Monthly Archives: December 2014
Part 2 of 2
By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian
Christmas Carols – These are songs specifically written and sung to celebrated the events of the Nativity. Carols have been around since the 300s. St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscans put poems to music and popularized the carols. During the reformation and in Puritan America, they were frowned upon and often illegal.
Christmas trees – No one really knows when this tradition started, but it is generally considered to have begun in Germany. Having Christmas trees spread slowly through Europe, and came to England with the German Hanoverian kings. Trees were truly popularized during Queen Victoria’s reign, with the influence of her husband, Prince Albert.
Christmas Wrapping – Originally, unwrapped presents were put out during Christmas Eve, after the tree was decorated. Nowadays, trees are put up so much earlier and gifts come from other family members. It is generally understood that any unwrapped gifts came from Santa Claus.
Christmas cards – Christmas cards started out as decorative note paper that people used to write to their relative on holidays. They became even more popular after Valentine’s Day cards spread throughout England in the 1830s.
Eggnog – This popular milk or cream based drink gets its name from an old term for ale, which was called nog. The drink was a French tradition, which we Americans promptly added ale (or liquor) to.
Nativity Scene or Crèche – The earliest known Nativity Scene dates back to Rome in the 300s; it was part of the Christ’s Mass, and was said to have come from Bethlehem. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing it when he placed real animals and people in the scene.
The Nutcracker – This story was written in 1816 by German author E T A Hoffman and was rather a dark grim tale. Alexandre Dumas adapted it in 1845 and made it less scary. In 1891, Tchaikovsky wrote the music for the ballet which opened in St. Petersburg in 1892, and has remained popular ever since.
The Twelve Days of Christmas – This time period starts on December 26 and continues through Epiphany (also known as Three Kings Day.) which is January 6th. In 567, at the Council of Tours, it was decided that these twelve days would be set aside to honor and observe the birth of Christ.
Wassail – Wassail comes from the Old English words waes hael, which means “be well,” “be hale,” or “good health.” Originally it was a strong, hot drink (usually a mixture of ale, honey, and spices), but over the centuries some non-alcoholic versions of wassail evolved.
How to write Merry Christmas in other languages
|Polish||Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia|
- Christmas curiosities: old, ark and forgotten Christmas by John Grossman, c 2007
- The Christmas Almanac, c. 2009
- The World Encyclopedia of Christmas , c 2000.
By Stacy Parish, Children’s Assistant Librarian
‘Tis the season—for reading! Here is a non-comprehensive, totally subjective, but thoroughly festive list of Christmas books for children. In no particular order:
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: This “new classic” and Caldecott Medal winner has amazing illustrations and a sweet, inspiring story about a boy’s Christmas Eve journey with Santa Claus and other children to the North Pole. (The page with the wolves is my favorite.)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss: “Maybe Christmas perhaps . . . means a little bit more.” Join The Grinch on his night of marauding and morning of soul searching when he learns that Christmas came to Whoville even without the boxes and bags.
Olive, The Other Reindeer by J.otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh: Colorful, whimsical artwork combines with a hilarious storyline about Olive the Dog for a fun holiday book that is sure to make anyone’s Christmas a little merrier.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: In October of 1843, Charles Dickens was giving new meaning to the term “starving artist.” Deep in debt and under huge obligations to his publisher, Dickens began crafting what would become the quintessential Christmas story, and creating one of the most memorable and enduring characters in English literature in Ebenezer Scrooge.
Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera: Is Sophie’s eccentric great-aunt Auntie Claus just another weird New Yorker, or is there something else going on there? Snuggle up and accompany Sophie on her yuletide adventure. (There are also some fun sequels!)
Christmas In The Barn by Margaret Wise Brown: There are two editions of this lovely interpretation of The Nativity; the original was published in 1952 and alternated pages in color and black-and-white, similar to Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon. The 2007 edition keeps the simple, beautiful original text but features all new illustrations in full color.
