2023 Home For The Holidays

Page 2 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022

Page 3 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Table of Contents 04) Happy Holidays! How did we get here? 06) Christmas 2023 trivia 10) Coping with grief and loss during the holidays 14) Keep your poinsettia happy and healthy 18) The history and miracle of Hanukkah 28) O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree: How evergreens ended up decking our halls for the holidays 32) How to choose a Christmas tree theme 36) Santa? I know him! 40) The universally significant principals of Kwanzaa 44) The history of Father Time and Baby New Year 48) Ring in the New Year alcohol free

Page 4 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Happy Holidays! What a wonderful pairing of words. It makes us smile to think of the holiday season that is now officially in full swing. There will be days of baking Christmas cookies, planning holiday get togethers, shopping, lots of shopping, gift wrapping, again a lot of that too. These are the things that lead us to that ultimate Christmas morning when the kids come running into the family room, putting on the brakes before crashing head on into the Christmas tree. They drop to their knees and start tearing open gift wrapping, paper and bows flying in every direction as they reveal the treasures that are hidden beneath those pretty foil bows. They toss aside the new underwear and socks, groan at the crazy Christmas sweater that was a gift from grandma, and dive for the Red Rider BB gun that grandpa insisted they were too old to live without even one more day. The dolls, the play tea sets, the games, the videos and electronics, their treasures, all laying before them. And as they try to divide their time between each of the wonderful gifts, they hear those dreaded words from you, “It’s time to get ready to go to grandma’s house, and don’t forget to wear that precious new sweater grandma gave you!” And then you gasp, when did you turn into your mother? You remember all too well the words she would say and that feeling of disappointment and dread that came immediately after. Happy Holidays! “But why? Why do we have to go to grandmas?” “You know you want to! You get to see all your cousins! You can play with them and have fun, and you know grandma has been baking your favorite cookies all week long!” “But we don’t want to see the cousins. We don’t like cousin Snort (the name your kids gave little Tommy because he is constantly needing to blow his nose). We don’t want to wear that sweater! Come on mom, don’t make us do that!” Yep, you’ve turned into your mother, and for just a moment you weaken. But then you think about your mom and what it means to her. You think about that warm feeling you’ll find when you get there. The savory smells of turkey and ham in the oven, the buttery aroma of home-made bread, delicately blending with the sweet smell of pecan and pumpkin pies. You think about the feeling of unity, the family that you haven’t seen for quite some time, the photos that will be taken, the memories that will be made, and you’re right back to repeating your order to the children. “Now go get ready, I promise you’ll have a good time, and YES, you have to wear that sweater!” So why did you do that? How did you get to this point? You did it because in your mind you’re looking twenty years down the road, and you’re seeing yourself as the grandma and your children as the parents. You will want them to come home for the holidays, just as you today are going home for the holidays. It’s called tradition. And you don’t want to lose that because it is what ties you to your loved ones, and indeed what gives the holiday season its deeper, more poignant meaning. How did we get here? Continued --

Page 5 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 But, let’s look at the bigger picture. Who started all this? Really, who started any of it? Why do we observe Christmas with trees in our house and Santa in our Chimney? Why do we celebrate any of the observances that are part of this time of year? Who decided we should observe Hanukkah, and why? What about Kwanzaa? Why is that important and when did it start being so? For the 2023 Home for the Holidays online magazine, our team of writers dug into those questions, and came up with some very good answers. And, also to a certain extent some challenges. Whatever we observe as our “primary” each of the three observances have value for us regardless of our personal faith, personal heritage, or our ethnic or cultural background. As you leaf through the pages of this year’s magazine you’ll find fun articles about why we do what we do each and every year. Who decided to decorate a tree? Is there really a Santa Claus? What is the secret meaning of the Dreidel game? And what are the seven principals of Kwanzaa? You may be surprised by what you learn. And, regardless of what your personal beliefs and practices are, we hope you will find something interesting, like how to keep that poinsettia alive through Christmas and maybe even all year long. How to create a themed Christmas tree, why we have Father Time and a New Year Baby, and how can we celebrate the new year without getting tipsy. And, on a more serious note, we have one article that we hope you will all read early in the season. Whether you have lost a loved one this year, or know someone who has, this article will hopefully help you as you enter the holiday season. And, as always, we at Lincoln Daily News are taking this opportunity to say thank you to all of our readers and our advertisers. Your support over the past year has been so appreciated by all of us. We long to bring you the important and best parts of our community and share with you the good that we see when we are out in the county. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to serve you in this manner. Happy Holidays! The Staff and Stringers of Lincoln Daily News

Page 6 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Christmas 2023 Trivia 1. How many ghosts show up in A Christmas Carol? a. Four – The spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, and Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former business partner, is the first ghost to appear. 2. How many gifts were given in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song? a. 364 – One more present would have made up a whole year’s worth of gifts. Unless this song was written based on a leap year. 3. What popular Christmas song was actually written for Thanksgiving? a. Jingle Bells – The song’s original title was “One Horse Open Sleigh.” 4. What is the capital of Christmas Island? a. Flying Fish Cove 5. In what year did Hallmark make its first Christmas cards? a. 1915 6. Who was trying to kill baby Jesus? a. King Herod 7. What year did people start sending out Christmas cards? a. 1843 8. Which way should you stir mincemeat for good luck, clockwise or counterclockwise? a. Clockwise 9. Where is the world’s largest nativity scene located? a. Einsiedein, Switzerland -Four hundred fifty figures were hand carved and set in front of a huge 98.5 feet of painted background. 10. Gingerbread houses were inspired by what popular fairy tale? a. Hansel and Gretel Continued --

