Category Archives: Traditions

The Tradition of Christmas Caroling (plus wassail recipe!)

  • Celebration of the Day: Go Caroling Day
  • Christmas Song of the Day: Here We Go A Wassailing
  • Recipe of the Day: Wassail

Today is Go Caroling Day and if that very idea makes you feel shy, you’re not alone. While 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, only about 16% go caroling. The only carolers I have seen in recent years have been retained by restaurants to entertain patrons, by shopping centers to entertain shoppers and at events like Christmas Town in Busch Gardens. Of course, carols are sung in church. But the custom of going door to door and singing appears to be slipping away.

So, maybe going around and singing to strangers is not for you. Well, you can still sing today! Here are some ideas for singing without an audience…because singing is actually very good for you. It improves your immune system, it keeps your lungs healthy and it improves your mood.

  • Sing along with Christmas music in the car. Even better: go see Christmas lights in the neighborhood and sing in the car.
  • Sing Christmas tune while cooking or baking. If it feels lonely, get Alexa or Echo to sing with you ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Sing some carols in the shower.

When I was a young girl, I appeared in local theater productions, and I was in A Christmas Carol for three years in a row, playing a Cratchit family member One year, the director proposed that the cast don our Dickensian costumes and go out caroling in one of Richmond’s historic districts to promote the play. I will never forget singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “The Holly and the Ivy” and “In the Bleak Midwinter” with my cast mates at night, standing on cobblestone streets in my long dress, wearing an old-fashioned hat. It was freezing cold and it was like being the character. I loved it.

But that was the only time I got to go Christmas caroling. Sigh. I will sing in the car today.

But how did the custom of caroling come to be?ย 

Caroling is a tradition that goes back to the middle ages, when most people were peasants. In those days, they celebrated Twelve Days of Christmas between December 26 and January 6, so there was plenty of time for….er….celebrating! They sang songs to the landowners who in turn provided drinks and maybe a treat or light meal. Landowners were wished good health and harvest in the coming year. Wassail was a mulled and spiced ale or drink that could be offered to the carolers.

(Maybe caroling doesn’t sound half-bad, now, huh?)

Wassail (the kind made with apple cider) was a good drink for carolers brave because it warmed them up and relaxed the vocal chords for singing. Maybe…too much wassail…and too much singing! But hey, it was Christmas, they were having some fun.

Here is a recipe for Wassail (non-alcoholic and boozy versions)

Combine in large pot:

  • 8 cups of apple cider
  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

Add these spices:

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 12 cinnamon sticks.

I would also add some star anise, but if you don’t like the flavor, leave it out. Bring to a simmer and heat for 20 minutes. Garnish with apple and orange slices. If desired, add some brandy or cognac.

That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? That makes about 10 servings. I guess you could cut it by half or fourths for a family party. I think I will make some tonight!

Here is the perfect song for Go Caroling Day…Here We Come A-Wassailing

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand’ring
So fair to be seen.


Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door;
But we are neighbors’ children,
Whom you have seen before.

God bless the master of this house
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table go.

Good master and good mistress,
While you’re sitting by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children
Who are wandering in the mire.

There are more verses but this is the essence of it ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know if you go caroling!



The Tradition of Christmas Holly

Photo by Lum3n on

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Holly trees. I used to climb one when I was little and one now grows right outside of my apartment window.

So, it’s my pleasure today to wish you a Happy Holly Day!

Decorating with holly in December is an ancient tradition that pre-dates the celebration of Christmas.

The ancient Romans brought holly into their homes for the winter festival of Saturnalia, to honor the god, Saturn. The prickly leaves were thought to protect the inhabitants of the house.

Holly also figured in Celtic and Norse pagan rituals associated with Yuletide. Even today, it’s common to see Holly on Yule Logs, although the ones you see today are usually made of cake and frosting, instead of wood!

The traditional Christmas colors of red and green come from the ancient use of holly in these ancient December celebrations. Evergreen holly is associated with everlasting life. These pagan traditions were incorporated into Christian customs. Holly red berries symbolize vitality; for early Christians, the color red became associated with the blood of Christ.

Here is a Christmas Song about Holly…I am sure you know it. Here is the great Nat King Cole singing Deck the Halls

And here is a Holly poem for today…

The Story of the Holly Sprig
by Arthur Upson

“I’d be the shiniest green,”
Wished once a sprig of holly,
“That e’er at Yule was seen,
And deck some banquet jolly!”

