Kid’s Craic: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
By Megan Lardie
Have you ever wondered why it is a tradition to bring a tree inside the house and decorate it? The idea of it surely seems odd. This tradition goes back quite far in history.
The evergreen tree has always been used because it stays green all year long. Ancient Egyptians used evergreen wreaths in homes and temples to celebrate life, peace, and great wealth. They believed that the sun god, Ra, grew sick during the winter and that is why the days were cold and dark. They believed that evergreens helped Ra grow stronger and brighter, eventually returning to warmer days.
In Northern Europe, priests of the Celts decorated their temples with evergreens and mistletoe because they believed it would keep evil spirits and sickness away during the winter. This is how green and red became the primary colors of Christmas. Some say people began to bring in just small branches of pine trees in during the winter months to remind them of spring and warmer days and eventually they began to just bring in the entire tree.
Lighting of the Tree
The tradition of adding light to the trees was an idea that came from the 1500s! Legend has it that Martin Luther, who was a leader of a religious movement, was inspired by the stars and tried to recreate the night sky by adding candles to the tree in his home. This tradition has moved away from the use of candles since the invention of electricity and now people use glitzy electric lights of all colors.
Decorating the Tree
The tradition of decorating trees did not start until the 16th century in Germany. The Germans used nuts, apples, and gingerbread cookies to decorate their trees. As Germans began to move to other countries, the tradition spread around the world.
Most people used homemade ornaments made from items around the house like cookies or pine cones. Garland was made from popcorn, berries, and nuts. The more decorative ornaments were usually made in Germany and sent to other countries to display on Christmas trees.
Tress in Ireland
In Ireland, they decorate Christmas trees just like the rest of the world, using lights, garland, tinsel, and baubles. Most families put their tree up on the first day of advent. Many believe that putting up a Christmas tree before December 8th will bring bad luck!
Trees are beautifully decorated, usually with an angel on top. Many families still use holly and ivy as decoration, and it is believed that the more berries on the holly means better luck in the new year!
The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling
Poor Jack has lost his favorite toy, Dur Pig (DP for short), on Christmas Eve of all nights. Jack received a new toy, which is actually DP’s replacement. How far will Jack and his new toy, The Christmas Pig, go to find DP? After all, DP is Jack’s most treasured possession and has always been there for Jack in good times and bad times.
The Christmas Pig has a daring plan to help Jack find DP on Christmas Eve, the night for miracles and lost causes. Read about the magical adventure that Jack is on to find his best friend! For ages 8 and up. Chapter book with 288 pages.
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen MonroeFamilies show up every year to pick out their Christmas tree. The trees would rejoice when they were cut down and taken home to be decorated. One tree knew his days of being picked were over because he was too big and too tall. In this charming story with beautiful illustrations, the tree’s woodland friends help his wish finally come true. For ages 3-8. 32 pages.
Kids Cooking in the Kitchen
Cookie Cutter Pizza
Since you have the cookie cutters out making cookies, keep them out to make these cute pizzas too!
Pizza Dough (you can make your own or just use frozen, just remember to thaw it out in time)
Toppings of your choosing
Step 1: Generously flower your surface and roll out your pizza dough to the thickness that you prefer.
Step 2: Cut the dough out with your cookie cutters of your choice. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
Step 3: Bake the cut-out shapes for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.
Step 4: Top with pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese.
Step 5: Bake at 400 for another 5-10 minutes, or until the crust is the color of your liking. The longer you bake it, the crispier it will be.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Q. What did the Gingerbread Man put on his bed?
A. A cookie sheet.
Q. What kind of photos do elves take?
Gab in Gaelic
In Ireland, they say Happy Christmas instead of Merry Christmas!
Happy Christmas = Nollaig Shona (pron. Nullig hunna)