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Merry Christmas!

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

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Book Reviews

Lost Boys – Orson Scott Card Book Review

From bestselling storyteller Orson Scott Card comes a gripping story of terror within a small town. Step Fletcher, his pregnant wife DeAnne, and their three children move to Steuben, North Carolina with high hopes. But Step’s new job with a software company turns out to be a snake pit, and eight-year-old Stevies school is worse. As Stevie retreats into himself, focusing more and more on a mysterious computer game and a growing troop of imaginary friends, the Fletchers’ concern turns to terror. Young boys whose names match a list of Stevie’s nonexistent friends have mysteriously vanished from Steuben. And as evil strikes out from the most trusted corners, it’s suddenly clear: Stevie’s next on the list.

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Growing Up Poetry

A Visit from St. Nicholas

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
Categories
Growing Up

Christmas Quiz!

Here’s a Christmas Quiz with 20 questions for you to try!

1. What’s the name of the period leading up to Christmas?
2. How many Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus?
3. How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?
4. What was the name of John the Baptist’s Mother?
5. Who brings presents to children in Holland on the 5th/6th December?
6. How many letters are in the angelic alphabet?
7. In what town was Jesus born?
8. How many presents were given in total in the 12 Days of Christmas?
9. In what decade was the first Christmas card sent in the UK?
10. What country did the family escape to?
11. How many of Rudolph’s eight companions names start with ‘D’?
12. What country did Christmas Trees originate from?
13. Who was the ‘King of the Jews’ who ordered the babies to be killed?
14. What’s the second line of “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?
15. What was Joseph’s job?
16. Who started the custom of Wassailing?
17. Who were first people to visit the baby Jesus?
18. What’s lucky to find in your Christmas pudding?
19. What Angel visited Mary?
20. Where did the baby Jesus sleep?

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Organize Your Holiday and Bring Joy to Your World

The holiday season can be a stressful and chaotic time. Between attending holiday parties, shopping, meal planning, baking, gift wrapping, and entertaining, there never seems to be enough time. But if you organize, schedule and plan properly, you might find you even have a little extra time to relax and recharge.

The should first sit down with your family at a meeting and find out what activities and parties they are involved in during the season. If there are rehearsals for the church pageant, choir practice, or volunteer work activities, make sure you incorporate them all into your family schedule. Be sure to factor in time off that you’ve taken during the holiday season so that if they need an extra set of hands to help out at the church’s bake sale, you’ll know at a glance whether or not you can help out.

Categories
Growing Up

Merry Christmas from Carra Lucia Books

Santa's Helpers

Season’s Greetings from Carra Lucia Books

…and because we don’t want the learning to stop, here’s how to say it in several languages:

Afrikaans – een plesierige kerfees
Arabic – I’D MIILAD SAID OUA SANA SAIDA
Argentine – Felices Pasquas Y felices ano Nuevo
Armenian – Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri – Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Basque – Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bohemian – Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian – Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton – Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian – Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Chinese – (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Catonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Cornish – Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Cree – Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian – Sretan Bozic
Czech – Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish – Glædelig Jul
Dutch – Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
English – Merry Christmas
Esperanto – Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian – Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Farsi – Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish – Hyvaa joulua
French – Joyeux Noel
Frisian – Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
German – Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek – Kala Christouyenna!
Hawaiian – Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew – Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi – Shub Naya Baras
Hungarian – Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic – Gledileg Jol
Indonesian – Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi – Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish – Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Italian – Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese – Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Korean – Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Latvian – Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!
Lithuanian – Linksmu Kaledu
Manx – Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori – Meri Kirihimete
Marathi – Shub Naya Varsh
Navajo – Merry Keshmish
Norwegian – God Jul
Pennsylvania German – En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Polish – Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Portuguese – Boas Festas
Rapa-Nui – Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rumanian – Sarbatori vesele
Russian – Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Serbian – Hristos se rodi
Slovakian – Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Sami – Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan – La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic – Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serb-Croatian – Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Singhalese – Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak – Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene – Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
Spanish – Feliz Navidad
Swedish – God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog – Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tamil – Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Thai – Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish – Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian – Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu – Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese – Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh – Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian – Cestitamo Bozic
Papua New Guinea – Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu

