Norway, straw is laid under the tree in memory of the stable and
manager. In some countries straw is laid under the table cloth
symbolizing the straw on which Christ was laid at his birth. Europeans regard wheat and hay as a symbol of the Nativity. In
America we often set up a manger scene.
Mince Pies: In
ancient times these were made in shapes to represent the
manager. The contents were supposed to commemorate, in their
mixture, the items which the Wise Men gave to the Christ Child.
Mistletoe: There are several interesting versions of the mistletoe legend. From Scandinavia comes the story of Baldur, or Balder the Apollo of the
north who was hated by Loki, a wicked spirit. Baldur could not be
harmed by anything which sprang from earth, fire, water or air.
Loki used much effort in an attempt to devise a way to kill Baldur and
finally succeeded by shooting him with a dart made of
The gods, who had loved Baldur, wished to make some
reparation to his mother Frigg, so they dedicated to her the mistletoe
so long as it did not touch the earth. Frigg was determined that
the mistletoe should no longer be an instrument of death and sorrow so
she declared it to be the emblem of love and that all who passed under
it should receive a kiss as a token of love.
Kissing beneath the mistletoe was regarded as a token
of peace. The custom of
kissing beneath the mistletoe also comes from the belief that the maid
who was not kissed under the mistletoe would go another year without
When used in connection with the Christmas festivities
in America, the white berries symbolize purity and the leaves the
everlasting life of the babe. To others, it is just an excuse to
get kissed. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant.
Christmas Decorations, Feasts, Gifts and Traditions
Movies: It is the time of year to pull out those classic movies and watch them
again. The Sound of Music is one of those movies you can watch again and
again. I found this site: Trapp
Family I think you will also be interested in my Bavarian
Page. Here is a link to the movie reviews: The Sound of Music
What would Christmas be like without holiday music? Read about how the
Grinch tried to steal Christmas, but everyone still sang and was happy
even without presents. Did you know that you can give the same
gifts as the Three Kings did? Planet
Artisan has a chest filled with frankincense and myrrh. The
natural and fragrant resin nuggets of the ancient trees are in the chest
and it is wrapped in a velvet pouch. It also includes a free Christmas
A Music Box Christmas
A Milanese specialty sold around Christmas time. It is
a festive cake made with liberal amounts of butter. It also contains
eggs, milk, raisins and currants. The light texture is very appealing
and you will want to slice the Panettone and toast slices. They can then
be spread with more butter and dusted with confectioners' icing sugar.
Read about the history
of this delicious cake. Make your own with this recipe
and these pans
or order one from la dolce
They have a great selection or try Need
Peppermint Candy Canes:
For a treat, stir your hot chocolate with an upside down candy cane. You
can also add a piece of chocolate and two tablespoons of milk powder to
those instant hot chocolate mixes. They are never quite rich enough for
me. I want my hot chocolate to be creamy! If you like flavored hot drinks,
look for Starbucks Christmas brew. You can also crush candy canes and
sprinkle them on buttery cookie dough before baking.
"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air,
drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of
each." —Henry David Thoreau
I am almost sure he is talking about drinking hot
chocolate and sitting by a fireplace in the winter! :)
Piñata: We owe
a debt of gratitude for this interesting Christmas custom to
Mexico. The Piñata is a paper bag made in different shapes or can
also be made from a paper and glue mixture. The Piñata is filled with candies
and then suspended from the ceiling on Christmas Eve. Blind-folded
children take turns trying to break the Piñata with a stick. When
the gifts scatter on the floor they are eagerly picked up by the other
children. The one who breaks the Piñata receives an extra
Christmas Plum Pudding with Brandy Butter
Plum Pudding: Centuries
ago the King of England was caught in the woods where he had been
hunting with his friends on Christmas Eve. The cook put everything
he had in the pot for the simple feast and made the first plum pudding.
The ingredients used on that occasion are said to have
formed the basic recipe for plum pudding.
Try the Plum
Pastries at this site.
Joel Poinsettia first brought back small wild plants which had tiny
yellow flowers surrounded with gorgeous red leaves to his garden in
South Carolina. The shape of the red flower is like a many pointed
star which gives it real significance as the Christmas flower. White and pink poinsettias are also found, yet the red ones remain the
favorites and are sold everywhere as Christmas time approaches. White poinsettias could also be mixed in with the red ones to be a
symbol of all that is holy and precious.