Hearing the Spirit of Christmas in the Laughter of Children . . . My Heart is Happy and Full

There are days that are pretty awesome that come along once in a while. Today was one of those days.  Yesterday, since Hubby was home from work due to the power outage from the storm, we got most of the house chores done in anticipation of Miss B and Big Brother E coming today.  We headed to the ferry to pick them up and off we went to run Christmas errands with the kids.  Big Brother and I went to Home Depot and found Hubby some great stocking stuffers – he’s quite a great little shopper!  After that we headed downtown to see if, by some miracle there would be available parking spaces, so Miss B could see Santa – there weren’t. We weren’t surprised.  She said she wanted to see him, but when we told her there wasn’t any place to park, she didn’t seem overly concerned about it. It was fine with us, though it would have been nice to have a picture. To get in there without huge lines and horrible traffic, since this is probably the best Santa we have ever seen, we would have had to get in there the 1st weekend of December. Maybe next year. From there we headed to the Dollar Tree, and with each child armed with their Christmas list, Hubby went one way with Miss B and I went the other with Big Brother, and the kids picked out the presents for everyone on their list, and their own wrapping paper for them.  They had a lot of fun. Some of Miss B’s choices were interesting and gave me a giggle.  I know my son-in-law doesn’t read this, so it’s not ruining anything for him, but Miss B got him a package of Brillo Pads.  Why? She liked the wrapper. HAHAHA Isn’t that cute? Anyway, we stopped for lunch, went to the grocery store and came home to relax with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frozen.  They are all tucked into bed now and the grownups are relaxing by the tree, watching a movie and appreciating the love of little people who we miss very much when they are not with us.  Sunday brings my son and daughter-in-law, Christmas Eve Eve with my parents, cocoa with the Night Before Christmas and more family love and memories.  Appreciate your family and time you get with them. These are the times that kids look back upon as adults and tell their own children about. Today, in the laughter, hugs and chatter of the children, I felt my Christmas spirit come rushing back, and my heart is filled with happiness.



Verse of the Day

December 22, 2018

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:8-11

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

Shepherds and the glory of the Lord in the same sentence. Shepherds enjoyed a great heritage in Israel with Abraham, Moses, and David as notable shepherds and God being identified through Psalm 23 as a great shepherd. But by this time in Israelite history, they were not highly regarded. They smelled like sheep. They spent their time with sheep. They were not really clean and religious enough to be considered spiritual. So when God chose to announce the birth of Jesus to shepherds with his contingent of angels he makes his point clear: Everyone is loved by God, everyone has access to God, and everyone is desired by God.

December 23, 2018

[An angel of the Lord said,] “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:11-14

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

The sign to the shepherds was a baby in a feed trough. Pretty potent sign isn’t it! The Almighty Creator of the universe sleeping where the sheep and goats have eaten their grain and hay. That God would love us so much as to reduce himself to such an inauspicious beginning reminds us why the angels praise him so. He is glorious and yet he chose not to hide or protect that glory, but instead he shared it so we could find it, too!



History of Christmas Traditions

Depending on which country you are in, Santa Claus is known by different names, some of which most of us are probably away. There’s Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, and Pere Noel off the top of my head, but that’s not all of the names he is known by.  I found a list on a great website called www.whychristmas.com and it’s pretty awesome to see all of these names!  Take a look and if you know any that aren’t on this list to their website and let them know a new one.  They were asking for people to do that and it would be a nice help to them.  Personally, I don’t see how there could be more, but anything is possible.

