Here's How People Celebrate Christmas All Over the World

Here’s How People Celebrate Christmas All Over the World

Turns out, Santa Claus doesn’t visit the entire world for Christmas.

GoodHousekeeping.com | BY LIZZ SCHUMER | Dec 11, 2020 | Christmas | Shield Insurance

Every culture that celebrates Christmas also has its own festive ways to make the holiday special. Some of those involve dishes or treats that only appear once a year. Others give gifts that carry a particular meaning, and still, others decorate in a particular way, and hold festivals, parades or parties to ring in the season. Growing up, I know my family’s holiday season just wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t hang the Christmas pickle on the tree, if dad didn’t read A Visit From St. Nicholas to my brother and I before we went to sleep on Christmas eve — or didn’t enjoy the Feast of Seven Fishes. In some countries, people can say the same about a visit from the Krampus, eating KFC, or pulling a Christmas cracker.

This year, the holiday might look different for a lot of us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep many of our most treasured traditions. Maybe you’ll even want to try out some of the most beloved Christmas traditions from around the world in your own home. You might just find a new cherished activity that your children and grandchildren (and their grandchildren!) won’t be able to do without.

1Japan: KFC for Christmas Dinner

In Japan, celebrating Christmas is still relatively new. It’s only been widely recognized for the past couple of decades and is typically seen as a time to spread joy and cheer, or even a romantic couple’s day, instead of a religious holiday. Many order KFC for Christmas dinner, or make a reservation at a restaurant instead of cooking a big feast.

2 Poland: People Share a Pre-Dinner Christmas Wafer

In Poland and many Polish communities worldwide, Christmas Eve dinner or (Wigilia) begins with sharing the Oplatek. The paper-thin square wafer is made of flour and water and has an image of the Nativity on it. Everyone at the table breaks off a piece and shares a holiday greeting before passing it along. Sometimes, even pets get in on the fun.

3 Slovakia: Carp for Dinner

All over Central Europe, people enjoy carp for Christmas Eve Dinner, according to NPR. But rather than picking it up from the supermarket, traditionalists let the fish live in the bathtub for a couple of days before preparing and eating it. Legend has it, the scales bring luck and good fortune for the coming year.

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38 Best Christmas Ideas for a Festive Bash

38 Best Christmas Ideas for a Festive Bash

Guaranteed to keep your Christmas party rockin’ around the tree all night

CountryLiving.com | BY JULIA LUDLAM | UPDATED: DEC 1, 2022 | Shield Home Insurance

Are you planning on having a merry little Christmas with your loved ones? Invite friends and family over to celebrate the holiday season with these festive Christmas party ideas! We’ve rounded up some of our best ideas to make prepping for parties just as fun as throwing them. So, settle in for a holiday decoration derby or Christmas movie marathon. Just don’t forget your favorite winter drink recipe and a slice of fruitcake.

For those with a crafty holiday spirit, you’ll love our crafter-noon parties. From making Christmas wreaths to hosting a fun (and helpful) gift-wrapping party, we have enough ideas to last you the entire season—and then some! Relax and make ornaments with your friends (with our favorite DIY Christmas ornament ideas and tutorials to get you started, no less) or kick it old school with a salt dough crafting extravaganza. You can even throw a cookie swap party where guests are invited to bring their favorites and share Christmas cookie recipes.

If your friends aren’t the crafty type, which we can totally understand in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we’ve got ideas for you too. Throw a fun holiday soiree inspired by your favorite Christmas movie, go for a classic holiday dinner party, or get competitive with a Christmas gift exchange. Start the evening by serving your guests some delicious Country Living-approved Christmas appetizers. You can even throw together a hot chocolate bar if you’ve got a slow cooker to keep things warm and toasty. If you’re in the mood for something savory, fondue can feed a crowd and keep everyone entertained all evening long. All your friends will need to do is bring their Christmas cheer!

1 Ice-Skating Christmas Party

Gather your friends for some winter revelry. Embrace the cold weather and serve up some Hot Buttered Rum with Vanilla Ice Cream Balls and your favorite Christmas cookies for an ice-skating party. No snow? No problem. Throw on a scarf and make it a porch party.

2 Movie Marathon Christmas Party

Build a fire, curl up with your family and friends, and get in the spirit of Christmas with your favorite holiday classics, like The Polar ExpressHome Alone, and Miracle on 34th Street. Serve fresh popcorn with optional popcorn seasonings like parmesan black pepper, cinnamon sugar, or everything bagel for a holiday treat. Don’t forget the toasted marshmallow hot cocoa and the theatre candy brownies. To make things extra fun, ask guests to play Binge-Watch Bingo using buttons or popcorn to mark the squares.

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3 Candy Cane Crafting Party

Invite friends over to craft fresh holiday decor out of peppermint sticks and candy canes. The season’s most ubiquitous treat is more versatile than you think! Besides candy canes, peppermint sticks and peppermints, hot glue gunsred cotton stringglass pillar candle holders, and festive ribbons are just a few must-haves.

4 Holiday Snack Exchange

Like a cookie exchange, invite your pals to come over with their favorite savory holiday snack like these sweet and spicy coated nuts. Turn on your favorite holiday playlist, sip on some hot cocoa, and send everyone home with a cute container of treats like these hexagon jars adorned with a cinnamon stick and striped ribbon.

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When Is it Time to Stop (or Start) Hosting the Holidays?

When Is it Time to Stop (or Start) Hosting the Holidays?

Passing the baton and changing traditions can be difficult for families

AARP | By Robin L. Flanigan | December 06, 2022| Hosting the Holidays | Home Insurance

​Hosting the holidays can be a marathon sport. There’s planning the meals, buying the groceries, cleaning the house, cooking the food. It’s a lot of work, especially for older adults who have been at the holiday helm for two — sometimes three — generations.

When is it time to call it quits and let the younger generation take over hosting the Holidays?

That’s a difficult question for all involved. It can be difficult to give up the role of host after so many years; on the other side, it can be hard to take over that role, especially after a lifetime of baking, decorating, game-playing and gift-giving traditions.

“It’s a very emotional topic,” says Andrew G. Celli Jr., a 57-year-old attorney in Manhattan.

The traditions at his mother’s house — the home where he grew up in Rochester, New York — have “a rhythm and a regularity that makes it incredibly special and specific to her and the way she does things.”

But their family is large. Celli and his two siblings each are married with multiple children, some of whom have significant others, which means gatherings draw nearly 20 people. It’s a lot of work for Dolores Celli, who lives alone and is approaching 90, to make her usual lasagna; prime rib, or chicken with lemon, garlic, and rosemary; pizzelles; and the apple pie recipe her grandmother always used in Italy.

“It means taking the house apart and putting extra tables out, but I enjoy every moment of it,” she says, adding that she also provides breakfast for guests in the mornings. “Fortunately, I’m healthy enough to do it. Every year is a blessing as far as I’m concerned, even though I’m sure one of these days one of the kids is going to say, ‘No more.’”

While Andrew Celli says neither he nor his siblings have put their foot down once and for all just yet, he will be hosting Christmas at his home this year.

His mother “is incredibly strong and somewhat stubborn, but at the end of the holiday weekend, she is pretty tired,” he says. “We want her to enjoy the traditions that we can re-create at my house, without her having to do all the work.”​

The importance of hosting the holidays & rituals

Going to the same house, eating the same food, and interacting with the same people for decades brings a sense of comfort and belonging.

“Traditions help create meaning in our lives, and help find and establish family connections,” says William C. Torrey, the Raymond Sobel professor of psychiatry and interim chair of psychiatry at Dartmouth Health and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire. “Any change in how you celebrate the holidays can easily feel disruptive, but it also creates an opportunity for more conversation and expression of appreciation.”

That’s not so easy for Evey Meyer, 76, to believe. “I will be at the edge of my grave when I stop hosting,” says the former biology professor from St. Louis.

Rather than a chore, Meyer views hosting Hanukkah (“It wouldn’t be Hanukkah if I didn’t make potato pancakes”) as an act of survivorship, “something the Jewish holidays are partly about.” She points out that her generation may resist relinquishing the holiday reins in part because subsequent generations are less likely to engage in religious rituals — a worldwide phenomenon confirmed by a Pew Research Center analysis in 2018.

Meyer says that providing meals is linked to her self-image: “I’ve always been the feeder. When people think of me, I hope they think of food.”

At some point, however, the duties can become too much. It may take an older person days to recover, and younger adult guests may start to feel guilty for remaining on the receiving end. When this happens, it’s time for an honest, and possibly tough, conversation.​

Adjusting to new holiday approaches

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How to Tie a Wreath Bow

How to Tie a Wreath Bow in Five Different Styles

Plus, the best ribbon to use for each wreath bow technique.

MarthaStewart.com | By Roxanna Coldiron | November 22, 2019 | Wreath Bow | Visit Shield Insurance

The holiday season means decorating the house with lights, ornaments, and garlands of winter evergreens. And while the Christmas tree may take center stage in your home, it’s the wreath that welcomes your guests at the front door. In most cases, this is the first thing that people see when they come calling at your door, and it’s a hint at the rest of the holiday décor that awaits them inside. “Wreaths are like small, round Christmas trees,” says Cynthia Sheen, owner and interior designer at Cinzia Interiors. “A lot of the bow styles that I do for Christmas trees can be done for wreaths as well.”

