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Showing posts from December 14, 2016


Now I know that some of you may not know exactly what a Christmas cracker is or what it does, but let me start out by assuring you that it is not something that you can spread cheese on and eat!  Well, you could, but you might regret it a short while after....
   Perhaps not as well known in the United States. , The humble Christmas cracker has been a staple ingredient in every household in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia since time immemorial.  They are loved by children and adults alike and are always the first part of the traditional Christmas dinner every year.

   They are basically a party favor, a small cylindrical cardboard tube, wrapped in festive paper and filled with a small prize, a paper hat and usually an awful joke.  There is a long, thin peice of paper that runs through the cracker that, when broken, produces a loud snapping sound, or "crack"-hence the name.  The idea is that you hold one end and offer the other to someone else at the table and …


Pictures and displays have been used to tell Bible stories since the days of the early church.  Nativity sets are popular indoor decorations for many homes during the Christmas Holiday's.  In fact, the original nativity display was not motionless figurines.  It was a live display with people dressed as Joseph and Mary with live animals.
   IN 1223, St. Frances of Assisi had longed to see the nativity with his own eyes.  Therefore, he planned a surprise for the people of the town.  This turned out to be the first nativity display, which used real people and animals.  This eventually spread to Germany in the 1600's.  Traditionally the sets were displayed in the front of medieval churches and temples.  Eventually carvings of these images were done in wood or made out of straw by artists.

   The nativity scene moved to other countries like Italy where other materials such as stone and ivory was used.  Many Italians commissioned famous artists to hand sculpt or carve their n…


On Christmas Eve, millions of children around the world will settle uneasily into bed, hardly able to contain themselves.  What vision could possibly dance through their heads, turning them into twitchy, restless insomniacs for just one night?  Is it the Sugar Plum Fair from "The Nutcracker" or the sugarplums from "The Night Before Christmas"?  Can sugarplums really do such a thing?
   Chances are the children are thinking about toys, Santa Claus and his team of reindeer--if the children have been nice this year, that is.  Jolly old St. Nick should be landing his sleigh on their roof sometime late in the middle of the night.
   Everyone has their own traditional image of Santa's sleigh, but could there be more to it than just a sled and a team of reindeer?  Although no one may ever know for sure just how Santa operates, here's a look at what some think are the most logical explanations for how the big guy in the red suit accomplishes all that he does.



Christmas in Mexico is a mixture of festivity and reverence.  Beginning weeks before Christmas, puestos (market stalls) are set up in the town plazas.  These puestos offer crafts of every imaginable sort, as well as foods and other seasonal items like orchids and poinsettia.  Homes are decorated, and most people attend gatherings of friends and loved ones to celebrate the season.

   The main public celebration of Christmas in Mexico is a beautiful reenactment of events leading immediately to Christ's birth.  La Posada is a religious procession in which participants reenact the search for a room at an inn by Joseph and Mary before the birth of Christ by walking from house to house with figures or images of Joseph and Mary.  Family and friends determine who will be innkeepers and who will be pilgrims.  The pilgrims do the traveling from house to house, where the innkeepers repeatedly turn them away, until they reach the house that has set up the altar and nativity scene.  There …