I love, love, love putting out our Christmas decorations. There is nothing more cozy than seeing wintery pillows and plush throws along with the lighted tree and the warm spicy smells coming from the fireplace, candles, evergreens, and homemade cookies. And the thought of spending quality time with family and friends is another big bonus.

The word December comes from the Latin word “decem” because it had been the 10th month in the early Roman calendar.

December brings the winter solstice. It is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year. In the Northern Hemisphere it occurs on the 21st or the 22nd and this year it’s on the 22nd.The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still”. This means on that day that the suns path has reached its southernmost position. The next day it will start advancing northward. It happens slowly so no extra light will be seen for several days though.

December’s traditional birthstone is turquoise. It is considered a symbol of good fortune and success. Turquoise is a gemstone that is popular for its color. A symbol of good fortune and success, it is one of the earliest stones used in jewelry — even as early as 5500 BC. Upon excavation, mummified pharaohs have been found adorned with turquoise bracelets, and turquoise beads were found in ancient Mesopotamian ruins. In Native American culture, the turquoise is thought of as “the highest and most valued thing in the world,” and is a large part of southwest American culture. Turquoise has a striking blue-green color that is derived from the combination of copper and iron that’s present within the stone.

The narcissus is the December flower and symbolizes good wishes, faithfulness, and respect. The narcissus can often be confused with the daffodil, the birth flower for March, which is a type of narcissus. The narcissus flower’s name is derived from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a young hunter who was famed for his attractiveness. He was so attractive that he, himself, was obsessed by his good looks. One day, when looking at his own reflection in the pond, he leaned in to take a closer look only to fall in and drown. Therefore, the narcissus is known for being a symbol of vanity in Western culture.

December’s Zodiac signs are: Sagittarius: November 23–December 21 and Capricorn: December 22–January 19.

It is said that people born during Sagittarius live the good life and have a secret desire to make a difference in the world. People of this zodiac sign like freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors and dislike clingy people, being constrained and off-the-wall theories.

Capricorn is a sign that represents time and responsibility, and those born under that sign are often very serious by nature. These individuals possess an inner state of independence that enables significant progress both in their personal and professional lives. They are masters of self-control and have the ability to lead the way, make solid and realistic plans, and manage many people who work for them at any time. They will learn from their mistakes and get to the top based solely on their experience and expertise.

Some special days in December are:

· December 1 is World Aids Day – this day helps raise awareness and money to help fight HIV.

· December 1 is also Rosa Parks Day which celebrates the life of the activist who toiled on behalf of African-American civil rights. It also is celebrated in February in some parts of the country.. It promotes equal opportunities, civil rights, and fairness.

· December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners are working together to create opportunities for people with disabilities to join in activities that promote health within their communities.

· December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day - He is the patron saint of children, and this inspires traditions around the world from hunts for presents to stockings or shoes filled with sweets.

· December 7 is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and it is to remember and honor the 2,403 citizens of the United States who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

· December 22 – 30 is Hanukkah - it is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

· December 25 is Christmas Day, a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

· December 26 - January 1 is Kwanzaa celebrating African culture and traditions.

· December 31 - is of course New Year’s Eve.

Wacky Celebrations in December are:

· Dec. 2: Cider Monday

· Dec. 7: Bike Shop Day

· Dec. 11: International Mountain Day

· Dec. 13: National Violin Day

· Dec. 13: National Day of the Horse

· Dec. 20: Underdog Day

· Dec. 26: National Candy Cane Day

We hope that you have a wonderful and safe December. I’ve attached a few holiday photos from a previous year of 3 of our puppies. Soon I’ll show you a holiday photo of all 4 of our beloved pets.

Source: Excerpt from The Old Farmer’s Almanac and a few other online sources

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