Christmas - origins, traditions and ideas for making gifts.

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About Christmas        

Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th?        

Presents and Gifts        

Candy Canes        

Christmas Trees        



Sleigh Rides        

Christmas Cards        

Jack Frost        



The North Pole and Flying Reindeer        

Christmas Eve        

Santa Claus        


Dāvanas, dāvaniņas...        

Gift suggestions        

Christmas Trees        

Choosing a Tree        

Keeping a Tree        

Decorating a Tree        

Outdoor Decorations        

Choosing Lights and Decorations        

Putting Up Outdoor Lights        

Other Decorations        

The Christmas Kitchen        

The Christmas Bathroom        

Advent Calendar        

Construction Tip        

Make the Ornaments        


Christmas Wreath        

Making A Christmas Wreath        

Symbolism of the Advent Wreath        

The Christmas Star        

Garland of Greenery        

Making The Wreath        

Home decorating and quick crafty tips        

Pienācis vates sniegavīru un eņģeļmatu laiks!        

Sleepy Haven's Christmas Dictionary        

Gingerbread Cottage        

Making The Cottage        

Idejas Ziemassvētku galdam        

Īsteni tautiski ēdieni        

Koča jeb ķūķis        


Taukšķēti zirņi        

Speķa rauši        

Cūkas cepetis        

Zoss cepetis        


Cietas Piparkūkas 2        


Zīlēsim nākotni!        

Seno latviešu tradīcija - apdziedāšana        


Ziemassvētku dzeja        








EGLES ZARS        


About Christmas

Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th?

 It is believed that the birth of Christ did not occur in winter but most likely in the fall. So why do we celebrate on December 25?

Long ago, approximately the 4th century AD, there was a pagan holiday celebrated in December honouring the pagan god Mithras. The Catholic Church wished to diminish the celebration so they decided to celebrate the birth of Christ during this time. Eventually Christmas became a widely observed holiday. However, it was much slower to be observed in the United States. Many misunderstood the celebration and considered it to be pagan.

Presents and Gifts

 The giving of gifts on Christmas day began with the birth of Christ, God's gift to the world. It continued with the gifts of the magi to the Christ child.

Candy Canes

 In the 1800's there lived a candy maker who wished to create a Christmas candy to symbolise Christ.

He began with a white candy stick. The white was to represent the purity of Christ. He added to red stripes to represent the bloodshed of Christ on the cross. He formed the candy into a cane, which represents a shepherds crook, as Christ is the shepherd of men. When turned over the cane forms a J, the first letter of Jesus name. This is how the tradition of the Christmas candy cane began.

Christmas Trees

 There are many legends concerning the origin of the Christmas tree. The most accurate seems to be credited to the pagans of long ago. They used the evergreen tree to celebrate winters solstice. It represented life over death on the day that the sun began to overtake the darkness. Druid priests decorated oak trees with golden apples for their winter solstice celebration.

 In medieval times there was a play often performed to teach people of the creation and fall of man in the Garden of Eden. This was called the Paradise Play. Since the play was performed on December 24, and an apple tree was required, they used an evergreen tree and hung apples on it.

 Germany is credited with the modern Christmas tree. It was German settlers in PA who first introduced the Christmas tree in the United States in the early 1850's. At first it was not very popular among the Americans who still considered it a pagan tradition. However, N.Y. the 1890's, Christmas ornaments were being imported from Germany and sold in stores.

 Germany was the origin of many favourite American Christmas traditions such as the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and stocking by the fireplace.


 The most common legend of the Christmas stocking:

 Long ago there lived a poor widowed man and his three daughters. When it was time for the daughters to marry, the old man was very sad because he couldn't afford their dowry.

 Saint Nicholas heard of the old mans depression and wanted to help. One night after the girls had done their laundry and hung it next to the fireplace to dry they went to bed feeling rather sad at their situation. That night Saint Nicholas came to visit their house but saw that the lamps were not burning and assumed everyone to be asleep. He climbed to the roof and tossed three bags of gold down the chimney. he bags landed one in each girls stockings which were hanging to dry.

