Happy Epiphany Day!

Today, we celebrate the last day of the Christmas Season, Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, as is known in some cultures. This is also the 12th day of Christmas. Epiphany celebrates the day Jesus was visited by the three kings (or three wiseman) who had observed a star that foretold he was king of the Jews. The story is not told in Luke but in Matthew…

They set out; and there ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

The word “epiphany” comes from a Greek word whcih means something that is manifested. In France and now in the United States, some celebrate this day with a golden-crowned King Cake in which is concealed a trinket or small baby Jesus. The tradition is that whomever finds the trinket is given the crown and is “king” for the day. The French galette de rois is a flaky, delicious pastry and can be purchased at French bakeries, including La Madeleine.

And so ends another Christmas. It was a difficult year but there is always hope. I hope next Christmas we will no longer be in a pandemic and can resume the in-person joys of the Christmas season.

Epiphany marks the final post of the year on The Cool Yule Blog. It is has been my pleasure to celebrate the winter holidays with you. I wish you excellent health and happiness in 2021. Please join me for articles on goal-setting and self-care on my Best Life blog. I begin writing about fall and Halloween celebrations in September at Autumn in Virginia. I hope to see you back here in November for new articles and events posted on the Cool Yule Blog. Take care and thank you for reading.

 

Craft Class Video: Northern Lights Painting

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Here is a Michael’s crafts video class that will walk you through, step by step, how to create a winter scene painting. If you try this, let me know how it goes in the comments!

If you don’t have these materials, you can order them online from Michael’s. The supplies you need are

  • Arches 8×10 Cold Pressed Block or Watercolor Pad OR Winsor & Newton 7×10 Professional
  • Watercolor Block
  • Masking Tape
  • Derwent Inktense Blocks (72 or 36 set)
  • Derwent Inktense Paint Pan Travel Set
  • Derwent Waterbrush 3 Tip Set OR Variety of watercolor brushes include thin pointed tip, medium round, and flat
  • Liquitex® Professional Acrylic Gouache Paint, 2oz. OR any acrylic white paint
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Cup of water and towel

Top Ten Resolutions for 2021

Have you written your resolutions yet? If you haven’t, maybe you’d like to know what the most popular resolutions in the U.S. are. Is popular the word I want? This is what people most resolve to do!

Fill your 2021 calendar with these self-care dates

Happy New Year! Are we having fun yet?

If you read my post on January self-care, then you know that today is the day for filling up your new 2021 calendar with events and special days. Planning happy times to look forward to is a wonderful form of self-care!

Make sure you don’t miss thse self-care days in 2021…

Jan. 8
National
Bubble Bath
Day
Jan. 9
Vision Board Day
Jan. 24
Compliment Day
Feb. 28
Intl. Hygge Day
Mar. 6
National Day of Unplugging
Mar. 15
National
Napping Day
Mar. 19 World Sleep DayMar. 20
Intl. Day of Happiness
Mar. 26
Self-Confidence Day
 Apr. 7
National
Walking Day
Apr. 9
ASMR Day
Apr. 21
World Creativity Day
Apr. 25
Crystal Day and National Mani Pedi Day
May 1
World Laughter Day and
National Fitness Day and Therapeutic Massage Day
May 21
Meditation Day and
UN Intl. Tea Day
Jun. 21
Intl. Day of
Yoga
Jul. 24 Intl. Self-Care DayAug. 1
National Planner Day
Aug 2
Coloring Book Day
 Aug. 15
National Relaxation Day
Sep. 6 National Read a Book DaySep. 12 Mindfulness DaySep. 13
Positive Thinking Day
Sep. 14
Coloring Day
Sep. 19
Intl. Declutter Day
Sep. 21 World Gratitude DayOct. 10
World Mental Health Day
Nov. 3
Stress Awareness Day
Nov. 13
World Kindness
Day
Nov. 27
Aura Awareness
Day
Dec. 4
Candle Day

Fun dates for your 2021 calendar

Photo by Marta Branco on Pexels.com

Happy New Year! Are you ready to delve into your new calendar, datebook or planner? Here are some fun dates to look forward to while we remain safer at home, for the present. There are always days to celebrate, even if you are at home alone. Check in tomorrow for a list of the year’s self-care days! And the day after that for foodie days!

