December 26th National Candy Cane Day

Dec. 26th National Candy Cane Day

The flavor of the candy cane has been with us for a long, long time… probably ever since candy was first invented. The candy cane, with the red stripe was first believed to appear in 1844 and is first referred to in literature in 1866. It became associated with Christmas in 1874 and was known to have been used to decorate trees since 1882. That’s more than we know about a lot of other candies but then again, ever since it became a symbol of Christmas, how could it’s popularity not have been increased. The original candy candies did not have the hook and it may have been added when the association with Christmas was added, resembling the Shepherd’s walking sticks. The world’s largest candy cane was made by Alain Roby in Geneva, coming in at a little over 51 feet.

How to celebrate – Get some candy canes for the holidays. Make your own candy canes. Decorate your Christmas tree with candy canes this year.

December 25th Christmas Day

In case you hadn’t heard, today is Christmas. It celebrates the birth of Christ, though no one really knows the exact date He was born. The Catholic Church set this date against a pagan holiday so that Christians, as well as others, would have something to celebrate instead. It has worked out well. The symbols of Christmas surround us this time of year, the Christmas tree standing for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; Santa for St. Nickolas; the songs for celebration, and the idea of giving gifts just as the Magi gave gifts to Jesus. We distort it, claim it for our own and don’t even know what the true date is but it still stands for the peace and harmony we all strive for. It is a time for family, friends, and even to forgive our enemies. Have a wonderful Christmas whether you believe or not.

How to celebrate – Go to church. Gather your friends and family. Celebrate love.

December 24th National Egg Nog Day

It seems only natural that we should celebrate National Egg Nog Day on Christmas Eve. There is no other drink so associated with the holidays as egg nog. You can make it yourself, you can buy it in a store and you can add a little whiskey or cognac, or both, for the adults in your crowd. It’s become a tradition in many families, starting around Thanksgiving and lasting until the end of the year before being put up for the next season. I was unable to find a true history of egg nog, though honestly I didn’t look real hard for it, but it seems to have been around since the middle ages. It’s simple enough to make, is sweet and flavorful and requires nothing that wasn’t readily available even 800 years ago. So before it disappears again for another year make sure you add egg nog to your parties and holiday get togethers. If you don’t like egg nog, just add a bit more booze and you won;t even know you are drinking it.

How to celebrate – Have some egg nog. Check out all the items made to taste like egg nog. Make your own egg nog drink.

December 20th Go Caroling Day

Today we offer a gift to everyone, nothing expensive but meant from the heart in wishing everyone joy and peace. It does not matter what religion you are, though it is generally associated with Christmas, it can be any faith and any songs that include goodwill and good wishes. You don’t even need to be a good singer, just willing. It is hard to say when caroling began, it was probably during the times of St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century as Christians sang songs dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries. In those days, singing for ones supper was a common practice and has most likely been the repeated over the years as caroling….but for now a little eggnog, fruitcake or perhaps just a little goodwill for all.

How to celebrate – Go caroling (no matter your religion). Spread joy to those around you. Show up where you are least expected, but most welcome.

Dec. 18th Talk Like Buddy the Elf Day

December 18th Talk Like Buddy the Elf Day

Who would have thought that a simple comedy like “Elf” staring Will Farrell made back in 2003 can have created such a following all these years later. Buddy goes through the trials and tribulation of being a Human who thinks he is an Elf, acts like an Elf and talks like an Elf. He goes to find his father in New York City and, well… if you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it for you. But if you haven’t seen the movie you are probably living under a rock. Today intends that you leave a message on your answering machine that makes it sound like you are Buddy answering the phone. Ah, who actually has answering machines anymore? Anyway the idea is fun, if a little annoying, and it kicks off the holiday season.

How to celebrate – Learn to speak like Buddy the Elf. Never give up on innocence. Visit the North Pole.

December 9th Christmas Card Day

Today is sort of a reminder that we should be getting our Christmas cards together and sending them out so they arrive in time. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the Christmas card is a simple way to let someone know you are thinking of them. It can be a “Holiday” card instead, it just happens to come at Christmas. The Christmas Card was invented by Sir Henry Cole in 1843 (Kinda odd, we certainly hope you do not get a lump of coal for Christmas this year). Even those cards with the picture of the family in those gaudy Christmas outfits are welcomed. They should be fun, colorful and let people know you care.

