viernes, 19 de diciembre de 2008

New Year celebrations

All around the world, people of different countries and cultures celebrate the New Year coming. It is one of the oldest festivals. People welcome New Year with their family and friends. It is a time to think about the past and make new resolutions for next year.In Europe, America the New Year is celebrated on the first day of January but not all New Year celebrations take place on the same day or in the same way! Sometimes this is because people in different parts of the world use different calendars. China and Israel keep a lunar calendar. It is based on the movement of the moon around the Earth. Some countries celebrate in the spring when new crops begin to grow or in autumn when the crops are harvested. Adults and children have many different ways of welcoming the New Year. Wouldn't it be fun to travel around the world and celebrate the New Year all year long?

While we wait until we have enough money for the journey, we can know about New Year in other countries reading about it.

In Scotland it is called "Hogmanay". There is a big party in the street on 31st December. One of the most important traditions is "the first footing", after midnight people visit their relatives and friends to wish each other Happy New Year. They think it is lucky if the first person they visit is tall and dark. They take with them a piece of coal or some shortbread to eat,it is a very old tradition when they heated their homes with coal or they had little to eat.

In Holland, people think that something of the shape of a ring is lucky because it shows the complete circle of the year. For this reason they eat doughnuts on New Year's Day to bring them luck, on this day they put their Christmas trees in the street and burn them.

In the USA , food is important in New Year celebrations, they think that certain food bring them luck. Depending on the region they live they eat pork which represents prosperity, rice or cabbage which represents paper money.

In Venezuela, people think that it is lucky to wear yellow underwear. If they want to travel next year, they a suitcase and have a walk around the house. At midnight they eat twelve grapes for good luck. Another tradition is to write their wishes in a letter and burn it.

Now you can add some of these traditions to your

New Year Celebration

I wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Christmas story

How the Trees Kept Christmas

One Christmas Eve the trees in a wood were very unhappy. They wished very much to keep Christmas, but they did not know how to do so.
"We look so brown," said one.
"And so bare," said another.
"If we only had our pretty green summer dresses," said a third, "then we should be decorated and could keep Christmas."
"Hush, children, hush!" whispered North Wind in quite a gentle voice for such a rough fellow. "Make haste and go to sleep."
"Hush! children, hush!" softly murmured a sleepy little bird. He was roosting on one of the branches of the unhappy trees.
So the trees dropped off to sleep, one by one, while a little star twinkled peacefully overhead.
But while they slept something happened. And when the trees awoke they found that someone, perhaps North Wind, had, during the night, cast over each of them a lovely soft cloak of spotless feathery white.
"How beautiful we are!" said the trees. "Now we can keep our Christmas!"
More Christmas Stories

Advent Calendars


Advent Calendars have contributed to create excitement before Christmas, the traditional ones reveal a nice picture or surprise like chocolate hidden behind the cardboard door from 1st December to Christmas Eve. Nowadays, you can find different types of advent calendars in the internet. There is one quite interesting if you want to know how people celebrate Christmas all around the world, their traditions and the way they wish Merry Christmas in different languages. You only need to have a look at the numbers.

martes, 16 de diciembre de 2008

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Do You like cooking? Have some fun in the kitchen with your family while you know some traditional Christmas recipes.

Here there is an easy recipe.

Turn on some holiday music, turn off the TV and spread the sprinkles, candies and sugars out for this fun event.
3-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened (not melted!)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Instructions
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter or margarine, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter or other round object, such as a glass or round plastic container. Place circles 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, checking after 6 minutes. Cookies will be done when edges are lightly browned. Do not allow cookies to get too brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Remove from cookies sheets to aluminum foil on a flat surface and allow to cool completely.
What You Do
Bake your favorite sugar cookie recipe (try Amanda’s Sugar Cookies, above), or purchase a package from the store.
Using a butter knife, spread white frosting on top of each cookie.
Let children decorate the cookies with sprinkles, sugar, and candies.
To make holly berry cookies, place two red candies or jelly beans toward the top of the cookie and draw on leaves with green decorator gel.
For sugar stars, trees and other shapes, gently place a miniature cookie cutter on top of the cookie after it’s frosted. Carefully sprinkle a small amount of sugar into the cookie cutter with your fingers, being careful not to let the sugar fall outside. Gently remove cookie cutter.
You can completely cover a cookie with decorative sugar by holding the frosted cookie upside down and dipping the frosted end into the sugar to coat.
Use red decorator gel to write “Ho Ho Ho!” on your cookies.
A snowman can be made from candies and fruit roll ups. Cut a strip of fruit roll up, about ½ thick, and twist it into a rope. Place the fruit roll up around the top of the cookie as ear muffs and add jelly beans for the muffs themselves. Decorate face with colored candies.
Use cherry raisins to form the petals of a poinsettia. Place a colored candy in the center.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2008

Boxing Day

Do you know what is Boxing Day ?
It is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada on December 26th, which is also St. Stephen's Day.

Why is it called Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is so called because on this day it was the customary for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good service throughout the year. Also, it included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, and the needy.

Boxing Day origins
There seems to be two theories on the origin of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated.

The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".
The second thought is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches over the Christmas season. The contents thereof which were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas.

How is it celebrated nowadays?
Today, Boxing Day is spent with family and friends with lots of food and sharing of friendship and love. Government buildings and small businesses are closed but the malls are open and filled with people exchanging gifts or buying reduced priced Christmas gifts, cards, and decorations.

To keep the tradition of Boxing Day alive, many businesses, organizations, and families donate their time, services, and money to aid Food Banks and provide gifts for the poor, or they may choose to help an individual family that is in need.

Happy Christmas, and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.