PDF version of my December 2020 calendar to print HERE!
Sunday, November 29 – First Sunday of Advent (Holy Day of Obligation)
The theme of this week of advent is HOPE.
Time to bust out those advent wreaths & 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. Also this is technically the first day of the Catholic new year!
Read more: Catholic Culture: Advent
Sunday, December 6th – Second Sunday of Advent & Feast of St. Nicholas (Holy Day of Obligation)
The theme of this week of advent is PEACE.
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…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”
Tuesday, December 8th – Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation)
Get thee to mass…yup on a Tuesday! 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 no Protestants 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.
Sunday, December 12th – Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe
This feast day is about one of the more famous incarnations of the Virgin Mary, probably 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 Mexican 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 (his feast day is December 9th).
Read more: Catholic Culture: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Sunday, December 13th – Third Sunday of Advent & Feast of St. Lucy
The theme of this week of advent is JOY. It is the “pink” or “rose” colored week.
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.
Read more on the blog Catholic All Year “Lent vs Advent: Penance or Preparation, Counting Up or Counting Down”
Sunday, December 20th – Fourth Sunday of Advent
Last Sunday of preparation before the Christmas season. The theme for this Sunday is LOVE. Very appropriate don’t you think?
Read more: Catholic Culture: Don’t Forget Advent
Thursday, December 24th – Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) & Feast of Sts. Adam & Eve
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
Last year I also learned that today is the feast of Adam and Eve (the first sinners in the Bible). There is so much to say here about Catholic ideas of sainthood and forgiveness but in essence I love that the day before Christmas is also the day to remember Adam and Eve, who according to tradition, are now in heaven. In a case of Catholic irony I found a cider to drink called “Original Sin” & we ate apple and gouda cheese sandwiches. I think I am hilarious! (today was also a traditional meatless day pre-Vatican II, we obviously do not follow those rules for dinner but I did for lunch)
Read more from the blog Catholic All Year: Hymns and Carols for Advent
Friday, December 25th – Christmas Day (Holy Day of Obligation)
My favorite family Christmas tradition is our ornament exchange. 🙂 My parents had a tradition, that Will and I now continue, 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.
This year we are traveling, but normally Christmas Day is pretty low key: mass, leftovers, visiting with family, and a Christmas movie to begin the Christmas season.
Friday, December 25th – Wednesday, 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! I love celebrating the Epiphany, which ends the Christmas season, also known as Three Kings.
Read more: Catholic Culture: The Three Kings