Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcome December!


Seasons:  Autumn + Winter  {in the Northern hemisphere}

Zodiac Signs:  Sagittarius + Capricorn

Birthstones:  Blue Topaz, Blue Zircon, Lapis Lazuli, Blue Tanzanite, + Turquoise

Flowers of the Month:  Narcissus, Holly, + Poinsettia

Moon Name:  Yule Moon

Holidays, Celebrations, Events & Commemorations in December:

1   World AIDS Day
1   Union Day in Romania
2   International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
2   National Day of the United Arab Emirates
3   International Day for Persons with Disabilities
3   Feast of Saint Francis Xavier  (Roman Catholic)
4   2nd Advent Sunday  (Christianity)
4   Feast of Saint Barbara  (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox & Anglican)
4   Ashura  (Islam/Middle East)
5   Ashura  (Islam/Asia)
5   Sinterklaas Eve in the Netherlands
5   International Volunteer Day for Economic + Social Development
5   Father's Day in Thailand
6   Feast of Saint Nicholas/Saint Nicholas' Day  (Christianity)
6   Independence Day in Finland
6   Constitution Day in Spain
7   Pearl Harbor Day  (USA)
7   International Aviation Day
7   Feast of Saint Ambrose  (Roman Catholic)
8   Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary  (Roman Catholic, Anglican, & some Lutheran churches)
8   Mother's Day in Panama
8   Constitution Day in Romania
9   Feast of Saint Juan Diego  (Roman Catholic)
9   International Day Against Corruption
10   Human Rights Day
10   Nobel Prize Awards Ceremonies in Sweden + Norway
11   3rd Advent Sunday  (Christianity)
11   International Mountain Day
12   Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe  (Roman Catholic/Mexico & Philippines)
12   Independence Day in Kenya
13   Feast of Saint Lucia/St Lucia's/St Lucy's Day  (Christianity, especially Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Bosnia, Bavaria, Croatia, Slovakia, West Indies & those with Scandinavian heritage)
14,+ 16-17   Advent Embertide  (Roman Catholic)
15-24   Posadas Navidenas  (Roman Catholic)
15   Bill of Rights Day  (USA)
16   Day of Reconciliation in South Africa
17-24   O Antiphons {The Golden Nights}  (Roman Catholic, Anglican, some Lutheran & Presbyterian churches)
17   Wright Brothers Day  (USA)
18   International Migrants' Day
18   4th Advent Sunday  (Christianity)
20-28   Hanukkah  (Judaism)
20   International Human Solidarity Day
21   First Day of Winter/Winter Solstice/Yule
22   Yule/Winter Solstice
23   Festivus
24   Christmas Eve/Vigil of Christmas  (Christianity)
25   Christmas Day  (Christianity)
26   Boxing Day  (UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations)
Dec 26-Jan 1   Kwanzaa  (African American)
26   Feast of Saint Stephen/St Stephen's Day  (Roman Catholic, some Eastern Orthodox, + an official public holiday in Austria, Ireland, Czech Rep., Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Poland, and other countries/regions)
26   Day of Goodwill  (South Africa)
26   Independence + Unity Day in Slovenia
27   Feast of Saint John the Apostle/Evangelist  (Roman Catholic + Anglican)
27   Christmas Bank Holiday  (UK)
28   Feast of the Holy Innocents/Childermas/Children's Mass/Holy Innocents' Day  (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran)
28   Proclamation Day in South Australia
29   Feast of Saint Thomas Becket/St Thomas of Canterbury  (Roman Catholic & Anglican)
30   Feast of the Holy Family [2011 date]  (Roman Catholic post 1969)
31   Feast of Pope Saint Sylvester I  (Roman Catholic)
31   New Year's Eve/Watch Night/Hogmanay

In December, [where I live] we usually begin to get snow (or have been since October or November)...  Fall activities have come to a close and Winter activities are just starting up.  If we have snow, we have lots of fun sledding, ice skating, skiiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, building snowmen, & having snowball fights.  Sometimes schools have snowdays, and unfortunately this brings with it lots of shoveling, scraping & snowblowing.... but after coming inside we can sit by the fire & drink hot cocoa or hot tea or warm mulled cider

We light candles, listen to glorious Christmas music, decorate inside & outside our homes & workplaces with twinkling lights, and start watching television holiday movies & specials.  We start our Christmas baking, including Xmas cut-out cookies, pies & cakes & candies & fudge.  We get to work real fast on those Xmas cards, Xmas photos & Xmas shopping.  We sing Christmas songs as we decorate the tree, and try to keep up on wrapping those gifts.

Many businesses have to conduct end-of-year inventories etc., and some employers hold parties, potlucks, etc., along with other clubs, organizations, places of worship etc.  It's always fun to attend Xmas bazaars & craft fairs, and attend some parades with the kiddies.  We take our children to visit Santa Claus, sometimes at a local shopping center or other community center, and we start cooking up our Xmas eve/day menus.  Families  & friends travel near and far to visit each other, and schools hold holiday concerts, and churches hold Christmas pageants.

This is also a season to focus on the less fortunate, and many people volunteer at shelters, soup kitchens & food banks, along with many charity drives to collect funds, food, or cold-weather clothing for the needy.  It's also a good idea to think of the sick & elderly in hospitals, nursing homes, or shut-in in their homes by visiting them to sing carols, bring treats or have children bring them joy through song or dance. Just try to remember to keep up this goodwill and thoughtfulness the rest of the year through...

If you are Jewish or have Jewish friends, this is the time of Hanukkah, of those eight nights lighting the menorah, spinning the dredel,  and eating potato latkes!  Some African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, starting right after Christmas, lighting candles & eating special symbolic foods.

In the secular and/or pagan circles, you can always look forward to Festivus, a hilarious holiday originating from the tv show, Seinfeld!....  and of course, the celebration of the Winter Solstice between Dec. 21-22.

It's also fun to do special holiday activities with our children, such as sleigh-rides or a train-ride to the "north pole", or Christmas markets, strolls, crawls, open houses, cookie exchanges, wrapping parties, fairs, or festivals.  We enjoy the season of Advent by counting down on our Advent calendars & lighting our Advent candles/wreaths.  We attend religious services, especially on Christmas Eve and/or Day, and generally enjoy spending time with friends and family, eating delicious food, drinking mighty fine eggnog, staying warm & cozy, watching The Nutcracker ballet, surrounded by candy canes, toys, tinsel, sparkling lights, snow, angels, bells, stars, manger scenes, snowflakes, bows, gingerbread houses, evergreen boughs, holly & berries, silver & gold, red & green, reindeer & Jolly Old St. Nick.

We soon come to the end of the month, and New Year's Eve celebrations get under way.  Sometimes this consists of parties, or fancy dinners, or simple finger foods at home while watching music specials until the Times Square ball drop.  Sometimes this is a good time to stay in playing games and cards with friends & family, whether drinking or not.... other people enjoy having a 'night out' at a party, club, bar or restaurant.  A kiss at midnight to all of you, and here's to 2011 & the beginning of a New Year!

Whether you celebrate any, all, some, or none of these holidays, I hope everyone has a safe & happy holiday season!

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