holiday

Holiday Carols for the Season
Nothing can get you into the holiday spirit quite like holiday carols.

Holiday Carols are a great way to spread the holiday spirit and really get people in the Christmas mood.

Traditionally, a holiday carol is a religious song of joy linked to a particular season. Most people associate carols with Christmas. Many of the most popular carols sung in churches were written in the Victorian age.

 

 

 

Holiday Carols for Caroling

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a fairly recent song made popular by Bing Crosby. It was actually written as a plea for peace during the Cuban missile crisis, but the writer, Noël Regney, was inspired to add the Christmas lyrics.
  • “Here We Come A-wassailing” is from the English tradition of orphans and beggars dancing and singing in the streets hoping to get treats and drinks from the homes of the gentry during the Christmas season.
  • “Mary, Did You Know?” debuted in 1991 and has become a very popular Christmas song.
  • “O Holy Night” was added to the list of Christmas carols by French poet Placide Cappeau. Adolphe Adam, a French composer, wrote the music. Opera singer Emily Laurey was the first to sing the tune, but there are many current renditions of this familiar song that reflects on the birth of Jesus.
  • “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was given to us by Charles Wesley, but George Whitefield gave us the adaptation we’re more familiar with today. Felix Mendelssohn’s music was adapted by an English composer to fit the words and phrasing.
  • “The Little Drummer Boy” might have been made popular by the 1968 television special, but it was actually recorded by the Austrian Trapp Family Singers in 1951. “The Little Drummer Boy” is a carol from Czechoslovakia, which has been recorded multiple times by many popular singers.
  • “Joy to the World” is said to be the most-published Christmas carol in North America. Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics, basing them on Psalm 98. The music is thought to be based on the “Messiah” oratorio by George Frideric Handel, but there is no actual evidence to support this.

Other Holiday Staples

 

  • “What Child Is This?” is more popular in North America than in its birthplace of England. The tune is from a traditional English folk song, “Greensleeves.” William Chatterton Dix wrote the lyrics for the Christmas carol, which has been recorded by many popular artists for special Christmas albums.
  • “Mary, Did You Know?” debuted in 1991 and has become a very popular Christmas song. Michael English was the first to record it, but Clay Aiken, Cee Lo Green and Pentatonix have all created their own version of the song.
  • “O Holy Night” was added to the list of Christmas carols by French poet Placide Cappeau. Adolphe Adam, a French composer, wrote the music. Opera singer Emily Laurey was the first to sing the tune, but there are many current renditions of this familiar song that reflects on the birth of Jesus.
  • “We Three Kings of Orient Are” was written in the mid-19th century by an American clergyman who served in the Episcopal Church. It’s actually about an event that occurred after the birth of Christ, but it remains a popular Christmas song.
  • “Angels from the Realms of Glory” was written by Scottish poet James Montgomery and first published in 1816. The music was added later, with English and American versions to different tunes.
  • “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was penned by Phillips Brooks, a priest in the Episcopal Church. His organist would add the music. Neither believed that the hymn would outlive the first performance during the 1868 Christmas season, but it’s one of the most popular Christmas carols today.

Expand Your Caroling Horizon

This year, as you sing the Christmas music of your faith, think about the message in the words. Remember that the season is about family and friends, Christ’s birth and goodwill toward all. Be kind toward each other and consider that not everyone celebrates Christmas as you know it. “Happy Holidays” is a greeting that encompasses many different faiths. Use it when in doubt.

Holding a Holiday Wedding – Pros and Cons
Holiday Wedding Ceremony

Some people think that a Holiday Wedding will be easier due to family being in town, however it can cause more harm than good.

All of your family will be home for Christmas, which might make you think holding a Holiday wedding on that weekend would be good. But will it? Christmas and Thanksgiving aren’t the only holidays that are wedding favorites; Valentine’s Day or Easter weekend are other special events where people consider marrying. Before planning your celebration of vows on a three-day weekend, consider the advantages and disadvantages.

The Benefits of a Holiday Weekend

  • If you’re having a destination weekend, more of your family and friends might have time off to travel.
  • Even if you’re staying at home, you probably get more vacation time around certain holidays. This lets you steal a few extra days to get ready for the ceremony or to go on the honeymoon.
  • You can work more themes into your wedding if you’re holding it over a holiday weekend.
  • It’s just one more holiday party for guests to have when they’re taking time off work.
  • Celebrating future anniversaries is easier, because you can always remember the date. And if it’s around a holiday, you’ll know you’ll be able to get an extra day off.

