History of the Candy Cane

Wow, my last post was nearly 2 weeks ago! Sorry about that, guess we have been busy enjoying our Advent! This Christmas has been truly wonderful so far, and we haven’t even reached the big day yet! Both my kids are so into it, and so excited with the count down! We’ve been baking, and wrapping, and singing carols. We have also been praying. We have done a family rosary a few times, and my son even requested it one night when we weren’t planning on it. I think that’s a pretty major win in the parenting column of life!

We have also been trying to stay warm! Southern Ontario (where we live) as well as many other parts of Canada, and the US too, were hit by a major ice storm this weekend. Our power has been coming and going all day! We did still make it to Mass, as the main roads weren’t bad, but it took my wonderful husband a very long time to clear the van off! Nearly an inch of ice coats everything; it is both beautiful and so very dangerous. Trees are down all over, including several large ones blocking one end of our street. Thankfully, in all the out and abouts today, I didn’t see any accidents, or trees on houses or cars….but there was plenty of that in other parts! My parents live just around the corner, but on a different power grid, and had no power for over 14 hours today! Thankfully they have a gas range, and were able to cook food and bowl water.

Now on to the real reason I am writing on this chilly and icy Sunday evening. Do you know the history of the candy cane? No not that blueberry flavour one, or the root beer flavoured one, but the classic red and white one?! Rumour has it, that it is in fact a Christian treat, so I thought I would share the bits and pieces of the rumoured history of that delicious little peppermint cane.

I first came across the idea of this when I saw a Pin (on Pinterest) with the cane upside down saying it was a J for Jesus, with a little poem attached. I thought that was kinda silly, but cute, and that started me wondering about what the actual story was behind the candy cane. There are several different stories out there, but the one that came up the most, was that it was a treat developed by a candy maker to give to kids to keep them quiet during the Christmas concerts on at his local Church. To make it acceptable with the parents, to be giving candy to the kids, he made the treat shaped like a cane to represent a shepherd’s staff, because Jesus is our shepherd. He coloured it white to represent Jesus being pure, and red for the blood he shed for us to live. Some stories go as far as to say that the original canes with the thick red line and three thinner red lines represent Jesus’ wounds from being whipped. And that the peppermint flavour was inspired by the flavour of hyssop that was popular when Jesus was alive.

I found all this so fascinating. Something that seems so ordinary, and secular, has a Christian history! And quite a funny one at that. I wonder how many heads would turn if I pulled out a bag of candy canes and handed them out to all the little kids during Mass…

My husband also visited our local Catholic Book Store, and they had a box of candy canes by the cash, selling them for 25 cents each, and they had this little story attached to them! So maybe more people knew about this than I thought. Did you?! So next time you share a candy cane with your child, a family member, or even a stranger, share this little tale with them! Spread His good word, and keep Christ in Christmas.

history of the candy cane

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Our Advent Wreath

Joining another link up today, this time over at Catholic Mom. Today we are sharing pictures of our Advent Wreaths! I love seeing how different they are, from something very simple (like ours), too much more elaborate and decorative ones.

He is our simple Advent wreath. It sits on our kitchen table, and we light it each night before dinner and say the corresponding prayer for that week. The kids love to see who gets to blow the candles out after dinner; usually that task is awarded to the child who sat and ate nicely, without argument…which means sometimes mommy just gets to do it!

advent wreath

Stop by the linkup party to see all the beautiful wreaths, and join the linkup!

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

A PRAYER FOR CHILDREN

God, we pray that through the
intercessions of St. Nicholas
you will guide and protect our children.

Keep them safe from all harm
and help them grow to become
loving disciples of Jesus in your sight.

Give them strength to always mature
into deeper faith in you,
and to keep alive joy in your creation.

Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

St Nicholas

Today, we will do special St. Nicholas colouring pages, open small religious gifts, and say some extra prayers to Saint Nicholas, and attempt saying the rosary as a family…perhaps just one decade to start. Have a blessed Saint Nicholas Day everyone!

Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up

KCinC

I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013

sponsored by the Catholic Bloggers Network.

Be sure to visit as many links as possible,

listed at the bottom of this post.

 

It’s so hard to keep the little ones attention on Him, when talks of Santa and new toys come up. We have taught our children about St. Nick, and how what he did has inspired the story of Santa Claus. When we take clothing, winter coats, and food to the local St. Vincent de Paul, we talk to them about how blessed we are and how it is wonderful to be able to share our blessings with others. We light our Advent candles each night and say extra prayers before dinner, hoping that some of it soaks in while the kids are amazed by the flames. We read extra Bible stories focused on Advent and Baby Jesus, and this year we are going to attempt to pray the Rosary as a family as well. The kids also love playing with their Little People Nativity, and hopefully they will love the new one that I made (and finally finished! watch for a post later on that!) just as much.

And even with all this extra attention, and extra focus put on our Faith, it still doesn’t seem like it’s enough. With the overwhelming secularization of Christmas, it seems to get harder each year to keep it all about Christ. With nearly all of our family living nearby, my children have two Grandma’s and plenty of Aunties who all love buying clothes and toys for them. How do you emphasize the true meaning of Christmas when all they see is piles and piles of new toys?!

We are also blessed to be able to send our children to Catholic school. And though it isn’t nearly as Catholic as it used to be, I was very pleased to hear they are doing a Christmas concert (most schools in the public board aren’t), and the kids painted Advent Wreaths (and prayer cards too) to bring home to “light”. I know for some of the kids in his class, the only things they will learn about their Faith, will be taught to them at school. But for us, that’s not enough. And just like I will help my son practice writing his name each afternoon, we will continue to teach them everything we can about being Catholic.

