The 12 Days of Christmas: What They Really Stand For

Since yesterday was Christmas you can safely assume you will not be hearing much more Christmas music for a while now. A lot of us are probably ready for that since it seems like every year I hear these songs earlier and earlier in November. I read today about the history behind the 12 days of Christmas. The post explains that the song that we all hear around Christmas every year has a very different meaning than most of us probably think. The Twelve Days of Christmas do not start on December 12th or 13th. In fact they start on Christmas day and go into January. Each of the days has a meaning too.

I thought this was pretty wild considering I always thought the song was just a weird Christmas tune I heard a few times a year. In reality, this song can be tied into Catholic beliefs. The partridge mentioned on the first day of Christmas represents the birth of Christ. Jesus gave his life to save us, just like a mother partridge is known to do for her young. Every day continues to build on more beliefs that you probably wouldn’t expect! I thought that was pretty cool to find out and wanted to share it with all of you.

The Best Christmas Books: What Is Your Favorite?

I was visiting the New York Times website recently, something that I try not to do too much. Anyway I found an article I actually thought was interesting and worth reading. It was titled, “What’s Your Favorite Holiday Christmas Book?”, and talked about many great Christmas that have stood the test of time. There were some that I knew on the list like “The Polar Express” and “Santa Mouse”. There were some that I had never heard of like “Merry Christmas Maisy” and “Gingerbread Baby”. Also the author of this article spoke about “Letters From Father Christmas”, which is by J.R.R. Tolkien and sounds very personal. I’m interested to read that book!

Christmas stories are one of my favorite parts of the tradition and holiday. From the religious stories about the birth of Christ to “The Night Before Christmas” and everything in between, I really do love them all. “Andrew’s Christmas” is a very good Christmas book for kids, and we were also fortunate enough to interview Brendan Barth the author on our site! Anyways, just wanted to spread the holiday spirit by talking about Christmas books.

What’s your favorite Christmas book?

Keeping Christ in Christmas: How You Can Help

I have posted a pretty good amount recently about keeping Christmas based on the birth of Jesus. Keeping the Christ in Christmas is an important thing to focus on obviously. I have had some conversations with my fellow blogger Janet, who writes the more parenting centered posts here. Her and I agree that when you have young children it is even harder to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ. This is because they probably go to school and have friends whose parents don’t keep that as the focus. The idea of Santa Claus and presents is much more enticing to a six year old than Jesus and the story of his birth. If you can get your children to focus on Jesus for even a little bit during the Advent and Christmas season, then you are doing a good job.

I read a story yesterday that I thought was really cool, and totally in line with the keeping Christ in Christmas line of thought. A mom bought a tree topper ornament that was Santa and turned it into Saint Nicholas instead. This decoration makeover was simple and easy, you should read about it! It was a thoughtful and really cool idea that I felt was worth sharing.

The History of Advent: Raising Awareness for the Season

We have been in the Advent season for quite some time now. Christmas is almost upon us, however in all the excitement to buy Christmas presents I think people forget to appreciate Advent. It is a time where we await the birth of Christ. I think learning a little bit about the history of Advent would help people to appreciate it more.

I found a post called the 10 things you should know about Advent. It has a lot of information that most people have probably never known about the season. Advent traces its roots back to 380 AD. Saint Gregory the Great gave one of the oldest known Advent sermons. Pope Saint Gregory VII shaped Advent into the four week season that we know now. There is really so much more you can learn from this post as well, so if Advent interests you then check it out!

Don’t Over-Schedule Your Family This Holiday Season

The holidays are a really stressful time, especially when you factor young kids into the picture. You are probably expected to visit all sorts of family, or have them visit your house. The kids will likely get overly rambunctious out of the excitement of Christmas, and because of all the sugar they will consume through Christmas treats. Sounds like the makings for a parental meltdown at any moment. Don’t let holiday stress get the best of you though, stay cool my friend.

