Thursday, December 22, 2005

St. Lucia's Day - December 13th

We are going to do a little something on St. Lucia's Day this year. My husband is 25% Swedish and our last name is Seaborg, so it is fitting that St. Lucia's Day is celebrated in our home. The thing is, he is so American that he doesn't know anything about Sweden or Swedish customs, so basically I'm just using that as an excuse to celebrate St. Lucia's Day. Why not add another fun day to keep the holiday season rolling along?

I don't know enough yet about St. Lucia's Day to explain the holiday to you. But I do know that there is a custom of the eldest daughter serving her parents breakfast in bed on the morning of St. Lucia's Day. I am all over that! I hope 8 years old is old enough!

I'll let other sites tell you more about St. Lucia's Day:

Here is a little history on St. Lucia's Day

This is a photograph of a little girl in a white dress with a red sash. She has battery-operated candles on her head and is carrying a serving tray for her parents.

How to celebrate St. Lucia's Day.

by Lori Seaborg

Merry Christmas

We are having computer problems at home (I'm using my parent's computer tonight). I wanted to let you know I"m still around, thinking about you, and will get back to blogging as soon as I can!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Lori Seaborg

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

In the Spirit of Giving...

In the spirit of giving this Christmas, consider going to and finding a group in your area.

Freecycle groups are people in your area who want to give away and receive free items from each other. Our family has given away clothing, toys and shoes mostly. And we have received a basketball goal and a pile of rough-cut lumber.

I can tell you from experience that when you are generous, the blessings come right back at you. They don't usually come from the person to whom you gave (this is an important point to remember when helping out relatives - don't expect them to help you out later, or you may be disappointed).

One lady who is coming by today for girls' clothing, said she knew our street well because back when she first moved here, Farmer Bishop gave her some furniture. Later, she gave Brandy - the mom up the street with the blond 2-year-old - her extra dryer. Now, she is picking up items from me to take to her grandchildren who lost their home in Biloxi, Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. See? The blessings continue.

by Lori Seaborg

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's St. Nicholas Day!

It's St. Nicholas Day!

We are going to have a pizza party (any excuse for a pizza party is a good thing in our house!), bake cookies from Sweden (from a recipe at the St. Nicholas Center, and have a Christmas tea while reading "Santa, Are You For Real?" by Harold Myra.

Because we were out last night, the kids are going to fill their shoes tonight with hay for St. Nicholas' white horse (or on a sleigh). I guess we were supposed to do this last night, but hopefully St. Nicholas will still come! (I can assure you, he will!). In return, the children will have a candy cane and a little gift in their shoes in the morning.

What is your family doing to celebrate Santa Claus (a.k.a. St. Nicholas) today?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

St. Nicholas Day ~ December 6th

Several years ago, when Tim and I were new parents, Tim and I needed to decide what Christmas traditions we wanted to pass on to our children. We definitely wanted our child and future children to celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday, because that’s why there is even a Christmas Day, after all. But could we also fit the magical fun of Santa Claus into Christmas without taking anything away from Jesus?

For a while, we just opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and had our feast and a cake for Jesus on Christmas Day. That’s it. No Santa Claus. But as our children grew older, they started asking about the jolly red fellow they saw in the mall, and they kept seeing his image on nearly every sign in sight. There’s something cozy about believing in a magical reward for doing good. I could tell that the kids wanted to believe in Santa Claus.

It was a happy day when I read about St. Nicholas and realized that I could have both – a special, set-aside day for Jesus, and a celebration of Santa Claus, too. And I was also happy – no, delighted – to read that St. Nicholas’ day is December 6th. This gave me a way to extend the holiday season.

Who is St. Nicholas, Santa Claus?

Nicholas was Bishop of Asia Minor in AD 325. He was known for being an all-around great guy, very generous and kind to all. The story goes that Nicholas once threw bags of gold into a window one night, to help pay the dowry of a poor man’s daughter so she could be married. When he threw the bags of gold, they landed into the daughter’s stockings which were hung to dry near the fireplace.