January

Jan. 2 National Introverts Day (hello!)

Jan 2 – 3 Quadranids Meteor Shower is tonight!

Jan. 4 Trivia Day. Here is a trivia question: what is the January birthstone?

Jan. 6 Epiphany. Eat a King Cake!

Jan. 23 Poirier and McGregor face off in a UFC match. I hope McGregor loses, that son of a bitch. Oh, sorry. Quarter in the cuss jar.

Jan 28 Lego Day! I have never played with legos so I don’t have anything funny to say about it. But I have stepped on them. Soooo painful.

Jan 31 Grammy Awards. Trevor Noah is hosting, how cool is that?

February

Feb. 2 Groundhog Day. You’re going to watch the movie, aren’t you? Again!

Feb. 7 Superbowl 50! The Weekend is performing for the half-time show!

Feb. 12 Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Ox. A good year to be strong!

Feb. 13 Celebrate pre-Valentine’s Day with your girlfriends on Galentine’s Day!

Feb. 15 It’s New York Fashion week. What wild ensembles will we see?

Feb. 16 Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Feb 25 Pokemon Day and the 25th Anniversary!

Feb 28 Golden Globes are on tonight. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting.

March

There’s going to be a Friends reunion! Could I BE any more excited about it?

Mar. 6 National Day of Unplugging! Can you go a WHOLE day without electronics? I’m not sure I can but I’m going to try.

Mar. 12 The 1 year anniversary of the Covid-19 Pandemic (as declared by WHO). The good news: if you are reading this, you are alive and not on a ventilator. Count those blessings and stay safe!

Mar. 14 Pi Day! What does it mean? I don’t know, I’m a blogger, not a mathematician.

Mar. 16 Yay, it’s my birthday! Happy Birthday to meeeeeeee! Last year, we went on lockdown so the bar is pretty low, I mean, almost anything this year will top last year’s birthday.

Mar 20 The Cherry Blossom Festival begins. I hope we can go see the cherry blossoms this year.

Mar 22. World Figure Skating Championships start!

April

Apr. 1 Major League Baseball opening day! No fooling! Go Nats!

Apr. 9 Unicorn Day! Are unicorns still in?

Apr 18. Country Music Awards are today!

Apr. 21 Queen Elizabeth II’s 95th Birthday! And look for the Lyrids Meteor Showers!

Apr. 23 The Apple Blossom Festival kicks off in Winchester, God willing.

Apr. 25 The Academy Awards are on! Why not have an Oscars party at home? Taye Diggs is hosting.

May

May 1 Today is the Kentucky Derby! Wear a big hat and drink a julep. Oh and horses run really fast.

May 2 It’s International Harry Potter Day, wizards, muggles and witches!

May 4 It’s Stars Wars Day so may the Fourth be with you! And uh oh, more meteor showers tonight!

May 5 Aye, caramba, it’s Cinco de Mayo!

May 7 Marvel’s Black Widow premieres!

May 8 Yay, it’s National Train Day! Also Miniature Golf Day!

Mid May I’m sorry to tell you this but we are going to be invaded by swarms of cicadas (Brood X) so bad, you’ll think it’s 2020 or something.

May 15 It’s the Preakness! Bet on your favorite horse!

May 16 Today is National Classic Movie Day! Have you seen Bringing Up Baby? (hint: there is no baby in the movie)

May 21 Talk Like Yoda Day it is.

May 25 Today is Geek Pride Day! Let your Geek Flag fly!

May 26 Ooh there is a lunar eclipse today and it’s a full moon, a super moon and a blood moon. Dang. Hang up some garlic.