Categories
Growing Up

Christmas Eve Games for Children

You don’t often think to play games on Christmas Eve, but playing a game or two can be a lot of fun.
christmas-games-for-kidsOne fun game is ideally suited for anxious children, but could also be for adults, if you want to add some fun for gift giving. For children, this is a way to make that “open one gift on Christmas Eve” rule a little more exciting and make it last a little longer.
You create a hunt with clues, so the children have to follow the clues to find their gift. Instead of the gift being under the tree, for example, you might put it somewhere else, but the children will follow clues to find it. For this game, you can use anything to write your clues on. You could use Christmas cards in their envelopes that you had extras of, you might cut out Christmas tree shapes for this, or you might want to use ornaments.
Whichever method you choose, write a clue on each of your items and leave those around the house. You start by handing each child the first clue. It might say, “you sleep here every night” and the children will run to their beds. On their pillow you have placed another clue that might say, “mom’s eggs taste better with this” and the children head to the spice cabinet, where they find another clue on the salt. The final clue (and depending on the ages of your children and their tolerance, you might have only 5 clues for this game, or many more) will be the gift itself. To make it extra fun, have the gift be under the tree. Your children won’t see that coming!
If you have a large gathering on Christmas Eve, try a circle game. Have everyone get in a circle and the first person will start with, “in my Christmas stocking there is an apple” and the next person will add, “in my Christmas stocking there is an apple and a boot”. Each person will continue on, remembering the previous items and the adding one of their own, and all in alphabetical order. If you miss an item, you’re out of the game and the winner is the person who successfully remembers all the stocking items over and over again each time they have to recite the items and add to the list.
Looking for a little physical activity on Christmas Eve? How about a rousing game of musical chairs using Christmas music? This one can be particularly fun if you use upbeat and well-known Christmas music. Use songs everyone knows and require they sing along and dance while they run around the chairs. This adds a fun element because you are likely to have at least one person who gets so caught up in the music and dancing they don’t realize the music has stopped. This game is played like any traditional game of musical chairs with the loser being the one who doesn’t get a chair when the music stops.
Since the big event on Christmas Eve is Santa’s arrival, play a game of “where’s Santa”? In this game, everyone sits in a circle and one person is chosen to be Rudolph. That person leaves the room for a minute. A Santa is chosen among those left in the room. Rudolph returns and begins hunting for Santa. Rudolph should stand in the center of the circle and try to figure out which person is Santa. Santa, meanwhile, winks at other people in the circle. If someone gets winked at, they yell, “ho ho ho”.
Once Rudolph figures out where Santa is, another Rudolph and another Santa are chosen and the game continues.
By Christmas Eve, your Christmas cards have been on display for a few weeks, so maybe it’s time to play a game with them. Have someone set up a laundry basket, or a gift box a few feet away (the distance depends on the age of your players and ability). Have them try to toss the cards into the box or basket. This sounds easy, but different cards of different weights and styles will react differently and can be harder than expected to get into the box or basket.

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Uncategorized

Adult Christmas Games

Not all Christmas games have to be for children, or have to be serious. Good gracious, adults like to let their hair down and have a good, silly time too.
Here are several games to get you started.
antlersIf this is a group that’s not afraid of looking silly, here’s just the game. Provide a pair of pantyhose for each team and a total of 8 balloons. When the game begins, the team should begin blowing up the balloons and the inflated balloons have to be put into the legs of the pantyhose. To make this game fair, the teams should be of equal number and the pantyhose not a petite size.
The game ends when someone gets all their balloons into the legs of the pantyhose, “wears” the antlers and sings the first verse of “Jingle Bells”. Be sure to make everyone finish the game, however, so you can get a great picture of everyone in his or her pantyhose antlers.
For a fun relay-type game, how about making a Santa beard? Make a big bowl of cotton balls and get a container of Vaseline. Put some Vaseline on the chins of each member of each team (ideally, 2 teams of about 5 people each). The first players in line run to the bowl of cotton balls and sticks their chin in trying to get as many to stick to the Vaseline as possible. They run to the back of their line, so the next player can have a turn.
When everyone on a team has a beard, that team wins. As with the other game, be sure to take lots of pictures of everyone wearing their Santa beards. Also have plenty of towels and water to get the Vaseline off.
santas-bagThis next game is great for a smaller group of people who are open to a more quiet game. This is about packing Santa’s bag. You start by saying, “I packed Santa’s bag and in it I put pajamas.” The next person continues with, “I packed Santa’s bag and in it I put pajamas, and toilet paper.” Each person continues, each time adding a new item, but also listing the items that were added before. You are out of the game when you miss an item. Someone could be sitting outside the game keeping a list of all the items so if the game goes on for a bit, you will know if someone misses an item.
If you’re having a Christmas party for adults, why not offer up a fun game that’s sure to remind them of a childhood favorite? Create a Christmas scavenger hunt. You will tell people to create teams (about 4 people per team is adequate, but you might want to have larger or smaller teams depending on the size of your party). Make a list of items they need to return with.
If you choose to keep the searching local, either at your home or in the neighborhood, include items like a miniature light string, a piece of holly, a leave off a poinsettia plant, and the like. If you choose to have guests traipse all over town for items, you can have even more fun. You might require them to purchase a holly-decorated box of tissue, or have them provide photo proof that they went down your city’s Christmas Tree Lane. Whatever it is, be creative and enjoy the process. People love this game, not only because it reminds them of childhood, but it helps people get to know other party guests they might know that well and it’s a game that gets people working together, which can always be fun.
Everyone enjoys Hershey’s kisses at Christmas. Divide your group into two teams and have two bowls of Hershey’s kisses at the other end of the room. Give each team one set of oversized mittens or gloves. The first person in line runs to the bowl of kisses, and has to unwrap the kiss while wearing the oversized mittens/gloves and pop the kiss into their mouth. They run back, tag the next person in line, and exchange the mittens/gloves and the next person runs forward to get a chocolate kiss. The winning team is the one in which all members have enjoyed a kiss first.