(This is where we get hung stockings near the fireplace)

The Santa Claus that we Americans have grown up knowing – the one who comes down the chimney, wears a red robe, and says, “Ho, ho, ho,” originated in 1822 when Reverend Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem to his daughters. This Santa Claus is a fictional character, but one that many Americans love.

You’ll have to decide which Santa you want to celebrate – the American version of 1822 or the real St. Nicholas of 325. I think you can figure out ways to mix the two, if you like, and celebrate them both on St. Nicholas Day on December 6th each year.

You can read a lot more about the history of St. Nicholas at the website that I’ll mention at the end of this article.

How can we celebrate St. Nicholas Day, December 6th?

This is only our third year celebrating St. Nicholas Day, so I don’t have a lot of traditions established. You will want to visit the website mentioned below for more on how to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. Here is what we have planned for December 6th this year:

On the night of December 5th, the children place carrots and/or hay in their shoes. Legend has it that if a child leaves a treat for St. Nicholas’ white horse, he will leave a gift of candy and a present for the child. I don’t tell my kids that the real St. Nicholas will be coming down from Heaven to do this, but I tell them that since St. Nicholas was such a kind person, he has inspired others to do kind deeds like he did. The kids then get all twinkly-eyed trying to guess who would do a “St. Nicholas deed.”
We like to bake, so this year we will try the St. Nicholas Breads at the St. Nicholas Center website (below), and maybe some cookies from Germany or Switzerland.
Since St. Nicholas was known for giving to the poor and needy, we are going to go through our belongings in the next few days, and have them ready to give away on St. Nicholas Day.
After our trip into town to give away items, we will have an afternoon tea (with our baked items front and center, of course!)

You can read a lot more about St. Nicholas Day at this website devoted to the day: . The site is full of recipes from around the world, traditions from other countries, a kids page and much more. I love to visit this site!

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, December 02, 2005

Christmas All Season Long

”Can you not see it is clear folly to crowd Christmas into twelve very
full hours of one day and expect everyone to enjoy themselves?
Christmastide is, after all, not just a day but a season.
Let us make the most of it. By spreading out the gifts, parties,
and special treats over an extended period, parents quiet down
the choruses of ‘I can’t wait,’ as our little ones discover that
they can indeed learn to wait –
as long as they don’t have to wait very long.” ~

Mrs. Sharp's Traditions

A few Christmases ago, I decided that Christmas was becoming more of a burden than a good time. The day after Christmas, I was faced with a huge mess – wrapping paper scrunched up across the floor; a new toy already broken; greedy, grouchy and over-sugared children; leftovers to deal with; the tree’s needles scattered across the carpet; decorations to pack up; and a few store returns, the thought of which created a migraine. Yes, Christmas had become a burden.

Memory-making is terribly important to me. I determined to figure this holiday thing out before the kids had a childhood-full of grumpy Christmas memories.

I absolutely believe in what Mrs. Sharp is saying in the above quote. Can’t we see that it is crazy (she says folly) to celebrate all in one day? What great expectations we are putting on one little day! We think we are supposed to enjoy family, invite friends, sing carols, open perfectly chosen and perfectly wrapped gifts, enjoy a dinner as large as Thanksgiving, give at least a thought if not a basket of fruit to someone else, and have a tray of goodies to equal all the sweets eaten all year long, plus much more – all in one day.

Are we absolutely crazy??

Well, I was.

So with the reminder in my heart of the true meaning of Christmas, and with the help of Mrs. Sharp in the book above, I decided to change.

Over this next week, I will write you a series of articles about holiday traditions that we have observed in our home. Instead of celebrating Christmas all in one day, we celebrate a holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving Day through February’s Mardi Gras celebrations. I will focus, in my articles, on December’s traditions.

I will share my ideas with you, but honestly, I’m as eager as you are for new ideas. So please feel free to share your family’s traditions in the comments.

Let’s extend the Christmas spirit throughout the month of December, starting today, December 1st !

Coming Articles (blog posts):

St. Nicholas Day
St. Lucia’s Day
Christmas Eve
Boxing Day
New Years
Twelfth Night