Page 7 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 11. What is the biggest snowman ever made? a. Taking approximately one month to build and standing at 122 feet high. and made of 13 million pounds of snow, Olympia the Snowman was built in Bethel, Maine in 1999 12. How long does it take to grow a natural Christmas tree? a. Six to 15 years from a seedling to an eight-foot tree 13. What Bing Crosby song is the best-selling single ever? a. White Christmas 14. Are Santa’s reindeer male or female? a. All are female, male reindeer do not have antlers during Christmas time. 15. What traditional Christmas side dish is called Marsh-Whorts? a. Cranberry sauce 16. What year did the song Silent Night originate? a. 1818 in Austria. Father Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber worked on a poem that was written two years earlier. That night they sang the song at St. Nicholas church, and it became one of the best-loved Christmas carols. 17. What are the five names of Jesus found in the Bible? a. Jesus, Emmanuel, Christ, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace 18. “I’ll be back again someday” was the last words of who? a. Frosty the Snowman 19. Which American President banned Christmas trees in the White House? a. Theodore Roosevelt was attempting to save the trees that were largely being cut down for Christmas around the country. 20. What country decorates their Christmas trees with spiders? a. Ukraine believes that seeing a spider or spider web on a tree will signify good fortune for the next year to come. 21. What famous scientist was born on Christmas Day? a. Sir Isaac Newton if you use England's Julien Calendar. According to the rest of the world, he was born on January 4th. Continued --

Page 8 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Continued — 22. What guided the wise men to find Jesus? a. A star. This is why it is significant to put a star on top of the Christmas tree. 23. In 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, how long has Cousin Eddy been unemployed? a. Seven years 24. What is the name of the town where It’s a Wonderful Life takes place? a. Bedford Falls 25. Which state was Home Alone filmed in? a. Illinois 26. Where was baby Jesus born? a. Bethlehem 27. What real-life department store is the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” base on? a. Macy’s 28. What color of Christmas did Elvis have? a. Blue 29. What are two other popular names for Santa? a. Kris Kringle and Saint Nick 30. Which of Santa’s reindeer has the same name as another holiday mascot? a. Cupid 31. What country started the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree? a. Germany Continued --

Page 9 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 32. How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish? a. Feliz Navidad 33. What gift did the Little Drummer Boy give to the newborn Christ? a. He played a song for him on his drums. 34. What is the name of George Bailey’s guardian angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life”? a. Clarence Odbody 35. How many years after Christ died was Christmas celebrated? a. 336 36. In what country do people wear roller skates on the way to church on Christmas Eve? a. Venezuela 37. Who is Jesus’s father? a. Joseph 38. In what country do people place paper lanterns and light a candle to mark the start of the Christmas season? a. Colombia 39. What do Englanders call America’s Santa? a. Father Christmas [Compiled by JA Hodgdon]

Page 10 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Coping with Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Page 11 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 The Holidays bring joy, togetherness, family, and friends, but for some people the holidays can be especially challenging. This time of year is known for family gatherings and each holiday season that passes marks the passage of time in our lives. The holiday season can be especially tough if you have experienced loss. The loss can be recent or have occurred some time ago, it can be the loss of a family member, a friend, a pet, or even the loss of a relationship. Grief and bereavement are universal, there is no rhyme or reason, pattern, or ultimate guide. When you lose someone special you lack the exuberance and joy in everyday life, let alone holidays and celebrations. It can be difficult to be happy at all. Here, you will find some tips and suggestions for letting your emotions guide you during the holidays. Rather than ignoring the pain of grief, try to incorporate the love you felt and still feel. Celebrate the life of your loved one. You may be surprised to find warmth and healing in unexpected places. Listen to Your Body and your Heart Pay close attention to your health when navigating the grieving process. You may be surprised to learn that grief surfaces physically as well as emotionally. The part of the brain associated with emotion and stress is activated during the grieving process. Grief can interrupt and even change the chemicals in your brain causing your immune system to be dysregulated. Although you may not feel like eating, it is important to eat healthy foods that nourish both your body and your mind. You will need extra rest during the grieving process and the holidays are often a time of hectic schedules. Be kind to yourself and allow for the rest you require. It is a good idea to seek the help of your healthcare provider. Your healthcare team can give you suggested menus, sleep schedules, and the resources to help you walk through the holiday season and beyond. Talk About Your Grief Swallowing your grief and pain won’t make it go away. Talking about your grief openly may make you feel better. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings during the holiday season. Spending as much time as possible with family and friends who love and support you. If it feels right for you to take some time to talk openly, then share some stories, memories, and photos. Surround Yourself with Support Inventory your friends and relatives and identify those who allow you to express your feelings without judgement. Attend holiday events with those people who understand that this can be a very difficult season for you and those who make accommodations for you to feel as comfortable as possible. Celebrate and remember with the ones who accept you at your best and at your lowest. Set Realistic Expectations No one expects you to attend every holiday gathering, grieving or not. Remember to be kind to yourself and take into account that maybe this year will be a little different. Think about the holiday responsibilities you’ve had in the past and decide if you’re still up to the task. Take others up on their offer to help. Sadness and feelings of grief can wear you down, making you more fatigued than normal. Listen to what your body is telling you. You may already feel stressed, so don’t overextend Continued --