May 29 Oh, joy, it’s a Mercury Retrograde!

June

June 1 Atlantic Hurricane season begins. Is it me, or are these hurricanes coming earlier and earlier?

June 3 Happy Birthday, First Lady Jill Biden!

June 30 Today is National Beach Day! Hopefully, there will not be a hurricane!

July

July 2 Today is World UFO Day! Maybe the aliens will save us.

July 3 Today is Drop a (painted) Rock Day. Maybe paint an alien on it!

July 10 Today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. No matter how old you are, pack up and head out.

July 17 Today is World Emoji Day. What did we do before emojis? Oh, I remember. We drew little smiley faces.

July 23 The Summer Olympics start in Tokyo today!

July 28 Even more meteor showers! Delta Aquarids

August

Aug. 5 Oooh it is Blogger Day! That means you are supposed to send me flowers and gifts 🙂

Aug 8 Even better, today is National Tiki Day! Let’s have a luau!

Aug. 11 Well, yes, even more meteor showers! Thse are the Perseids and if you lie on your back late at night, you will see them. Ants will also crawl in your shirt and bite you, but you can’t have everything.

Aug. 14 It is National Bowling Day! I am astoundingly good at bowling which is weird, considering how much I bump into walls and doors.

Aug. 16 It is National Roller Coaster Day. You can cut in front of me. ALL of you can cut in front of me.

Aug. 21 It is Hawaiian Shirt Day! Aloha!

September

Sept. 8 It is Star Trek Day. Live well and prosper.

Sept. 9 It is National Teddy Bear Day. That means you take your teddy bear to work and on the Metro and everything.

Sept. 19 Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrr!

Sept. 20 The lovely Harvest Moon shines tonight.

October

Oct. 1 Guess what? Walt Disney World is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary today!

Oct. 2 Today is Name Your Car Day. My car is almost 15 years old. Her name is “Atta, Girl.” Every time she starts up, I pat her on the dashboard and murmur, “Atta, Girl” affectionately.

Oct. 4 Today is the Day the Church Blesses the Animals.

Oct. 20 Happy Birthday, VP Kamala Harris! Oh, it also International Sloth Day.

Oct. 30 Tonight is Her-o-ween, a holiday I made up. It’s like Galentine’s Day, only for Halloween.

November

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions are this month! I think it’s going to the B52s!

Nov. 5 Marvel’s “The Eternals” premieres. Are they like the Avengers? I don’t know.

Nov. 10 Today is Sesame Street Day! I grew up on Sesame Street which explains so many things.

Nov. 20 Happy Birthday, President Biden!

December

Dec. 4 There is a total solar eclipse today!

Dec. 18 Today is Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day! What’s your favorite color?

Dec. 23 Today is Festivus, a time for feats of strength and airing of grievances.

Dec. 24 Happy Birthday, Dr. Fauci, and God bless you

And it’s almost 2022!

January Self-Care Challenge

Are you ready for your January Self-Care Challenge? I have created 31 challenges for you to complete. Don’t worry, they are easy! January self care challenge (download and print)

(1) Eat black-eyed peas and greens. It’s good luck and they are good for you!

(2) Watch the Quadranids meteor shower. If you can’t see them, just take a moment to look at the night sky.

(3) Fill a planner with events. There are so many things to look forward to in 2021. Mark the events and days you don’t want to miss in your calendar, along with birthdays and anniversaries. It will give you a lift because it will give you something to look forward to. We all need that.

(4) Today is National Spaghetti Day! Spaghetti would be the perfect warm meal for a cold day. Spaghetti sauce is good for you — unless it has lots of sugar in it. Pick a sauce that doesn’t have sugar, like Simply Ragu (or make your  own). I think the kind without sugar tastes exactly like the regular kind! Important: researchers are finding that the antioxidant lycopene, a nutrient found in tomato sauce, appears to be useful in treating the corona virus. Lycopene also helps prevent heart disease, liver disease and some cancers.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

(5) Pick a book to read this month. Something you have been meaning to read but haven’t made the time for, maybe.