 The next morning the girls found the gold in their stockings. They were soon happily married and their father lived many happy years afterward.


 A carol was originally a circular dance set to music. Eventually singing was added to the music and over the years carols evolved into our modern day Christmas songs.

Sleigh Rides

 Every nostalgic Christmas scene has a horse and sleigh. It's part of the ideal Christmas fantasy. If we could muster up a white Christmas around here, I would sure go for one. *S* A long time ago a horse and buggy were the main form of transportation. During the winter when snow was on the ground they used sleighs pulled by horses. It was a chilly ride but that could also be very romantic as you snuggle close to your fellow passenger to keep warm.

Christmas Cards

 The first Christmas card was created in 1843, with only 1000 copies made. Louis Prang, a printer in Roxbury, Massachusetts printed the first American Christmas card in 1875.

Jack Frost

 Jack Frost is the personification of winter. He is visualised as an icy sharp featured being who flies over the earth blowing his cold breath upon everything in his path. His icy breath always leaves a layer of frost. He is very artistic and often creates beautiful designs on windows. His window pane art is most appealing when complimented by a soft Christmas candle on the windowsill. He likes to turn your nose red and your lips blue if you get too close to him.


 The druids believed mistletoe to have miraculous healing powers. In fact mistletoe means "heal-all". Legend says that mistletoe became associated with love and fertility because of Frigga, the goddess of love. It is said that Loki, the god of evil, wished her son, Balder (the sun god), to die. He made an arrow tip from mistletoe and gave it to the blind winter god, Hoder, to shoot. The arrow struck Balder killing him. For three days Frigga grieved for her son until she was able to revive him. It is said that her tears became the white berries on the mistletoe plant. In her joy, every time someone passed under the mistletoe she kissed them.


 The Druids believed that holly stayed green in the winter so that the earth would remain beautiful while the oak tree lost its leaves. They wore holly in the hair when they went to the forest to search for sacred mistletoe.

 Romans used holly as the sacred plant of the god Saturn. In later centuries when Christians began celebrating Christmas they decorated their homes with holly to avoid prosecution from the Romans who were still practising their pagan worship. Because of this holly eventually lost its pagan association and became a symbol of Christmas.

The North Pole and Flying Reindeer

No one seems to know for certain how it came to be that Santa lives at the North Pole and uses flying reindeer. It is assumed however that since Christmas is celebrated in the winter and Santa chose this time to make his deliveries, Santa must love winter. Reindeer are common to the arctic region so this is probably how Santa became friendly with the creatures.

Christmas Eve

 Eve is defined as the evening or day preceding a holiday or event.

 It seems that Christmas Eve has become as big a day as Christmas itself in our modern celebrations. Many families have special Christmas Eve traditions, most in honour of Santa Claus (since this is the night of his big visit).

Santa Claus

 Santa Claus began as St. Nicholas, a man who loved children and often gave them gifts. Over the years Santa's list of children grew and grew so he built a toy factory at the North Pole. There he lives to this day with his wife, elves and flying reindeer.


Santa's elves are quaint little creatures who originally came from Scandinavia. These good hearted fellows help Santa by working in his factories, caring for his reindeer and keeping an eye on children to make certain of which list their names should be on. They are very happy beings, who sing Christmas carols and eat cookies with hot cocoa.

Dāvanas, dāvaniņas...

Izrādās, ka astroloģija var ieteikt, ko dāvināt katrai Zodiaka zīmei, lai viņu no sirds iepriecinātu. Izlasi šo dāvanu horoskopu un izmanto tā padomus, jau saiņojot Ziemassvētku dāvaniņas.


Dāvana Aunam? Pirmais un galvenais – ietin to sarkanā papīrā! Kas būs iekšā, tas nav tik svarīgi! Ideālas dāvanas – svari, samuraja zobens, bungu vālītes. Vai arī, kāpēc neuzdāvināt Aunam dienasgrāmatu ar skaistu uzrakstu: «Ko es gribu izdarīt tūlīt…»


Iepriecināt Vērsi nav grūti! Paņem kādu sīkumu, piemēram, šokolādi, un ietin to lielā naudas banknotē. Un ja šis Vērsis tev daudz nozīmē, uzdāvini viņam putekļusūcēju. Vēršiem vienmēr patīk skaistas, tomēr praktiskas lietas, tādas, kuras var pataustīt, pasmaržot. Lūk, ideāla dāvana – Ēdami flaneļa palagi!