“I’d be the cheeriest red,”
Wished once the holly-berry,
“That e’er at board rich spread
Helped make the feasters merry!”

The life within them heard
Down dark and silent courses,
For each wish is a word
To those fair-hidden sources.

All Summer in the wood
While they were riper growing,
The deep roots understood,
And helped without their knowing.

In a little market stall
At Yule the sprig lay waiting,
For fine folk one and all
Passed by that open grating.

The Eve of Christmas Day
It had been passed by many,
When one turned not away
And bought it for a penny.

Hers was a home of care
Which not a wreath made jolly;
The only Christmas there
Was that sweet sprig of holly.

“Oh, this is better far
Than banquet!” thought the berry;
The leaves glowed like a star
And made the cottage merry!

This poem is in the public domain.

The Observance of ๐Ÿ•Ž Hanukkah ๐Ÿ•Ž

Tonight marks the first of the eight days and nights of Hanukkah.

This year, the observance of Hanukkah runs through the evening of December 26. One of the first things people who aren’t Jewish notice about Hanukkah is that it does not seem to occur on the same date each year. But Hanukkah does fall on the same date each year on the Jewish calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle. The Gregorian calendar we are most familiar with is based on solar cycle. Easter is also based on the lunar calendar, by the way. So, that is why Hanukkah does not fall on the same date each year on our regular calendars.

Hanukkah is an annual Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights. The word Hanukkah means “dedication.” The holiday celebrates a miracle that happened in the 2nd century B.C. Greece then ruled Jerusalem and the ruler took over the Jewish temple and had it rededicated to Zeus. The Maccabees fought this and reclaimed the Temple. They wanted to re-consecrate their temple but there was only one small jar left of holy oil. They found, however, after lighting the temple Menorah, that the oil lasted long enough to burn for eight nights, until more oil could be had.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Hanukkah became a festive holiday in the U.S. partly in response to a desire to supply Jewish children with a fun celebration of their own to identify with at a time when Christmas festivities were prevalent. Customs include treats cooked with oil, lighting a menorah each night, recitations, parties, songs and games. Some also decorate and exchange gifts and cards.

Some Hanukkah traditions you may know include

  • Menorah a sacred candelabrum with symbolic meaning, including the seven days of creation plus the Sabbath, the Tree of Light, areas of knowledge and the eight days of Hanukkah.
  • Blue and white came to be associated with Hanukkah in the US in the 20th century as the demand for greeting cards and party supplies grew. The colors refer to the flag of Israel, which became a state in 1948. In lights and decorations, the blue and white colors help distinguish Hanukkah items from the traditional red and green colors of Christmas.
  • Latkes potato pancakes fried in oil and often served with apple sauce and sour cream.
  • Sufganiot donuts filled with jelly, fried in hot oil and covered with sugar.

    Photo by cottonbro on

  • Dreidl and Gelt. A dreidl is a game piece, similar to dice, wth four sides. The Hebrew letters correspond to a statement along the lines of “a miracle happened there,” referring to the miracle of Hanukkah. Each player puts an item in the pot (e.g., pennies, raisins or “gelt’ – chocolate money). The players take turns spinning the dreidl and the side it lands on determines whether Itย  player wins the whole pot, part of it, none of it or has to share from his stash.

    Photo by cottonbro on

You know how I feel about Christmas movies, so you also know I am going to talk about Hanukkah movies! A delightful movie exploring Hanukkah customs is Mistletoeย and Menorahs. You can rent it on YouTube. Here’s the trailer. And the dreamy star, Jake Epstein, also appears in the 2021 Hanukkah movie The Eight Gifts of Hanukkah,ย available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video, if you are interested. Happy Hanukkah!

The Tradition of Christmas Cards

Do you send Christmas cards to your friends and loved ones?

The tradition of sending Christmas cards in America goes back to about 1875, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. That is when the first cards were published. Today, Americans mail about 1.5 billion Christmas cards, not counting the cards they deliver in person.

The first President to send an official Christmas card from the White House was President Dwight Eisenhower. If you send a card to the President, you might get one in return!