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett: Teeka, a young Arctic girl living “in the shadow of Santa’s Winterfarm,” has been tasked with getting Santa’s reindeer ready to fly on Christmas Eve. The creatures are not responsive to Teeka’s tactics of yelling and bossing. She realizes that to prevent the annual sleigh ride across the skies from being a disaster, she is going to have to come up with some new motivational methods for Bramble, Heather, Windswept, Lichen, Snowball, Crag, Twilight, and Tundra.
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg: A mysterious stranger rides into a small prairie town one cold November night. (No, it isn’t Clint Eastwood.) The stranger’s identity is revealed to a young girl named Lucy, and he tells her of the legend of the candy cane and provides the answer to the town’s dreams. Will Lucy in turn share her newfound knowledge?
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson: The horrible Herdman horde is a lying, cheating, stealing, fighting, smoking, cussing bunch of social outlaws. When they decide to commandeer the annual Nativity program at the local church, the congregation is caught completely flat-footed. However, the result is one of the most unorthodox—and hilarious—Christmas pageants ever.
Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco: Life is no sleigh ride for foster child Welcome Comfort at any time, but especially around Christmas, with no family or friends, no presents, and no Santa Claus. But when Welcome makes a new friend in the school custodian Mr. Hamp, his fortune just may be changing.
Happy holidays, and happy reading!
By Lance Hickerson, Reference Library Assistant
- Mood Music. Attend a concert of seasonal music by artists like Hannah and Esther DeLadurantey and the Eleganza Strings presenting a Family Christmas Concert on harp and violin.
- Come and see Santa with your family, and be sure to bring your cameras for that special photo.
- Enjoy a holiday musical like this year’s production of “Cindy’s Magic Snow Globe.”
- Take in a holiday movie on the Library’s Big Screen selected Friday Mornings and Thursday evenings.
- Save money by borrowing books from the library; and that includes electronic books.
- Need a holiday recipe? Take advantage of the library’s entire of wall of cookbooks as well as using our Zinio connection to read cooking magazines free online.
- What about some DIY Crafts for that personal touch in gifts? Attend a craft class in making bead bracelets or Christmas tree ornaments. You might also want to see the good DIY books, ready to borrow for your special project.
- Tech Tune-up! Take time out to learn more about computers and technology by attending classes like Microsoft Word, Excel, or our “Appy Hour:” where we learn about choosing the best apps for your tablet or Ipad.
- It’s family time. Learn about your family history in a class taught by library archivists called, “Introduction to Ancestry.com.”
- Enjoy the special activities for teens, like the Teen Cookie Decorating Party.
- Learn French (or German, or Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and more) for your next vacation or just for fun with the library’s free online language program called “Powerspeak.”
Bonus: Find a perfect holiday gift at a reasonable price from the Library’s Academy Park Press. Available at the main library circulation desk are the children’s book, Bucky and Bonnie’s Library Adventure, and the recently published: Bullets and Bayonets: A Battle of Franklin Primer.
Part 1 of 2
Most church historians have said that although December 25 is the official birth date for Jesus, most believe he was born in March. So why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25?
Because of Mithras. Mithraism spread across Asia Minor from Persia and became very popular with the Roman army. The Roman army was made up of conquered peoples, many of whom worshiped Mithras. He was a sun god; one of his main celebration dates was December 25, to ensure that the sun would be reborn to bring warmth to the world again in the spring and summer. When Christianity was just starting, Mithraism was one of its main rivals. So the church changed the date of the celebration of Jesus’ birth to December 25.
The other main rival for Christmas was the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. This farming festival included feasting, giving gifts to family and sharing food with the poor lasted a whole week, ending on December 25. The Romans drank to excess and ate to excess, which is what many do today. The early Church considered these celebrations unseemly, so they made giving gifts and food to the poor part of the Christmas festival.
Christmas was a solemn and reflective holy day (holiday) for several centuries for Christians – Christmas was originally Christ’s Mass, a special service. But the pagan celebrations persisted for so long that the Church adopted them, hoping that the pagans would become Christian.