(6) Save a little money. I know it is hard to save right now. Last year, I saved pennies, dimes and nickesls in a can. (i use my quarters for laundry). It was just my spare change, so I didn’t really miss it. I cashed it in yesterday and it was $25! And I really needed it this month. Even if you only save a $1 a week, by the end of the year, just think: you would have saved $52! If you saved $10 a month, you’d have $120.

(7) Here is a winter guided meditation for today…it is only a couple of minutes long.

(8) Today is Bubble Bath Day! Enjoy!

(9) Today is Vision Board Day! You can make a Vision Board on a bulletin board, in your journal or planner, on a poster or on a smaller sheet of paper. Vision Boards help you visualize how you will feel when you achieve a goal…or what achieving that goal may look like. You can cut out phrases and pictures from magazines, Pinterest or Google to make a collage that inspires you. I also like to use the paper pads from Michael’s, as well as stickers.

 

(10) Complete a crossword puzzle. Word games are good for your brain. I like the ones in Women’s World magazine because they are fairly easy but if you are up to the New York Times one, have at it! Womens World magazine also has sweet affirmations you can cut out and post to inspire and motivate you.

(11) Today is Clean Your Desk Day! January is such a good month for organizing and de-cluttering. You’ll work more effectively with a clean desk.

(12) Today is Stick to Your Resolutions Day! Check back with this blog on January 12th for ideas on how to stick to your resolutions.

(13) Create a sacred space in your home. I think this will be a fun project I plan to do. All that is needed is to set up some corner of your home, in your bedroom, perhaps, where you can meditate or pray. Add a floor pillow or other comfortable seating, maybe a candle, plant, crystal or other item to help you focus. There are some beautiful examples on Pinterest.

(14) Take Vitamin D and avoid foods and drinks with high fructose corn syrup. Especially in winter, most of us are deficient in Vitamin D. If you are elderly, obese or a person of color, you need even more Vitamin D than others. Even if your doctor says you are not deficient, taking Vitamin D is a good idea. Researchers and doctors believe taking Vitamin D supplements may help protect you against the corona virus. However, high fructose corn syrup interferes with how the body uses Vitamin D. So avoid or reduce soda and other foods with HFCS during the pandemic.

(15) Take an herbal tea break and make a list of things you are grateful for today.

(16) Here is a Yoga workout for beginners to chase away the winter blues.

(17) Our skin gets dry in the winter. Try soaking your feet for about a half hour. You can add some vinegar to the water. Then use a pumice stone to remove dried skin from cracked heels.

(18) Cook broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts or cauliflower. These foods are low-calorie, full of nutrients and fiber-rich. But important to know for now, they also increase your immunity, according to Woman’s World, which is very important during the pandemic. And Better Homes & Gardens reports this month that eating just a tiny serving daily can lower your chances of forming calcium in your arteries (which can lead to stroke or heart attack) by 46%!

(19) Reduce your stress with this soothing jazz music video.

(20) Have you tried reading affirmations? Have you tried reading them aloud? They can make a big difference in your mental wellbeing. Try saying one while looking in the mirror at yourself.

(21) List ten things you are proud about. Have you tried this? A terrific mood booster. Worth the investment of time!

(22) De-clutter and organize your bathroom. This is a relatively small task that pays off in big benefits because we spend so much time in the bathroom. Clear out everything from under the sink or in storage cabinets and give it a good scrubbing. Toss expired medicines and any makeup older than a year old. Now, when you walk into the bathroom, you’ll find just what you need — a soothing way to start the day.

(23) Connection is so important while we remain safer at home. Since getting together with friends isn’t recommended during a pandemic, schedule time to talk or meet on Zoom to catch up.

(24) Today is National Compliment Day! Make it specific and sweet. You’ll feel great, too!

