I am tickled to host some very impressive guest writers today: Austin Molina, with help from Anthony Molina and Shaw Molina. They shared with me how families and children celebrate Christmas in The Philippines. Some say that The Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration in the world- beginning with singing Christmas carols in September, and ending after Epiphany in January! I was so excited to learn more from the Molina boys- not only are they intelligent writers, they are also the sweetest little family!!!
Austin, Shaw, and Anthony and little cousin Teia
Christmas in the Philippines is called Pasko. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year is “Maligayang Pasko” and “Manigong Bagong Taon!” Continue reading
When we were first married, my husband and I lived and worked in London for a bit. I taught English at a local college, and had the pleasure of becoming friends with many of my wonderful students. One lovely woman, Janka, and I have been able to keep in touch through facebook. I am so excited to have her share with us the traditions around Christmas in Slovakia, plus her extra-special recipe for the most delicious, spiced honey cookies you’ll ever try! D’akujem vám- thank you!!
I will talk mainly about the differences between Slovakia and Western Europe, and possibly to the USA.
So the first difference is that our Christmas (Vianoce) is very much driven by Christian and mainly by Catholic tradition. For us the first Christmas holiday day is Christmas Eve – in Slovakia it is called Generous Day. This has a reason, we get the presents already on this day )
Thank you to my friend Janka Kožíková from Bratislava, Slovakia for sharing this soft, honey & spice cookie recipe with us!
Christmas in Slovakia is a beautiful time of year- and no family would celebrate without making these delicious, soft honey and spice cookies. Continue reading
Family traditions are all of the special things that families do together on a regular basis- whether it’s daily (always eating dinner together), weekly (Friday night movies and popcorn), monthly (taking our kids on “date nights,” or “super-noches” as we call them), or yearly (driving around to look at Christmas lights). In our hectic lives, routine customs create special memories of your family having a great time together, that your kids will remember and probably pass on to their family.
When we took the many hours of parenting classes required to adopt our two sons, they emphasized the importance of family traditions as a way to strengthen family bonds, teach our new children our family values, and give our kids a sense of identity and security within our family: “The Smith Family always makes pancakes on Sunday mornings” or “The Lin Family plays football together every Thanksgiving” or “The Morales Family always makes a birthday sign for the birthday child.” Repeating and emphasizing that your family does it together, helps families to bond with their child, as they are included in the “we.” In reality, not only adoptive families will benefit from creating special family traditions- all families will enjoy family rituals and become stronger as they incorporate them into their lives. Continue reading
My good friend Laura Rossi of Como, Italy, mother of 2 beautiful children, shared with me some of the many Italian Christmas traditions taking place during the month of December.
Used under Creative Commons, image by S. Deepak from Kalpana.it
Christmas traditions in Italy are based heavily on the religion of Christianity, and on the Italian holiday calendar. Christmas in Italy isn’t only the special day of December 25: throughout December and January there are a number of religious holidays to mark the festive season.
DECEMBER 6: La Festa di San Nicola. This festival in honor of St. Continue reading
Today in Spain, children woke up to gifts (books, DVD’s, games, stuffed animals, etc) left for them by “Los Tres Reyes Magos:” Gaspar, Melchor and Balthazar (aka the three wise men or the three kings). Christians (including Catholics in Spain) believe that 3 foreign dignitaries came to visit Jesus after his birth 2000+ years ago from faraway lands, bearing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Different countries believe the kings came from different regions of the earth, however in Spain it is believed that King Melchor is a European, King Balthazar is from Africa, and King Gaspar is from Asia. The day before Epiphany (Epiphany is January 6th), children in Spain leave out their shoes and hope that the Reyes Magos visit them at night and leave them presents. Continue reading
I’d like to introduce you to my longtime friend and mother of 3, Susan English. Today she’s sharing with us one of her family’s traditions: making pierogi at Christmastime. Susan has credit for all of the photos here.
Our traditional Polish Christmas Wigilia planning has begun. With only 10 days until Christmas, four generations came together to make our family’s favorite item on the Christmas Eve menu: pierogi. What started as a clean kitchen ended up as a floured mess. Great Grandma was busy cooking onions and sauerkraut while Grandma made the potato dough. My four- year old had the important job of rolling the dough, playing with the dough, then rolling it flat again. Once the dough was rolled, he used the top of a large cup to cut out a circle from the dough. The sauerkraut mixture was spooned into the center of the circle, closed up and sealed at the ends with a fork. Continue reading
The Hague is in Holland, which is only a part of the Netherlands. The country is bordered by Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea, in northwestern Europe. The primary language is Dutch.
I asked my lovely friend Sally Roden, to tell me a little bit about the Christmas season in the Netherlands. Sally is from The Hague in Holland, and is the mom to 3 beautiful and active boys. She wrote this piece about St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated around the country of the Netherlands on December 5th. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors, and the city of Amsterdam, and visits children on December 5th at night to leave them gifts. I’ll let Sally tell the rest…
St. Nicholas is called Sinterklaas.
Ask a Dutch child what he is thinking about right now and he’ll say: ” I hope he’ll come tonight.” Who is he, you wonder? He is Saint Nicholas or one of his Zwarte Piet helpers. Every year mid November, he and his helpers arrive by boat from Spain. Sinterklaas, as kids call him, travels around the country on his white horse, Amigo. He and his helpers jump from roof to roof and listen at the chimneys to make sure Dutch children are behaving well. In return they can hope for a little present left in their shoe when they wake up in the morning. Continue reading
English Christmas Pudding (aka “Plum Pudding”), a typical dessert for the holidays made of dried fruit. Photo Credit: Musical Linguist
Christmas is a holiday honored around the world, and each country has their own unique way of celebrating it. It’s fun to learn the different customs, and teach your kids what other kids are doing this time of year. Did you know that the customs of singing Christmas carols, hanging stockings by the chimney, and even holiday greens such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe all originated in England? I asked my dear friend Rachel Harrop, from Manchester, England to share with me her favorite parts of Christmas in England. Continue reading
Germany is the birthplace of many Christmas traditions celebrated around the world: the Advent calendar, carols such as “O Christmas Tree” and even the Christmas tree. I asked my friend Julia Seiberts, of Munich, to share with us how they spend Christmas in Germany. Julia is a devoted wife, mom to 2 handsome boys, and an animal lover. She graciously wrote this article about Christmas in Germany, and shared her recipe for “googly eye cookies,” a cookie typically made at Christmastime. Thank you Julia! Let’s learn about this special season of Christmas in Munich. Continue reading
Christmas is a Christian holiday that is celebrated by billions of people around the world. While hundreds of countries celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas, each country has it’s own customs, symbols, typical food, traditions, and songs, related to the holiday. Did you know that the “yule log” came from Norway? Or that the 30+ feet tall spruce Christmas trees in Washington DC, Trafalgar Square, London, and Edinburgh, Scotland are gifts from Norway? Christmas in Norway (“Julaften”) is a beautiful time of year, when trees are decorated with candles (or white lights), strings of Norwegian flags, woven heart decorations and bundled straw ornaments. A Christmas elf- Julenissen- brings presents to the children, and families and friends hold hands singing Norwegian Christmas carols around the Christmas tree before opening the gifts. Let’s learn more about how julaften is celebrated in Norway, and make an easy Norwegian Christmas craft. Continue reading