PDF version of my December 2018 calendar to print December 2018 catholic calendar!
Sunday, December 2nd – First Sunday of Advent (Holy Day of Obligation)
Time to bust out those advent weathers & calendars! Purple is the color of advent and it is time to light that first candle to begin this pre-Christmas season of anticipation and waiting. In our household this is typically when I start pulling out the Christmas decor. Since we bought a house that is bigger than the duplex we used to live in that means I get the
burden privilege to buy more Christmas decorations. Here’s hoping I don’t go overboard.
Also this is technically the first day of the Catholic new year!
Read more: Catholic Culture: Advent
Thursday, December 6th – Feast of St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas is literally the Santa Claus, so yeah Santa is real dudes! There are quite a few legends about this saints but the one that pertains to his gift giving also includes gifts going into stocking hung by the fire…coincidence? Nope. I’ve never actually celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas because it is a more kid-centric day but here are a couple of ideas:
- Letters to Santa…errr St. Nick
- St. Nicholas cookies
- Pictures with Santa
- Get little gifts in stockings
Read more on the blog Becoming Italian Word by Word: “Celebrating St. Nicolas, the Original Santa Claus”
Saturday, December 8th – Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation)
Get thee to mass…yup on a Saturday! This is the day that commemorates Mary’s immaculate conception, not Jesus’ immaculate conception. Yeah that gets confusing. Catholics believe that Mary was also born without sin in order to be perfect for Jesus, as far as I know Protestants do not hold this belief.
This feast day has also become a “thing” among women interesting in veiling for mass again like they used to do before Vatican II Council. And since I am one of those women, the Immaculate Conception felt like a big deal to me last year as a day to celebrate my new (& scary) resolve to veil for church.
Sunday, December 9th – Second Sunday of Advent (Holy Day of Obligation)
This seems to be the weekend that Will & I buy our Christmas tree. I don’t think we ever planned it to become a second-week-of-advent-thing, it just has so I guess it’s tradition now? So be it.
Some more great info from the blog Carrots for Michaelmas: Liturgical Living at a Glance: Advent and Christmas December 2018
Wednesday, December 12th – Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe
This feast day is about one of the more famous incarnations of the Virgin Mary mostly due to all the Mexican souvenirs with her image on it. Long story short, Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 and told him to build a church on the local hill. She gave him a sign of her now distinctive image on his cloak to take to the bishop so he would believe Juan Diego. It’s that image that graces literally millions of t-shirts, votive candles, and statues in hispanic homes. I have an awesome Virgin of Guadalupe shirt that says “Mary is my homegirl” and you better believe I wear it on this day. 🙂
As an art historian, I also love teaching about the symbolism behind images of the Virgin of Guadalupe and always tried to align my AP Art History curriculum to this day. What I especially love about teaching this image is how it is literally an amalgamation of Aztec imagery with Christian theology. Juan Diego was actually a converted Aztec himself so it historically makes perfect sense.
Read more: AP Crossover: Virgin of Guadalupe
Thursday, December 13th – Feast of St. Lucy
I first heard of (& got excited about) this saint day from the American Girl novel Kirsten’s Surprise: A Christmas Story, the Swedish-American pioneer immigrant family. As the eldest daughter in my family I sooooo wanted to wear a white dress with a red sash, stick a wreath of candles on my head and wake everyone up with delicious breakfast. However, I never mustered up the time or effort to go through with it. :/ Maybe if I have a daughter I’ll
force encourage her to pick up my long-lost dream.
St. Lucy is the patron saint of eye disease because she got her eyes plucked out when she was martyred…oh how I love the hilarious irony of Catholic saintliness. Lucy’s name in Italy, Lucia, means “light” so it has also become synonymous with the idea of bringing light into the winter darkness. That would make it a great day to first light our Christmas light display…hmmmm.
Sunday, December 16th – Third Sunday of Advent (Holy Day of Obligation)
It’s the official halfway point Christmas so you know what that means: we light the
pink rose candle.
Sunday, December 23rd – Fourth Sunday of Advent (Holy Day of Obligation)
I hope this Sunday of Advent doesn’t get lost in the Christmas prep shuffle but my family celebrates Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) way more than Christmas Day so that means December 23rd is usually a major prep day.
Monday, December 24th – Christmas Eve (Noche Buena)
I recently read a tradition to change your 4 purple & rose candles with one white candle in the center of the Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve and I really liked the idea. We won’t be spending Christmas at home this year, instead going down to South Florida with my family, so I won’t be able to actually do this tradition this year but I have mentally catalogued it for the future.
Noche Buena is the night to celebrate in my family. We always…and I mean always…have the same Cuban menu.
- Lechón (pork)
- Yucca with mojo or fried
- Arroz con frijoles (black beans and rice)
- Cassava (umm like a styrofoam cracker???)
- Platanos maduros (sweet plantains)
- Turrón, flan & coffee
If you question our Cuban feast-resolve listen to this: when we went to Germany to spend Christmas with my sister we brought the food we needed so we could have our Cuban feast abroad. That my friends is dedication!
Tuesday, December 25th – Christmas Day (Holy Day of Obligation)
Now that we are not kids anymore this isn’t a huge gift day but we still give and receive small family gifts. However my favorite part of Christmas Day is the ornaments. 🙂 My parents have a tradition, that Will and I now borrowed, of exchanging homemade ornaments that signify something significant from the year. This tradition makes for a FANTASTIC looking Christmas tree filled with quirky made ornament that literally tell stories of my family over the decades.
The afternoon is usually filled with family visiting and more munching and gift giving, overall pretty laid back. Once we make our way back home it is time to pop in a Christmas movie and begin the Christmas season.
Read more: Christmas Mass in Aachen
Tuesday, December 25th – January 6th – Christmastime
Christmas Day is the official “first” day of the Christmas season (as in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). We don’t really do anything special for each of the days of Christmas but we are definitely still in the Christmas spirit! This year Will and I are actually flying out on the 26th to spend the Christmas season in Italy and I cannot wait!!!
Wednesday, December 26th – Feast of St. Stephan (aka Boxing Day)
There are only 2 reasons I mention this feast day:
- St. Stephan is the first Christian martyr and I think that’s super cool
- It is free entrance to a ton of arts and culture sites in Italy and I always forget that!