(25) Run your humidifier. During the cold months, running a humidifier will keep your nasal passages from drying out (especially good for preventing croup in babies!). This helps reduce your chance of getting a respiratory infection. It also eliminates those pesky electric shocks you get in cold weather! It will make your home feel warmer and more cozy. And it’s good for your skin. If you use distilled water, calcium deposits won’t form on the heating element of your humidifier. No humidifer? Open the bathroom doors after showers or boil pots of water to humidify the air.

(26) Here is a challenge: take a walk outside for thirty minutes (unless it is very cold). While you are out, try to touch at least ten trees. If no one is looking, really focus on connecting with at least one tree. What do you feel when you place both hands on the trunk?

(27) Make homemade soup or chili. The one good thing about the pandemic is we have all become better cooks! On a cold day, what can beat a steaming bowl of soup or chili? Here is my easy-to-make chili recipe. 

(28) Have a no-complaint day. I don’t know about you, but I complain TOO much. I’m not proud of that. Sometimes, complaining becomes contagious! Or it can be a way to connect socially, because everyone needs to vent, sometimes. Try to keep your complaining to a minimum by thinking of ways to solve your problems, instead (or live with them, if you can’t solve them). You will be amazed how you feel if you try not to complain once for an entire day!

(29) Tour a museum exhibit, online. Of course, most museums are closed now. But looking at art is so restoring for the soul. You can take a mini tour of just about any major art museum in the world on YouTube. Maybe you’d like to pick some beautifully colorful paintings to look at, since winter can be a little dreary. Matisse is good for the winter blahs! Here is a talk about one of my favorite paintings by the artist, Eduoard Manet.

(30) Hydrate with lemon water. Do you drink enough water? I don’t and I think almost no one does! But we all mean to. I definitely drink more water, however, when I take the time to put lemon slices in a pitcher. Cucumber slices is refreshing, too!

(31) Quarantine safely. There is no better self-care activity we can undertake right now than to NOT get sick during the pandemic. You know what that means: frequent handwashing, cleaning surfaces, wearing a mask and avoiding indoor public spaces….and not getting together with people outside of our household if we can help it. I know this is hard. It won’t last forever, but we have to be diligent for a few more months and now, more than ever.

Happy New Year and bright blessings to you all in 2021!

Plan now for your memorable, pandemic-safe NYE celebration

We’re resolved, right? To spend New Year’s Eve safer at home with just our own household? Agreed? Right! 

That doesn’t mean New Year’s Eve has be a downer. 2020 has been the most challenging year ever for many of us. All the more reason to celebrate and hope for better times in 2021!

Here’s what I think would help make your New Year’s Eve memorable…

Make a plan

Even a loose plan, even if is just for you. For example (customize anyway you wish)…

11 a.m.  Take a walk

12 noon Make lunch

1 p.m. Tidy house and decorate; chill drinks; make dip, black-eyed peas, etc.

3 p.m. Take a nap

4 p.m. Journal/vision board/calendar/resolutions/set intentions/pray/reflect on the old year/etc.

5 p.m. Dress up a little!

6 p.m. Dinner and vide

8 p.m. Call/contact friends and family

9 p.m. Watch NYE programming, read, stretch (dance!), play games, hobby, color, etc.

12 midnight: Watch ball fall down & go to sleep 

Start the day with a walk outside

Where I live, temperatures are going to warm up subsstantially but rain is in the forecast. Here, rain tends to start in the afternoon, not always, but usually. So if you get out before 11 a.m. and take a walk, it will go a long way to elevating your mood (forestalling any blues later) and will help with cabin fever during the evening. Also, if getting fit is one of your resolutiions, you can think of it as a head start!

Clean your home before New Year’s Day (or even New Year’s Eve)

In many cultures, it is considered bad luck to clean your home, particulary to sweep or vacuum, on New Year’s Day, as you may sweep away your good fortune. The same is true for doing laundry. It is customary to give your home a good cleaning before the day arrives.