Uzmanību! Dāvini viņam visu ko – daudzas mazas dāvaniņas. Ja neesi Jaunava, tad sajuksi vai prātā, iesaiņojot šos visus sīkumus. Sīkumi – tas ir pats galvenais! Dāvini Dvīņiem visādus niekus – grāmatas, kompaktdiskus, šķiltavas, lai tikai viss ir krāsains, skaļš. Dvīņiem nav grūti izpatikt.


Jā, uzreiz grūti izdomāt, kā vēl nav viņa krājumā. Viss vecais, antikvārais droši vien varētu iepriecināt – tad Vēzis iemīlēs dāvinātāju uz visiem laikiem. Bet šis gardēdis mīl arī ēdamas lietas, tāpēc vari doties ciemos ar torti rokā – vislabāk, ja tā būs pašcepta. Ideāla dāvana Vēzim – trīsdesmito gadu automobilis, kurš nebrauc, bet ir pilns ar dažādiem tā laika atribūtiem. Vēzis vai kusīs no laimes!


Svarīgi nav tas, ko dāvināt Lauvai, bet gan tas, kā to dari. Vari viņam pasniegt polietilēna maisiņu, pilnu ar papīra atgriezumiem, bet ietītu spilgtā papīrā un aprakstītu ar Lauvas vārdu lieliem burtiem, un zini, ka viss būs kārtībā. Lauva mīl izcelties, mīl, ka tam glaimo, un, ja to izdarīsi, dziedot slavas dziesmu viņa dzirdīgajām ausīm, tad zini, ka būsi ciemiņš numur viens. Ja esi naudīgāks, dāvini krēslu, kurš līdzīgs tronim, – arī tad trāpīsi desmitniekā!


Galvenais, ietin dāvanu kārtīgi, citādi Jaunava jau uzreiz būs neapmierināta ar saturu, pat nezinot, kas tur iekšā. Ja gribi izjokot Jaunavu, atstāj klāt cenu. Viņa būs samulsusi un sāks murmināt neapmierinātībā, kāpēc neesi to noņēmis. Jaunavai patiks tāda dāvana, kas liks justies pašai savās acīs pārliecinātai. Tomēr… mēs parasti dāvinām Jaunavai visu ko – kalendārīšus, sulu spiedes, kārbiņas sīkumiem, bet nekad neko vērtīgu. Nu tad varbūt šogad uzdāvināsim Jaunavai patiesi labu dāvanu!


Saldumi un ziedi – tas ir labs sākums. Turpinājumā aizved viņu uz karnevālu, bet atpakaļceļā – uz savu dzīvokli, kas ir stāvgrūdām pilns ar dāvanām. Saki viņiem visu, kas vien romantisks tev ienāk galvā. Svari vienkārši kusīs aiz svētlaimes. Un labākā dāvana, kādu vien varētu pasniegt Svariem, ir palīdzēt viņiem nolemt, ko dāvināt pārējiem. Tā tu ietaupīsi Svariem daudz laika.


Skorpioni dievina dāvanas, kuras var paņemt un izsaiņot mājās, lai neviens nezinātu, kas viņiem uzdāvināts. Ja uzdāvināsi Skorpionam saulesbrilles, tad varētu uzskatīt, ka esi iemantojis mūžīgu pateicību. Viņi mīl dāvanas, kas cilvēkam piešķir spēku un varu, piemēram, akcijas, ieročus. Vai tagad saproti, kāpēc esi pret viņu tik uzmanīgs?