I have my moments when I doubt all the extra work that my husband and I go to, to teach them about their Faith. But when my 4 year old corrects my pronunciation of a Biblical name, and my 2 year old requests I say a prayer to St Michael before bed instead of to her Guardian Angel, I smile because I know that we must be doing something right.

Hope you all take the time to check out all the other great posts in this link up (they will be added to the bottom of this page by the end of Dec 2), and please share with me in the comments how you keep Christ in Christmas. You can also read my other Keeping Christ in Christmas post here.

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Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas

Simply Homeschool  Living Advent Series 12/1 – 12/25

Fifth of Five     Keeping Christ in Christmas – Blog Link-up 2013

Coffee Moments with Sam     The Light of Hope

Hand-Maid With Love: CHRISTmas Presence: Keep Christ in Christmas 2013 Edition

Open Window Making hay while the Advent wreath shines

Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas

Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual

On the Way Home:  Keep Christ in Christmas

Sue Elvis Writes: Bring Christ to Others

Mommy Bares All       Why Celebrate Christmas Even After #YolandaPH

Canadian Catholic Mom         Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling   Keep Christ in Christmas

Em’s Estuary: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Happy Little Homemaker: December Devotion: Immaculate Conception 

Adoro Ergo Sum:  How We Keep Christ in Christmas

JoyAlive.net: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Home to 4 Kiddos        Keep Christ in Christmas

Embedded Faith          Boldly Be the Christ in Christmas

City Girl, Country Home         Emmanuel Is With Us. Are we WITH HIM?

Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats

Joy of Nine9    Waiting in Joyful Expectation Like a Child

Splendor in the Home Ideas For Keeping Advent and Christmas Holy

Training Happy Hearts            10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year

A Catholic Life Advent: The Beginning of the Liturgical Year & Source of Rich Meditations

Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus

Catholic Inspired: Faith-Centered Family Christmas

A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas

Catholic All Year: Three Reasons I love Advent

Mary the Defender: Christmas The Battle Begins

Truly Rich Mom: Keep Christ in Christmas

Day By Day in Our World: 40 Days Seeking Him and Keeping Christ in Christmas

Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Rosary Mom   Keep Christ In Christmas With A Teenager

Tercets:           Keeping Christ in Christmas: Join Church Ministries

Campfires and Cleats How We Keep Christ in Christmas

Life Unabridged: Celebrating the Fullness of the Advent and Christmas Season

Homeschooling With Joy        Keeping Christ in Christmas

Mrs Domestic Bliss     Gingerbread Nativity

The Chic Traveller      Keeping Christ in Christmas

California to Korea     Keeping Christ in Christmas

Dominique’s Desk       Keeping Christ in Christmas

Our ABC Life: An Advent Update

Journey Living: Anno Domini

The Road to Rome: Advent Prayer and Reflection Resources

Life of Fortunate Chances: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Quidquid Est, Est!: Reblog: Advent Posts

Keeping Christ in Christmas

As Catholics, it’s very easy for us to understand what the Christmas season is all about. But it is also so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all. From shopping, and decorating, to cleaning and preparing for guests, we can forget that this special season of Advent is celebrating the birth of Christ. Or maybe you don’t let the over commercialization of the season over shadow the true meaning, and in that case I am so happy. We try so hard to keep it all about Him, but it’s hard when the neighbours turned their lights on last week, and the stores brought all the Christmas stuff out before Halloween was ever over!

keepChristinChristmas

Here is how my family keeps Christ in Christmas:

Advent Wreath – We have a very simple Advent wreath that we keep on the kitchen table. We light the candles and say the prayers as the weeks pass, and the kids just love it.

Celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas – We have taught our kids about St. Nicholas, and how he relates to the modern day Santa Claus. And because of this, we celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas (on Dec 6th) and we give each child a small religious gift, usually a new prayer card and a book or small toy.

No early Decorations or Music – We hold off on decorating the house, and turning on the outdoor lights until right before Christmas. We even waited until Christmas Eve to put our tree up one year. The day has changed each year, usually do to what day of the week Christmas falls on, but we usually deck the halls the weekend closest to Christmas Day.

Nativity Displays – We have two. And are thinking about buying a large wooden one for our front lawn. My mom bought me one the other year, that is ceramic and I display on top on my china cabinet in the kitchen. The other is a Fischer Price Little People Nativity toy we keep on the floor so this kids can play with it. We keep baby Jesus out of both sets, and when the kids come down on Christmas morning, they love go and finally see him sleeping there. This year, hopefully, I will add a third one to our collection…if I ever finish sewing it. Oh, and I have a snow globe with Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus.

Bible Stories – We read Bible stories each night before bed to the kids (we love these ones by Arch Books). And during Advent, we read the Advent ones to them.

Catholic Gifts – We love to give each other gifts that are Catholic (like books about Catholicism or by Catholic authors and prayer cards) or specific to Christmas, like new children’s bible stories and toy sets, or nativity ornaments and sets.

We also attend Mass (but that should be a given) and of course the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. In the future, once our kids are a little older and will understand a little better, we’ll do charity work and volunteer with them. And I would also love to have a Jesse Tree too, if I ever get that felt Nativity finished that is.

I would love to hear about your family, and your traditions surrounding Christmas, and how you keep Christ in Christmas, and please let me know if there is something I am missing out on!

For a post on how to have a Frugal Christmas, check out my post on my blog Not A Coupon Queen.