How and When to Send Your Christmas Cards

The post office is recommending that you physically bring your Christmas cards to the post office to be mailed this year, either to the retail desk or the wall drop-in slot inside the post office. Apparently, there has been a rash of thefts from the few remaining blue mailboxes on streets. Setting your cards outside of your home mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up is probably also not a good idea — I had a greeting card stolen that way.

For your friends and loved ones in the U.S., send cards between the beginning of December and December 9 (Christmas card day). For special recipients, and recipients abroad, send them soon after Thanksgiving.

Who Should Get a Card?

I think it’s really important to remember anyone in your family who may be socially isolated, first and foremost. This includes elderly people at home, people in nursing homes or hospitals, and people with disabilities. These groups tend to have reduced opportunities for socializing and a card is a thoughtful way to show you care.

In addition, you might want to send cards to close family members, friends, neighbors, your minister, your doctor, neighbors, employees, helpers, etc.

Cards teach children the value of appreciation. If you have children who are in preschool or school, it is appropriate to send cards in for the teacher, but do not forget the bus driver, aides and specials teachers. Have your child sign — or even make — the card.

Guidelines for Sending Cards to Special People

  • Unless otherwise instructed, put your full return address on the envelope.
  • Do not insert anything in your card, such as confetti or a photo.
  • No glitter! Most all organizations ask that the card you send does not have glitter on it, or is not otherwise 3-D. Embossing is okay.
  • Select a nice, conventional-sized, flat card.
  • If you include a message, be sure it is a positive one. Refrain from political statements. A Christmas card is not a vehicle for complaints!

US Troops. Please see my previous post on how to send Christmas cards to US Troops.

The Pope. Use two stamps for a card that weighs 1 oz or less and address it this way, with the lines just so:

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

The President of the United States. To send a Christmas Card to President Biden and First Lady Biden, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, Office of the President, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500. If you are lucky, you might receive a Christmas card in return!

The Vice President of the United States. To send a Christmas Card to Vice-President Harris, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, Office of the Vice President, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500.

The Governor of Virginia. To send a Christmas card to the Governor of Virginia, address your card to Governor Glenn Youngkin, P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218.

Happy Mistletoe Day!

Happy first day of December! Today is Christmas Lights Day. It is also Mistletoe Day. Most of you know about the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. But do you know the origin of this custom?

What is Mistletoe?

Mistletoe is a parasite plant with green leaves that lives off a host tree for sustenance, such as oak, maple or fruit trees. Birds and insects eat the white berries and nest in its foliage; forest animals also eat it.

The Lore of Mistletoe

The legend of Mistletoe comes from a Norse story about the goddess Frigga. According to the story, she ordered all animals and plants not to harm her son. However, she forgot to tell mistletoe. Loki, another god, made an arrow out of mistletoe and tricked another to kill her son. Frigga wept and her tears turned into mistletoe berries. She then said that no one would ever be harmed by mistletoe again, and that anyone standing under it would receive a kiss.

Ancient pagans, such as Celtic Druids, considered trees to be sacred, and they also considered mistletoe to be sacred because it appeared to grow in the air instead of the ground. People wore mistletoe for a lucky charm or hung it in their home to protect them from evil spirits.

During Solstice feasts, Saxons hung mistletoe over the hearth as a pledge that no one would be killed in the home and that the host would defend anyone in his home.

A Poem for Mistletoe Day

Here is a poem by Walter de la Mare entitled Mistletoe

Sitting under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),

One last candle burning low,

All the sleepy dancers gone,

Just one candle burning on,

Shadows lurking everywhere:

Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go

Nodding under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),

No footsteps came, no voice, but only,

Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,

Stooped in the still and shadowy air

Lips unseen-and kissed me there.

Today, you’ll still see mistletoe hung in a doorway or from a kissing ball in a few homes. If you’d like to revive this custom in your own home, here are some things to know.


People have kissed under the mistletoe at least since the 1800s. The custom goes that a man would kiss the nearest woman under the mistletoe on the cheek (not the lips) and remove a berry from the plant. In these days, of course, the gender isn’t what matters, so much as the demonstration of affection, and of course, you can always politely decline the peck on the cheek. When all the berries are gone, the plant has lost its power. It’s a household custom, you would not hang mistletoe anywhere else but from a door frame in your own home. It’s not really meant to be worn or hung on a Christmas tree (unless it is an ornament designed to look like mistletoe, of course).