Ideālas dāvanas Strēlniekam var atrast Austrumu tirgū vai tūrisma aģentūrā. Ar biļeti uz vienu pusi, vienalga, uz kurieni, padarīsi viņu simtprocentīgi laimīgu. Viņš mīl mūsdienu lietas – teleskopu, grāmatas… Kas interesanti – ja Strēlniekam dāvana nepatiks, tu to uzreiz sapratīsi. Viņš vienkārši skaļi paziņos: «Man jau tāda lietiņa ir, un es tikko no tās tiku vaļā.»


Viņam vajadzētu dāvināt kaut ko tādu, kas izskatītos ļoti vērtīgs. Kā būtu, ja tu viņam pasniegtu rakstāmpiederumu komplektu no riekstkoka, uz kura zelta burtiem iegravēts viņa vārds? Tomēr ir diezgan grūti uzzināt, vai Mežāzim patiks šī dāvana. Uzskati par lielu pagodinājumu, ja viņš pateiks, ka tā viņam noderēs dzīvē. Starp citu, Mežāži arī mīl saulesbrilles!


Sameklē jocīgāko veikaliņu un nopērc tajā visneparastāko lietu. Ietin to violetā papīriņā, un vari pat pārāk necensties to darīt kārtīgi. Ūdensvīram nebūs nekādu pretenziju, jo viņš laimīgs saņems vienalga ko, galvenais, lai to varētu parādīt un tūlīt sadalīt ar draugiem. Ūdensvīri mīl cepures, īpaši mīkstas. Un vēl kas, varbūt uzdāvini viņiem kādu astroloģisko žurnālu.


Tu varētu paņemt viņas līdzi uz veikalu un palūgt, lai Zivis pašas izvēlas sev dāvanu. Zivis mīl visu, kas rosina iztēli, – kino, mūziku, gleznas. Pacenties savai mīļajai Zivtiņai dabūt kaut ko, saistītu ar mākslu – varbūt fotoaparātu vai balles kleitu. Tāpat Zivis iepriecinās arī vakariņas divatā – sveču gaismā un ar klasisko mūziku fonā, ja iespējams.

Gift suggestions

1. Make up small loaves of quick breads. Wrap them in plastic wrap for freshness and place in a festive bag or wrapping.  Include a recipe card.

2. Select a cookbook and choose a recipe from the book.  Attach a card to the front that includes the recipe name and page number.  Place the cookbook and dry ingredients for the recipe in a decorative basket. 

3. Make your own felt stockings.  Make them large enough to hold a bottle of wine or homemade salad dressings, etc.  Personalize the stocking to fit the personality of the receiver. 

4. Candles are the rage this holiday season! Tie them in bundles with holiday ribbon or stack them in a festive box.  Include an appropriate candleholder. 

5. Make a wreath that expresses the interest of the receiver. 

6. Crosstitch a holiday ornament and include the year it was given in the design. 

7. Fill an attractive cup or dish with a friend's favorite chocolates or other treats.  Wrap attractively with holiday ribbons and plastic wrap to hold it in place.  Place in a festive bag for delivery. 

8. Make a special ornament for the tree with glue-on beads and faux jewels.

9. For the coffee lover, fill a coffee cup with packets of different flavor coffees or cocoas and chocolate covered spoons. 

10. Make theme or hobby baskets.  Fill a decorative basket with goodies that the receiver uses for his or her hobby (i.e. for the golf lover fill with golf balls, tees, and club covers; for the needlework lover, place different types of flosses, patterns, and needles).

11. If you are a baker, bake your finest pound cake or rum cake, etc. Wrap securely and place it in a decorative tin for friends or relatives.

12. Select various packets of flower seeds.  Place in a planting pot with gardening tools and gloves.  Make a raffia bow to hold items in place. 

13. Holiday pillows abound!  Select one or two pillows, place them in a decorative hat box (which can later be used for storage). Give this treasure to a friend.

14. Put the computer to use!  Make a set of thank you notes or stationery; tie with a festive ribbon and place in an attractive tin for that one of a kind gift.  Don't forget to include a colorful pen and envelopes!