Page 12 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 yourself. Realize that merely “keeping busy” won’t distract you from your loss, it may do the exact opposite. Keep this holiday season as low key as you need it to be. Your family and friends will understand. Try to Resist Cancelling or Skipping the Holiday Altogether Keeping it low key doesn’t have to mean isolating yourself. There may be certain traditions you don’t feel ready to handle, and that is OK. Attend gatherings that you feel you can handle. If you go to an event and you don’t feel equipped to handle it, excuse yourself. Be aware that family members and friends who are also experiencing the same loss may have their own difficulties with certain traditions. Each person and the relationships that they have are unique. Give each other permission to grieve while trying to find a way to also celebrate. Externalizing your loss may help. Some ways to include your loss you are: a prayer before Holiday dinner, mentioning your loss, lighting a candle for your loved one, leaving an empty seat for your loved one, sharing treasured memories. Do What Feels Right for You Family and friends, though they mean well, may often try to tell you how should feel. Instead of going along with their plans, try to focus on what you want to do. Decide what family traditions you want to continue and consider new alternatives. Getting caught off guard may evoke feelings of panic, fear, and anxiety during the holidays and especially during grief when your emotions are already heightened. Ask yourself things like “who will be there?” how long will it last?”, Preparing yourself may make attending holiday gatherings a little easier. Embrace Your Memories Hold on to the memories that you made. Memories are one of the most treasured gifts we can give each other. Your memories may bring laughter and they may bring tears. The most important thing is for you to feel. Feel real, raw, honest emotions. Grief has been described as the price we pay for love. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Memories of the person, pet, or relationship that you have lost were made in love, and love deserves to be felt, remembered, grieved, and celebrated. Avoid self-medicating with things like alcohol. If you find yourself needing a boost during the holidays, go for a walk, call a friend, cuddle with a pet, or even write in a journal. Try not to look down on those that feel a sense of joy during the holiday season. Just as you expect them to be aware of your feelings, you must do the same for them. Get Spiritual The holidays certainly bring about a sense of spirituality and faith. Surround yourself with people who share, understand, and respect your beliefs. You may want to attend a holiday service or a special religious ceremony. You may not feel ready to express your gratitude through faith and that is understandable too. It is very natural to feel that you may never enjoy the holidays again. Although your life will not be the same as it was before the loss, your faith may guide you to a new understanding of yourself, your loss, and of the holiday spirit. As you approach the holidays, remember that grief is both a necessity and a privilege. Allow yourself to grieve. Try to remember that grief is the result of giving and receiving love. Try Continued --

Page 13 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Continued — to love yourself and those around you. Be patient, both with yourself and others. Reach out to family and friends if you need help. There is always someone who cares. Wishing you peace and love this holiday season. [Lesleigh Bennett] National Hotline for Mental Health Crises And Suicide Prevention – 988 Lap of Love Pet Loss and Bereavement Resource Line (855) 352-5683 Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 741-741 in the U.S. Resources: https://willowhouse.org/grief-and-loss-duringthe-holiday-season/ https://www.centerforloss.com/2016/12/ helping-heal-holiday-season/ https://grief.com/grief-the-holidays/

Page 14 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Evergreen trees are not the only plants we love to bring into our homes to celebrate the holidays. The ubiquitous poinsettia makes its appearance shortly after Halloween to ring in the festive season. A native plant of Mexico, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) was introduced to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1828 who saw it while visiting the city of Taxco and sent some cuttings to his plantation in South Carolina where they were propagated. It is now the best selling potted plant in the United States and Canada. https://www.almanac. com/poinsettiachristmas-story The most widely available color is the classic red, however, poinsettia breeders have developed over 150 varieties in a range of shades. The colorful red, pink or cream “flowers” of the poinsettia are not actually flowers, but a type of leaf called bracts. The actual flower is the small yellow bud in the middle of the bract. The little yellow flower inspires the Spanish name for poinsettia because of its resemblance to a star. Flor de la Buena Noche is the Spanish name, which means Flower of the Holy Night, Holy Night referring to Christmas Eve, and the yellow flower bringing to mind the Star of Bethlehem. Because it is a tropical plant, the poinsettia Keep Your Poinsettia Happy and Healthy needs some special attention to thrive inside, but with proper care a poinsettia can last all year long. To begin, make sure the plant is protected from wind and cold when bringing it home from the shop– definitely do not leave it in a frigid car while running errands! Once home regular care will keep your new plant happy and healthy. The Old Farmer's Almanac offers Seven Tips to keep your poinsettia in peak condition through the holidays: 1. The plants require bright, indirect light during the day for the brightest color (at least 6 hours a day), so place yours near a well-lit window. East-facing windows are best. However, keep it out of direct sun, which could fade or burn the leaves. 2. Avoid spots near heating vents and doors. Cold drafts will cause leaves to drop. No part of the plant should touch the cold glass. Excess heat can dry out the plants too much. 3. Poinsettias favor semi-cool conditions. Keep temperatures between 65° and 70°F, ideally. Basically, maintain temperatures that are comfortable to people. Be sure to lower the thermostat at night so that plants cool off. Continued --

