Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Play + Caring for Wildlife - Countdown to Christmas - Day 8

Today is the eighth day of our Countdown to Christmas. This is what we did:


The main focus of today was the play that Sophia and Olivia participated in at church during both services.

Olivia and Sophia in the t-shirts that the play participants all wore.

They had both speaking and singing roles, and enjoyed being a part of the play.

Sophia and Olivia during one of the times they had spoken lines.

Because the setting of the play is a radio show, it allowed all the children and adults to keep their scripts in their hands.

The entire cast singing the final song.

Afterwards, there was a reception in the fellowship hall with all the cookies, bars, and treats that parents brought. There was a free-will offering, and the children are hoping to raise over $1,000 to support food-relief efforts in developing countries.

The beautiful decorated tree in the fellowship hall.
Next to that is the plate of treats for the reception.

The story was an adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" - a classic story with such a timely message.

On the seventh and final day of Chalica - a Unitarian Universalist celebration - we talked about the final principle of respecting the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

We’ll did two things that related to this today – one that benefits animals and wildlife; and one that benefits people.

First, after the Christmas play this morning, Sophia and Olivia gave the choir and play director a container of fruit for all his work with the play. It’s something that he and his family can enjoy this month.

Nine different types of fruit.

We attached a note that said that we hoped that he and his wife would "...enjoy this collection of fruit during the second week of Advent. There are nine different types of fruit…just like the nine fruits of the Spirit which we see you model to the children and others through the way you live your life:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ~ Galatians 5:22-23

You have made such a difference in our lives, and feel so blessed to know you."

After lunch, I went upstairs to get something to read to Sophia and Olivia. In a matter of moments, they had removed the foil covering off of the chocolate St. Nicholas. I came downstairs to find the bared St. Nicholas ready to be devoured.

They put his miter and belt back on and then the fateful moment arrived.

Sophia creating small pieces of chocolate for everyone.

Sophia took a knife and carved bits of chocolate off of St. Nicholas.

A beheaded chocolate St. Nicholas.

He's a hollow figure which is fine. The little bit of chocolate we ate was very rich and delicious.

In the afternoon, we did something for the birds outdoors: we made sure that the bird feeders were filled will seed and suet.

Olivia filling one of the feeders with Cooper looking on.
Sophia was feeding the horses.

While we were outside, Sophia and Olivia laid down in the fresh-fallen snow and made snow angels.

Olivia and Sophia making snow angels.

When you're dressed in snow pants, a heavy coat, boots, mittens, hat, and a face protector making snow angels is a lot of fun.

Olivia's snow angel is on the left and Sophia's is on the right. 

This is the second Sunday of Advent. We lit the second purple candle on the Advent wreath and put items that represent plants on the wreath.

This week we're going to force a fruit blossom to tie into the theme of this week of Advent. To do this, we're going to plant a sprig of plum, apple, or lilac in wet sand if it's accessible in the sandbox. Otherwise, we're going to try to place it in vase with water.

Either way, the sprigs need to be placed in a sunlit window and receive water regularly. December is about waiting, so we'll keep watching to see what happens.


Advent Reading

Luke 1:26-29 - Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young woman betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the woman's name was Mary.

And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.


Christmas Joke

How does a sheep say “Merry Christmas”?

Sheep at Macy's Holiday Show
Sheep display at Macy's holiday display in 2008.
I thought they were cute with their little baskets.

(Fleece Navidad!)


Christmas Fact

We learned about the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

The twelve days in the song are the twelve days starting Christmas Day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (December 26) to the day before Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day).

The best known English version was first printed in English in 1780 in a little book intended for children, Mirth without Mischief, as a Twelfth Night "memories-and-forfeits" game, in which a leader recited a verse, each of the players repeated the verse, the leader added another verse, and so on until one of the players made a mistake, with the player who erred having to pay a penalty, such as offering up a kiss or a sweet.

One hundred years later, Lady Gomme, a collector of folktales and rhymes, described how it used to be played every Twelfth Day night before eating mince pies and twelfth cake.

There are 364 gifts mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Back in the 1980s, someone came up with The Christmas Price Index as a humorous commodity price index to measure the changing cost of goods over time.

Commodity price indices use a "market basket" of certain goods and then measure the cost of the goods from year to year to gauge inflation in different sectors of the economy.

The Christmas Price Index chose the items in the popular Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as its market basket: a partridge in apear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, four calling birds, five gold(en) rings, six geese, seven swans, eight maids, nine dancing ladies, ten leaping lords, eleven pipers, and twelve drummers. According to tradition, the purchasing of the items begins on December 26 and ends on January 6.

There's both a "Christmas Price Index" and "The True Cost of Christmas." The "Christmas Price Index" is calculated by adding the cost of the items in the song. The "True Cost of Christmas," however, is calculated by following the exact instructions in the song (buying a partridge in a pear tree on each of the twelve days, buying two turtle doves from the second day onward, for a total of 22 turtle doves, etc.) for the complete set of 364 items.

Pears Starting to Grow
Pears starting to grow on the pear tree 
in our front yard.

The price of each item is set as follows:
• The pear tree comes from a local Philadelphia nursery.
• The partridge, turtle dove, and French hen prices are determined by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
• The price of a canary at Petco is used for the calling [sic] bird, though the price of a blackbird (colly bird) may reflect the original version of the song.
• Gordon Jewelers sets the cost of the gold rings, though the gold rings of the song actually refer to ring-necked pheasants.
• The National Aviary in Pittsburgh sets prices for swans and geese.
• The maids are assumed to be unskilled laborers earning the Federal Minimum Wage.
• A Philadelphia dance company provides estimates for the salary of "ladies dancing."
• The Philadelphia Ballet estimates the salary for the "leaping lords."
• The going-rate for drummers and pipers is that of a Pennsylvania musicians' union.

We were surprised at how much prices have increased from 1984 to 2012 (2013 rates haven't been announced yet):

1984: $12,623.10 for one gift per day; and $61,318.94 for 364 gifts.
2012: $25,431.18 for one gift per day; and $107,300.24 for 364 gifts.

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