings of good friends and loved ones, too…add
  • The Yuletide wishes that are old, but ever-new
  • Mix in Christmas carols and the sound of silver bells
  • And don’t omit the story that the holy season tells
  • Serve with feelings of good will and love in generous measure
  • And you will have the makings for a Christmas you will treasure!

Day: 8 – Holiday Fun for Children – Games, activities, and riddles for kids – Winter weather and friends together, it’s time for holiday fun! Do you have a house filled with kids? Your kids, neighbor kids, grandkids? Would you like to get them away from their electronic devices and reconnect with them? Here are some no tech, low overhead, fun activities and games you can play to promote togetherness and the spirit of the Christmas season.

Christmas Memory Game – Place Christmas items on a tray. Tell the children they have 30 seconds to memorize what’s on there. Ask them to write down as many as they can remember in one minute.

Name That Christmas Tune – Play or sing the first lines of popular Christmas songs and see which child can come up with the name of it first.

Cookie Decorating – On a table, place large, plain sugar cookies and piping bags or squeeze bottles of colored icing. Provide sprinkles, candy pearls and other decorations. Give each child a plastic knife or wooden ice cream stick and let the fun begin! When they’re finished, the kids can eat their creations, or wrap them and give them as gifts.

Write a Christmas Poem – Together with the children, make a list of things associated with Christmas, such as Christmas tree, star, reindeer, North Pole, etc. Then make a list of words that rhyme with them. Start linking the ideas, such as, “Once there was a Christmas star, that could be seen from near and far…” You’re on your way to making a silly or sentimental Christmas poem that could become a fun gift or keepsake of the season.

Snowman Building – Provide some fun accessories for snowmen (and snow women), such as hats and scarves and buttons, and let the children’s imaginations run wild. Prizes can be awarded for silliest, most original, or fastest built.

I Decorated the Tree – The first child begins with “I decorated the tree with a _____” The next player repeats what the first player says and adds their own: “I decorated the tree with a ____ and a _____.” Each player repeats the sequence until a mistake is made. This game usually dissolves into giggles because of the funny things the children say they are placing on the tree.

Word Find – Make a list of Christmas words, such as Christmas, Santa Claus, Poinsettia, Candy Cane, and Mistletoe. Have each child make as many smaller words from it as possible before the timer runs out. 
Some words found in Santa Claus include: us, act, ant, can, cat, sat, sun, tan, last.

How Many Ornaments – Ask the children to guess the total number of ornaments on the tree. The closest guess is the winner and receives an ornament as a prize.

Christmas Riddles – See who can guess the answers to funny riddles.

Day: 9 – Season’s Readings for Kids – Christmas books for children – Here’s a wonderful new holiday tradition you can begin with your family this year. As a countdown to Christmas, wrap a special Christmas book for each day and number it. You can begin at December 1st with 24 books, or at any time in between. On each designated day, your child can unwrap one book that you will read together. These will become cherished keepsakes to be passed down through the years, so be sure to date and inscribe them with a heartwarming message to your child.

Reading to children and toddlers enhances many of their skills: basic speech, logical thinking, concentration, and their ability to acclimate to new experiences. And if all that wasn’t enough reason, reading together builds and even stronger bond between you and your child.

To get you started, we’ve provided you with a list of 24 classic children’s books and highlighted a few of our favorites. We’ve included the illustrators of the versions we think are especially charming. You can build your own collection over the years, or borrow them from your local library. So get cozy by the fire or under the covers and enjoy some good reading and bonding time with your family.

  • Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore illustrated by Jan Brett – While reading this classic poem aloud, it’s fun for children to fill in the last word of the rhyming lines. The author’s description of Santa has done more to form our image of Santa than any other work, and the beautiful illustrations of Jan Brett bring him to life.
  • The 12 Days of Christmas by Robert James Sabuda – Award winning author and paper engineer, Robert James Sabuda, has created an amazing pop-up interpretation of the timeless song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens illustrated by Brett Helquist – Take a wonderful trip back to an unforgettable Christmas Eve in Victorian London where Ebeneezer Scrooge learns the valuable lessons of kindness, charity and goodwill.
  • The Polar Express – by Chris Van Allsburg – This 1986 Caldecott Medal Winner tells the story of a young boy’s magical train trip to the North Pole to make his Christmas wish.
  • Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Kate Wilson illustrated by Jane Chapman – Bear’s friends keep Bear awake for Christmas. Through the traditions of finding a tree, hanging stockings, and singing songs, he discovers that giving is the best Christmas present of all.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz – You can empathize with Charlie Brown as he laments the commercialization of Christmas. But in the end, the Peanuts gang will uncover the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate a Christmas miracle.
  • The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel illustrated by Jim LaMarche
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Fred Mercellino
  • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg illustrated by James Bernardin
  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
  • The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
  • The Christmas of the Reddle Moon by J. Patrick Lewis illustrated by Gary Kelley
  • The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans illustrated by Jacob Collins
  • The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne illustrated by Jim Griffin
  • Yes, Virginia, the is a Santa Claus by Francis P. Church illustrated by Joel Spector
  • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry illustrated by P.J. Lynch
  • Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell illustrated by Jason Cockcroft
  • The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt illustrated by Tim Jonke
  • A Wish to be a Christmas Tree – by Colleen Monroe illustrated by Michael Glenn Monroe
  • The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans illustrated by Daniel Craig
  • The Christmas Train Thomas S. Monson illustrated by Dan Burr
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  • Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck illustrated by Mark Buehner
  • You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

