Holidays & Family Choices

Following up on some of the posts from last week, we came across some great posts focused on the same topics.  The Hybrid Mom blog provides great personal posts about a wide range of issues relating to parenting, health, work, etc.  Below are some valuable posts and articles that could be useful to you and your family this holiday season.

Starting each day with a “to-be” list

One family’s idea on gift-giving

Gifting meaningful experiences

Creating new traditions for your family

Staying Sane This Season

It seems that this time of year can bring out the best in people but also the worst.  While we are loving the giving spirit of the season and spreading the holiday cheer, there are also many moments during the holidays that make us stressed, overwhelmed and wishing Santa would drop off some peace and sanity (or a week-long beach vacation!).

We’d love to do something a bit different this year and enjoy the holiday season!  Maybe this means buying less gifts, deciding not to travel, or making fewer commitments.  Instead of trying to cram in every event this year, we can focus on a few special traditions.

It sounds like many moms are feeling the same way.  We especially like Merrilee’s post on her mer mag blog about her feelings this holiday season.

How are you feeling this holiday… Stressed?  Relaxed?  Overwhelmed?  What are the special things that you do as a family during the holidays?  How do you keep the peace without becoming overwhelmed?

Happy Holidays!

Happy Hanukkah!

This year we wanted to recognize different religions and traditions during the holiday season. Since tomorrow is the last day of Hanukkah, we had our friend Naomi Fox share some insight on her family traditions and Hanukkah celebrations!

“My friends always make fun of me because I was raised saying Chanukah rather then Hanukkah. Maybe its because I went to a Hebrew day school and am able to pronounce the “ch” or maybe its because I like the way it sounds, regardless, its chanukah. There are so many traditions that go along with this special eight day holiday. I am only going to touch upon a few traditions because I can go on and on, but in my family their is obviously the lighting of the chanukia, delicious fried food, and playing draidal. As Adam Sandler would say, “Chanukah is the festival of lights, instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights” For Chanukah we are celebrating a miracle that happened a very long time ago. When the destruction of the Temple occurred, a canister with very little oil was found.  The oil was only expected to last one day but instead it burnt for eight nights. All of the fried food is the symbolism of that little oil they found. Playing draidel is not necessarily symbolic of anything in particular but it has been told that it is meant to be symbolic of when Jews would gather and study the Torah in underground caves in hiding. Kids play it because it is a lot of fun and they win gelt(chocolate coins).”

Thank you for sharing with us and we hope you and your family enjoy your last day of Hanukkah celebrations! Happy holidays to all of our followers! xoxo Amy Michelle

Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday celebrated all around the globe to honor the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.

Who Was Saint Patrick?
Even though Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland and one of the most celebrated religious figures around the world, the factual information about his life and times is quite vague. Most information about St. Patrick has been twisted, embellished, or simply made up over centuries by storytellers, causing much ambiguity about the real life of St. Patrick. However, there are a some elements of his story about which most scholars accept to be true.

According to Coilin Owens, Irish literature expert and Professor Emeritus of English at George Mason University, Saint Patrick is traditionally thought to have lived “between 432-461 A.D., but more recent scholarship moves the dates up a bit.” At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped from his native land of the Roman British Isles by a band pirates, and sold into slavery in Ireland. Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and turned to religion for solace. After six years of slavery he escaped to the Irish coast and fled home to Britain.

While back in his homeland, Patrick decided to become a priest and then decided to return to Ireland after dreaming that the voices of the Irish people were calling him to convert them to Christianity.

After studying and preparing for several years, Patrick traveled back to Ireland as a Christian missionary. Although there were already some Christians living in Ireland, St. Patrick was able to bring upon a massive religious shift to Christianity by converting people of power. Says Prof. Owens, “[St. Patrick] is credited with converting the nobles; who set an example which the people followed.”

But Patrick’s desire to spread of Christianity was not met without mighty opposition. Prof. Owens explains, “Patrick ran into trouble with the local pagan priesthood, the druids: and there are many stories about his arguments with them as well as his survival of plots against them.” He laid the groundwork for the establishment of hundreds of monasteries and churches that eventually popped up across the Irish country to promote Christianity.

Saint Patrick is also credited with bringing written word to Ireland through the promotion of the study of legal texts and the Bible, says Prof. Owens. Previous to Patrick, storytelling and history were reliant on memory and orally passing down stories.

Patrick’s mission in Ireland is said to have lasted for thirty years. It is believe he died in the 5th century on March 17, which is the day St. Patrick’s Day is commemorated each year.

The first year St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in America in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. The first official St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1766. As the saying goes, on this day “everybody is Irish!” Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick’s Day parades.