Merry Late Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa?

>> December 26, 2008

First, I would like to hope and wish that you all had a very good Christmas yesterday. I had a pretty good Holiday, I think as you get older it is a little less exciting. However, I always have tried very very hard to find "the perfect present" for everyone. I think that if you really KNOW someone you should be able to buy them something they will really enjoy. People say it is the thought that counts, but I think that also goes for the thinking that goes into buying the present counts too. I hate when people just buy everyone on their list the same gift card and call it good. Oh well. I need to tell myself it's the thought that counts, right? That's what you're all thinking I am sure. ;) 

On Christmas Eve, my brother, Tim and I just hung out at home all day while everyone else worked. We decided to go pick up Ashley at Macy's and take her to Lunch at Costa Vida. She was busy, so was unable to talk on the phone to us, so we parked and went inside. What I saw as we walked in, made me giggle. I wish I would have had my camera. There were VERY few females shopping, and the ones that were, were with men. I leaned down to my brother and said "Today is officially the One Guy Shopping Day of The Year." I can't believe how crazy that is! But at the same time, they always seem to give okay presents, so maybe it is us women that have it all wrong by stressing out about it for at least all of December. Hmmmm.

My favorite presents from Christmas are my Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt, and my Audrey Hepburn quote-stitched-on-the-front photo album. Love it. I have always wanted a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt, but they were always so expensive, so I never got one. I did this year though. YAY! This makes me happy.. and we all know how much I love Audrey.

Moving on.. today is Boxing Day in many places across the world. Which, I think is a really cool tradition. I really do. I think it's neat that people recognize the work those in public service do, by honoring them the day after Christmas. I remember not knowing what it was when I was little, and seeing it on the Calendar. I think someone, probably my dad, had even told me that it was the day they watched boxing on TV in Canada. Haha. 

Today is also the beginning of Kwanzaa. Which, I really didn't understand what it is. I remember when I became aware that it was Kwanzaa, probably ten years ago now, but I've never fully researched it and felt like I knew what it was. SO today, I decided to do just that. 

I found this definition from Everything About Kwanzaa:  
Kwanzaa is a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance. Since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than18 million people worldwide, as reported by the New York Times. When establishing Kwanzaa in 1966, Dr. Karenga included an additional "a" to the end of the spelling to reflect the difference between the African American celebration (kwanzaa) and the Motherland spelling (kwanza).
Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance, and is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.
The following principles are remembered and observed with the Kwanzaa candles, the Kinara.
  • Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
  • Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
  • Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
  • Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
  • Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
  • Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.<>(ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.
This website, The Official Kwanzaa website also offers a lot of information.
I think it's neat that so many different cultures, beliefs and holidays are able to coexist in the United States. This was not always the case, and it is definitely not always possible around the world. However, I think we are very lucky to live in a land where we can celebrate what we want, and how we please. For example, Hanukkah started on Dec 21st, and ends on Dec 29th. I just think it's really cool to be able to coexist, and maybe we should learn something from December. We should all try just as hard to coexist and be harmonious throughout the year. Not just in December. Maybe this could be the universal New Years resolution. Because, who doesn't enjoy Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song?

I also really love learning about Christmas Around The World, check it out if you want. 

Happy Holidays! 


Amanda M December 26, 2008 at 1:10 PM  

I didnt know very much about Kwanzaa either!! I'm glad you put some info about it up!!
And I LOVE the Adam Sandler song!! It's hilarious and makes me laugh every time!!

Lauren♥Jaden♥Kaylie December 26, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

I totally agree about the present thing! It is the thought that counts, but c'mon people you gotta think about what you're getting people! lol. I'm glad you had a good Christmas and I wish I would've gotten a Cowboys sweatshirt~! not fair! take a pic, i wanna see what it looks like!

Ashley December 26, 2008 at 6:37 PM  

I like the new background. :) and Great Post. I'm glad you like the Cowboys hoodie and Audrey photo album the best. :)

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