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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/24/15

Thursday, December 24, 2015

CHRISTMAS IN ETHIOPIA!!



Ethiopia (and especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) still use the old Julian calendar, so the celebrate Christmas on January 7th, not December 25th! The Christmas celebration in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is called Ganna. Most people go to Church on Christmas day.
Many people fast (don't eat anything) on their 'Christmas Eve' (6th). At dawn on the morning of Ganna, people get dressed in white. Most people wear a traditional garment called a shamma. It's a thin white cotton piece of cloth with brightly colored stripes across the ends. It's worn like a toga. If you live in a big town or city you might wear 'western' clothes. The early Ganna mass starts at 4am!




The Ethiopian capital city is Addis Ababa. It's a modern city. Most people who live outside big cities live in round house made of mud-plastered walls which have thatched cone-shaped roofs. Sometimes houses in the country are rectangular and made of stone.
The design of Ethiopian Church is similar to the houses. In the country, they are often very old and have been carved out of rock. In cities, modern churches are built in three circles, each within the others.
The choir sings from the outer circle. Everyone who goes to church for the Ganna celebrations is given a candle. The people walk around the church three times in a solemn procession, holding the candles. They then go to the second circle to stand during the service. The men and boys are separated from the women and girls. The center circle is the most important and holy place in the church and is where the priest serves the Holy Communion or mass.




It's also a tradition that one of the Wise Men who visited Jesus came from Ethiopia.
Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It's played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball, a bit like hockey.
Traditional Christmas foods in Ethiopia include wat which is a thick and spicy stew that contains meat, vegetables and sometimes eggs (sounds yummy!). Wat is eaten on a 'plate of injera' - a flat bread. Pieces of the injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.
Twelve days after Ganna, on 19th January, Ethiopians start the three day celebration of Timkat. It celebrated the baptism of Jesus. Children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups that they belong to. Adults wear the shamma. The priests wear red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.




Musical instruments are played during the Timkat procession. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks a bit like a vertical tambourine. A makamiya, a long T-shaped prayer stick is used to keep the rhythm and is also used by the priests and a stick to lean on during the long Timkat church service!
Ethiopian men also play a sport called yeferas guks. It's played on horseback and the men throw ceremonial lances at each other (sounds rather dangerous!).
People don't give and receive present during Ganna and Timkat. Sometimes children might be given a small gift of some clothes from their family members. It's more a time for going to church, eating lots and playing games!

SANTA HAT PLACECARD HOLDER AND SNOWMAN PLACECARDS!

This diy comes from www.bhg.com . Something to add to your holiday table so your guests know where they are being seated on Christmas dinner night. Enjoy!

Santa Hat Place Cards for Christmas




Craft these Santa hats to help guests find their places at the Christmas table.



What You'll Need:
  • Tracing paper or a copier; pencil
  • Square of stiff red glitter felt
  • Scrap of white fluffy, furry fabric
  • Fabrics glue
  • Hand-sewing needle; red sewing thread
  • Straight pins; scissors
  • 20-mm gold jingle bell


  1. Trace the pattern using tracing paper or a copier. Place the pattern on the red glitter felt, and cut out one shape for each holder.
  2. Cut 1-1/2x8-inch piece of white fabric. Fold long edges under 1/4 inch, and glue the to the back side of the fabric to make a strip 1x8 inches.
  3. Glue white trim in place on the front lower curved edge of the red felt. Match straight edges of the red felt; form into a cone.
  4. Pin the straight edges together and stitch with a tight whipstitch using matching red thread.
  5. Sew a large jingle bell firmly to the top point, using matching red thread. Slide a place card through the top bell slit.



Tiny Snowman Place Cards for the Christmas Table




Make these mini snowmen as place cards on the Christmas table for family and friends.





What You'll Need:


    How to Make It:
    1. Trace or copy the patterns. From card stock, cut out the snowman shapes you want.
    2. From the same pattern, cut out shapes to emphasize three-dimensional pieces, such as the scarf and hat. Stick dimensional dots under the shapes, and layer them on top of the base shape.
    3. For each snowman, draw on features and add a guest's name. Place an extra ornament clip into the ornament top. Insert the snowman into the clip holder, and set the ornament on a curtain-ring base.

DIY PEPPERMINT TOPIARY TREES!*

This comes from www.showtellshare.blogspot.com . These would look really great on your Chirstmas buffet and dessert table. Good luck!

Peppermint Topiary Trees









Some of my special childhood memories of Christmas center around holiday candy. Peppermint sticks and marshmallow Santas and those creamy bits of heaven called Lindt balls were stocking standards in our home. I would savor my stocking candy for weeks, trying to prolong the magical taste of Christmas. Santa always left Starlight mints for us among the cookie crumbs on his plate, and although I enjoyed them year round, those enchanted drops touched by The Man Himself always tasted special and different on Christmas morning.










Last holiday season my friend brought a peppermint-covered decoration to our girls' craft night. The sight of her ball brought back vivid memories of Christmas-morning delight and crispy-coolness melting in my mouth. I knew I had to make some peppermint topiaries for my home as well! With her permission, I'm sharing my interpretation of her idea. Thanks Tiffany!





Materials needed:


10" STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam sphere
6" STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam cube
Pot or container for the base
Peppermint candies, about 4 1/2 11-oz bags
Red duct tape
1" dowel
Decorative accents and ribbon as desired









I painted my dowel white, since I wanted a cute, whimsical look to match the red and white candy.

Cut the dowel to 24". Finding the exact center of the STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam cube, gently twist the dowel into the STYROFOAM™ at the center point until it is firmly embedded in the cube, approximately 4-5 inches deep. Secure the cube into the bottom of the container with hot glue.









To hide the white STYROFOAM™, I cut a piece of square cardstock to size and let it rest on top of the cube, cutting a hole in the center for the dowel. Before gluing the dowel into the cube, twist the other end of the dowel into the STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam sphere, about 5-6 inches deep. Pull the sphere back off the dowel.








Using small strips of colored duct tape, cover the surface of the sphere. Be careful to leave the hole for the dowel uncovered. Smooth down any rough edges or wrinkles in the tape, and then glue the sphere onto the dowel.









With a glue gun, begin at the top of the sphere and attach unwrapped peppermint candies to the tape. Of course, you'll have to suck on a few of the chipped mints as you work. Just remember that they won't taste as good now as they will on Christmas morning. After the entire sphere is covered, spray generously with a polyurethane spray to keep the candies from becoming sticky or melting. Down in these parts we've been known to have 80 degree temperatures at Christmas time. That just feels wrong somehow.

I added green tinted glass gems to the top of my cardstock to give some extra sparkle, and a big bow for accent.










Depending on the length of your dowel and the size of your sphere and container, these Peppermint Trees would make a cute centerpiece on a table, a festive arrangement at the base of the staircase, or a welcoming display near the entry. As for me, my trees will be right next to the fireplace, waiting to welcome The Man in Red on his Christmas Eve visit.