The way we celebrate Christmas now generally originated in the Middle Ages, mostly from England. The decorations, carols, food, cards and gift giving were brought to the United States from England, Holland and Germany. Santa Claus was originally Saint Nicolas, which in Dutch became Sinter Claus, which became Santa Claus. In Holland, Belgium and Italy, children are left presents in their shoes on December 6, which is St. Nicholas’ Day. The Santa Claus we all know and are used to was created by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly, and first appeared in 1863!
Did you know Christmas was outlawed in the Puritan community of Plymouth. The Puritans associated all the celebrating and carousing with paganism. By the 1870s, Christmas gradually began to become more like what we know now. In the Jamestown Colony, in Virginia, Christmas was celebrated riotously, almost like it was in England.
Fun facts about our Christmas traditions coming in Part II!!
- Christmas curiosities: old, dark and forgotten Christmas by John Grossman, c 2007
By Megan Sheridan, Children’s Librarian
Has your child’s doctor told you to read to your little one? If not, maybe you’ve heard about this; the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised pediatricians to urge parents and caregivers to read to their children (read the article). Why are some doctors doing this? It’s because reading to children, especially ages 0 to 5, plays a crucial role in preparing them for success in school and in life. Reading to very young children is not about teaching them to read but getting them ready to read. The American Library Association (ALA) has built a program around this concept called Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR). As more and more data about the importance of Early Childhood Literacy has been published and analyzed, groups like The American Academy of Pediatrics and others are urging caregivers to read to their children.
You might be overwhelmed or even intimidated when an article, book or doctor tells you to read to your child. You might wonder “what books should I read to my little one(s)?” and “How do I prepare my child for Kindergarten?”
If you’ve asked yourself these questions; don’t worry! You’re probably already doing many things to get your child ready to read and if you’re not, it’s easy to start and never too late.
There are five activities to develop your child’s early literacy skills: Talk, Read, Sing, Write and Play. For a quick explanation of these activities and examples of how to do them visit this website from the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota. The five activities can be done in your daily routine. For example, simply talk to your child about the world around you and the activities you do every day. Talk about how pretty the white clouds are in the sky and how the cozy the blanket is. Don’t feel silly talking to your newborn when you’re changing her diaper or getting her bottle ready. The more your child hears you talk the more words she’ll learn and this is vital for early childhood literacy development.
If you, like most parents and caregivers, feel stretched for time and have a busy life, you might not get as much time to read with your children as you would like. That’s okay because you can still do reading activities without a book! Read street signs out loud as you pass them by in the car when your little one is in the back seat. Look at cereal boxes in the grocery store and read the names of the cereal out loud. Do this for infants too, and not just for toddlers and preschoolers.
By talking, reading, singing, writing and playing with your child every day she will not only be prepared for school and life but you will have fun together. And that’s one doctor’s order that is easy to follow!
- To find examples of great books to read to your child, visit Let’s Read on the Williamson County Public Library website and click on toddler and pre-school tabs on the right. This will bring up lists of books that are just right for children in the 0 to 5 range. We also have board books which are wonderful for babies and toddlers. Believe it or not, by giving your baby or toddler a board book and letting her play with it you’re getting her ready to read! Your baby is learning how to hold the book and turn the pages. These are the building blocks of literacy and it’s never too early to start teaching them to your baby. She might even put the book in her mouth and that’s okay! That’s how babies learn about the world around them.
Zero to Three has some great information about how to choose a book for babies, toddlers and families. There is also a more in depth explanation of early language and literacy development on their website.
- For more ideas on how to develop early literacy skills download the ACPL Family app, which is FREE! It has wonderful examples of how to do the five early literacy activities every day.
- The Library of Virginia has an easy to understand visual of the five Early Literacy activities. An image of a sun and a tree is used to illustrate the components of Early Childhood Literacy. The caregiver is the sun. He or she makes the difference in a child’s early literacy development. The fruit of the caregiver’s interactions with a child, of doing the five activities together, is that she will find it easier to learn to read. Click here for more explanation: