The Legend of the Candy Cane

You will find different explanations of the beginning of the candy cane depending on where you do your research, but whether this one is the correct history or not, it is still a great way to keep Jesus at the center of our thoughts during Christmas.

It’s a beautiful book with illustrations that my kids love, about a stranger who comes to a small town and sets up a candy shop. Little Lucy helps him unpack, and learns the story of Jesus when she opens the candy canes. We love this book – it was the first Christmas book my daughter asked to read this season.

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Christmas Star Game

We have enjoyed our Christmas Star Game for a lot of years. The star is slightly chewed by the dog, but it’s glittery gold and on the back it says, “Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Continue reading “Christmas Star Game”

The Shepherd on the Search

We do not have an elf tradition, but we do have a little shepherd boy. He is following the star in his search for The Messiah in Bethlehem. Continue reading “The Shepherd on the Search”

Treasures in the Snow-A Christmas Read Aloud

Okay.

This is a Christmas tradition you are just going to have to take my word for:)

This is my tattered and worn, held together with duct tape, copy of Treasures in the Snow.

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Abe Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation 

We read this each year on Thanksgiving.   If your Thanksgiving is too crazy with guests and food prep… read this with your family earlier in the week.

There are quite a few similar proclamations by Abe Lincoln. The first one in italics below is declaring the last Thursday of November a day of Thanksgiving.  Below that, in blue, is my favorite to read with my family – it took place earlier in the year – March, 1863, when Lincoln called for a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

October 1863:

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.

A. Lincoln
October 3, 1863

 

March 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

A Christmas Puzzle

We have the tradition of working a jigsaw puzzle each Christmas.  It’s fun and actually addictive.  If I get behind on my Christmas to-do list, it’s likely because I couldn’t get up from the puzzle.

Last year I bought my puzzle too late – be sure to get one before Thanksgiving, so you can get started right away. It really stinks when Christmas is over and the Christmas puzzle isn’t finished!

 

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Arm Knitted Cowls

We made these last summer just for something to do.  November might be a better time for these bulky Arm Knitted Cowls:)

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They were a lot of fun.  It is quite an easy and inexpensive project.  You need thick yarn which is rather pricey, but since you don’t need any other supplies, it doesn’t take much to give it a try.

Here is the video that we watched and watched and watched to make these;)

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Thankful Photo Challenge and Thanksgiving Day Slide Show

My kids are getting older, and a few don’t live at home any more, so our holiday traditions are changing a bit.  This year, they are all sending photos to me of things they are thankful for.  I am going to make those into a slide show that we will watch on Thanksgiving Day.

There are tons of Thanksgiving photo challenges on-line that look like a lot of fun – one day everyone might be sending a pic of their favorite thing in their refrigerator and things like that. We didn’t use a list this year – everyone is just sending and pictures of what they are thankful for.

We have our Gratitude Journal, in which we will have our thoughts written out, so I think a photo challenge will be a fun addition.

It will be a bit tricky to make sure my younger kids are included.  I have told them to let me know when they want me to get a picture for them, but I think it will be great for older/adult kids. If your kids are as silly as mine, not only will they love the idea, but the slide show will be VERY entertaining!

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The Great Turkey Walk

This book doesn’t actually have anything to do with Thanksgiving, except that it’s all about turkeys.

It’s set in the late 1800s and is about 15 year old Simon, who is barely educated, but very likeable. Simon has found a way to make his fortune – by transporting a thousand turkeys from Missouri to Denver. This book touches on a lot of different subjects, including a dead-beat dad, a runaway slave, theft…

We are about 3/4 of the way through the book, which I’m reading aloud, but all of the kids are enjoying it (and I even caught one reading ahead on his own).

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