Page 15 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 4. Keep the soil moist, but be careful not to overwater, which is the most common cause of death. Only water when the top inch or two of soil feel dry to the touch. If underwatered, plants wilt and shed leaves. 5. Don’t let the plant sit in water or waterfilled saucers which causes root rot. Be careful to remove any foil which may gather water. Treat the saucers like water catchers and 30 minutes or so after a good watering detach it in the sink and let it all drain out. 6. Fertilizer is never recommended while the plant is in bloom. Fertilize only if you decide to keep them after their holiday bloom. 7. Poinsettias like humidity. Add plants nearby to aid humidity. Use a humidifier or place plants on a tray filled with pebbles and water to increase relative humidity. https://www.almanac.com/caring-forpoinsettias Poinsettias offer beautiful color during the holidays, but can also be enjoyed as a lovely leafy green plant throughout the year with proper care. To help it continue to thrive, prune the plant in the spring and continue watering according to the previous instructions. It can be moved outdoors in the summer or even planted in the garden. If leaving as a potted plant, monitor its growth as it will eventually need to be repotted into a larger pot. Some people who care for the plant throughout the year may be interested in forcing the poinsettia to rebloom the following winter. It takes some effort, but it is possible to bring back the colorful bracts. Julie Weisenhorn, horticulture educator for the University of Minnesota Extension explains, “It is not an easy task, as it requires excluding light from the plant for a period of time while keeping the plant healthy. The reduction in light prevents the plant from producing chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plant parts green. This changes the bracts to red, pink, or white, depending on the poinsettia variety.” She provides a detailed guide to yearlong care with the goal of forcing the poinsettia to rebloom the following winter on the University of Minnesota Extension website: “New Year's Day ● Fertilize if you see new growth. ● Continue to provide adequate light and water for prolonged bloom for several weeks. Valentine's Day ● Check your plant for signs of insects, such as white fly, and manage them if you find them. If your plant has become long and leggy, cut back to about five inches tall to promote more compact growth. St. Patrick's Day ● Prune off faded and dried parts of the plant. ● Remove leaves from the soil surface, and add a little more potting soil if the roots are visible. ● Continue keeping the plant in a bright, sunny window.

Page 16 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Memorial Day ● Trim off two to three inches of branches to promote side branching. ● If you plan to continue growing your poinsettia as a potted plant, transplant into a container. Father's Day ● Move the plant outside for the summer and place in indirect light. ● You can also transplant it directly into your garden. Fourth of July ● Trim the plant again. ● Move it into full sun. ● Continue to water and fertilize but increase the amount to accelerate growth. Labor Day ● Move indoors to a spot that gets at least six hours of direct light daily, preferably more. ● As new growth begins, reduce the fertilizer to one-quarter the recommended strength. Fall equinox ● Starting on or near Sept. 21, give the plant 16 hours of uninterrupted darkness (put the plant in a closet, basement or under a box) and 8 hours of bright light every day. Note that during the dark period, the plant cannot receive even the slightest bit of light at any time. ● Maintain night temperatures in the low 60 degrees F range. ● Continue to water and fertilize at the reduced rate. ● Rotate the plant daily to give all sides even light. Thanksgiving ● Discontinue the short day/long night treatment. ● Put the plant in a sunny area that gets at least six hours of direct light. ● Reduce water and fertilizer. Christmas Enjoy your "new" poinsettia. Start the cycle all over again after the new year.” https://extension.umn.edu/houseplants/ poinsettia#poinsettia-care-after-the-holidaysand-reblooming-1579964 Whether purchasing a poinsettia for your home, office, or church, or as a gift for loved ones, with the right strategy and care, your poinsettia can bring holiday cheer through all the year. Merry Christmas! [Stephanie Hall]

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Page 18 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 The history and miracle of Hanukkah Hanukkah is something Jews all over the world celebrate today, but did you know it dates back many centuries? A National Geographic article by Amy Briggs says Hanukkah’s origins “date back to the turbulent centuries following the death of Alexander the Great, the ancient Macedonian leader who conquered the Persian Empire.” Here is some history of Hanukkah and the ways it is celebrated. As Briggs explains, after Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C., there was a century long struggle for power between his generals. In the struggle, it was Greco-Syrian Seleucid kings who won the victory and then ruled many of the territories Alexander had ruled. During this time, Briggs says “Seleucids exerted their influence through Hellenization, the spread of Greek art, architecture, and religion. Local communities, especially in Judea, resisted it.” When Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes became king, he attempted to “force Judeans to assimilate.” The Jerusalem temple was captured, and Seleucids placed an altar to the Greek god Zeus in it. Continued --