How to celebrate – Send out your Christmas Cards. Find a way to send a card noone else can send. Make your own Christmas Cards this year.

December 6th St. Nicholas Day

We all know Santa but not many of us know there was a true St. Nicholas, in Greece, a couple of hundred years after Jesus’ birth. He would later become a Bishop in the Catholic Church and finally a Saint. He use to throw small bags of coins out his window for children to celebrate the coming of the holiday season. The bags resembled socks and are now represented by the hanging of stockings at Christmas. His identity was not turned into Santa until the early 1800’s in America. While Santa is not exactly the religious type, Saint Nicholas was. As a Cardinal he would have worn lots of red and he most likely had a beard in his later years.

How to celebrate – Learn about the real St. Nicholas. Discover who turns Santa fat! Visit Greece!

March 25th Feast Of The Annunciation

Can you imagine getting visited by an Angel? Not just any Angel but an Archangel? Gabriel himself? Now, can you imagine that Archangel telling you that you will have a bay in 9 months? What happened to being a virgin? And not only are you going to have a baby but that baby will be the Son of God? And He will be named Jesus. Well that’s exactly what happened to Mary of Nazareth. Can you imagine explaining that to your parents? So March 25th has been deemed that day since we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, exactly nine months away. Naturally, we don’t really know what day Jesus was born, it was never recorded so Christmas Day is, at best, a guess. That means March 25th is, at best, a guess. But since we humans seem to need to assign dates to things, it’s as good as any.

How to celebrate – Have a Feast today. Study what is known of the Archangel Gabriel. Visit Nazareth.

January 6th Feast of the Epiphany – Three Kings Day

The three kings of the orient did not reach the manger until January 6th, having followed the star that guided them to where the baby Jesus lay sleeping. When you look at your manger scene celebrating Christmas do you have the wise men there before they had actually arrived? Most of us do.

download (4)

This is one of the reasons why there are twelve days of Christmas… it did not all come together in one single night as we have be told by legend. It did not probably even occur in December as we now celebrate. The date is not as important as the action.

download (5)

The wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. They were all valuable items in their day. These gifts that they brought to the baby Jesus is probably why we give gifts to each other at Christmas. We all know about gold, most of us have smelled frankincense but I doubt many of us have used myrrh.

tumblr_inline_p7i294vrI11t80r09_540

Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar all brought the best they had to offer to the new born King. I don’t believe legend tells us how they knew about the birth, maybe there is a story that I have not heard of. Whatever the reason they came, following the star to lead them to their King. But it did not come on December 25h when The Baby was born.

Epiphany-Three-Kings-Day_ss_291286805-790x400

How to celebrate – Don’t be so fast to end Christmas. Study the true meaning of the holiday and where the traditions came from.  Find your own star to follow where God leads you.

December 26th Boxing Day

Most people do not understand or even comprehend what Boxing Day is, that is unless they live in Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand or any f the former British commonwealths. That’s because it is primarily a British holiday… but maybe one the rest of us should share as well.

boxing-day-1901

Boxing Day started somewhere in the Middle Ages when local merchants would “box” up food and fruit to give to their servants as a reward for their service over the year. It was also a time to give thanks for the bounty one had received and to share some of that with those in need.

1711941_1011_1

It even included friendly games between those who held a station in life and those who did not. There is no written record of who won but I would hope the royalty and wealthy let the less fortunate win for a change.

good-king-wencelas

So as we receive our fair share, and over, of Christmas gifts maybe we should “box” up those items we no longer need or use and give them to those less fortunate that ourselves. Even if we don’t feel charitable we can look at it as getting rid of the clutter in our homes!

images (1)

It is what Jesus would have done after-all. So if you are celebrating his birth over Christmas, why not give as He would have afterwards.

How to celebrate – Celebrate Boxing Day. Box up those items you no longer use or want. Have left-overs for your Boxing Day meal.