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"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."

Caroline Adams
 


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The Spirit of Christmas: Things That Make Us Feel It

Every year in December we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. That is why we call this time of year 'Christmas' - we celebrate the 'Mass', or church service, for Christ. Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing families and friends together to share the much loved customs and traditions which have been around for centuries. During the weeks before Christmas Day, we send cards, watch nativity plays and go to carol services.We also decorate our homes and churches with green leaves, paper decorations and colourful electric lights. Love, Peace and Joy came down on earth on Christmas day to make you happy and cheerful. May Christmas spread cheer in your lives!

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1. Christmas Tree

Who can imagine Christmas without this green beauty? Christmas tree is the most important attribute of Christmas.

Long time ago people used to decorate trees outside each winter. When the trees had lost their leaves, it was felt that the spirits living in the trees had abandon them. This made people very worried because they believed that without tree-spirits the trees would not grow leaves ever again. To encourage the tree-spirits to return they dressed the trees with strips of coloured cloth. They hoped by making the trees look beautiful, the spirits would return to live in the trees ready for Spring. To everyone's delight this worked and every year, in spring, the trees burst into leaf again. When the new custom of bringing small fir trees indoors started in Germany, it was natural enough to add similar decorations to them, even though fir trees had not lost their leaves.

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Why do we use fir tree? There is a story:

There was once a monk named Wilfred who struck down a huge oak tree. As it fell to the earth the oak tree split into four pieces and from its center sprung up a young fir tree. “This little tree shall be your Holy Tree tonight. It is the wood of peace for your houses are built of the fir. It is the sign of endless life for its leaves are evergreen. See how it points toward the heavens? Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child. Gather about it, not in the wilderness, but in your homes. There it will be surrounded by loving gifts and rites of kindness.”

To this day, that is why the fir tree is a symbol of Christmas.

2. Santa Claus
 
Who doesn't know this old jolly man with white hair, a beard and a moustache? He is dressed in a red suit outlined in white. Santa and his elves make all the toys for Christmas in his home in the North Pole. Children write letters to Santa to tell him what they would like for Christmas. Some children will send their letters by post or e-mail but the more traditional way is to throw the letters into the back of the fireplace. The draught then carries the letters up the chimney to him. On Christmas eve Santa Claus piles all of the toys onto his sleigh and rides across the sky with his reindeers.

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3. Reindeers

Santa has eight flying reindeers, later joined by Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, and they all have names. Santa's reindeers are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Eight of these names are taken from Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas," and the ninth from the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (NB. Donder is also known as Donner.) Rudolf is the most famous one, he is at the front and leads the way with his red nose.

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4. Elves from Santa's Workshop

Have you been good this year? Santa's elves are so busy this time of year. They work in the workshop making toys for all the good little girls and boys. The elves gleefully toil away at their workbenches creating their toys, while the snow gently falls outside the windows .Upon completion, each toy gets whisked away in a unique style, to be delivered by Santa to all the good girls and boys.

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5. Fireplace and Stockings

Santa Claus has the habit of entering houses through the chimney and filling socks or stockings with presents on the night of December 24th.

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6. Christmas Gifts

One of the things that make Christmas special is the spirit of giving. We can’t wait for Christmas morning to open presents. It's the Idea of giving that reminds us; we are all on this planet together, for the long run. So let's be kind to one another!

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7. Christmas Carols

We have special songs which we sing during the Christmas season. The songs are known as carols and they are about Jesus and the time when he was born. They were written for a special purpose, often to accompany performances of religious dramas. The word comes from the ancient Greek choros, which means "dancing in a circle," and from the Old French word carole, meaning "a song to accompany dancing." Caroling (singing carols in the street) is one of the oldest customs, going back to the Middle Ages when beggars, seeking food, money, or drink, would wander the streets singing holiday songs. People today still go carol singing. This is where people go from house to house singing carols and collecting money for charity. The traditional period to sing carols was from St Thomas's Day (December 21) until the morning of Christmas Day.

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8. Snowman

It's difficult to feel the spirit of Christmas without snow! Snow brings magic to Christmas. There are a lot of things you can do with snow: play snowballs or build a snowman. Anyway, both children and adults have fun of these activities. Christmas without fun is not Christmas:)

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9. Christmas Lights

Electric tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison has his first mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879. Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. His lights were a huge hit. It took quite a few years, however, before they would be made available to the general public. In 1895 Ralph Morris, an American telephonist, invented the string of electric Christmas lights similar to the ones we use today. The actual strings of lights had already been manufactured for use in telephone switchboards. Morris looked at the tiny bulbs and had the idea of using them on his tree.

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10. Christmas Candles

The Christmas trees were decorated with candles to remind children of the stars in the sky at the time of the birth of Jesus. Using candles was, of course, a great fire hazard. Today, candles have been replaced by little coloured electric lights, more a reminder of the fairground than the sacred symbolisation of the 'Light of the World'. But candles still remain an important symbol of Christmas.

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Let the spirit of Christmas gently fill our hearts and homes!

 

 

 
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