Page 19 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 As part of the assimilation, Brigg says “Antiochus outlawed the Jewish faith and mandated the worship of Greek gods.” Josephus, a first century historian tells of the horrible treatment of Jews who refused to assimilate. This included whipping, crucifixions and destruction of sacred books. Then a priest named Matthias rebelled against the changes. Once Matthias died, his son Judah the Maccabee continued fighting against the Seleucids, often winning. By 164, Judah had regained control of Jerusalem. The temple was then restored, cleansed and redecorated. The Jewish Virtual Library says that is the Hanukkah miracle described in the Book of Maccabees. Hannukah means “dedication” and “commemorates the miracle of light that occurred when Judah redecorated the Temple to the Hebrew God. Hanukkah is celebrated around the same time as Christmas. In fact, the Jewish Virtual Library says many who are not Jewish “think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift giving and decoration.” Rebecca Forgrasz’s article “The story of Hanukkah: how a minor Jewish holiday was remade in the image of Christmas” says, “[i] n the US especially, Hanukkah has become a widely recognized holiday. As well as lighting the National Menorah in Washington DC, the president hosts an annual Hanukkah party in the White House. In big cities like New York, parents of Jewish children are often invited into elementary school classrooms to explain Hanukkah to students.” Hanukkah traditions The celebration of Hanukkah has many traditions that include candles, food, gifts and games. Olivia B. Waxman’s Time magazine article on the origin of these traditions describes how they came about. For example, candles are lit today in place of lighting oil lamps like they did in first century celebrations. In the same article, historian Steven Fine says using candles became common in 18th century Eastern Europe because “candles became cleaner and cheaper, and people could not get olive oil in the middle of the winter because it’s expensive.” Latkes [fried potato pancakes or fritters] and jelly donuts are commonly served during Hanukkah celebrations. The fried foods are symbolic of “the oil used to light the menorah.” Latkes in the middle ages “were actually made of cheese.” By the mid-19th century, potatoes were readily available and cheaper to use than cheese. Chocolate gelt, which are foil wrapped chocolate coins are given out during Hanukkah. Waxman says they “may have evolved from a bunch of different traditions.” For example, in one 18th century Eastern European tradition, “rabbis went from village to village giving Hebrew School-style lessons.” To reward the Rabbis, villagers gave them “some kind of edible tokens of appreciation.” A commonly played Hannukah game is dreidel, which is a spinning game. Though the origin is unknown, Times article on Hanukkah’s history says, “it’s thought to have derived from a 16th century game played in Ireland that made its way to Germany. Continued --

Page 20 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 As such, though the four letters on the four sides of the top are now said to stand for the words in the Hebrew sentence “a great miracle happened there” (or, in Israel, “happened here”), that meaning probably showed up later.” Leah Silverman’s Town and Country Magazine article “17 Facts about Hanukkah you Probably Didn’t Know” describes more about some of the Hanukkah traditions such as lighting the Menorah, singing certain songs and reciting blessings. The Menorah, which Britannica says is sometimes called a “Hanukkah lamp” [and] recalls the Temple lampstand.” The Menorah is “a simple or elaborate candelabra with eight branches plus a holder for the shammash (“servant”) candle that is used to light the other eight candles.” These Menorahs come in various shapes and sizes. The tradition of lighting a Menorah date back 1800 years. Silverman says when the temple was rededicated “after the Maccabee victory … they required a holy light to burn inside at all times, but the Jews had only enough oil for one night. Incredibly, the light burned for eight days.” Now, Jews remember that by lighting one candle each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. The candles are to be lit soon after sundown starting from the left side. As the candles are lit, one of three Hebrew blessings is recited. In some areas, there are also community menorah lighting festivals. The world’s largest menorah, found in New York, is 36 feet tall. Additionally, just as there are traditional Christmas carols, there are some traditional Hanukkah songs. These Hanukkah traditions differ in various parts of the world. For instance, in North African communities, the menorah is placed in the doorway instead of the window. Fascinating Facts about Hanukkah The article by Silverman provides several fascinating facts on some of the Hanukkah traditions. For example, people used to be given at Hanukkah. Now, gift giving is more popular. Fried foods, like the donuts eaten at Hanukkah symbolize the miracle oil. Silverman says that the dreidels ‘were invented as a distraction” When Greek-Syrians outlawed Jewish studies, Jews “spun dreidels to pretend they were merely playing games” as they read scripture. The word “Hanukkah” comes from the Hebrew word “Hinuch,” which means “to teach.” Usually, what is being taught is from the Torah. Other ways to spell Hanukkah are Chanukah and Hannuka. These are all considered correct because there is no direct translation from Hebrew. Of all the Jewish holidays, Hanukkah is actually the least important. Rosh Hashanah, Continued --