  • Afghanistan: Baba Chaghaloo
  • Albania: Babadimri
  • Armenia: Gaghant Baba / Kaghand Papa (Father Christmas or Father New Year)
  • Austria: Christkind (a little angel like person)
  • Azerbaijan: Şaxta baba (Grandfather Frost)
  • Belgium: Sinterklaas/St. Niklaas (Flemish) or Saint Nicholas (Walloon) & Père Noël (Father Christmas)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Djeda Mraz (Grandfather Frost)
  • Brazil: Papai Noel (Father Christmas) & Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man)
  • Bulgaria: Дядо Коледа / Dyado Koleda (Grandfather Christmas)
  • Chile: Viejito Pascuero (Christmas old man)
  • China: Sheng dan lao ren (Traditional: 聖誕老人, Simplified: 圣诞老人; means Old Christmas Man)
  • Columbia: Niño Dios (Baby Jesus)
  • Costa Rica: Niño dios (Child God, meaning Jesus) & Colacho (another name for St. Nicholas)
  • Croatia: Djed Božičnjak (Grandfather Christmas)
  • Czech Republic: Svatý Mikuláš (St. Nicholas) and Ježíšek (the Christ child)
  • Denmark: Julemanden (Christmas Man)
  • Ecuador: Papa Noel
  • Egypt: Baba Noël
  • Estonia: Jõuluvana (Yule Elder)
  • Ethiopia: Amharic: Yágena Abãt (Christmas Father)
  • Finland: Santa Claus (well he does live in Lapland in Finland!) or Joulupukki
  • France: Père Noël (Father Christmas)
  • Georgia: თოვლის ბაბუა, თოვლის პაპა / Tovlis Babua, Tovlis Papa (Snow Grandfather)
  • Germany: Weihnachtsmann (Christmas Man) & Christkind (a little angel like person)
  • Greece: Aghios Vassilis / Άγιος Βασίλης (Saint Basil)
  • Haiti: Tonton Nwèl
  • Holland/Netherlands: Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) & Kerstman (Christmas Man)
  • Hungary: Mikulás (Nicholas) & Télapó (Old Man Winter)
  • Iceland: Jólasveinn (Yule Man) & Jólasveinarnir (The Yule Lads)
  • India: Hindi: Christmas Baba, Urdu: Baba Christmas (Father Christmas), Telugu: Thatha (Christmas old man), Tamil: Christmas Thaathaa, Marathi: Natal Bua (Christmas Elder Man)
  • Indonesia: Sinterklas
  • Iran: Baba Noel
  • Iraq: Baba Noel / Vader Kersfees
  • Ireland: San Nioclás’ (Saint Nicholas) & Daidí na Nollag (Father Christmas)
  • Italy: Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) or La Befana (an old woman) or The THree Kings (parts of northern Italy)
  • Japan: サンタさん、サンタクロース santa-san (Mr Santa) & Hoteiosho (A Japanese god of good fortune – not really related to Christmas)
  • Latvia: Ziemassvētku vecītis (Christmas old man)
  • Lithuania: Senis Šaltis (Old Man Frost) & Kalėdų Senelis (Christmas Grandfather)
  • Lebanon: Baba Noël
  • Macedonia: Дедо Мраз / Dedo Mraz
  • Malta: San Niklaw (St. Nicholas)
  • Mexico: El Niñito Dios (baby Jesus), Los Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men) & Santo Clós (Santa Claus)
  • Mongolia: Uvliin Uvuu or Uvliin Uvgun (Winter Grandpa or Winter Old Man)
  • Norway: Julenissen (Santa Claus) or ‘Nisse’ (Small Gnomes)
  • Pakistan: Christmas Baba
  • Peru: Papá Noel
  • Philippines: Santa Klaus
  • Poland: Swiety Mikolaj (St. Nicholas)
  • Portugal: Pai Natal (Father Christmas)
  • Puerto Rico: The Three Kings / Magi
  • Romania: Sfantul Nicolae (St Nicholas), Moş Nicolae (Old Man Nicholas), Moş Crăciun (Old Man Christmas), Moş Gerilă (Old Man Frost)
  • Russia: Дед Мороз / Ded Morez (Grandfather Frost) / Dedoushka (Grandfather in Russian) or Babushka (an old woman – although this is ‘western’ than actually Russian!)
  • Serbia: Дедa Мрaз / Deda Mraz (Grandfather Frost), Божић Бата / Božić Bata (Christmas Brother)
  • Slovakia: Svätý Mikuláš (Saint Nicholas) / Ježíško (the Christ child)
  • Slovenia: Sveti Miklavž or Sveti Nikolaj (Saint Nicholas) / Božiček or Dedek Mraz (Grandfather Winter); Božiček on December 24 and Dedek Mraz on December 31!
  • South Africa: Sinterklaas / Kersvader
  • South Korea: 산타 클로스 (santa kullosu), 산타 할아버지 (Santa Grandfather)
  • Spain: Los tres Reyes Mages (The Three Magic King / Magi) & Papá Noel (Father Christmas); in Catalonia the gift bringer is Tió de Nadal, a Christmas log with a face on it!; In the Basque country, the gift bringer is Olentzero, a big man who wears a beret and smokes a pipe.
  • Sri Lanka: Naththal Seeya
  • Sweden: Jultomten (Santa) & Nissar / Tomte (Christmas Gnomes/Elves)
  • Switzerland: Samichlaus (St. Nicholas) or the baby Jesus or Befana (South Switzerland) or the Three Kings
  • Syria: Baba Noël
  • Turkey: Noel Baba (Father Christmas)
  • Ukraine: Svyatyy Mykolay (St. Nicholas) & Дід Мороз / Did Moroz
  • United Kingdom: Father Christmas (inter-changeable with Santa Claus), Wales: Siôn Corn (Chimney John)
  • USA: Santa Claus, Hawaii: Kanakaloka
  • Uzbekistan: Qor bobo (Grandfather Snow – more related to New Year’s Eve than Christmas)
  • Venezuela: San Nicolás (St. Nicholas) & Niño Jesús (Baby Jesus)
  • Vietnam: Ông già Noel (Christmas old man)


I am very happy that there are only a couple of celebrations this weekend. It is nice sometimes to have it be light with everything else going on.


