Winter Banner
December 16, 2005
Volume 1, Issue 6
Different Names for the Same Thing...
yule log

December is a month buried under blankets of snow. Everywhere we look, holiday lights in all colors are twinkling. Inside, kitchens far and wide are preparing to create delectable confections to share with loved ones. The main holidays in December are Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza. Traditionally, these holidays were called the Winter Solstice, Candlemas, Michaelmas, Yuletide, or Yule, depending on what region you lived in. This is a time when the waxing Sun overcomes the waning Sun and the shortened days begin to grow longer. This seasonal change is symbolized in many different beliefs systems. Pagans celebrate the Oak King overcoming the Holly King in Battle - the rebirth of spring triumphing over the death of winter. Witches celebrate the Goddess preparing to give birth to the God. Sound familiar? In fact, modern day Christianity borrowed most of their Yule traditions from pagan practices. Christmas trees, wreathes, gift giving, mistletoe, Yule logs, and even celebrating the birth of the Son - all came from times before Christianity even existed. Even Chanukah and Kwanza have similar roots. They are both festivals of light overcoming darkness and death. Nowadays, an aging man with a white beard symbolizes the old dying year in the form of Father Time or Santa Claus. And the New Year is symbolized by a newborn babe in the form of Baby New Year or Jesus Christ. With the world in the state that it is in today, try to take a moment to realize that all of us essentially came from the same place and that our beliefs, though coming with different names, all share the same message. Let's all try to stop focusing on the differences between us, and try to see all the many ways that we are the same.


"Everyone from 1 to 92"

The Full moon in December is called the Oak Moon. Astrologically, the first two weeks of December are an ideal time for healing and reconnecting with family. Start a new tradition! Make a family altar in a prominent place in your home. Have objects, pictures, etc., to represent all the members of the family. Add some vanilla candles or other relaxing scents like lavender. Whenever the hustle and bustle of the season start to get you down, stop a moment at the Family Alter and remember what the Holiday are really about - peace, love, and family. Little ones are getting very excited and often get underfoot. While older household members are trying to do a hundred things at once in preparation for the Big Day. Let the kids help out in a special way that will make them happy and give you some peace at the same time! Suggest they make a Milly Box. They can decorate shoe or plastic boxes with pictures and symbols of the Holiday, like candles, nativity scenes, God/dess images, etc. Then, let the kids fill the boxes with holly and other ever-greenery. Put the boxes in a high traffic area like by the front door. When visitors come over, let the kids tell them to leave a coin in the box and take some greenery to put in their wallets and purses. When the box starts to look full of coins, let the kids choose a charity to donate to. This tradition ensures that all involved experience a very prosperous New Year!


Just Breathe

Its very easy this time of year to get so wrapped up in shopping and planning, that we forget to enjoy what we are working so hard for. Relax! Stop and take a breath. There are so many little ways we can enjoy the Holiday and make it memorable for our families. Ways that don't cost much and don't take hours to prepare for. Take a walk outside. Play with the kids in the snow. If you can find some clean snow make yummy Snow Cream*! If you don't have kids, make snowmen or sculptures on your own (pour water over the sculptures so they will freeze overnight and last for weeks)! And after the sun sets, get everyone to dress in cozy PJs, hop in the car, pop in some holiday music and grab hot cocoa. Then drive around the neighborhood looking at holiday lights and decorations. If spontaneity isn't your thing, check your town's local website for ideas like the PNC Art Center. They have an annual lights display they do every year. Some businesses also have free holiday displays, like the Candyland Christmas Village on Brick Boulevard. Check with your local churches and see who has craft fairs or even live nativity scenes. Write a letter to Santa Claus (no matter how old you are). Stop by malls to see the displays and of course to see Santa - just leave the credit cards at home. These are the things you and your family will remember, not how many packages where under the tree or how many lumps where in the gravy. More than anything, your family and friends will remember the warm happy, feelings they get just spending time with you!


Snow Cream Recipe

(makes one bowl per person)
1 bowl of snow
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
Heavy cream

Stir all ingredients but the cream until mushy. Then add the cream a bit at a time and stir until it looks like a slushy. Serve immediately and enjoy! Make it even more fun by adding food coloring or bits of chocolate or pieces of peppermint candy canes. You are only limited by your imagination!


snow ball
Cool Links
Vision Purple Web Design
If you are looking to create a website or having trouble keeping up with your current one, try Vision Purple. Ask for Mark, I work with him on my website. Everything is managed for me and it is extremely affordable! Mention "Readings by Lisa" and you will get 20% off any service.



The Model Railroad Club, Inc. (TMRCI)
One of the oldest Model Railroad clubs in the USA. Located at the A.Paul Mallery Model Railroad Center in Union County, Union, NJ. It is open to the public on Saturdays from 1pm to 4pm. There is an admission fee, on Saturdays of $5.00 per adult ($4.00 Seniors) and $3.00 per child. You have to see it!


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