Page 21 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Yom Kippur and Passover are all more important Jewish holidays. Hanukkah is considered more of a festival than a holiday. Unlike Christmas, the date of Hanukkah is different each year. It always starts on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month on the Jewish calendar. This year, it will start on the evening of December 7 and end on December 15. In 2024, Hanukkah will last from December 25 to January 2. Like Christmas; however, Hanukkah traditions are important to those who celebrate the holiday. [Angela Reiners] Resources: Briggs, Amy. “How an Ancient Revolt Sparked the Festival of Lights.” National Geographic. 28 Nov. 2022. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/ article/history-of-hanukkah “Hanukkah: Festival, Menorah, Lighting.” Britannica. Hanukkah - Festival, Menorah, Lighting | Britannica Forsgrasz, Rebecca. “The Story of Hanukkah: How a Minor Jewish Holiday was Remade in the Image of Christmas.” 22 Dec. 2019. www.theconversation.com “Jewish Holidays: Chanukah.” https://www. jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hannukah Silverman, Leah. “17 Facts about Hanukkah you Probably Didn’t Know.” Town and Country Magazine. 15 Dec. 2022. https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/ arts-and-culture/g13787924/hanukkah-factshistory-story/ Waxman, Olivia B. “The Surprising Origins of 5 Hanukkah Traditions.” 11 Dec. 2017. www.time.com

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Page 28 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Chances are excellent that while wrestling a freshly-chopped fir tree through the front door or dragging an artificial one down from the attic, you have never given a thought to His Royal Highness, Prince Albert, husband to Great Britain’s Queen Victoria. In fact, you have Prince Albert and his German heritage to thank for any of your Christmas tree joys or troubles because it is through him that this German Christmas tradition became popular in the English-speaking world. However, the tradition of bringing greenery indoors during wintertime extends well before the 19th century when Victoria and Albert popularized a decorated tree inside of living spaces. Ancient cultures observed the winter solstice as a turning point in the year when the days began to lengthen and they could look forward to warmer weather and the planting season ahead. To celebrate this pivotal time, ancient Egyptians brought palm rushes indoors to welcome Ra, their sun god, back to health. Romans decorated homes and temples with boughs of evergreen for the feast of Saturnalia honoring Saturn, god of agriculture. Celtic Druids also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs, and Vikings believed evergreens to be a special gift from their own sun god, Balder. Church records from England indicate holly and ivy were used to decorate homes, streets, and parishes in some areas during the 14th and 15th centuries, but the Christmas tree tradition we know today appears to be rooted in the Middle Ages in what we now know as Germany. According to Time magazine, “In 1419, a guild in Freiburg put up a tree decorated with apples, flour-paste wafers, tinsel and gingerbread. In ‘Paradise Plays’ that were performed to celebrate the feast day of Adam and Eve, which fell on Christmas Eve, a tree of knowledge was represented by O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree: How Evergreens Ended Up Decking Our Halls for the Holidays Continued --

Page 29 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 an evergreen fir with apples tied to its branches.” These trees were sometimes left up through the Christmas season. Various reports of pine boughs cut for decorations, laws against excessive cutting of pine boughs for decoration, Christmas tree markets, and indoor decorated trees appear in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries throughout the region that became Germany. First introduced to the United States by German settlers, initially Christmas trees were relatively rare to be found and were viewed by most Americans as an oddity, at best, and a pagan symbol, at worst. Things changed abruptly in the mid-19th century. As Time magazine reports, “the image of a decorated Christmas tree with presents underneath has a very specific origin: an engraving of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their children gathering around a Christmas tree, eyeing the presents underneath, published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. The premier women’s magazine in America back then, Godey’s Lady’s Book, reprinted a version of the image a couple of years later as ‘The Christmas Tree.’” Queen Victoria and her royal family were very popular and, therefore, very influential both in the United Kingdom and across the pond, making an impact on trends, behaviors, and, in this case, new traditions. Decorated Christmas trees become popular immediately in both the U.K. and in America. They were first sold commercially in the U.S. in 1851, cut down from existing forests. By the 1890’s glass ornaments were being imported to the U.S. from Germany, and Americans also enjoyed making homemade Christmas ornaments, along with stringing popcorn, cranberries, and nuts. Europeans tended to celebrate with small Christmas trees of four feet or less or even table top trees. However, in true American “Go big or go home” style, Americans wanted their trees floor to ceiling. Tree decorations featured not just crafts, glass, and edibles, but also candles. As in lit candles. As in dead trees were brought inside wood-framed houses and decorated with fire. Unsurprisingly, this led to many house fires at Christmas time. Fortunately, not long after inventing the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison constructed the first strand of electric lights in 1880, which he strung outside his New Jersey laboratory. However, it was his business partner who put them to Christmas use in 1882, according to the Library of Congress. Edward H. Johnson, “Edison’s friend and partner in the Edison’s Illumination Company, hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree. Not only was the tree illuminated with electricity, it also revolved.” In 1903, General Electric offered for sale the first pre-assembled lights for the regular consumer to purchase. Although European by origin, America staked its own claim in the Christmas tree field: the United States seems to be the first to erect giant public Christmas trees to celebrate the season. The first on record is in New York City in the 1910s, but the most famous are probably the National Tree and the Rockefeller Center Tree. Fourteenth President Franklin Pierce was the first to decorate an evergreen outside the White House in 1850, twenty years before Christmas became a federal holiday, and President Benjamin Harrison was the first to bring a Christmas tree indoors to celebrate the season with his family. The first to host the National Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House, however, was President Calvin Coolidge, who lit a balsam fir tree Continued --

