Friday, December 20, 2013

Visiting a Grandparent in the Hospital - Countdown to Christmas - Day 20

Today was a day filled with challenges unrelated to Christmas. We've had to adjust our holiday plans to deal with an unexpected family crisis.


Olivia and I enjoyed a relaxing evening at a downtown Minneapolis hotel after Olivia participated in a commercial taping for the Ann Bancroft Foundation.

Ann's mom was hospitalized on Thursday afternoon, so Olivia and I wanted to visit her before coming back home. What should have been a routine visit ended up being a crisis: my Mom experienced a severe allergic reaction to a medication (either one for high blood pressure or one for an infection - the doctors aren't sure).

We ended up staying at the hospital for more than six hours to get my Mom stabilized and to get her the care she needed.

Meanwhile, Sophia was busy at home wrapping Christmas presents. She put them under the tree for everyone to look at once we returned home.


Advent Reading

Luke 2:16 - So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger.


Christmas Joke

What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? (Claustrophobic)


Christmas Fact

Today we learned about Christmas symbols. The list and information came from Apples 4 the Teacher.

Advent Wreath - Four candles placed on a wreath. One candle is lit each Sunday before Christmas in anticipation of Christ's birthday.

Advent Wreath - Week 3
Advent wreath

Angel - An angel told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus. Angels come in many forms for Christmas decorations including the tree topper.

Bells - Church bells rang to announce the birth of Jesus. They still ring today.

Olivia Playing the Glockenspiel
Olivia Playing the Glockenspiel in 2012 for Nana.

Camels - Camels are the animals the Wise Men rode following the star to where Jesus was born.

The girls on a camel ride
The girls riding a camel on August 5, 2007.

Candles- Candles represent the light that Jesus brought to earth. Pagans who converted to Christianity used candles on the sacred evergreen tree.

Christmas Cards - For many years, private notes of good tidings were sent at Christmas time. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole had 1000 special designed cards printed. The custom of sending Christmas cards began.

Christmas Caroling - Caroling is a medieval custom of singing and dancing around a Christmas tree. Early carols weren't holy enough for singing inside a church, so caroling was done outside.

Singing at Linnea House
Sophia and Olivia singing Christmas carols at Linnea House in 2011.

Christmas Cookies - Originated with pre-Christian Romans who gave sweet cakes to their senators.

Cocoa Pretzel Cookies
Cocoa Pretzel Cookies we made in 2010.

Christmas Seals - A Danish postal clerk sold Christmas stamps (Christmas seals) to show that users had given to a worthy cause.

Christmas Stocking - There is a legend associated with the origin of Christmas stockings. St. Nick, who wanted to remain anonymous and help a poor family, threw gold coins down their chimney. They fell into a stocking that was hanging there to dry.

Fire in the Wood Stove
Stocking by the wood stove.

Christmas Tree Lights - The lights represent Christ as being the "Light of the World." Lights also represent stars. Candles were first used as lights on the Christmas tree.

Creche - A manger scene representing the Jesus' place of birth.

Donkeys, Lambs, and Cows - These animals were close to Jesus at the time of his birth. They are usually part of the Creche.

Hand Embroidered Donkey Olivia Made
Donkey Olivia made in 2011.

Evergreen Tree - The evergreen tree was decorated by the pagans at the feast of the winter solstice. The evergreen tree was a sign that winter would end.

Front Yard

Trees in the front yard.

Gifts - The first Christmas gifts were given by the Wise Men to Baby Jesus.

Holly - Holly is a shrub with spiny leaves and red berries. The leaves remain green throughout the year. Pagans thought its greenness was a promise that the sun would return. Early French and English families hung holly over their doors to symbolize a home in which Christ's birth is celebrated.

Icicles - Icicles are sometimes used as a tree decoration. As per an old story, the Christ child took shelter for a night under a pine tree. When the tree realized that it was caring for Jesus, tears of happiness fell from its branches. The tears froze into icicles.

Icicles on the side of the house.

Jesus - Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Christians believe Jesus is the son of God.

Image on Front Door of Chapel
Image of Jesus on the front door of the chapel 
at Enfield Shaker Museum.

Joseph - Joseph is the husband of Mary.

Manger - A cow's manger is the place where Baby Jesus slept. It is part of the Creche.

Mary - Mary is the mother of Jesus.

Mince Meat Pie - Mince meat pie is full of spices and fruits. It represents the exotic treasures of the East that the Wise Men brought to Jesus.

Mistletoe - A sprig of evergreen plant hung at Christmas time. Custom is that people can kiss each other standing under it.

Plum Pudding- Plum pudding originated by an English king that was stranded in a blizzard one Christmas Eve. He used what he could find to make a special holiday dish.

Poinsettia - This flower was brought to the U.S. by Dr, J.R. Poinsett in 1825. He was the first first United States ambassador to Mexico. Because of its flame leaf, the poinsettia is sometimes called the Christmas Star. A Mexican legend explains how this flower got associated with Christmas.

Poinsettia Christmas Ornament
Poinsettia Christmas ornament I made.

Reindeer - Reindeer were the animals chosen by St. Nicholas to pull his sleigh. The names of his reindeer are:  Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is the most famous.

Winter Nature Table
Wooden reindeer on the nature table.

Saint Nicholas - Saint Nicholas was a real person. He was a kind bishop who brought presents to children and needy people.

Shepherds - Shepherds tend sheep. They came to the manger to honor Baby Jesus.

Babydoll Sheep
Babydoll sheep that would be tended to by a shepherd.

Star - The Star of Bethlehem guided the Three Wise Men to Baby Jesus.

Tinsel - There is a legend associated with this thin metallic foil strip decoration. It tells about parents who trimmed a tree while their children were sleeping. Spiders came to see the tree, leaving cobwebs all over it. The Christ Child came to bless the tree and turned the cobwebs to silver.

Three Wise Men - Three Kings traveled far to see Jesus. They brought their best treasures for gifts.
  • Gold - a precious metal associated with the power of kings
  • Frankincense - A resin from a rare and sacred tree used as incense
  • Myrrh - A resin from a shrub used in making perfume.
Wassail - A wassail is a salutation of good health or well wishes by means of a toast. The drink is a mixture of mulled eggs, curdled cream, apples, nuts, and spices. Usually poured from a punch bowl while exchanging Christmas greetings.

Yule Log - The word "yule" means "wheel," a symbol representing the sun. Before Jesus was born, pagans thought the sun stood still for 12 days at the end of the year. A log was cut large enough to burn for this time period to burn away last year's evil.

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