On celebrations

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Western Christian liturgical calendars are based on the cycle of the Roman or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, including Lutheran, Anglican, and Protestant calendars since this cycle pre-dates the Reformation.

Generally, the liturgical seasons in western Christianity are Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time.

Thinking of the advent season and on creating memories, as well as incorporating new and old traditions from both of our families, I have come up with this list of ideas and projects:

From the Latin adventus, “arrival” or “coming”, the first season of the liturgical year begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.

Advent in a box

Advent Candles to light and enjoy on Sunday evenings with cookies and tea.

I think it would be fun to decorate just a bit every night, in the spirit of preparation (what is advent for anyway?) and maybe to get a tree somewhere in the middle of the season.

Christmastide begins the evening of Christmas Eve (December 24) and ends on (or, in some Anglican traditions, the day before) the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.

The Twelve Days of Christmas and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany on (January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. This period is also known as Christmastide.

The twelve days have special significance to us as this is a tradition we have observed in some way since our first Christmas. Sophie’s birthday is on Epiphany, (which means, appropriately enough, appearance” or “manifestation”). So, you can imagine the possible celebrations to arise here.

Some possible ways to observe these days::

Boxing Day – sorting through toys with the girls and taking some extra to a needy family.
King Cake
Sophie’s first birthday
12 Candles
And of course, re-reading the 12 Days Poem to the girls.


Simple Things :: Magical Moments

Inspired by Amanda, I began thinking of the small traditions that make Christmas such a magical affair. Really, the whole winter season should be a cozy celebration of the many blessings which we usually don’t take the time to notice. For some reason, that special breathtaking joy which is the Christmas spirit has eluded me in recent years as an adult. Am I the only one to miss the feeling of Christmas from when I was a kid? What made it so special?

I think one thing that went in to the excitement was the bringing out of things that were only seen once a year – which I think is the point of Amanda’s winter book list. I picked up her idea and ran with it. I imagine a small rubber made tote filled with special cozy books (as my girls get older, maybe some familiar read-aloud chapter type books. The tote should smell magical when it is cracked open at the beginning of Christmas. Sprinkle the books with some scrumptious Christmas Potpourri. Maybe you could include a surprise letter written to your children and tied with a beautiful ribbon. Maybe a beloved but nearly forgotten game, and some Christmas music to be played as the books are looked at and placed in a prominent basket near appropriately sized reading chairs with lap quilts a puffy pillows. Anything to create sweet memories and the anticipation of opening the box next year…

Below is a list of several winter/Christmas books, which I would love to include in such a tote. I bet one could find many such books in a post-Christmas trip the thrift shop!

Letters from Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien

Lucia and the Light – Phyllis Root

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Susan Wojciechowski

The Night of Las Posadas – Tomie dePaola

The Snowman
Raymond Briggs

The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas – Marianna Mayer

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas – Emma Kragen

On Christmas Eve – Margaret Wise Brown

The Night Tree by Eve Bunting

The Snow Bear by Miriam Moss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss

Trees of the Dancing Goats – Patricia Polacco

An Orange for Frankie – Patricia Polacco

Uncle Vova’s Tree – Patricia Polacco

Welcome Comfort – Patricia Polacco

Cranberry Christmas – Wende Devlin

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Peef The Christmas Bear
– Tom Hegg

A Silent Night For Peef – Tom Hegg

The Other Wise Man – Pamela Kennedy

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Clement Clarke Moore

An Early American Christmas
– Tomie dePaola

A Tale of Three Trees
– Angela Elwell Hunt

Snow – Uri Shulevitz

Father Christmas and the Donkey by Elizabeth Clark

One Winter’s Night
– John Herman

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus – L. Frank Baum

A Cold Snap: Frosty Poems
– Audrey B. Baird

The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg

Lost! A Story in String
– Paul Fleischman

The Friendly Beasts: An Old English Christmas Carol

The Legend of the Candy Cane – Lori Walburg

The Story of The Nativity – Elizabeth Winthrop

Who Is Coming to Our House? (Board Book) – Joseph Slate

Mary’s First Christmas – Walker Wangerin

The Crippled Lamb – Max Lucado

The Tiny Star – Art Ginolfi

Winter Lullaby – Barbara Seuling

Snowflake Bentley
– Jacqueline Briggs Martin

We’re Back!!!

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From a lovely Thanksgiving visit to the J family in Atlanta, GA, where we relaxed….

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Played the traditional Thanksgiving football game…

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And celebrated the baptism of a nephew…

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Now that we’re home, I am ready to begin thinking of winter and Christmas!