Day: 10 – How to Write a Letter to Santa

Add magic to your child’s Christmas

Dear Santa…I can explain…

What could be more fun than helping your child write a letter to Santa? To create a new, memorable tradition, you can set the scene with some Christmas music and hot chocolate. You will find the perfect stationery for it here:


Here are some ideas to get you started:

If your child is just learning to write, you can offer to be a helper elf.

Explain that it’s always polite to inquire about the recipient.

For instance:

  • How is Santa feeling?
  • How is Mrs. Claus?
  • How is the weather at the North Pole?
  • Are the reindeer practicing their flying for the big trip?
  • What are the elves doing?
  • Has he been checking his naughty/nice list?

This would be a good point to tell your child why they are probably on the nice list. It’s best to focus on the positive, and not turn Santa into a negative experience. For example, your child

  • was kind to siblings.
  • tried new foods.
  • shared their toys.
  • showed good manners.
  • got good grades.
  • was nice to pets.

Now your child can list the things he or she would like for Christmas. (Since you will be fulfilling the list, it’s a good time to ask for details.) Depending on your gifting plans, you can set a limit on the number of things requested, or you can let their imagination run wild, with the caveat that Santa may not be able to fit everything on his sleigh.

Be prepared with an answer if your child asks for something that doesn’t come in a box. You can explain that making grandpa feel better or bringing mom home from a military assignment or finding a lost pet, isn’t Santa’s area.

Your child can add that he/she hopes that Santa will enjoy the milk and cookies and reindeer feed you’re leaving out for them.

A good closing would include a “thank you” and a wish for a Merry Christmas! Add a stamp and some stickers and mail it to the North Pole.

If you really want to surprise and delight your child, have Santa write a response. You can do this by typing your letter in an old-fashioned looking font on beautiful Blue Mountain stationery:bluemountain.com/printable-cards/santa-letters You can answer the questions your child asked and acknowledge what was said about being naughty or nice. You can add that you’re looking forward to landing at the house on Christmas Eve and having the milk and cookies. Ho ho ho! Think how fun and magical it will be when your child receives a personalized letter from Santa in the mail!

Day: 11 – History of Christmas Traditions – The origin of Christmas symbols

There are many ways we honor Christmas. One of them is through our family traditions. Each year many of us hang the same ornaments, eat the same foods, and entertain in the same way. It takes time and commitment to sustain these traditions, but we know they bring our families closer together. They reflect our values and what we believe in. They strengthen our sense of history and belonging, and like heirlooms, many are passed down through generations. From our traditions we receive the best gifts of the season—simple pleasures, mistletoe kisses, magical moments, happy memories and family joy.

Some of our most cherished symbols of the holiday come from nature, which inspired our ancestors to incorporate them into their celebrations.

A Christmas Garden Poem

There’s a special winter garden
And it blossoms each December.
It’s planted with the seed
Of every Christmas we remember.

There’s mistletoe for laughter,
There’s holly for good cheer,
There’s evergreen to symbolize
The hope of the new year.

There’s poinsettia for beauty,
And for sweetness there’s the bay,
May the harvest of all these, and more,
be yours this Christmas Day.

The History of Mistletoe – Folks have been kissing underneath the mistletoe since the 8th century. The custom has its roots in a Norse fable about Frigga, the goddess of beauty and love and her son, Baldur. Wanting to keep her son safe, she bade everyone and everything on earth to do him no harm. The one thing she overlooked was mistletoe. So Loki, a mischievous god, shot Baldur with an arrow made from mistletoe wood and killed him. Frigga’s tears of grief turned into the mistletoe’s white berries and brought him back to life. Filled with gratitude, she praised mistletoe as a symbol of love and peace and promised that forevermore, anyone who stood under it would be kissed. And so today, when two people meet underneath the mistletoe, it’s likely they will get a Christmas smooch.