Real mistletoe is toxic

The berries should not be eaten by children or pets. You can remove the berries for safety.

Where to Buy Mistletoe

  • Mistletoe (freeze-dried) is available from Amazon for about $9 but it doesn’t have berries. The berries pop out seeds and they are toxic, maybe that’s why.
  • You can find real mistletoe on Etsy.
  • You can buy real (freeze-dried) mistletoe at most independent garden centers.
  • Mistletoe doesn’t really have a fragrance, but Bath and Body Works sells a handsoap, Holiday Mistletoe, and a candle, Merry Mistletoe, scented with balsam, peppermint and cranberry.

The Tradition of Christmas in July

Did you know that it is exactly 5 months until Christmas? Some people celebrate “Christmas in July.”

I am not sure exactly how this custom started but there is a 1940s movie called “Christmas in July.” It’s not a festive movie at all; the main character wins (or thinks he wins) a big contest and goes on a spending spree.

But I have seen references to “Christmas in July” observances and movies around this time of year. If it has been wayyyy too hot for you lately, maybe you’d like to observe “Christmas in July!”

I’m not suggesting you whip up some egg nog and put up a tree and decorate it but it would be easy enough to…

  • Listen to some Christmas music.
  • Shop at a year-round Christmas store.
  • Watch your favorite Christmas movie.
  • Discuss how you would like to celebrate the season this year.
  • Read a Christmas story.
  • Organize your Christmas recipes.
  • Go through your Christmas decorations, books, videos and records and donate anything you don’t want anymore.
  • Make an ornament…maybe out of sand dollars or seashells? There are bags of both at Dollar Tree, ready for crafting…

How would you celebrate Christmas in July?

The Tradition of Epiphany Celebrations

Today, January 6, is Epiphany. It is the last day of the Christmas season and is also known as Three Kings Day and Twelth Night, depending on the country and custom. To celebrate this day in a meaningful way, in this post, I will share information about the three kings, an excerpt from the Bible about their visit to the Christ child, some customs associated with Epiphany, a short story about one of these customs and a carol. Enjoy!

Origin of Epiphany

Like many Christian holidays, Epiphany has ancient origins. In pre-Christian times, Egyptians drew water from the Nile for holy water, as it was considered to be purest on January 6. This festival became associated with the baptism of Christ when Egyptians converted to Christianity. Four hundred years after Christ died, the date of December 25 was fixed as the date of his birth and Christmas began to be celebrated as an important Christian observance, heavily influenced by existing stories and customs, and the date of January 6 soon became marked as the finale of the Christmas festival.

The Gospel According to Matthew

The Biblical account of the journey and visit of the three wise men is as follows:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

And when he had gathered the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ shouldย  be born.

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet.

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed, and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

And when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.

The Three Kings

Three Magi, or wise men, were said to visit Jesus. In the early Christian times, they were deonoted as Kings although they were not known to have dominions. Magi were Persian priests, scientists and astrologers who had observed the stars on the night of Jesus’ birth. Legend has it that they brought three gifts to the Christ child.

  • Balthazar, from Ethiopia, brought frankincense. Frankincenes is an incense that was used in relgious rites. The symbolism is that the child was acknowledged as a future priest.
  • Melchior, from Arabia or India, brougt gold. Gold was a tribute to a young king.
  • Caspar, possibly Greek, brought myrrh. Myrrh was an incense and ointment. It was a symbol of a healer.

Although I do not know if it is still done today, in some countries, it was the custom in the past for boys or men to dress up as the Three Kings and process or deliver gifts. We are accustomed to our children receiving gifts on Christmas Day but in those countries, Kings brought the gifts, just as they did to the Christ Child, on January 6. In Italy, La Befana, an old woman, delivers the gifts that day.

We Three Kings

One of my favorite carols is We Three Kings. I like how the melody sounds like the slow plodding of camels and kings on their way to Bethlehem. Listen to the carol as sung by the great jazz singer and Virginian Ella Fitzgerald.

Three Young Kings

The beautiful and moving short story, Three Young Kings, written by George Sumner Albee in 1956, describes the procession of the Three Kings in a Cuban town. You can listen to it here or read the text here.

The King Cake

In France, they still celebrate Epiphany with a King Cake. A delicious pastry is topped with a golden crown. Whomever finds the baby inside is king for a day. This tradition has continued in New Orleans, although now King Cakes are more associated with Mardi Gras.

