December Holidays

Can you name all the major holidays that occur in December with the dates? Of course, everyone knows when Christmas happens, but what about Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Boxing Day?

Here’s an article from Worldstrides with more information on December Holidays around the World.

December Holidays to Celebrate:

Hanukkah: December 18 – 26th

Parade

December 18th is the start of Hanukkah. When Is Hanukkah 2022? Dates, History, Recipes, And Traditions

How to prep:

Pull out decorations. From House Beautiful, 9 Hanukkah Decoration Ideas for a Festive Eight Nights.

POTTERY BARN
Blue Mosaic Dinnerware Collection. Salad Plates, Set of 4, $59.95 at Williams Sonoma
Dripless Premium Tapered Hand Decorated Multi Blue Frosted Hanukkah Candles $9.99 on Amazon

Put together a festive menu:

Potato latkes for Hanukkah served with sour cream and applesauce.

Read in Good Housekeeping, 30 Traditional Hanukkah Foods to Complete Your Holiday Dinner.

St. Lucia Day December 13th and Winter Solstice on December 21

AFP/GETTY IMAGES.
In Scandinavia, Saint Lucia Day (also called Saint Lucy’s Day) on Dec. 13—the solstice by the old calendar—marks the start of the Christmas season. Gingersnaps, saffron-flavored buns, and glogg are traditionally served.

The winter solstice is the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. From Wikipedia, Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been a significant time of year in many cultures and has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun; the gradual waning of daylight hours is reversed and begins to grow again.

The science of the Solstice: The Earth is tilted away from the sun during the winter solstice. Seasons are caused by the fact that the Earth is tilted on its axis by 23.5°. The Earth is closer to the sun during winter. From TWC, The Seasons, the Equinox, and the Solstices

From the History Channel, 8 Winter Solstice Celebrations Around the World

From Reader’s Digest: 13 Fascinating Winter Solstice Traditions Around the World

Winter Solstice Traditions and Celebration Ideas from Rhythms of Play. This article includes two solstice folktales, the two most notable are the legend of “Saint Nicolas” and the winter solstice “Deer Mother.”

Yule: Yule was first celebrated as far back as the fifth century (so, over 1,500 years back) by Germanic pagans, as a midwinter festival to stave off the dark and cold and prepare for the long winter still to come. Cosmopolitan

What Is Yule? | Christmas Traditions. “Today, a Yule log is still a Christmas tradition in some cultures; a large log is traditionally burned in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. For others cultures, the Yule log is defined as a log-shape chocolate cake enjoyed as a Christmas dessert.

Photo Credit: S Marina/Shutterstock. Buche de Noel recipe

Dongzhi Festival December 21st

CALVIN CHAN WAI MENG/GETTY IMAGES

This thousands-of-years-old festival on Dec. 21, 22 or 23 is celebrated with family gatherings and a big meal, including rice balls called tang yuan. Thought to mark the end of the harvest season, the holiday also has roots in the Chinese concept of yin and yang: After the solstice, the abundance of darkness in winter will begin to be balanced with the light of the sun. Reader’s Digest

Festivus December 23rd

From Wikipedia, “Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season.” 

How Festivus became popluar: Seinfeld Season 9, Episode 10, “The Strike.” “Mother Jones reported in 2013 that Festivus was a real holiday invented by the father of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe’s when he was about eight years old complete with the airing of grievances and the feats of strength — the pole was added for the show.” ‘A Festivus for the rest of us’: Everything you need to know about the ‘Seinfeld’ holiday from USA Today.

How to prepare and celebrate:

Watch the episode on Netflix: The Strike

Festivus decor:

$11.99 on Amazon

Have a festivus meal with airing of grievances. “At the Festivus dinner you gather your family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year” Frank Costanza explains.  

Dress for the occasion:

Women’s Seinfeld Festivus For The Rest Of Us Pole Ugly Christmas Sweater $42.99
$21.99 on Amazon

Christmas on December 25th

Decorating:

Your home is already decked out and ready for the big holiday; if not, you have time and a large selection of shops to buy more decor.

I visited Christmas Tree Shop last week, and they have a great selection of Christmas items.

Setting the table:

From My Domaine, It Doesn’t Feel Like the Holidays Until This Item Comes Out. “There are certain signals of the holiday season: red foiled ornaments hanging from store ceilings, peppermint and gingerbread coffees returning to Starbucks, and decorations coming up from the basement and decking your halls once again. All of these get me in the holiday spirit—sooner and sooner each year—but the feeling that the Christmas holiday is beginning doesn’t truly come through until we set our table with classic, ornate dinnerware that only makes an appearance once a year.

Spode Christmas Tree Earthenware Dinnerware – Set of 12. $91.07 at Wayfair
Lenox Holiday Bone China Dinnerware – Set of 12. $173.99 at Wayfair
Nostalgic Santa Stoneware Dinner Plates – Set of 4. $48 Pottery Barn

Boxing Day December 26th

Boxing Day takes place on December 26. Only celebrated in a few countries, the holiday originated in the United Kingdom during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were opened and their content distributed, a tradition that still happens in some areas.” Worldstrides

From Vox, Boxing Day, explained.However, one common denominator is that many countries have taken a holiday that’s said to have its roots in charitable giving and transformed it into a smorgasbord of commercial excess. Indeed, Boxing Day is now a major shopping event in many countries that observe the holiday; it’s kind of like Black Friday, except after Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. The BBC has compiled a menu of vaguely disquieting recipes for Boxing Day brunch, including Christmas cake souffléscheesy sprout fondue, and “ham and watercress salad with clementine dressing” — plus several dishes involving mincemeat, which, in case you aren’t familiar, is made of chopped fruit and spices and is used to repair buildings in war-torn countries.

Friends, extended family, and neighbors would drop by to visit, quaff a cup of cheer, and enjoy a bit of nosh – and no one was ever turned away. Foodal

Kwanzaa will begin on Monday, December 26

AILISA/SHUTTERSTOCK

From Brittanica, “Kwanzaa, annual holiday affirming African family and social values that is celebrated primarily in the United States from December 26 to January 1. Both the name and the celebration were devised in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies at California State University in Long Beach and an important figure in Afrocentrism.”

Each of the days of the celebration is dedicated to one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani). There also are seven symbols of the holiday: fruits, vegetables, and nuts; a straw mat; a candleholder; ears of corn (maize); gifts; a communal cup signifying unity; and seven candles in the African colours of red, green, and black, symbolizing the seven principles. On each day the family comes together to light one of the candles in the kinara, or candleholder, and to discuss the principle for the day. On December 31, families join in a community feast called the karamu.

From Reader’s Digest, 10 Things You Might Not Know About Kwanzaa

Decorate:

From Good Housekeeping, 20 Kwanzaa Decorations to Spruce Up Your Home This Holiday Season. “Our list includes decor from Black-owned businesses as well as popular retailers such as Amazon and Etsy. Embrace candles (we found a chic hand-carved kinara!) and African prints with colorfully-designed shades for floor and table lamps.

$13.99 at Amazon
Kwanzaa Learning Blanket, $40 on Etsy

Ōmisoka on December 31st

Ōmisoka, New Year’s Eve, is considered the second-most important day in Japanese tradition as it is the final day of the old year and the eve of New Year’s Day, the most important day of the year. Families gather on Ōmisoka for one last time in the old year to have a bowl of toshikoshi-soba or toshikoshi-udon, a tradition based on eating the long noodles to cross over from one year to the next.Worldstrides

Toshikoshi soba. “Ōmisoka” (New Year’s Eve) Nippon

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