Page 30 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Continued — strung with 3,000 lights in 1923. Interestingly, the National Tree Lighting tradition was not instigated by the spirit of the season, but rather, by the electricity lobby hoping to encourage Christmas electricity use to a country only 30% electrified. The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was set up in 1931 during construction of the Rockefeller Center. It was a 20 foot tree put up by construction workers working on the site and decorated with cranberries, paper garlands, and even tin cans. Two years later another went up, this time 40 feet tall and strung with 750 lights. Current iterations of the tree hold over 25,000 lights. The origins of some modern traditions are sometimes obscure or lost in the past, but we know exactly why we haul an evergreen into our living rooms and bedeck it with baubles and lights every winter as a cherished tradition. We can all thank Queen Victoria’s beloved German Prince Consort, Albert. [Stephanie Hall] Resources: https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/ history-of-christmas-trees https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/ technology/item/who-invented-electricchristmas-lights https://time.com/5736523/history-ofchristmas-trees https://time.com/4580764/national-christmastree-lighting-history-origins/

Page 31 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022

Page 32 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 How To Choose a Christmas Tree Theme Decorating the Christmas tree should be a fun family activity, but every year around October, I find myself scrambling for new ideas. I always start by planning and decorating my tree. I look at the ornaments and decorations I already have and then decide if I need to buy anything additional to achieve the look I’m going for. Decorating the tree first helps to set the theme throughout the home and gives me a solid place to start so I don’t get overwhelmed. In my opinion, my tree models the stage of life our family is in. When the kids are little, you may find your tree full of handmade school ornaments, bright colorful lights, toy trains, and ornaments only on the top half of the tree. Remember those days? When the kids are old enough to favor a sport or a character you decorate with basketballs, or dinosaurs, or Dora the Explorer. As the kids grow, you may find that what once was a fun family activity, now seems like a chore for the teens. At first, you’ll reminisce and pine for the days the kids would fight over whose school ornament gets the front spot on the tree, but then you’ll come to the realization that you now have total decorative control. In a technologically advanced world, there are so many options for Christmas tree themes that it’ll make your head spin. Just think of me as your personal decorating elf, here to guide you through the process. Focus On A Style First things first, decide whether your style will be rustic, whimsical, traditional, or elegant. When you see decorated trees what appeals to you? If you’re not sure, look through Pinterest or browse home and garden magazines. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the choices so make a plan before you start shopping. Make a list of the specific items you’re looking for and stick to it. As I said earlier, I start planning well before December. When going for a new look I try to spend November planning and shopping and then December can be all about family traditions and gift shopping. Choose A Color Palette Now that you’ve chosen a style, you need to determine a color scheme. This is an important step because it creates flow throughout your whole home. For this step, you’ll need to think about your existing home décor and the people you share your home with. Is your home full of neutrals, blues, gold or silver accents? A great way to start is to choose a neutral first (think gold, silver, platinum, black, or rose gold). After you’ve chosen your neutral you can choose colors that coordinate with it. Our main tree is usually a different color scheme than the trees in the bedrooms. Each bedroom tree is decorated with the color and theme that matches that person’s style. The girls still embrace more of a whimsical style with chevron ribbon, frosted glass, metallic ornaments, and lots of glitz and glamour. Our son prefers a more rustic and simplistic tree with pinecones and buffalo plaid ribbon. I prefer a warm, classic tree in our bedroom. I tend to leave the tree on at Continued --

Page 33 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 night so I love the glow of warm golden lights and traditional red and green ornaments. Build Around A Staple Piece Most of the time I get the idea for a Christmas theme from one item I cherish or one that catches my eye that I know I just have to have. Cardinal Birds grace our main tree every year, so I start with those and change the accents. Sometimes I use more rustic items like pinecones, feathers, and berries with the cardinal birds. If I’m going rustic that year I usually choose a burlap or more natural ribbon theme. Other years the cardinal birds are accented with red sugared berries, frosted glass ornaments and red glitter ribbon. Some ornaments are used with either stye and some ornaments are style specific. For our business Christmas Tree I tend to keep it very muted with warm lights and appropriate décor. Depending on your business, what is appropriate may differ. For instance, a veteran’s organization may choose red, white, and blue, décor, schools often decorate with their school colors and/or mascot in mind, while healthcare and service businesses may choose doves, angels, or soothing floral designs. Continued --

Page 34 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Many of the Christmas trees you see around our courthouse square each year are decorated with a loved one in mind. Memorial trees are a special way to honor and remember your loved one. Choose a color or item that they loved and use that to build your theme from. Sunflowers, sports teams, teddy bears, and more memorialize loved ones and help bring families together to decorate, celebrate, and remember. Keep Your Traditions I’m preaching to the choir here, but every year I have to remind myself that some family traditions and items that go on the tree are things my kids look forward to every year whether they match my “theme” or not. Stockings from childhood, ornaments passed down many generations, and special handmade items go on the tree every year without fail. The memories and the love felt with those items are always a welcome theme in our home. Above all else, the theme of our Christmas is CHRIST, and Family and that is one theme that never goes out of style. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with love. [Lesleigh Bennett] References: https://www.tidbits-cami.com/6-tips-forchanging-your-christmas-decor-theme/ https://www.thistlewoodfarms.com/how-tochoose-a-christmas-theme-for-your-home/