15. Homemade gifts from the kitchen will impress your friends and relatives.  Use jars in various shapes and sizes and fill them with your homemade pickled vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies (especially if that person really enjoyed them or loves your cooking).  Add a square of holiday fabric with gold ribbon and the gifts are ready to go.

16. Photos make great gifts.  Try taking pictures of events throughout the year or of one special activity.  Place them in an attractive album with comments.  A single picture framed is also nifty.

17. For the creative writer a journal for recording thoughts, poems, etc., is always a treasure. 

18. Give a gift that comes all year long.  Give a favorite magazine subscription.

19. Cookies (homemade) with the recipe(s) and a neat cookie cutter make a tasty and useful gift.

20. Everybody's gone Tex-Mex.  Go Tex-Mex Christmas with several jars of salsa and a large bag of nacho chips all bundled up in a fiesta-serving dish. Feliz Navidad!

21. Oh yeah!  Tex-Mex needs margaritas.  Give four or six margarita glasses and margarita mix.  If you have your own margarita recipe, that's even better.

22. Make a simple coaster set using bath wall tiles and tile paint (use the one that doesn't require heat).  Paint a simple holiday design on six or eight tiles.  Glue felt on the back to protect surfaces from scratches. Tie them with a holiday ribbon and voila!

23. Fill a basket with bath items – soaps, oils, bubbles, lotions, natural sponge and a loofah pad.  A special person will love his or her favorites.

24. Holiday music for the music lover who plays an instrument.  Purchase the sheet music of a favorite holiday song and include a CD or tape with it.

25. Holiday flowers include amaryllis, paperwhites, poinsettias and English ivy.  Placed in an attractive decorative container, they make a great holiday gift

26. Aromatherapy is quite popular.  Select one or two aromatic oils and candles noted for their soothing effects and package them with a neck rest pillow.  The receiver will love you.

27. Stretch that relaxing moment with a small in-door waterfall kit.  The main ingredient is the pump (not expensive).  Get a bowl or dish to hold it, some small decorative rocks and an eye-catching small figurine.  Don't forget directions or a diagram.  Put everything in holiday packaging and you're good to go.

28. Make sachets.  Purchase potpourri, fine tulle and 1/8  inch satin ribbon.  Cut the tulle into saucer size circles (can be bought already cut into circles).  Place two or three tablespoons of potpourri in each circle.  Gather sides and tie tightly with the ribbon.  Place several of these in a holiday box and keep the idea in mind for later in the year.  Also great for wedding favors.

29. Don't forget the feet.  For that friend or relative who is on their feet a lot, nothing would feel better than soothing foot salts, a soft pumice or clay stone and peppermint foot lotion.  Package them inside a cute pair of slippers.  Sleep socks and a small jar of petroleum jelly will round out winter foot blues.

30. What does the future hold?  You decide.  Use a fortune cookie recipe to make your own fortune cookies.  Make the cookies extra special by writing the fortunes yourself, tailor-made to the person receiving them.  Package them in Chinese food take-out boxes.  Be sure to first the wrap the cookies in plastic wrap to maintain freshness.

31. Specialty guest soaps come in all colors, shapes and sizes.  Place several in an attractive soap dish or basket and include some decorative paper hand towels.  Color coordinate if you know the bathroom they're going in or stick to a holiday theme.

32. How's your fudge recipe?  Excellent!  Homemade fudge is always a treat during the holidays.  Whip up several batches- some with nuts, some without.  Cut it into squares.  Wrap first in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to maintain freshness.  Place it in a holiday tin.  (Do you really want to give away your secret recipe by including a recipe card?)

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33. Herbal teas, a teapot, a teacup and saucer.  What could be more charming?

34. A hardy holiday breakfast would really start the day off right.  Give a package of specialty pancake mix (maybe you have your own recipe) and a bottle of fine maple syrup.  Put them in a neat mixing bowl.  Yummy, Yummy! 

35. Make large gingerbread men and women (they should be the length of the cookie sheet).  Decorate them.  Package a man and a woman together with a little note that says "We" Wish You A Merry Christmas!

36. Wine connoisseurs will enjoy ...

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