Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all F-word readers! Like many of you, I will be spending some much-needed time with family and friends in the coming days. I hope everyone has a joyous and happy holiday filled with family, good friends and yuletide cheer. In keeping with tradition, here’s a round-up of all things festive.
Christmas in America hasn’t always been the benevolent, family-centered holiday we celebrate today. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Company so feared Christmas’ pagan origins that they banned it altogether. Learn more about the fascinating social history of Christmas in Stephen Nissenbaum’s “The Battle for Christmas” — review and synopsis here.
The History Channel also offers a great history lesson on Christmas in America, as well as the origins of Santa, his famous reindeer, Christmas toys, the Christmas tree, yuletide traditions worldwide and much more.
The New York Times is renowned for its fabulous recipes and it now offers a searchable archive of its Christmas favorites, too. Reduce kitchen chaos with 101 simple appetizers in 20 minutes or less and the 60-minute gourmet or try your hand at Louisiana gingerbread or cane syrup popcorn balls.
Humming a Christmas tune but forget the words? Learn them all over again with these helpful song lyrics.
Speaking of Christmas songs… Canadian folk-rock singer Bruce Cockburn is not only my absolute favorite singer/songwriter for his songs of social justice and inspiration, he’s also my favorite Christmas song performer. Listen to samples of his Christmas CD on Amazon.
Hoping to meet a certain someone under the mistletoe? Find out how this romantic tradition got its start.
Clement Clarke Moore gained historical fame with his poem “The Night Before Christmas,” but did you know that the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea got its name from the New York country estate and grounds Moore owned there? Learn more about the man behind the poem and reread the classic taleor the 1914 version of it.
Many of us are familiar with the song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but the tune is far more than a repetitious Christmas melody with some truly odd gifts. Find out what it all means and why here.
After you’ve caught up on your Christmas history, quiz yourself with these online Christmas trivia challenges.
My family has always celebrated Christmas, but other religions and cultures have their own seasonal celebrations. Learn more about Chanuka (Hannukah) and Kwanzaa.
Christmas is all about giving, but it’s nice to get, too. Post your Christmas lists or share what Santa brought you in this thread on the-F-word messageboard.
And finally, holiday eating can spark fear into even the most merry of hearts when you struggle with an eating disorder or are a recovering dieter. I’ve compiled a list of tips that have helped me along with tips from other organizations on how to manage the minefield that is the holiday feast.
Most of my family recognizes Christmas as a religious holiday, but even so we were always more into Santa and his reindeer than we were Jesus and the Magi. Being Buddhist, I now celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, but these religious differences haven’t affected our family yuletide traditions. Read the rest of this entry »