by Sara CerdaOne of our family traditions is to make a Christmas Village. The village depicts a Hawaiian Winter Wonderland. My dad would even have snow in our village. He has been doing a Christmas Village for as long as I can remember. I remember when I was young, I had a hard time sleeping, so I would look outside when the Christmas village was all lit up. I felt cozy and just looking at it I would hug my bear and then fall asleep.Making a Christmas village is hard work, and you need to be dedicated to this project, or else you might not be done when Christmas comes around. You can buy a set to make a Christmas village and expand it over time, but the ones that truly stand out are the ones that people make.My dad went extreme one year. He had a drive-in movie theater with the Lego blocks, a place where they cut the Christmas trees with a miniature saw and a workbench, a ski resort, a beer garden and more.If you are planning on buying a village set, that is a good start. But if you want to make it really special, you need a plan. In order to make a successful village you need to have an idea or a concept. You can’t just go and build a Christmas village without a blueprint or else it will not turn out right. It takes about 4 hours a day for a week to complete the village.Making a Christmas Village is an important part of our tradition. It brings joy to everyone who sees it. Maybe you can start your Christmas Village this year.
Do You Believe in Santa Claus?
By Clarise HuangCookies and milk lie on the table, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. All is quiet and everyone is asleep. Morning arrives and waiting under the tree are presents from Santa, the milk and cookies gone. Did he spend the night ﬂying around with his reindeer, climbing down chimneys, and delivering presents? Is Santa Claus real?
The original Santa was St. Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 C.E. He was a Greek bishop who was known for secretly giving gifts, such as coins to people. After his death on December 6th, a feast was held every year on this day. In the beginning, St. Nicholas had no connection to Christmas or the birth of Jesus. Before the date was established, the birth of Jesus was unknown. Pope Julius I was the one who decided on the date, December 25th. After time, St. Nicholas’ feast day became associated with the birth of Jesus. A tradition on December 25th was that children put out nuts, apples, and other sweets to welcome St. Nicholas to their homes.
Santa Claus was not St. Nicholas’ name. There were many Protestant countries in Europe that didn’t pick up the custom of Christmas, except for Holland. When Holland started celebrating Christmas, they called St. Nicholas, Sinter Klaas. As the tradition came to America, his name Sinter Klaas was once again changed. In America, they called him Sancte Claus. As time passed, Sancte Claus slightly changed and became Santa Claus.
Other customs of Christmas, such as giving presents and decorating Christmas trees also have their meaning. In Pre-Christian Rome, emperors who despised certain citizens, forced those people to give them presents. The Christians then Christianized that practice by making it St. Nicholas’ or Santa Claus’ doing. The custom of Christmas trees came from observing Pagans. Pagans worshipped trees in the forest, brought them home, and decorated them. After seeing this custom it was copied and put into the Christian religion.
So, is Santa Claus real? Is it true that Santa rides in a sleigh with reindeer, climbs down your roof and put presents under the tree? Well, that is up to you to decide. Maybe knowing more about Santa and Christmas changed your mind, or maybe it didn’t. St. Nicholas was real, but is Santa Claus real? I don’t know, but if he is, he’s one really generous person who has made wishes of little children around the world come true.
Christmas Village my Dad made last year. Rachel’08 and Eric ’10 Liaw sit with Santa.Photo by Sara Cerda