You can order and buy delicious, French-style King Cakes or King Cake slices at the franchise restaurant, La Madeleine, typically through January 6, while supplies last.

Farewell until November!

For many years, my Christmas has extended past New Year’s until January 6, when I wistfully take down my tree and put away my Christmas decorations. Epiphany also marks the last day of the season I post on Cool Yule. Please visit often and come back for new content about the winter holidays in November 2022. May God bless you and keep you all year. — Mary

The Tradition of New Year Celebrations

Happy New Year!

You know, I love New Year’s Eve. To me, it is one of the most glamorous and sparkling of holidays. But I think sometimes we forget about New Year’s Day! It gets a little eclipsed by New Year’s Eve. But New Year’s Day is special in its own right.

Here are some New Year’s traditions to help you celebrate New Year’s Day to the fullest. Many of the traditions of New Year’s Day are associated with good luck and good health.

Creating New Year’s Resolutions

I take my resolutions very seriously! I devote hours to reflection and planning for the new year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But if you have not written your resolutions yet, New Year’s Day is the perfect time to begin. Good to have on hand is a 2022 planner or calendar and a notebook or computer.

First Day Hike

I don’t know if this is a country-wide tradition but in Virginia, all the state parks are open for the First Day Hike. It’s simple. You simply take a good, long hike outdoors on New Year’s Day.

Why Do We Eat Blackeyed Peas and Collard Greens on New Year’s Day?

The Southern custom of blackeyed peas goes back to the Civil war era. Blackeyed peas were one of the few foods avaialble at the end of the war in the South and people felt lucky to have them. After the war, it became a tradition to eat these on the first of January every year to bring good luck and prosperity to the household.

Some people say the peas represent coins, the greens represent bills (money) and cornbread represents gold.

These foods are healthy and delicious, so starting off the year eating them is not a bad idea.

One way to make black eyed peas more palatable is to make Hopping John. Hopping John is a South Carolina dish made of black eyed peas, ham hock, stewed tomatoes and of course, rice. It can’t be Carolinian without rice!

Vegetarian Hopping John

You can buy canned Hopping John or seasoned black eyed peas. But it is not hard to make. i used to make a vegetarian version with canned black eyed peas, rinsed, and canned tomatoes with juice. To this mixture, I added sauteed garlic, chopped green bell pepper and chopped yellow onion, salt and pepper and bay leaf. You could also add green onions and chopped celery to the saute mixture. This is most delicious if you make it a day a head and reheat. Serve with or without rice, as you like. But greens are a must! ๐Ÿ™‚

Why Do We Eat Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day?

The Pennsylvania Dutch (and other Pennsylvanians) eat pork and sauerkraut for good luck. The pig roots for food moving forward. For this reason, it is considered lucky. Long shreds of sauerkraut are said to represent a long life — and some people also equate cabbage with money.


The Tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas

Photo by Jessica Lewis on

December 26th can be a huge anti-climax. A grouchy let-down because Christmas is over. Darn!

Or…is it? ๐Ÿ™‚

No, Christmas isn’t over! It’s still here. There are 12 Days of Christmas and the first day of Christmas is today! Happy First Day of Christmas!

My son and I have celebrated the traditional 12 Days of Christmas — the first day of Christmas is December 26 and the 12th day is January 6, Epiphany. I’ve got some good reasons why you might want to consider adding this holiday tradition.