A post called, “8 Parenting Tips for Happier Holidays with Young Children” features some great advice. First off, having realistic expectations for your family is the right way to go. If you think the day is going to be perfect and your kids will behave like perfect little robots, you are doomed to be disappointed. Chances are something minor will go wrong and one of them might get upset. Be ready to deal with this and don’t get angry. If you lose your cool it will only negatively affect your children. My favorite bit of advice was to not over-schedule. You know what your family is capable of doing in one day, so know your limits.

Teach Your Child Responsibility When It Comes to Electronics

Chances are your child probably asked for some sort of electronic gift this Christmas. Between the new iPhone 5, mini iPad, or all the gaming consoles around today your kid is bound to desire one of them. Technology is now an integral part of our society, and most parents wouldn’t hesitate to give the newest technology to their children. I am not saying that they should, but I am saying that there should be distinct and clear limitations on how often they use the technology.

A post I read on She Knows Parenting titled, “Gardget-Gifting Gone Bad” talks about the dangers of giving your child the electronic devices they so strongly desire. While these gifts are all, admittedly, really cool children can become obsessed with these things. This can cut into things like their grades and development of a social life (friends). So just make sure to set a limit of these sort of things if you’re getting your kid the newest technology this Christmas. Set an example and show them how responsibly use technology. If your face is constantly buried in your iPhone, chances are theirs will be too.

Why Do Kids Always Want a Puppy for Christmas?

If you have kids there is a very good chance you have seen one thing on their Christmas wish lists for years. A puppy! Unless you have a family pet of course. It just seems like kids can’t resist getting their hopes up and asking for a puppy every single year for Christmas. I can’t personally blame them because I did the same thing back when I was a kid. Come on, who can resist a puppy! Realistically though it can be difficult for parents to deal with this question every year, and find a way to explain that a puppy is just not a feasible idea for their family.

A post called, “He Wants a Puppy” talks about just this problem that parents are presented with. Sometimes it is the wrong time to get a pet, and a puppy is a lot of responsibility. Explaining it that way to young children might be tough, but having a puppy when their just isn’t somebody to take care of it is the wrong decision.

How Christmas Has Been Turned Into the Generic “Winter Holiday”

So for the sake of consumerism Christmas has been turned in the generic “winter holiday”. Hooray…wait what are we celebrating for again? It seems like there is a lack of reasoning behind Christmas if it isn’t about the birth of Christ anymore. Are we celebrating winter? That’s a depressing thought. Are we celebrating our families? Nope, that’s Thanksgiving. It’s gotta be the Winter Solstice right? Buying presents because of the shortest day of the year sounds like a stretch.

I read a post on Young, Evangelical, and Catholic today called, “Why losing the War on Christmas is great for the Church (but bad for business)”. It opened my eyes to how generic and stripped down Christmas has become lately. In my eyes the only inspiring way to view Christmas is as the celebration of Christ’s birth, but hey that’s just me.

Making the Holidays a Little Less Hectic

The holiday season has become very overblown, and I think talking about how the holiday season has become overblown has also become overblown. Does that make sense? I’m not going to lecture everybody about how nobody realizes the true meaning of Christmas, or how greed has taken over the American population. These are things that we all know and understand. I want to focus more on how to simplify all the hoopla that surrounds this time of year. I’m not the Grinch or anything either so don’t jump to that conclusion. I simply just want a more focused holiday season.

I recently read a post about 3 Ways to Simplify the Holiday Season on Mom Life Today. The post had some really great ideas about how you can make the holidays a little less hectic this year. I promise that none of the involve cancelling Christmas either!

Are there some excessive parts of the holidays you wish you could trim out?

Advent: Emotions The Season Triggers Internally for Me

Advent should be a time when you feel reawakened. It is a sign that Christmas is coming and that means Christ’s birth. It is also a sign that another calendar year is ending. Have you accomplished what you thought you would? What are your goals for next year? These are the kind of thoughts that run through my mind at this time of year. It seems as though the spirit and happiness of Advent acts as an internal trigger for me as well. It makes me think of what I could do to be a better version of myself next year.

A recent post by The Catholic Writers Guild inspired my thoughts in this post. Their post titled Advent: The Call to Awaken as Catholics and Writers sent the same sort of message out. Advent is a truly special time of year that you should take some time to appreciate.

What does Advent make you feel?