Our Christmas catalog is here and should be arriving on your doorstep any day!
Browse through the pages to find our hottest new Christmas cards and gifts as well as Advent readings and resources. It’s never too early to get in the Christmas spirit!
Also, don’t forget to check out our new online design software! You can be the designer and get the just the right look you want for your holiday greeting cards right from your own home. With personalized cards and envelopes sent right to your doorstep, you’ll be checking off your holiday list now and enjoying your Christmas later.
Easter and Christmas are important holidays on the church calendar. You want your home to reflect their meaning and importance. Yet sometimes, the desire to make the holidays understood and celebrated can itself become a source of stress. There are so many ways to celebrate Advent, for instance, that a family can be overwhelmed wondering which are best.
At The Printery House we want to encourage you to relax this year. Trust that God will use and bless even the smallest effort to make His coming special. Here are some simple ideas that you can use to help make the Advent season a special time in your home.
1. Make an Advent Prayer Chain This season, cut strips of whatever color paper you choose. Have your children write out prayer requests on a strip each day and then pray together. You could pray for people far away, people near, and for yourselves. When Christmas arrives, you will have a long and lovely chain to hang on the tree or mantle and many weeks of family prayer.
2. Christmas Books Make a Special Appearance Develop a collection of Christmas books that only come out during Advent each year. These books can line the mantel or hearth or could be set up down the stairs. Choose one book each week (maybe at Sunday dinner) to read. Add to your collection each year.
The Printery House offers several books that would fit the bill. Guess Who’s Coming for Christmas is a booklet for young children designed for reading through the Advent season. Christmas Tree Blessing tells the story of the Christmas tree and includes a special prayer to bless the tree and even a song to sing together.
3. Let the Kids be Re-Enactors Several times read the Christmas story to your children. It may be best to use a Children’s bible with youngsters. Have your nativity set on hand and let the kids act out the story as you read. Children will want to take turns acting out different characters in the story week by week.
4. Learn an Advent Hymn There are hymns written in celebration of the Lord’s birth. Christmas carols and hymns are only sung for a few weeks each year. Why not spend some time singing these songs at home during the season? You could sing a song such as O Come, O Come Immanuel each Sunday of Advent. By the time Christmas arrives, young voices will be able to sing along in church.
5. Advent Calendars Advent calendars are tried and true ways to help your family stay focused on the coming of Jesus at Christmas. The Printery House offers several types of calendars – some have windows, some have stickers, but all are fun and can help your family celebrate the special season.
6. Special Sunday Dinners It’s never too early to introduce an advent wreath, even if you don’t do all of the readings and activities with young children. During Advent, make Sunday dinners special with candlelight and the lighting of the Advent candle. You could read small sections of the Christmas story, sing a Christmas carol or offer a special Advent prayer.
When it comes to family worship, more isn’t always better. Consistency is what counts. You can make Advent special without a lot of stress. God can be trusted to bless your efforts. At The Printery House, we want to help you make this Advent meaningful. Choose one or two ideas and implement them and see how God multiplies the investment.
Christmas is a celebration that is heavy with symbolism. There is any number of traditional Christmas symbols that we enjoy without really knowing their origin. For example, why do we use wreaths at Christmas? Why a tree? Where did mistletoe get started? One that is recognized by everyone both young and old is the Candy Cane. The candy cane is one of the holiday’s most popular symbols and it is a perennial favorite with children. But do you know how it came to be associated with the Christmas holiday?
It is said that the candy’s Christmas history goes as far back as the 1670s. At that time candy canes were actually candy sticks. They were straight and tall and all white. The story goes that a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany was having a difficult time each year managing boisterous children during his Christmas Eve program.
Since handing out candy in church was generally frowned upon, the choirmaster had the sugar canes bent into the shape of a shepherd’s staff. Giving the children a symbol associated with the Christmas story reinforced the nativity tale and had the added benefit of keeping the little ones quiet and content during the program. It soon became popular all across Europe to give children a sugar candy cane during Christmas Eve service.
The candy cane made its way to America with the German immigrants who came to this country in the 1800s. Hanging sugar canes, which were still completely white, all over the Christmas tree caught on quickly. We know that the canes were still unstriped because inspirational greeting cards of that day depicted them as pure, snowy white.
By the 1900s red stripes were added to the canes which were now hanging from the mantel greenery, the Christmas tree and peeking out of Christmas stockings. At this point there is some division over the precise meaning of the candy cane’s shape and color.
Some say that the candy canes are flavored with peppermint because of its similarity to hyssop. Hyssop is often mentioned in the Bible where it is associated with sacrifices and purification.
The red stripes, it is said, represent the sacrifice of Jesus – His own shed blood.
The white stripes represent the purity of Jesus – He was a sinless sacrifice for sinners.
Some say that the candy cane has the shape of a shepherd’s staff because the angels first appeared to shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. Others point to Jesus Himself as the Great Shepherd of the sheep (the church). Still others make note of the fact that when the candy cane is looked at upside down it is the letter J which, of course, is the first letter of Jesus’ name.
Now that you know the legend of the candy cane, why not share the story with others this year. The Printery House offers a terrific selection of inspirational greeting cards including one that tells the story of the candy cane!
It is hard to believe that we are almost through October. Halloween is almost here and then comes the holiday season. If you look around you may even see the Christmas displays already up at many of your favorite stores.
Christmas is a meaningful and precious holiday (a holy day) and it deserves to be celebrated without nerves being on edge and credit cards worn from overuse. As with so many areas of life, a little planning on the front end can mean a far better outcome on the back end. So here are some suggestions for reducing the seasonal stress of holiday shopping.
1. Make a Christmas budget. Budgets help ensure that you don’t spend more than you have. They mean that you know how to avoid January overspend depression. It isn’t a bad idea to have an idea of how much you would like to spend overall and on each person.
2. Make a gift list. Christmas lists are not only for who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Write down everyone to whom you would like to give a gift. This list should include everyone from the mailman to Grandma Betty. Some gifts may cost very little (home baked bread or pies for the teacher or mailman). Others may need a bigger allowance. This is where assigning a dollar amount to each person can be helpful.
3. Make a savings account. It can be a formal Christmas account at the bank or it can be a glass jar at the back of a kitchen cabinet with your secret unspent grocery money and change. Ideally, this is a year-long endeavor.
4. Make a page for keeping track. If you think of a great idea for Uncle Bob – write it down. If you buy a gift for someone – write that down too. Keep track of how much you spend on every purchase.
5. Make a plan. If you want to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebration, have a plan for doing that. Inspirational gifts are one way to keep the focus on Christ. If you don’t have a plan to keep things centered, it is way too easy to get swept away by the whirlwind.
6. Make an online shopping date. Looking online for presents and inspirational gifts is a great way to lower the stress quotient this Christmas. Online shopping means no parking hassles, no crowds to deal with and no tired feet. Many online stores offer free shipping so there is really no reason not to enjoy the convenience. And if you shop early there is a great selection – no Black Friday ‘out of stock’ issues.
Don’t let your Christmas season turn into a runaway freight train. Start now and it you can get a lot done before the press of Christmas activities begin to fill every slot on the calendar. If you’re looking for a place to find inspirational gifts – check out The Printery House, an online gift store run by the monks of Conception Abbey. Then when Christmas is here enjoy the time you have celebrating the birth of Christ.