Here, in Harleyville, SC, it’s hard not to notice a “Season of Celebrating” is beginning.
Our town’s holiday street lights are up and brightening the night. The inflatable lawn characters have risen to the occasion, keeping company with hundreds of DIY outdoor decorations. Christmas songs are taking over the airwaves and getting stuck in our heads. And, even, the Grinches have begun poking their heads out the door, complaining about all this happiness and joy. (Let’s hope their hearts grow ten time real soon.) It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS, for me and my family.
The month of December has much to enjoy and many occasions to fellowship with family, friends and community; and, even, people across the world. As mentioned on Education World, “December offers great opportunities for teaching (and, learning) about our multicultural world.”
Over the coming month, we get to enjoy customs and traditions we are familiar with and already observe, as well as, a chance to open our minds and hearts to those who believe differently from us and learn what matters to them and why. “Peace on Earth” may never come, but a more peaceful Earth can be achieved by taking the time to recognize how much we are alike. Finding our similarities helps us understand others and through sharing, caring and love, we can forge a better future for the human race. Imagine what a world this would be if we each tried a little.
December holidays include:
- Saint Nicholas Day (Christian) — observed on December 6 in Western Christian countries and Romania, December 5 in the Netherlands and December 19 in Eastern Christian countries, is the feast day of Saint Nicholas.
- Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican) — December 5
- St. Lucia Day (Swedish) — December 13
- Chanukah (Hanukkah) (Jewish) — observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. This year (2018) it begins at sundown on December 2, and last until sundown on December 10.
- Christmas Day (Christian) — December 25, with Christmas Eve on the December 24.
- Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian) — observed January 6.
- Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish) — December 26
- Kwanzaa (African American) — observed between December 26 and January 1 each year. Maulana Karenga, an African-American leader, proposed this observance and it was first celebrated between December 1966 and January 1967.
- Omisoka (Japanese) — observed December 31, as the beginning of a new year with new possibilities, but the celebrations are a little different from Western New Year’s Eve.
- Yule (Pagan) — observed December 22.
- Saturnalia (Pagan) — observed December 17, originally, and now extended with unofficial festivities through December 23.
- New Year’s Eve & Day — observed December 31 & January 1.
For me personally, I’ve always loved Christmas. As a child, it was the most magical day of the year. The toys of my year-long daydreams appeared mysteriously under our tree and we got to see family who lived away from us. As a young adult, I loved the parties that ushered in the season and Christmas bonuses to spend on gift-giving. Once motherhood arrived, it was all about seeing the joy on my children’s faces and having my family together, all at once. But, no matter what else I was feeling surrounding the holiday, I always remembered why my family (as Christians) celebrated this day; the birth of Jesus.
Near the end of my 30’s, I had gotten frustrated about how much my family was focusing on the “stuff” — the cost of gifts and what to give; the get-together’s weren’t as together as they had been; and celebrating was becoming less celebratory and more hurried. The entire experience was becoming everything, but Christ. So, I declared “No More.” I got rid of my decorations, opted out of gift exchanges and vowed to only celebrate the religious “reason for the season.” My decision was met with great disappointment and grief from my family and friends, but I stuck to the choice I’d made and let everyone do as they wished outside our home.
I thought about this choice throughout the following year, longing for a middle ground. I wanted the traditions I grew up with and loved to return, but not at the cost of forgetting why we observed the holiday. As Halloween neared, my family talked about our feelings toward Christmas and made some plans on how not to get so caught up in the “stuff” of Christmas. We found a balance and have been enjoying the holiday ever since.
December will be filled with activities and celebrations for so many. As you prepare for your special celebration, I invite you to visit Three Cats Crafts regularly to check out our DIY offerings. Tomorrow, the festivities begin with “The Countdown to Christmas: A Collection of Advent Calendar Ideas.” Advent 2018 begins on Sunday, December 2, and ends on Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve.
Other jolly and merry topics to come, include:
Cookie Monster Christmas: A Cookie For Everyday
Who’s Knocking at the Door: Wreaths and Entryway Presentations
Hung With Care: Festive Stockings for Filling
Natural or Artificial?: Ornaments to Fill Your Tree
Christmas Outside: Backyard Crafts for a Front-yard Display
A Celebration For Our Tummy: The Food We Love in December
A House Fulled With Love: Decorations For Every Room
Til’ Ugly Is Beautiful: Inspiring Ideas for the Perfect Ugly Sweater
Giving From Your Heart: Helping Charitable Organizations Succeed
Especially For You: Handmade Gifts to Show You Care
Creatures, Great & Small: Remembering our Pets & the Animals Around Us
Hope you enjoy these upcoming posts and a few more surprises I have in the works. I hope you find something to inspire your creativity and help you make your “Holiday Season” the best it can be. And, from my family and TCC to you, we wish you a joyous month of goodwill and blessings. Until the next post…
Feature Photo: Art of the Nativity by Jean Tedrow/Pinterest page