Some wreaths don’t seem complete until they are finished off with a large, lavish bow, which enhances the overall look of the wreath and can be complementary to the other décor in your home. A crisp ribbon will make the nicest bow; grosgrain, satin, taffeta, and velvet are ideal choices. You can tie different styles of bows on your wreath. We asked designers for their ideas on styling your own wreath bows.

Traditional Bow

Of course, a traditional bow on your Christmas wreath is a classic choice. Ideally, use a wide ribbon in one of these classic colors—red, green, gold, or white. Cut ribbon to the desired length. (A bow with extra-large loops or extra-long tails will require more length.) Form the ribbon into two equal loops with about 12 inches of ribbon between them. Cross the right loop over the left. Knot the loops by pushing the right loop behind the left, under, and through the hole. Pull the knot tight, adjusting loops and tails to the desired size. Lightly fold the ends and cut, creating a notch. Attach the finished bow to the wreath with a small piece of green florist’s wire.

Rosette Wreath Bow

Rosette bows are tufted with several loops, and therefore, have a lot of fullness to them. Sheen makes large rosette bows using 16 to 19 loops, but you can make fewer loops for a smaller wreathSatin ribbon is perfect for this style because it keeps its shape and does not easily fall flat. To tie a rosette, fold a length of ribbon accordion-style into a stack, with as many loops as you like. Cinch the middle of the stack with wire, and twist to secure. Cover the wire with more ribbon if desired (just glue it in back), and fluff the loops.

Curly Wreath Bow

Kade Laws-Andrews, owner and interior designer at Kade Laws Interior Design, is partial to the curly bow. For a large bow, you will need 24 to 36 inches in length for the ribbon. “Wired ribbon is best,” Laws says. “Cinch the middle with a pipe cleaner.” Then, roll up the ribbon and unroll it to make spiral curls. This style of bow is ideally placed on the top or bottom of the wreath. A bow with shorter curls looks nice on the top of a wreath, while one with longer curls looks best from the bottom.

Layered Bow

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45 Halloween Party Games for Adults

45 Halloween Party Games for Adults

45 Halloween Party Games for Adults That’ll Make This Year’s Bash the Best One Yet

Good housekeeping | BY AMANDA GARRITY AND MONIQUE VALERIS | Updated: Oct 11, 2022 | Halloween Party

Get ready for a spooktacular time with these activities and entertainment ideas (including drinking games!) for any Halloween party.

From trick-or-treating and baking spooky delicious desserts to assembling creative costumes, if you’re like most people, Halloween is usually all about your kids. This year, switch things up by settling on an array of Halloween party games that are perfect for adults.

You and the 21+ folks in your circle can celebrate the spookiest day of the year with exciting twists on traditionals games. But if that’s not your style, take the liberty of arranging a pumpkin carving contest or wreath-making session to put your creativity on full display. And if all else fails, there’s nothing like a good Halloween-themed drinking game (just make sure there’s a designated driver).

Halloween Party

Whatever you decide, this roundup of Halloween party games for adults are full of humor and a dose of fright — just what you need to make this year’s event one to remember.

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How to Make a Flower Garden - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Make a Flower Garden

If you have been wanting to start a garden, now is the time! The long, sunny days are a great source of energy for plants, making summer the perfect season to start growing flowers. Any home could use a pop of color. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, it can be helpful to cover the basics. From sunlight to soil, there are a lot of choices that must be made in order to create a successful flower garden, but hopefully, this guide will help you through the process with just five easy steps!