  • It eases you out of the holidays and into the new year in a more gentle and gradual way. I find this really helps me and my son seemed to enjoy it. And it is the antidote for post-Christmas let-down.
  • It has no focus on presents (except the post-Christmas card shopping for bargains and using gift cards). So, the pressure is off and you can enjoy other aspects of the season. Strip away the commercialism, and what do you have — only the best and most beautiful parts of Christmas, the good will, the coziness, the beauty of the lights and decorations, the spirtiual aspects, and the time with family and friends. You might like Christmas BETTER after December 25!
  • If you have children at home, you typically have at least a week of winter break AFTER Christmas Day. So, it gives you a chance to have Christmas-y fun during that week before they go back to school — like going ice skating, drinking cocoa with a peppermint stick in it and going out to see light displays. And also doing good works – like helping out at home, volunteering or donating.
  • Some of the Christmas attractions are still open (and still festive!) but will be significantly less crowded, including the National Tree, Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights, Bull Run Festival of Lights, Tinsel!, Christmas Town Busch Gardens and Winterfest at Kings Dominion.
  • It allows you time and space to celebrate some of the more spiritual aspects of the season after Santa returns to the North Pole. You might read some passages from the Bible or reflect on the impact of Jesus’ birth or celebrate neo-pagan Yule traditions.
  • It gives you extra mileage out of your Christmas “stuff” — fuzzy socks, pyjamas, holiday teas, candy canes,ย  books and decorations, movies, and music, since you have almost two more weeks of the Christmas season after Christmas Day.
  • You can legitimately still send presents and cards, in case you are really running late this year!
  • New Year’s Eve at your house looks more festive when the tree and decorations are still up.
  • It makes the un-decorating task easier. I leave my decorations up until January 6, Epiphany. But I do phase them out gradually. Pretty much everything stays up until New Year’s, except the stockings of course. And I leave some lights up deep into January to comaat the winter blahs. But the tree doesn’t come down until January 6.
  • It gives you another holiday to look forward to in the bleakest part of winter. My son and I look forward to Epiphany. I will have a special blog post on that day sharing stories and traditions.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Sunday, December 26 – The First Day of Christmas and Thank You Note Day; Candy Cane Day

Monday, December 27 – The Second Day of Christmas and Fruitcake Day; Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day

Tuesday, December 28 – The Third Day of Christmas and Call a Friend Day; Card Playing Day

Wednesday, December 29 – The Fourth Day of Christmas and Still Need to Do Day

Thursday, December 30 – The Fifth Day of Christmas and Resolution Planning Day

Friday, December 31 – The Sixth Day of Christmas and New Year’s Eve and Champagne Day; World Peace Meditation Day

Saturday, January 1 – The Seventh Day of Christmas and New Year’s Day; First Hike Day (Virginia)

Sunday, January 2 – The Eighth Day of Christmas; Motivation and Inspiration Day

Monday, January 3 – The Ninth Day of Christmas and Fruitcake Toss Day

Tuesday, January 4 – The Tenth Day of Christmas and National Spaghetti Day

Wednesday, January 5 – The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Thursday, January 6 – The Twelth Day of Christmas and Epiphany. National Take Down the Christmas Tree Day.

Friday, January 7 – Orthodox Christmas Day

and also coming up…(visit my self-care blog now and through 2022)

Saturday, January 8 – National Vision Board Day

Wednesday, January 12 – Stick to Your Resolutions Day

The Tradition of Yule and Solstice Celebrations

Long before Christmas was a celebration, there were celebrations associated with Yule, December 21st, the longest day of the year. Those traditions continue today. Here are some ideas for making today special.

  • Dedicate yourself to your self-care and healthy activities. Today would be a great day for yoga, workouts and meditation. Check off at least one activity on the self-care planner!
  • Take Vitamin D which most of us need in the winter months.
  • Here is a Yule Log to color, courtesy of Wired Magazine!
  • Make a gratitude list for the abundance in your life your health, home and family.
  • Consider making a contribution of some kind as an offering of thanks. You could put some money in the Salvation Army Kettle Very appropriate for moving into the new year – ridding yourself of things you no longer need by making a donation to Good Will. So needed right now – blood donations or donations of canned food.
  • On the longest night of the year, the sun is a focus. Take a walk in the sun today. After today, there were will be more sunlight each day. Revel in the blessing of the sunglight!
  • Air out the house, give it a good cleaning and let fresh air and good luck come into the home.
  • Bring some fresh greenery into the house — pine and cedar swags, holly bunches and mistletoe. Hang a wreath of fresh greenery on your front door to welcome in prosperity and luck.
  • Light some candles on the darkest night of the year. Visualize positive energy set alight in yourself, your home and the new year.
  • Make a warm cup of Christmas tea or mulled cider — with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and orange rind.
  • Snuggle up by a real or video fireplace for the “yule log” experience.
  • Have a special dinner or lunch with Yule log (Buche de Noel) for dessert. You can puchase Yule log cakes (sometimes available by the slice) at Whole Foods and La Madeleine, or dress up a store-bought Red Velvet or Pumpkin roll as a Yule log with frosting or powdered sugar “snow.”