May All Your Gifts Be Valuable

November 8, 2018

So I just had my birthday.  It was the big one.  I guess I’m no longer a kid, at least physically.  That’s right, I turned the big 40.  I guess it’s time to start thinking about retirement and senior care arrangements about now.

OK, not really.  After all, I don’t really plan on ever even growing up.  Just ask my wife.  But in honor of another year, my sister asked for a list of gift ideas for both my birthday and Christmas.  I finally sent a couple of ideas almost a week later.  Sure, life is busy.  But I was also struggling to come up with anything that I really needed or wanted.

And with that, here we go right on into the Spending Season……. I mean the Christmas Season. Read the rest of this entry »


Joy to the World

December 19, 2017

And joy to the world it was – literally—as the Center for New Americans celebrated the holiday season with staff and students from four different continents on Thursday, December 14. Cultural and language barriers became insignificant as everyone sat down to taste each others’ culinary delights and share some intercultural dance moves. Even Santa couldn’t stay away!

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Students spent the week learning about traditional American culture through songs, singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and performed during the World Festival Celebration.  Students also shared their traditional music and dances: Danto from Somalia, Cumbia and Bachata from Mexico, in addition to lots of Nepali dances.  And the food was bountiful.  Students, teachers, and volunteers alike brought time honored finger foods: Cheese and crackers from the United States, sambusa from Africa, pulcra from Bhutan,  and “famous roses” from Thailand.  It was a beautiful day to celebrate the end of 2017.

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All of us here at the Center for New Americans Wish You a Happy New Year! 


Dream Series – 5 Steps to A Black Christmas

November 2, 2017

Cheesy as it may be, it’s a tradition.  Sometime in the next two months you will hear it.  “IIIII’m dreaming……… of a whiiiiiite… Christmas….”  Come on now, everybody loves a little Bing Crosby at Christmas.  As sentimental as a white Christmas may be, there are a lot of people dreaming of a black Christmas too…… or rather, a Christmas in the black.

christmas-presentsI think most of us dream of making Christmas magical for those around us.  There are a lot of ways to do that.  It could be anything from waking Christmas morning to find stockings stuffed and a new toy train going around the Christmas tree to a new tradition of Christmas on a warm, sandy beach under a palm tree.  Either way or any in between, it’s probably going to cost you. Read the rest of this entry »


Upping Your Giving Game

December 19, 2016

 

‘Tis the season, or so the saying goes.  But the season for what?  cash-in-walletDuh, it’s the season of consumerism….. I mean the season for giving.  It’s the time of year when we shop to give gifts to our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, coaches, neighbors, mail carriers, garbage haulers, pizza delivery guys, and anyone else we can possibly think of.  And while we are shopping, there are the other organizations that are asking us to give to them, whether it is for a special project or for one last push to make their annual budget.  After all, giving is a great way to get a tax break, right?  No cash?  That’s ok; they’ll take stock transfers, old vehicles, and even donated real estate if you’d rather.  Man, that’s a lot of giving that is expected of us this time of year.  Read the rest of this entry »


Christmas – What You Might Not Know

December 15, 2016
Christmas gift

Photo courtesy of ChrissyMorin

 

Christmas – a religious holiday that has been celebrated around the world for hundreds of years. Every year around this time I get questions from my students about Christmas, about how the celebrations started, who decided how to celebrate and many more. This year, I decided to find some answers. Christmas – the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, with all the beautiful decorations, presents under the tree, children waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus, large meals shared with family and friends – has a place in everyone’s memory, it’s always been like that, it’s always been there.

Did you know? Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

Did you know? The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking. In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

 

Did you know? Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

Did you know? In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous.

Did you know? In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

Did you know? From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

Did you know? Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

Did you know? The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.

Did you know? Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.santa begging

Did you know? The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.

Did you know? Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.

Did you know? Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

Did you know? Christmas 2016 is right around the corner. Only a few more days.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL            

(source: History Channel, http://www.history.com, The History of Christmas)

written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor


Steps to Prep for Christmas….Already

October 11, 2016

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….
Every where you go….
Take a look in the five-and-ten….
Glistening once again….
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow….

Sorry to do it to you so early, but you know you didn’t just read the words.  Come on, admit it, you were singing along.  And now I’ll agree as we both argue, “IT’S WAY TOO EARLY!”  But it’s coming and you can’t deny it.  The other argument I’m going to make is that you may not want to deny it.  Rather, embrace it.  Embrace it now. Read the rest of this entry »


A Happier Holiday

December 16, 2015

holidaystressshrunk25Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year: Family, friends, lights, music, traditions of faith, and presents. It’s a time to show gratitude for the gifts that have been given.  At work it’s a time to decorate, extra treats in the break room and the annual holiday party.  With the joy of the season comes extra projects, changes in work and family schedules, more financial responsibilities and return of long lost friends and family members. Read the rest of this entry »


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