  1. Choose a Location
    The first step is deciding where you would like to plant your flower bed. Most people make flower beds along the front or the side of their house, but feel free to get creative with it. You could create a garden around the base of a tree, around your mailbox, or you could use flowers to hide certain objects in your yards such as electrical equipment or pipes. Sunlight is important to consider when choosing a location. Depending on the flowers you choose, they could need up to six hours of sunlight. It is important to read the labels of any seeds or plants that you buy to ensure that the location will be able to provide the necessary amounts of sunlight.
  2. Choose your Flowers
    Different flowers will flourish in different climates and different types of soil. Temperatures and day length plays a key role in the photosynthetic cycle. Depending on what region you live in, some flowers may not be able to grow. The country is divided into climate zones. Research what plants suit your climate zone, or ask for help at a local plant nursery! They will be able to help you choose the right flowers to make your garden successful.
  3. Remove the Grass
    Once you have picked a location, it’s time to prepare the soil. Begin by removing the grassy layer. With a shovel, start digging in the center of the designated area. Continue to lift the sod with your shovel until all grassy parts have been removed. If digging isn’t your style, there is another option! Although it is a longer process, it’s far less labor-intensive. Instead of digging up the grass layer, set newspapers over the entire area. Cover the paper with rich planting soil or compost and, in four or five months, the grass will have died and the area will be rich and ready for soil preparation.
  4. Prepare the Soil
    The next step is to add planting soil on top of the garden bed you have just prepared. When choosing one of the six soil types, consider what types of flowers or plants will be living in the soil. Each plant grows better in a certain type of soil. Be sure to research which type of soil will be best for your flowerbed before you begin planting. Soil does its best when it is loose and breathable. Before you add the soil, break up any clumps of dirt and remove rocks. Lay down six inches of soil. Do not apply too much pressure to the soil; packing it down will increase the density, making it difficult for air and water to reach the roots. Once the soil is down, create an edge with rocks or bricks to separate the garden from the grass.
  5. Plant the Flowers
    Before you begin planting, make sure that the soil is ready. You want the soil to be moist but loose. If you are planting seeds, look at the packet to see how deep they should be planted. Seeds need oxygen to germinate – planting them too deep can inhibit growth. Begin by digging a hole; for most plants, you want the hole to be about ¾ the size of the pot. Once you have taken the plant out of the pot, gently remove and discard the excess dirt from the roots. Set the roots in the hole you prepared, and gently push topsoil back into the hole, but do not press down. The soil needs to remain loose and full of oxygen.

Now that you have your flower garden, remember to take care of it! Some areas may have enough rain to nourish the plants naturally. If you live in a dry area, you will need to water your flowers between rainstorms to make sure that they are healthy.

Happy summer, and happy planting!


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The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

AllRecipies.com | By J. Saunders

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

Whenever you make these cookies for someone, be sure to bring along several copies of the recipe! You will be asked for it, I promise!

NOTE: I make icing with confectioners’ sugar and milk. I make it fairly thin, as I ‘paint’ the icing on the cookies with a pastry brush. Thin enough to spread easily but not so thin that it just makes your cookies wet and runs off.

By J. Saunders

Servings:60

Yield:5 dozen

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  • Step 2 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Step 3 Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 110 calories; protein 1.5g; carbohydrates 14.7g; fat 5g; cholesterol 24.6mg; sodium 92.6mg.© Copyright 2021 allrecipes.com. All rights reserved.

Printed from https://www.allrecipes.com 12/20/2021


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Indoor Activities Guaranteed to Keep the Kids Busy at Home This Winter - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Indoor Activities Guaranteed to Keep the Kids Busy at Home This Winter

The weather outside may be frightful, but the prospect of having the kids home doesn’t have to be. 

By Brigitt Earley | December 11, 2020 | MarthaStewart.com

Snow days have always been tricky. A single phone call—”School’s cancelled!”—changes the whole day, sending parents everywhere scrambling to keep their kids occupied from sun up to sun down. But this winter, moms and dads face a new and unique challenge: keeping their kids busy at home for days on end. Though many schools are still in session (at least in some capacity), there’s no telling what the coming months will bring. If we learned anything in 2020, it’s to expect the unexpected. Whether in-person school gets cancelled or not, chances are kids will be spending a lot more time at home this winter. And with social distancing restrictions still in place, there will be fewer opportunities to occupy this extra time with trips to play places or play dates with other kids. 

What’s the best way to limit cabin fever and keep everyone—kids and adults alike—sane without resorting to hours upon hours of screen time? There are plenty of indoor activities that spark creativity, promote learning, encourage imaginative play, and—most importantly—are fun enough to keep whining and groans of “I’m bored” at bay (at least for a few precious hours). Here, some clever ideas to inspire you.

Indoor Activities

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12 DIY Board Games So You're Never Bored - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

12 DIY Board Games So You’re Never Bored

By LAUREN THOMANN | Updated on 05/05/20 | TheSpruceCrafts.com

Board games are a great way to keep busy and connect with friends and family members. Don’t have any on hand? You may not have known that you can make your own! These 12 DIY board games below could help save you from boredom if you happen to be stuck in the house. Plus, it’s a reason to break out the crafting supplies!

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Shield Insurance Agency Home Office in Hudsonville, Michigan

Happy Halloween to All!

Shield Insurance Agency wishes everyone a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Stop by the office, any time of the year, and we will have some treats for everyone!

We are located at 3214 Chicago Drive in Hudsonville, MI

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