Put up themed decorations

They can be Christmas decorations! Just more tinsel and string lights will do. If you can’t order any 2021-themed signs, you could always make one. Perfect excuse to get creative? And how about this wreath? I’m making one of these this year. One idea: those photo prop pieces (available at Dollar Tree, Party City and sometimes, Target). Snap off the sticks and use them as decorations on your wreath!

Wear something festive

If you’re home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be comfortable. But you could do something fun with your hair or wear a glittery sweater. Just look your (comfy) best because you may want to take a photo to remember the night…and also share with your Facebook friends. Or you may be Zoom-greeting friends and family. I have a sparkly sweater to wear that seems to come out on just NYE.

Make something good to eat

There are many customs associated with food in the New Year. In many countries, pigs are a symbol of good luck. A pig roots for its food, moving forward, so it is associated with moving forward in the new year. Conversely, poulty, beef and shellfish are not considered to be “forward eaters” so in Europe, it is avoided on New Year’s. In Italy, it may be eaten with lentils, in Pennyslvania, with sauerkraut. In Asian cultures, eating white food, like eggs, is considered unlucky because white is associated with death but noodles and green vegetables are considered lucky. Germans and Austrians gift each other marzipan pigs. Pomegranates are considered lucky in Mediterrainean countries. In Scotland, on Hogmanay, it was customary to make shortbread cookies and eat a dinner of haggis, parnsips and potatoes. In Spain and Portugal, people eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for 12 happy months in the coming year. And of course, in the U.S., it is considered lucky to eat black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. 

Fun for kids (and kids at heart)

If you have little ones, check with your public library about “Noon Year’s Eve” Zoom parties (free, of course) for little ones being held at noon.

You can find New Year’s Eve activities like games, crafts, resolutions and word searches on to download for free or low cost on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

New Year-themed animated specials you can rent or purchase include Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown. 

Make plans to connect with your friends and family

Speaking of friends and family, especially, if you’re on your own, like me! Think now about how you will connect with your friends and family…will you call? Send New Year’s cards? Email New Year wishes? Set up a Zoom meeting? Post on Facebook? Facetime? If you plan it and put it on your calendar, it will happen.

Start filling in your 2021 calendar

You can find great calendars at Dollar Tree for $1 (naturally) and at Target for $3. I keep my calendars each year (which has been helpful to me for several reasons). This year, I found one by Day Designer that is just what I have been searching for. It’s big enough for my large scrawling handwriting, but light enough to carry everywhere AND it has a timed weekly section so I can keep track of appointments. It’s called the Weekly Monthly Planning Calendar ($20) if you want to check it out (Target).]

I will post 2021’s dates for notable events (like Mardi Gras, the Superbowl, Academy Awards, etc.) in a future post.

Sign up for a virtual celebration

Eventbrite and Facebook are listing all kinds of online events for New Year’s Eve, including worship services, concerts, workout sessions, 5Ks, meditation sessions, Bingo, dance parties, Trivia, etc. and most of them are free!

New Year’s Eve TV and online programming

On NBC, New Year’s Eve: Escape from 2020 is on from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is a program of a look back at 2020 produced by NBC News. This will be followed on NBC by New Year’s Eve 2020 with Carson Daly. On ABC, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve starts at 8 p.m. with hosts Ryan Seacrest, Lucy Hale, Billy Porter and Ciara. 

Starting at 10:30 p.m. YouTube will host “Hello 2021: Americas” on the YouTube Originals channel:  a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration. Juanpa Zurita and Storm Reid host, with celebrity guests Matthew McConaughey, Demi Lovato, RuPaul, Emma Chamberlain and the D’Amelio Family. Musical performances from Dua Lipa, J Balvin, YG, Karol G and Kane Brown; YouTube stars Larray, Marques Brownlee, Dude Perfect, Brad Mondo, ZHC and the Dolan Twins.