Page 35 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022

Page 36 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 I know him! Santa? A man of many names, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santa Claus, everyone thinks they know the story of the rosy cheeked, plump, jolly, cookie loving, chimney aficionado; but do you really? The legend begins sometime around A.D. 280 in Patara, near Myra, what is now Turkey, with a monk named St. Nicholas. Nicholas was born to wealthy, Christian parents who died during an epidemic when he was just a young boy. Admired for his generosity, St. Nicholas has been the subject of many legends. It has been said that he gave his entire inheritance to the poor and the sick. From Bishop of Myra to Gift Giver Nicholas was made Bishop of Myra while he was still a young man. He showed his devotion to God by extraordinary kindness and generosity to those in need. Nicholas was a defender of the church during the Great Persecution in 303, when bibles were burned, and priests were made to denounce Christianity or face death. By around 1200, Nicholas became known as the patron of children and a magical gift giver because of two legends. One account claims that St. Nicholas presented three poverty stricken young women with dowries so that they would not have to resort to the way of the streets. On three separate occasions bags of gold were thrown through the windows of the ladies and landed in stockings or shoes left by the fire to dry. This led to the custom of leaving stockings or putting out shoes for St. Nicholas to fill. Over the years, Continued --

Page 37 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 Nicholas’ popularity spread, he became known as the protector of children and sailors. The day of his death, December 6, is celebrated with a feast. It was the custom for parents to secretly leave little gifts for their children who were taught to believe they were from St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas comes to the New World The first Europeans to arrive in the New World brought St. Nicholas. December 6, 1492, Colombus named a Haitian port for St. Nicholas. Spaniards named what is now the St. Nicholas neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida Nicholas Ferry. The 16th century Protestant Reformation all but eliminated talk of the saints, but the traditions of St. Nicholas survived. The St. Nicholas customs moved beyond church into popular culture. It was also in this era that St. Nicholas’ mode of entry changed from windows to chimneys. Sinter Klaas in New York The name Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas’ Dutch Nickname, Sinter Klaas. In December of 1773 a New York Newspaper reported that Dutch families were gathering to honor St. Nicholas on December 6, the anniversary of his death. Over time the stories of St. Nicholas became less popular and gift giving in December became problematic. Parents wanted to still secretly give their children gifts, but in whose name? That job soon fell to Baby Jesus and what we now know as Christmas was changed from being celebrated on December 6th to December 25th. Santa Claus is Coming to Town The New York Historical Society held it’s first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner in 1810. An artist was commissioned to create the first American image of Nicholas for the occasion. He was depicted giving gifts and placing treats in stockings hung by a fireplace. The 19th Century was a turning point for what we now know as Santa Claus. Many New York writers and artists wanted to Americanize the holiday. Santa Claus, The Children’s Friend, written in 1821 was the first-time images of Santa Claus were not of a saintly robed bishop to a jolly man from the North flying in a sleigh with reindeer. In 1824 Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem “A visit from St. Nicholas.” This poem is now better known as “The Night Before Christmas”. Santa Claus was described Continued --

Page 38 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 as dressed all in fur, with twinkling eyes, cheeks like roses, a nose like a cherry, a white beard, and a plump belly. Santa at the shopping mall The first life-size Santa model was in a Philadelphia store in 1841. Stores all around the United States began to advertise visits with real live Santas. In the early 1890’s the Salvation Army needed to raise money to pay for the Christmas meals they provided for needy families. They began dressing unemployed men in Santa Claus suits and sending them into the streets of New York to solicit donations. Those same Salvation Army Santas have been ringing bells on corners and in stores around American cities ever since. The Macy’s Santa first appeared in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 and has been featured in nearly every one since. That year also marked the first time Macy’s in New York featured the shopping mall Santa as we know him today. Children could sit on his lap, get a picture, and tell him what they want for Christmas. Children of all ages still line up to meet Santa at the New York Macy’s store and other stores around the country. “Miracle on 34th Street,” a 1947 motion picture, features perhaps the most iconic department store Santa. A young Natalie Wood plays a girl who believes Kris Kringle when he says he is the “real” Santa Claus. St. Nicholas and Santa Claus How do they differ? Santa Claus belongs to childhood and St. Nicholas sets an example of how you should behave your whole life. Santa Claus represents commerce and gifts and St. Nicholas represents the story of Christ and goodwill. Santa Claus appears once a year and St. Nicholas is always surrounding us with his example of generosity. Santa Claus comes from the North Pole with flying reindeer while St. Nicholas walked the earth caring for the needy. Modernization of Santa Claus seemed to replace the idea of celebrating the Babe of Bethlehem and St. Nicholas points to God by reminding us to be kind and generous. So now, when your children ask you if Santa Claus is real you can tell them the truth. Yes! Santa Claus is indeed real. The Santa Claus you see in stores, books, and movies is a person in a costume. People dress up as Santa Claus to remind us of a real person that lived long ago named St. Nicholas who secretly gave money and gifts to the poor. The magic of Christmas is alive, as long as you believe. [Lesleigh Bennett] Resources: https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/ santa-claus https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/ article/13219/santa-claus-origin-historychristmas-facts-st-nicholas/ https://www.stnicholascenter.org/