▶ ▶ Other Fun Many families indulge in small gifts on the eight nights of Hanukkah, particularly for the children of the household, with some families choosing to bestow bigger gifts on the eighth night. St. Nicholas Day (December 6) If the kids are driving you bananas in anticipation of Christmas, why not introduce them to St. Nick’s Day on December 6? Also called the Feast of Saint Nicholas, this celebration is sometimes celebrated on December 19 in countries that use an older Christian calendar. Saint Nicholas serves as the inspiration for our modern Santa Claus and is remembered as a devout Christian who sold his belongings so he could donate funds to those less fortunate. ▶ ▶ Foods to Try Foods associated with St. Nicholas Day include spicy gingerbread cookies, punch and chestnuts served with salt and butter — all old-fashioned holiday foods we’ve heard about in songs and stories and all easy to revisit!
▶ ▶ Decorations For decor, try setting out some
▶ ▶ Decorations
Christmas and winter solstice share a lot of the same decorations, but you can add a special nod to the solstice by making “light holders” such as lanterns, wreaths for candles and candle holders. ▶ ▶ Other Fun Spend the evening outdoors on this dark night, and celebrate with plenty of lanterns and lights or even a bonfire. Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1) First celebrated in 1966, Kwanzaa is an African American cultural celebration that lasts the last seven days of the year. Initiated by a college professor from
alternative depictions of St. Nick himself (other than the commercial Santa Claus). Advent wreaths are also popular.
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Many families celebrating St. Nicholas Day will allow children to put out their shoes and/or their stockings in anticipation of small gifts, provided they’ve been good!
Winter Solstice (December 21) There are many different ways to celebrate the winter solstice, also known as the shortest day of the year or the first day of winter for the Northern hemisphere. Some common ways to celebrate are already familiar to us — festive outdoor lighting, burning candles and burning logs in the fireplace, for example. ▶ ▶ Foods to try Traditionally, solstice foods celebrate the earth and its bounty, so raw foods like fruits and nuts are popular, as well as warm, hearty foods like soups and stews.
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