Movies and TV Episodes

Here is a list of ones to watch that take place on or around New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve

While You Were Sleeping

Bridget Jones Diary

When Harry Met Sally

and

The Office, Season 7: Ultimatum

Absolutely Fabulous, Series 3: Happy New Year

Friends, Season 6: The One With the Routine

Fraiser, Season 7: RDWRER

Bubbly Toast

Of course champagne is traditional, but you could also toast with sparkling rose, if you prefer. I’m going the non-alcoholic route with sparkling apple cider. It doesn’t matter what you toast with, as long as it isn’t plain water. That is considerd unlucky!

Make some noise!

Do you have any noisemakers? Making noise in the new year is an ancient tradition that was intended to frighten away evil spirits in many cultures around the world, including Denmark, Vietnam and Japan.

Have you heard the expression, ringing in the new year? In days gone by, church bells rang. It still happens in some communities. In Washington, DC, on New Year’s Day, all the bells in the city will ring between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to welcome the new year. Here is the schedule for the National Bell Schedule. 

Stay Up Until Midnight 

I think there is something magical about being awake as the old year passes. 

 

Andy Williams Christmas Special 1966

I think you will enjoy this 54 year old Christmas special. It features Andy Williams, his family and his French singer wife. Here is a tip: fast forward through the Osmonds’ fever-dream medley involving Rockette-like soldiers and a peppermint factory. That was the low light of the show. But the rest of it was pretty good! Some classic Christmas songs and an adorable segment where he played with his children near the end of the program.

Toon Tuesday! Rocky and Bullwinkle – The Fright Before Christmas

How did I get to be this old and not know that my favorite moose (well, next to Mr. Moose, of course) had saved the world and Santa Claus? But he sure did and lucky for us, it happens to be Toon Tuesday. Enjoy!

The origin of the Yule Log

Photo by Khari Hayden on Pexels.com

As you may know, many of our favorite Christmas customs, such as decorating our homes with greenery, lighting candles and even eating ham, have ancient roots that pre-dated Christianity.

Ancient Romans and Germanic (Celtic) tribes honored their gods with tributes and feasts around the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year (coming up on December 21).

Some Germanic tribes believed the sun was a wheel and the term Yule is thought to be a derivation of the word for wheel. During this dark time of year, many of the customs revolved around light of some kind, such as candles and bonfires, and of course the Yule Log.

Yule log traditions were celebrated in what we now call Norway, England, France, Ireland, Germany and other parts of the world. There were many beliefs associated with the Yule Log over the centuries. Sometimes, the burning of the log prescribed how many days a feast would last, or a break from work. People made wishes around the Yule log. Pieces of the log were kept to protect a home from lightning strikes or to light the log for the next year. Ashes were used for medicine. Before it was burned, the log was sprinkled with flour and decorated with holly; in France, it was perfumed with wine.

The Yule Log-shaped cake is a relatively recent French invention, also known as the Buche de Noel, but Yule cakes have been made and consumed for centuries. Since the Solstice (December 21) is coming soon, maybe you would like to celebrate the day by making or purchasing a Yule log cake, especially if you don’t have a fireplace! La Madeleine sells a beautiful Buche de Noel cake you can order for $35.00.

Or maybe you and the kids would like to make your own mini Yule logs with Swiss rolls (the Great Value brand ones from Walmart are supposed to be pretty good) and frosting, as is done in this video from Hostess. This looks easy and fun! You can make holly leaves by rolling and cutting out green gumdrops.

If you don’t have a fireplace (neither do I), there are lots of fire place “Yule Log” videos you can wath on YouTube on the longest night of the year, such as this one. I watch these ALL the time 🙂 they are so relaxing! Some have music and some don’t. This one is nice because it doesn’t loop.

Or if you are feeling lonely, you can enjoy the fire with Nick Offerman…

You can also purchase one of these fun, electric vintage yule logs on eBay or Etsy.

And last but not least, here is a simple little, crafted oranment you and the kids can make 🙂

  I hope you have a lovely Solstice and joyful holiday.