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Places

Christmas In Aspen & Aspen Nightlife

Country Retreat - 1600x1200 - IDAspen, Colorado is a great place to spend your Christmas vacation. You can spend your days on the slopes, and your nights taking advantage of all of the planned Christmas activities, as well as the usual Aspen nightlife. No matter what your interests are, there is always something to do in Aspen.
During the Christmas season, “It’s A Wonderful Life” is presented at the Wheeler Opera House. Santa’s Village can be found in Snowmass Village and you will hear carolers there as well. White Elephant Parties  are common Christmas activities, and you can
even enjoy the Aspen Film festival.
The Holiday Torchlight Parade in Snowmass  village is a sight to behold. Make sure that you  don’t miss this! You can even participate in this parade! There are many Christmas arts and crafts programs offered around Aspen that your children will love to participate in as well. Make plans to attend the Winter Wonderland Christmas Party at the Aspen Recreation Center also.
For the ultimate Christmas adventure, make sure that you get in on the sledding and hot chocolate festivities and go for a sleigh ride as well. Christmas in Aspen is a very magical time of the year, and you should plan to spend at least one Christmas vacation here. Plan to stay at Snowmass.25731

Categories
Growing Up

Christmas Tree Activities

Season's BlessingsDecorating the Christmas tree is an event that most members of any family look forward to. It not only is a time to reflect and remember where the various ornaments came from or who made them, it is also an exciting time that really brings Christmas right into the home.
There are a variety of activities you can incorporate into bring the Christmas tree into your home. Some families enjoy singing “Oh Christmas Tree” as the tree is brought into the home. Make a fun activity of this whereby everyone has to come up with an original verse to the song (since few know the actual words). This can keep everyone entertained while someone else works to get the tree standing up straight.
Once the tree is in a stand and ready to be decorated, make a game out of the ornaments. Put all the homemade ornaments aside and work with those first. Start with the first family member and ask them who made the ornament, where did it come from? Once the details are out of the way, ask the crafter (likely a child) if they remember making the ornament. If you’re the parent, tell the child what you thought when you first saw the ornament. This is fun, since it reminds children that the things they make and bring home are meaningful to the parents.
There is always one ornament that is just ugly, or plain silly. Play “hot potato” with that ornament. Whoever gets stuck with the ugly ornament has to say one nice thing about it, such as “well, there’s a lot of glitter on it and that’s pretty”, or “Dougie made it, so I like it”. It’s a silly way to remind children to find good in everything. It might even remind them that things are just things. This is a good lesson for this time of year.
Some people use an advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas, and this is how it’s traditionally done, but there is one fun activity sure to be a hit with children. Similar to the concept in Germany (where the advent calendar originated) this involves providing one small gift for children every day until Christmas. In Germany, it’s only done for several days before Christmas, but you can do it for the 24 days of the month until Christmas arrives.
Buy tiny handled gift bags at the craft store. Buy 1 for each of your children. Have the children decorate the bags, and on each of the 24 bags, have them place a number as well, 1 through 24. As you decorate the tree, find space for each of these little bags. Because they have handles, they can hang right on the tree like an ornament, or you can tie ribbon on the handles so they have a more graceful swing. Each night, fill the right bag with a tiny prize or gift. So if it’s the night of December 14, you’ll take bag #15 (all the bags with earlier numbers will be gone) and put some little trinket in it. It might be a piece of candy, a tiny ornament for your child’s own tree, a tiny car or small eraser. The idea here is that it’s a small gift, but come morning, that’s the first activity your children will engage in – discovering what little treat you left for them the night before.