December 22 – Saturday

Be a Lover of Silence Day – I have no idea where this one started, or even what it means.  I found one reference to it, and that was a video of a daily news bit from somewhere in the Midwest.  Their take on the day was that this is a chaotic time of the year for many of us as we gear up for Christmas, so it is a good day to take some time to just be silent, go somewhere quiet and just breathe.  I like that, it’s nice.  If someone has any other thoughts on this, or knows where it started, I’d like to know!


December 23 – Sunday

Roots Day – Today is a good day to celebrate where we came from.  Our heritage is important to who we are and knowing where we came from gives us a sense of belonging.  Since many people are going home for Christmas, you can say that they are returning to their roots.  Doing that is warm, cozy and comfortable.  We are going where we have a sense of home – of that belonging I mentioned earlier.  If you’re hanging out with your Grandparents, maybe take a little time to REALLY talk with them – ask them questions about their childhood, and maybe get a feeling of where they came from, and as such, where you came from as well.  It’s a beautiful thing!


This Day in History –

December 23, 1947 – The transistor was invented by U.S. physicists John Bardeen, Walter H. Brittain, and William Shockley.


Food Celebrations of the Day –

December 22

National Date Nut Bread Day – We received a pretty amazing loaf of date nut bread for Christmas from some friends of ours.  This wonderful lady who baked the bread is a member of the Daughters of the Revolution and plays Martha Washington at events around the area. She does a lot of work at the George Washington Inn in Sequim, WA, and at that property they grow their own heritage wheat, from which she ground the flour to make the loaf. She left the dates and nuts whole, which made a delicious loaf of mostly dates and nuts with some bread holding it together. It is the most unique loaf I’ve ever had! Not only that, she gave me the recipe, created by her mother in the 1940’s.  I’m feeling pretty blessed by this lovely gift representing a rich heritage.



December 23

National Bake Day – Don’t you just love this one?  I know I do!  Everyone can enjoy this day, no matter what their faith or dietary needs.  There are cookies for various holidays, cookies just because they are delicious, cookies for people who eat gluten free, special natural sugars safe for diabetics for special cookies . . . there are cookies for EVERYONE . . . you just have to find the right recipe and bake them.  Now, I am betting that this one lands mid-December for a good reason.  People are focused on making all of their favorites this time of year. As soon as I post this I have at least one more type of cookies to bake, pack up and get to the post office. I know at this point they won’t make their destination until after Christmas, but they are going to family and friends, so I know they will understand.



National Pfeffernuesse Day – In all of my years of loving baking Christmas treats, this is a cookie I have never tried.  I think I may need to put this one on my baking list to try, if not this year, then next.  It is a German spice cookie that is popular around this time of year, made with ground nuts, spices and covered in powdered sugar. The exact origin of this cookie isn’t known, but the Dutch enjoy them during the feast of Sinterklaas, which is celebrated on December 5th in the Netherlands and on December 6th in Germany and Belgium.  The feast of Sinterklaas is when children receive their gifts from Saint Nicholas, who was one of the inspirations for Santa Claus.  Pfeffernusse has evolved to include various renditions of the cookie by many bakers. The traditional recipe included different nuts like almonds and walnuts, some have the nuts with black pepper mixed in with cinnamon and cloves, though most don’t include the black pepper, and some are sweetened with molasses and honey. I’m intrigued!


As I finish this up, we are listening to the music of the rain on the skylight, relaxing by the soft lighting of the Christmas tree, knowing that the children are snuggled down in their beds, resting for a busy day tomorrow. My heart feels at peace, and the Christmas spirit that was lagging behind a few days ago is finally back. May your heart also be filled with the spirit and love of Christmas this weekend, through Christmas and every day beyond. God bless you and I’ll see you on Christmas Eve!


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Celebration list sources:

www.verseoftheday.com   www.brownielocks.com   www.holidayinsights.com   www.thenibble.com   www.foodimentary.com

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