DECEMBER HOLIDAYS AND HISTORY
December Holidays and History – December ushers in winter holidays such as Christmas, Kwanza, and Chanukah. It is also a time when families gather in the warmth of their homes. Throughout the month, our thoughts and actions turn toward charity and peace. During the twelfth and final month of the year, December inspires a flurry of activity both in the business world and our personal lives. Sales, shopping, family gatherings, school holidays, baking, and seasonal changes remind us of the the past while we look to our futures.
But December is not so somber, peaceful, and busy as to have no fun at all. Holidays like Ugly Sweater Day, Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day, and National Ding-A-Ling Day add a bit of whimsey.
DECEMBER HISTORY OVERVIEW
The name December comes from the Latin word ‘decem’ meaning ten. On the Roman Calendar, December was the 10th month. However, Numa Pompilius adjusted the calendar when January and February were added. December became the twelfth month, and the calendar more accurately reflected the length of a year on Earth.
During December, the winter solstice tips the Northern hemisphere its furthest distance from the sun. Through most of the month, its inhabitants lose about 2 minutes of sunlight per day until the winter solstice. The winter solstice marks the start of winter and the shortest day on the calendar. However, from that day forward, the days will slowly lengthen. They may not be warmer, but the Earth is tilting on its axis back toward the sun.
Hot cocoa and cold toes remind me of Christmas. ~Toni Sorenson
December is a big baking month for many. In the United States, families, churches, schools, and organizations bake cookies to exchange. They are often part of the gift-giving and ugly sweater parties that occur right before or during Christmas, Kwanza, and Chanukah.
Winter sports are in high gear throughout December. Whether indoor or outdoor, fans tune in or fill arenas. While hockey, football, and basketball seasons bring thrills each year, skiing and snowmobiling keep the outdoors busy.
Beyond sports, the December holidays also offer lots of ways to celebrate our free time. National Crossword Puzzle Day is just one way to spend some quiet time. Plenty of baking and food days bring celebrations to the kitchen, too. In fact, there are 29 food-related days in December in addition to the popular beverage holidays. We can even celebrate our laundry with National Sock Day.
Birth Stone and Flower
Those born in December claim three icy cool birthstones. Tanzanite, found only in Tanzania, is a deep glacial purple. Blue Zircon (not to be confused with cubic zirconia) is the oldest mineral on Earth and comes in a variety of colors. However, for those born in December, the icy blue zircon is beautiful. Finally, turquoise, with its distinct color and veins, comes in a variety of shades. Prevalent throughout the Southwestern United States, turquoise also added value and meaning to clothing, ceremonies, and more.
The fragrant narcissus usually blooms in spring. However, for December birthdays, some species bloom in winter. The paperwhite is one, making the narcissus the ideal birthday flower for December. Among its several meanings, narcissus also means hope. During winter, hope is a thing often looked for through the cold, ice, and snow.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus is well known as the attractive young hunter obsessed with his good looks. His obsession later got the best of him when he looked at his reflection in a pond, and upon closer inspection, fell and drown.
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