Bringing Christmas back to the holiday season | Why and how
‘Tis the season to be jolly and joyfully choose gifts for the wonderful people in your life. If your favorite people are small business owners, you already know how busy they are. Life goes at a really high pace for them and sometimes even during the gift exchange they are thinking about their business and clients, etc.
Buying gifts for entrepreneurs and small business owners can get challenging. First of all, you need to think about the budget you have for your gift. For example, you’re not buying anything Prada with a $20 gift budget. But for less than that, if they are working with appointments, you can give them the gift of time and client management.
All is calm, all is bright
In our run to look for gifts, let’s just pause for a minute though…. Here’s the deal… it’s a busy season and you don’t have time to waste, we know. So please, just stop for a second and take a really deep breath… Breathe in, breathe out… Ok, I’ll say that again in case you didn’t do it the first time. Please take a whole second of your day and breathe…
Christmas is all about joy, family, friends, carols and so many beautiful traditions! In spite of how commercial the stores are trying to make the holidays, let’s pause for a moment and hear in our hearts those childhood carols… Maybe you were one of the little angels in a Christmas play singing “Joyful, joyful, we adore You, / God of Glory, Lord of Love/ Hearts unfold like flowers before You/ Opening to the sun above…” If this was you in your childhood, those were the times, right? Life is too busy today to get to that quiet place and enjoy the beauty of a Silent Night Carol, for example.
The first Secret Santa
Each Christmas there is something new to be learned about the traditions surrounding the holiday. Last year I wrote an article about the history and meaning behind your favorite Christmas traditions. This is how, while doing research for that article, I found out about Saint Nicholas being a real person. The Santa Claus tradition of bringing gifts, started with the 4th century Greek bishop who lived in Myra, Asia Minor. Then it was part of Greece, but today it would be Turkey. To me it’s very surprising that the tradition of Santa Claus Christmas gift giving started with a saint who lived in what today would be Turkey.
Saint Nicholas was born in Myra, Asia Minor in the 4th century in the Roman Empire as an only child to Christian parents. Unfortunately both of his parents died as a result of contracting an infectious disease. They were very rich people and left little Nicholas a fortune. He was raised by his uncle, who was the Bishop of Patara. In spite of being left a fortune, young Nicholas decided to consacrate his life to God and to devote his fortune to helping those in need, doing charity work all his life, blessing many needy people.
There are many Saint Nicholas stories about him helping the poor, without taking any credit for his generosity. He was a humble saint who didn’t want people to know that he was the giver. From there the tradition of Santa Claus, about which you can read in more detail here.
This year, while thinking about Christmas, there was a tradition which personally I consider to be very special. Did you guess which one? If Christmas carols came to mind, then give yourself a pat on the back.
Picture perfect decorations
Being raised in a family which celebrated Christmas, there were so many special moments during the holidays. Decorating the house, picking up the Christmas tree with the family, decorating it with the lights and all the Christmas decorations, among which some handmade ones by us kids… all those were very special moments. The beauty is that all this decorating of the “Christmas tree ceremony” was happening while listening to peaceful and joyful Christmas carols.
I love so many things about Christmas and its meaning. If given the option to choose from the Christmas traditions, one of my favorite part would be listening to and singing Christmas carols. They bring joy and so much peace. Which one is your favourite?
There is something special about the Silent Night Carol. It is probably one of the most unique songs out there and I was always wondering what the story behind it was. Of course, I know the story from the Bible, but I wanted to find out who wrote the song. Would you like to hear the story?
It was the year of 1818 that Christmas Eve in Germany. The characters of our story are a young priest called Father Joseph Mohr, and organist whose name was Franz Xaver Gruber, a church organ, a guitar and some mice. What did the mice have to do with anything? Well, it was their fault that the church organ was not working that Christmas Eve. The damage was big enough so that nothing could be done for the organ to be fixed before the evening service.
What could Father Joseph Mohr do? The Christmas mass expected by everyone, was supposed to start in a few hours. How could it go without the organ music? The young and ambitious priest, remembered a poem he had written a few years before. It was a Christmas poem.
Mice and a young priest
The creative young priest takes the poem to the organist and asks him to write a melody to accompany the poem on guitar.
It took organist Franz Xaver Gruber the next few hours to do it, finishing it in time to be played for the very first time that Christmas Eve. And people absolutely loved it! It was beautiful snowy night in Oberndorf, Germany that night. And the mice that broke the organ of Saint Nicholas Church, couldn’t ruin Christmas.
The carol was in German, my friends and all this happened on a Christmas Eve about 200 years ago. The carol was “Stille Nacht” and it took it more than 50 years until the world heard it in English. It was in 1859 when John Freeman Young, an Episcopalian Bishop, published the English translation of this special carol.
Do you want to hear the best about this carol though? My favorite part was to find out that in 1914 – which means we’re talking about World War I – this song gave a little hope and peace to the soldiers fighting on the battlefield. During the Christmas truce (which meant widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front) this particular carol was sung in French, English and German simultaneously.
Can you imagine the soldiers on both sides singing in their language: “Silent night, holy night/ All is calm, all is bright/ Round young virgin Mother and Child/ Holy Infant so tender and mild/ Sleep in heavenly peace/ Sleep in heavenly peace…” What could be more beautiful than people from different sides, opinions and mentalities, leaving behind whatever separates them and singing simultaneously a beautiful Christmas carol? That’s what Christmas does to people!
A song in your heart
As we’re approaching the holidays, is there a song in your heart? Is there a long forgotten little carol you used to like? ‘Tis the season! There are people who decorate their houses even before Thanksgiving, as they want Christmas to be here longer. If any of your friends are Christmas lovers, then you know how much they want to keep the holiday here for more time.
Christmas carols bring to the heart that special feel good feeling that a freshly made Christmas cookie brings to your stomach. Because the holiday is about a whole series of smells, perfumes, lights, music and deliciousnesses.
The commercial part of Christmas today, makes us get too busy looking for more things to buy. And we forget. We forget to think about the meaning of Christmas. We forget about the real angels while we’re busy admiring the led lighted ones. We forget that Christmas is the most beautiful holiday, because of the Gift and the Giver.
Christmas is so beautiful that it is celebrated by so many others which are not Christians. There are hindus, Buddhists and other religions enjoying Christmas and having a special appreciation for the carols. Why? Because they are “beautiful, calming and joyful.”
Spreading the cheer
Until the 12th century, people were not able to understand the Christmas carols. They were sung in Latin only. Then, Saint Francis of Assissi started his Nativity Plays in Italy in 1223. Together with his followers, St. Francis wanted to remind the locals that Jesus was born for them. The plays showed how Jesus was born in a poor family, like theirs.
The songs were very loved by people who understood that Christmas was not only for the rich ones, as they used to believe. Every person, no matter how poor could know that they received a Gift too. The carols then spread from Italy to France, Spain, Germany, etc. And I’m so glad they did! Personally, I love all the old Christmas carols, plus some of the new ones, like this beautiful Christmas song.
What Christmas music do you play in your car this season? Here’s a Chistmas carols playlist to spread the holiday cheer. Please let us know in the comment section below, what are your favorite carols. Let’s be merry and celebrate the Gift of Christmas! 🙂