The Disadvantages of Holding Your Wedding on a Holiday

  • Guests may have other standing plans with family or other holiday obligations.
  • You can’t assume people have vacation days around the holidays. People who work retail may be required to work extra shifts during the Christmas season. Healthcare workers may not be able to apply for time off.
  • December is already expensive for many people. Adding the extra expense of a wedding may be prohibitive. While you’re not having the wedding to get gifts, you certainly don’t want to make it harder for those who want to give you a present.
  • Airfare can be higher during holidays because the demand is higher.

Etiquette for a Holiday Wedding

If you’ve had your heart set on a wedding held on New Year’s Day or Valentine’s Day, then go for it. Be understanding when guests decline the invitation. After all, it’s a request for their presence, not a command. Here are some tips to help your guests make decisions about whether they can attend your wedding over a holiday weekend.

  1. Give your guests a lot of notice. Send save-the-date cards a little earlier. Remember, if you send someone a save-the-date card, you should send them an invitation. Make your guest list first. Don’t send out save-the-date cards indiscriminately. One wedding website recommends at least a year in advance with a holiday wedding.
  2. Give more RSVP time. You should also plan time to follow up with RSVPs.
  3. Use the holiday as a starting point. Don’t play Christmas music at your Christmas wedding. You want people to remember your day, not the holiday.
  4. Incorporate touches of decorations from the holiday, but don’t overdo. You can make the party theme-driven and unique.
  5. Have a signature cocktail and appetizers to get the reception started.
  6. Remember to book vendors early. You may need to remember to budget a little more than you would if it were on another weekend. Vendors may have to charge more for a holiday event.
  7. Plan to give servers who are working on Christmas a larger tip. They’re not with their family because they’re serving yours. Be kind and considerate to those who are working.
  8. Make hotel reservations early too. Get a room block to get a reduced rate and save rooms for those who need it.
  9. Advertise on your wedding website which amenities you are providing. Make it easy for guests to find accommodations and local information.

Before setting the date for your wedding, discuss any plans thoroughly. This way you understand the pitfalls and can overcome the disadvantages before you spend a lot of money.

Making Atonement During Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur Letterpress

Yom Kappur is considered a day of atonement.

The Jewish community celebrates the New Year in the fall. They call the holiday Rosh Hashanah. It begins a period of 10 days known as the High Holy Days and commences with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is probably the most sacred holiday to the Jews. Even secular Jews attend synagogue. It might be the only day some Jews go to temple, much like Christians attending church service on Easter or Christmas Eve. You may not be Jewish, or even believe that there is a supreme being; however, you can learn from this holiday and approach the upcoming traditional holiday season with a clean slate.

Traditions of Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the day when Jews make apologies to God for their sins. In order to approach God, it’s traditional to fast and pray for 24 hours. In addition to fasting, Jews do not have marital relations, do not wear leather shoes, do not wash and do not bathe during Yom Kippur. Orthodox Jews may immerse in a mikveh before Yom Kippur as a symbol of purity. Many Jews will wear white, as another way of presenting themselves as pure.

Prayers of repentance are said during services at the synagogue. Public and private atonement is made before God, depending on the desire of the individual. The process of asking for forgiveness is called Teshuva. It involves:

  • Regret of having committed the sin
  • A resolve not to commit the sin in the future
  • Confession before God

Also, Jews will give charity to those less fortunate on Yom Kippur. This year, Yom Kippur falls on October 12, but it actually begins at sunset on the day before and ends at nightfall on the actual day. Following Yom Kippur, families might have a feast in celebration of completing the fast.

What We Can Learn

In 1982, the band Chicago came out with a song, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” The song might be referencing two lovers who had a disagreement, but most of us, if we were really honest, don’t like to admit when we’re wrong or we’ve done something to injure another person’s feelings. Maybe you don’t believe in God, but it’s probable that you may have hurt someone in the past. We all make mistakes and say things that we probably should have thought about before opening our mouth or typing them at the keyboard. Learning how the Jews apologize to God, we can actually learn how to apologize to others.

Have you ever said to someone, “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry if I hurt you”? Take a second to look at those phrases. Although it may seem like a case of semantics, you might make them feel as if you’re dismissing their feelings when you say those words. Are you sorry for your actions or for how they reacted to your mistake?

A better way to apologize is to say, “I’m sorry I did . . . I cannot excuse my behavior, and I won’t let it happen again. Please forgive me.” There may be extenuating circumstances. Maybe the other person made you mad, but you cannot control anyone’s behavior but your own. Think about your own attitude when you say you’re sorry. And remember that all you can do is make the apology. The other person does not have to accept your apology. It could happen that day, but it might not happen for years. Don’t make the situation worse by forcing someone to forgive you.

Christmas and the New Year are coming up. Think about making amends with family members or neighbors this year to have a clean conscious. Fix those relationships that are broken and truly celebrate the good will of the upcoming season.