The History of Christmas Holly – During the holiday season, people all over the world deck the halls with boughs of holly. The prickly green plant and its red berries are a popular decoration that dates back to the ancient Druids. In addition to holly being a symbol of fertility and eternal life, the Druids thought it had magical powers. (Maybe that’s why Harry Potter’s wand is made of holly wood.) They believed it could ward off evil spirits and ill fortune. As time went on, Christians adapted the thorny foliage with its blood-red berries as part of their own tradition, as expressed in the well-known carol, “The Holly and the Ivy.” In Victorian times, it became a popular decorative image for illustrations and greeting cards. Today we use holly in wreaths and garlands and arrangements– anywhere we want to add a rich and colorful touch.

The History of Evergreens – Evergreen trees were used as decorative symbols of eternal life by ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews and used in Winter Solstice celebrations. In medieval Germany, fir trees were used to represent the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden in plays about Adam and Eve. The trees were decorated with apples and later with wafers to symbolize the host. In 1841, German-born Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria, introduced to London a decorated Christmas tree, reminiscent of his childhood. Its popularity quickly grew and soon many homes in Britain had trees bedecked with candles, sweets and handmade decorations. Not long after this, the custom spread to America. As early as 1444, evergreen wreaths were used as decorations in London. Branches were intertwined in a circular shape to represent God’s love, which has no beginning and no end. Today we festoon doors and windows and mantles with wreaths to create a warm and festive welcome. The fresh scent alone conjures up happy memories of Christmases past.

The History of the Christmas Poinsettia – Poinsettias are called the “Flower of the Holy Night” (Flores de Noche Buena) because their red bracts are said to represent the Star of Bethlehem—the heavenly body that led the Three Wise Men to the place where Christ was born. Because it can be found naturally growing only for a short period of time during Advent season in Mexico and Central America, seventeenth-century Franciscan priests in Mexico used the plant as part of their Nativity celebration. Worshipers placed the flowers around a manger built at the church altar. The plant was introduced to America by Mexican ambassador, Dr. Joel Poinsett in 1828, who cultivated it in his greenhouses. It rapidly became the most popular Christmas floral and represents 88% of Christmas plant sales today. Poinsettias can be seen everywhere during the holidays, in homes, churches, offices and shops, brightening fireplaces, surrounding Christmas trees and often given as hostess gifts.

Day: 12 – Christmas Around the World – Seasonal celebrations in other countries – All the world reflects the wonder of the Christmas season. Though we may celebrate it in different ways and say “Merry Christmas” in different languages, Christmas is about hope for the world and each person in it, because each year we’re reawakened to the endless possibilities of a world built on love.

Our modern Christmas is the result of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe. As recently as the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas wasn’t widely considered to be a holiday and was hardly celebrated anywhere. However, by the end of the century, in countless places all over the world, it had become the most important celebration of the year. Let’s take a look at how some of our neighbors honor Christmas.

Christmas in Germany – Decorating evergreen trees had always been a part of the German winter solstice tradition. The first Christmas trees that were decorated and named after the Christian holiday, appeared at the beginning of the 17th century.

Celebrating the season today is a month-long event in Germany. Many families prepare for Weihnachten (Christmas) by celebrating Advent, which begins the 4th Sunday before Christmas Day. They light a candle on an Advent wreath each week and children open the doors in an Advent Calendar each day. December 6th is Nikolaustag, a day commemorating Saint Nicholas. On the eve of that day, children leave a shoe outside their door and if they’ve been good, the next morning small toys and treats appear in them.

The festivities culminate on Christmas Eve with the unveiling of the Christmas tree. The traditional German Christmas dinner features roasted goose, duck or fish. Potato salad and frankfurters is also a popular meal on that day.

Christmas in England – Christmas as we know it today, was ushered in during Victoria’s reign. Her German-born husband, Prince Albert, introduced the decorated tree to London, and soon the custom spread all over the world.

Like many countries, Nativity plays and carol singing are very popular in England. Caroling began in medieval times, when wandering musicians would travel about the countryside, hoping to receive food or money for their performance. Today carolers collect money for charity.

On Christmas Eve, going out to the pub and attending midnight church services are enjoyed by many families. The Christmas Feast usually takes place in early afternoon on Christmas Day. Traditional Christmas festivities feature tables laden with roast turkey, cranberries, parsnips, roast potatoes, stuffing, bacon and sausages, followed by a Christmas pudding.

