Christmas Crafts

Christmas craft ideas can be gleaned from a multitude of online sources that offer free patterns for specially designed holiday decorations. Many books and magazines display Christmas crafts with all the necessary information to get started on a unique home handcraft. Other entertaining websites are dedicated to offering children simple ornaments to make and other handwork. The precedent for these fun activities come from a long heritage of artisans and hobbyists, as well as those from yesteryear who made decorations for family gifts.

With the introduction of mass production over this past century, the need for Christmas craft ideas are not as prevalent as it was 200 years in colonial America. Many of our ancestors had to be creative in order to provide gifts, decorative items, and functional ornaments for their holiday celebrations. Today, we are used to running to the store to pick up ornaments for our Christmas tree; our early forefathers had to be very creative in order to decorate their trees. As is indicated by a large portion of literature about the Pilgrims and subsequent times, many people designed their own Christmas crafts such as popcorn strung along a cord or decorative candles.

Other handcrafts from bygone days are ornaments carved from wood, made from candy, and from natural materials such as berries and fruit. Many types of Christmas crafts were used for gifts as well. Some of these are crocheted projects, handmade corn dolls, stuffed animals, and painted glass prisms. Creativity was challenged by the limited resources available to the pioneers; later Western settlers and depression era Americans developed their unique artistic creations for the holidays. Undaunted by the lack of materials, many delightful Christmas craft ideas were instigated by the shortage.

These projects have continued to be popular today, even if produced through large companies that cater to a busy, more sophisticated public. Pre-packaged Christmas crafts can be purchased as well as handmade items already completed. Many people appreciate receiving their own special gift from Christmas craft ideas that their family has designed. Never underestimate the delight a person feels to receive a gift that is made with the hands of someone who loves him very much. This reminds us of the special gift that God gave us on the first Christmas day so long again. A gift from the hands of God to the needy world of humanity has proved to be the greatest gift of all! "And she(Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). That gift is the one we never take for granted.

Christmas decorations are big business for retailers throughout the entire world, and those that sparkle with glitter will fly off the retail shelves this coming holiday. As the winter season approaches and holiday fan-fair arrives, that old holiday spirit will grow in anticipation of the celebrated season. These products are a large part of the festive traditions surrounding December 25th, and most homes across the American nation will have halls decked with holly and mistletoe atop doorways. The holiday just wouldn't be the same without the green and red Christmas ornaments for the tree.

Most Christians celebrating the season recognized as Christ's birth have no idea how many of the original holiday traditions evolved. Interestingly, some Christmas decorations represent religious practices that are directly opposed to the Christian belief that Christ was born and died to save the world from sin and eternal hell. Christians may want to know why their purchases could be symbols that do not glorify Christ. The tree decorated with Christmas ornaments is derived from a religious practice that dates back to before Christ's birth. In Jeremiah 10:2-5, the prophet Jeremiah warns God's people to not partake in a pagan ritual of cutting down a tree and decorating it with silver and gold. "For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold: they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not" (Jeremiah 10:3-4). It appears that decorating a tree is derived from a religious practice long before the birth of Christ and this practice has made its way to modern day Christmas ornaments.

The original practice of cutting down and decorating a tree is found in the traditions of the pagan worship of the sun-god Nimrod. A log, known as a Yule-log, was placed on the fire in a home to symbolize the death of Nimrod, and a tree was resurrected in the home the next day to symbolize Nimrod's "rising" again in his son, Tammus. The trees in the home were decorated with small red berries and other ornamental balls to symbolize the sun and the god of the sun they worshipped. Today, Christians place Christmas ornaments on green trees and Christmas decorations of red berries and balls are found throughout the home. And while most Christians innocently have no idea what these symbols mean, a study and examination of why we do what we do could help us focus more intently on Christ.

There are many more holiday traditions based on religious practices that have roots in paganism and religions that do not recognize Christ as the Savior of the world. Perhaps to keep Christ as the center of our worship, Christians should evaluate their holiday traditions, including Christmas decorations, and what each truly stands for. It's true that the Christmas season is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, but as Christmas becomes more and more secularized across the nation, the opportunity to assess our reasons for the season are at hand.

Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings filled with little gifts are the joy of every child on Christmas morning. When we think of the holiday season, we think of Santa, Christmas presents, family gatherings, and the birth of Christ, Savior of the world. Sometimes, this time of year can become so hectic, with planning events and buying gifts, that we put our priorities in the order listed above. Santa, gift exchanges, family gatherings, and finally, Christ. This season, as the shopping for gifts begins, families might want to keep in mind where some of the traditions of our holiday seasons come from, separating facts from fiction, and devoting the day, the season, the entire year to the King who died so that we might live. He gave and is still giving the ultimate gift - eternity.

While many traditions we now celebrate at this special time began before the birth of Christ and have their roots in Pagan solstice and sun god worship, Christmas stockings have their roots in Saint Nicholas, or our modern day Santa Clause. Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of Myra, Asia Minor, had a reputation of kindness and generosity. He was noted as especially kind to children, giving away treats and small gifts. Saint Nicholas has evolved into the magical Santa Clause that we now herald as a miracle worker who creates magic to make children's dreams come true, if they are good enough.

Part of Saint Nicholas's evolution is from the folklore surrounding stockings by the fireplace. It is said that the first Christmas stockings were in the home of a widower who lived in Myra. The widower could not properly support his three daughters, and he could not provide a dowry. The story goes that Saint Nicholas threw three bags of gold into the fireplace chimney and the gold landed into the stockings drying by the fire. This began the tradition of putting Christmas presents into Christmas stockings.

There are many more traditions and rituals that surround our holiday celebrations and these practices have been handed down through hundreds of years, evolving to meet the needs and beliefs of the culture of the day. Christmas presents are usually associated with the wise men, but gift exchanges have an even deeper history. Many of the practices were adapted to Christianity to allow the communities that worshipped false gods co-exists with the communities of Christ. Constantine is noted as the first emperor to claim the pagan sun god festival during December as the time to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Exploring the origins of gift giving and other practices can open our eyes to many deceptive practices employed by the enemies of God. Paul the Apostle encourages the Roman church to "...not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." And in his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul stated: "Let us not sleep, as do others: but let us watch and be sober." (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

Also, separating the truth from folklore is presenting Christ as the one and only King and the origin of all miracles. Holiday traditions, such as Christmas presents, are perfectly fine as long as we keep our focus on the true giver of all gifts, Christ, Son of God. For further information about the truth of who Christ is, click the links above.

Gathering Christmas party ideas will help party planners arrange a great holiday celebration, one that is memorable and fun for the whole family. Christmas games provide fun activities for the whole family to enjoy during the holidays of festive celebration. And, unique and creative ideas will leave lasting impressions on family and guests. But, this year, as different plans are considered and activities are constructed, Christians might want to keep in mind the reality of many of our traditions. Having our eyes opened to the truth behind so much of what we do this time of year will help Christian families draw upon the true meaning of the celebration of Christ, and where our focus really needs to be.

When planning to put holiday plans into action and pulling together the different activities, families could use this opportunity to teach of Christ, his birth, life and death on the cross. Planning a celebration with Christmas party ideas while working with children and other family members is an opportune time to visit the truth about why we celebrate and what we can do to even bring more glory to Christ. A simple investigation of where many of the current traditions surrounding this holiday come from will reveal that many of the Christmas games we play and traditions we celebrate have their origins in ancient pagan practices.

For example, the Christmas tree, the very center of many Christmas games, was actually a symbol of the resurrection of a pagan god. The Pagan sun worshippers would place a Yule log on their home fire to symbolize that their pagan god, Nimrod had died. This event took place when the days were shorter due to the winter sunlight. But, the very next day, the pagans would cut down an evergreen tree and erect it in their homes to symbolize the resurrection of Nimrod through his son, Tammus. The tree was symbolic of the coming longer days and life of the sun and decorated in red berries and small balls that represented the sun. Obviously, this ancient practice was a twisted version of the coming of Christ; Satan's deceptive tactics at work. "For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not." (Jeremiah 10:3-4)

There are many other traditions and practices that are passed down through generations that seem innocent, but have little to do with Christ. Many Christmas party ideas come from roots that are older than Christ. If activities are to be the center of celebrating Christ, then we must evaluate what activities that can be accomplished to keep Christ as our focus. Understanding where the symbolism involved with our Christmas party ideas comes from will help us maintain the uniqueness of our God and reigning King, Christ. To discover more about the truth behind the story of Christ and our holiday celebrations, visit the links above. "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men..." (Mark 7:8)

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