Christmas A story

Let your kids plan Christmas? If you’re hosting your family’s holiday party this year and you want your kids to be involved, why not let them plan Christmas dinner? If they feel like they’re in charge, they won’t even real- ize they’re helping. Here’s a suggested itinerary to help orchestrate the event from conception to execution. One month before Have your kids look through cookbooks and decide what to serve on the big day. Don’t worry if they choose something un- conventional — it could be a hit and be- come your family’s favourite new holiday tradition.

‘Silent Night’: 200 years of bringing people together This Christmas marks the 200th anniver- sary of “Silent Night.” First performed in a village church in Austria, “Silent Night” quickly became one of the most popular Christmas hymns in Europe and today is sung all over the world in countless dif- ferent languages. In 2011, the carol was granted “intangible cultural heritage” sta- tus by UNESCO because of its prominence in world culture. Known in German as “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht” (“Silent Night, Holy Night”), the lyrics were composed by the Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and set to music by the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, for the Christmas Eve ser- vice in Arnsdorf in December 1818. Mohr and Gruber performed the carol themselves with only a guitar as accompaniment. The hymn was an instant success with the congregation and soon spread to other towns and countries. One of the most moving examples of the carol’s place in our shared culture comes from an extraordinary event that occurred during World War I. In December 1914, Ger- many and the Allied forces declared a Christ- mas truce and ordered troops to cease all hostilities. According to contemporary ac- counts, on Christmas Eve one German soldier — Walter Kirchoff, once a tenor in the Berlin

Three weeks before Put your Christmas tree up, string it with lights and let the kids go hang the orna- ments. Bring out the rest of your decora- tions and let them decide where every- thing goes this year. Two weeks before It wouldn’t be Christmas without the smell of gingerbread in the air. Have them bake and decorate cookies to give to their teachers as gifts. One week before If your kids are old enough to use scis- sors on their own, teach them how to wrap gifts, and make it their job. Just be sure they don’t tell grandma what you got her. FIVE DAYS BEFORE Let them create a centrepiece for your holiday table. Even if you end up with a Star Wars themed Christmas, it’ll be unique and they’ll love it. Three days before Write a list of everything you need to make the dishes the kids picked and head to the market as a family. Give each child one or more ingredients to look out for. The big day Let your kids pick the holiday music, set the table and greet your guests.

opera — stepped forward and began to sing “Silent Night,” first in German and then in English. Recognizing the hymn, British soldiers joi- ned in, and both sides began singing Christ- mas carols in their own languages. On Christ- mas Day, soldiers climbed out of the trenches to wish their enemies a merry Christmas and played games and exchanged gifts until the truce ended. For a brief time after the singing of “Silent Night” that Christmas, “heavenly peace” reigned over the battlefield.



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