Christmas in Mexico – In Mexico, the Christmas celebration begins on December 12th, with the Feast of La Guadalupana (the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint), and ends on January 6th, with the Epiphany.

Las Posadas takes place for nine days of procession and parties during which the story of the Nativity is reenacted each day. At Noche Buena (Holy Night) or Christmas Eve, most families go to a late night mass called the Mass of the Rooster. The name was based on the tradition that the birth of Christ was announced by the crowing of a rooster.

After the church service, they head home for the traditional midnight feast with family and friends. Popular dishes include bacalao, revoltijo de romerita and suckling pig. Afterward, children play with sparklers, called “Luces de Belen—Lights of Bethlehem.” Gifts are usually opened at the stroke of midnight.

Christmas in Sweden – In Sweden, the Christmas season begins with St. Lucia Day, December 13th, one of the darkest days of the year. It is sometimes referred to as “little Yule.” This Festival of Lights is celebrated throughout the country to symbolize the promise of the sun’s return.

According to legend, Lucia was a young girl during the Middle Ages who was blinded for her Christian beliefs and later was canonized the patron saint of the blind. She is honored today by young girls dressed in white with red sashes, wearing a wreath of lighted candles in their hair, who take part in a procession, carrying rolls and cookies.

The main celebration and exchange of gifts takes place on Christmas Eve. On that day, it’s estimated that 40 to 50% of the Swedish population will watch the Disney Donald Duck special, which has been a custom since 1959. Many Swedes attend the Midnight Mass on December 24th, or the early morning Christmas service.

The Christmas season ends on January 13th, “Tjugondag jul,” (St. Knut’s Day) when the Christmas tree is taken down and all the leftover treats are eaten.

Christmas in Australia – Christmas in Australia falls in the summertime, and it’s not unusual in some parts of the country for temperatures to reach 100 Fahrenheit. Schools and workplaces are often on summer break during this period, so the focus is on Christmas celebrations.

Traditional celebrations include family get-togethers, surfing, sailing, swimming and singing Christmas carols at the beach. A favorite Australian carol is “Six White Boomers,” because Down Under, Santa’s sleigh is pulled by kangaroos instead of reindeer. On Christmas Eve, children leave out biscuits and a glass of milk or bottle of beer for Santa.

On Christmas Day, many families attend church services and then gather for a lunch. While some still serve the traditional turkey and roast vegetables, many have turned to cold meats and salad, in deference to the hotter weather. Desserts include plum pudding and mince pie along with local favorites such as kiwifruit and pavlova, a meringue cake named for ballerina Anna Pavlova, a popular entertainer in Australia in the 1920’s.

Christmas in Ethiopia – In Ethiopia, the Julian Calendar is still followed, so Christmas day is January 7th. The Christmas celebration is called Ganna in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Twelve days after Ganna, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration of Timkat to commemorate the Baptism of Jesus.


Christmas is a much less commercialized event with the focus on family gatherings and spiritual events. People fast on Christmas Eve and very early on Christmas morning, attend church services wearing a white garment called a shamma and carry a candle in a solemn procession. The priests dress in turbans and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

Afterward, “wat” is served. It’s a thick and spicy stew with meat, vegetables and eggs. Later in the day, the boys and men will play Gena, a traditional hockey-like game. It is said that Gena is a game the shepherds were playing on the night that Jesus was born.

How to Say “Merry Christmas” Around the World

  • Australian Merry Christmas
  • Cree Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
  • Danish Glaedelig Jul
  • Ethiopian Melkm Ganna
  • Finnish Hyvaa Joulua
  • French Joyeux Noel
  • Gaelic Nollaig Shona Dhuit
  • German Frohliche Wehnachten
  • Greek Kala Christouyenna
  • Hawaiian Mele Kalikimaka
  • Hindi Shub Naya Baras
  • Hungarian Boldog Karacsonyt
  • Italian Buon Natale
  • Japanese Meri Kurisumasu
  • Korean Sung Tan Chuk Ha
  • Polish Boze Narodzenie
  • Portuguese Boas Festas
  • Romanian Sarbatori vesele
  • Russian Hristos Razdajetsja
  • Spanish Feliz Navidad
  • Swedish God Jul
  • Welsh Nadolig Llawen

“The more we honor the holidays
by being with those that we love,
the sooner we’ll see that peace and goodwill
are what the whole world’s dreaming of.
The more we cherish each Christmas
with hope in our hearts while it’s here,
the merrier all of our spirits will be
all through the happy new year.”


Silliness – Bumper Snickers – Daddy, why doesn’t this magnet pick up this floppy disk?

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