January is . . .
January is named for Janus, the Roman good of doors and gateways. He had two heads – one looking forward, the other back – symbolizing a break between the old and new. He had the unique ability of seeing both the future and the past. As porter of heaven he opens the year. Guardian of the gates, he must be two-headed, because every gate opens both ways. In times of war his principle temple at Rome was always open. He is the god of the gate to the Roman forum, and the Romans would pray to him there before going to war. This god reigned over the first hour of the day, the beginning of the growing seasons, the beginning of a battle, the beginning of just about everything, sow hen the Roman senate decided to change the first of the year from March to January, they naturally named this first month of the year after Janus.
I like to walk on the fresh fallen snow
The kind that whispers and speaks.
It sings a song as I walk along
With crackles and crunches and squeaks.
The snow was deep one Winter’s day
Dad told us to go out and play
We walked, jumped and rolled around
The snow was marshmallowy soft atop the ground.
From the window I could see dad smile
He just stood still and watched a while
My brother and I laughed and played
Even sat back viewing the snowman I made.
The sun was bright, the air was crisp
My breath floated away in a gentle wisp
It wasn’t too long before we went in
Dad had asked us how it had been.
It was fun, we puffed as we undressed
Our stuff on the floor making quite a mess.
Caressing our heads dad looked outside
For a moment he looked sad and gently sighed.
I wonder what dad was thinking that day
As he smiled then sighed when we had played
I think because dad did know
That one day, we would grow.
Sledding and heading for spaces below,
Gliding and sliding across the new snow.
Slicing, an icing of white on the hill,
Leaning, careening, avoiding a spill.
Racing to where the icy hill ends,
A girl and her sled become wintry friends.
Flower: Carnation & Snowdrop
It’s Okay to be Different Month
National Book Month
National Eye Care Month
National High Tech Month
National Hobby Month
National Hot Tea Month
The Chinese have been drinking tea for 5,000 years. The beginning is clouded in legend. One is that the Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea in the precise yet historically unfounded year of 2737 BC. One day the Emperor was about to drink some boiling water, when a few leaves from an overhanging tree blew into the pan. The inquisitive Emperor tasted this unlikely looking brew and discovered that the tea was both delicious and refreshing.
The English know how to do tea! Adopt their afternoon teatime and brew a pot, make some finger sandwiches, biscuits (cookies), scones, jam and clotted cream (or whipped cream). Dust off your fine china and bring out the nice linens.
A little cup of friendship
With a bag of tea
When you drink this
Think of love from me.
Sharing tea with children is just one more tangible way of offering the gift of our time and attention, sharing of ourselves and passing on what we’ve learned. Tea parties are a great way to teach good manners and table etiquette.
Make a point this January to try a different tea each day. Save the small tag from the tea bag and the envelope the tea bag came in.
Bring out your teacups and begin creating new stories with them to pass on to your children. Perhaps add a new teacup to your collection each January. Create a page layout with the picture of the teacup, the story behind the special occasion, and other pictures of the occasion.
National Soup Month
Perfect for supper on a cold winter’s eve, a hearty soup or stew is sure to keep us warm. Could there be a better time to celebrate Soup Month than January?
Who doesn’t love the story, Stone Soup? Gather your young ones around and, while preparing a pot of your favourite soup, tell them the tale of the starving village that each brought the little that they had and by banding together fed themselves. Enjoy a bowl of your family’s favourite soup to finish the evening.
Host a Stone Soup Party and on your invitations ask guests to bring an ingredient for soup. Provide the soup stock and your favourite bread. Snap pictures of your guests and their soup ingredients. Create a scrapbook layout with all your photographs and the invitation.
As a family or with a group of friends, donate your time by serving a hot meal at a soup kitchen. Let this become an annual January tradition.
What is the cure for whatever ails us? Chicken soup, of course. Soup is one of those comforting foods that evoke our memories. Capture your favourite memories of soup in your journal. Be sure to include your favourite soup recipes
National Staying Healthy Month
Family Fitness Lifestyle Month
Healthy living is achievable. Instead of just one or two family members focusing on eating healthier and exercising more, get the entire family involved. Encourage everyone to do their part in establishing new habits and routines that promote good health. Try for one month to reduce the fat, sugar and salt in your diet along with adding more activities and see if this new trend becomes your family’s lifestyle. Take before and after photos and keep a journal of your family’s transformation. Photographs can be a positive way to show improvement when day-to-day results are slow. Comparing photographs over several months just may be the incentive you need to make this lifestyle a permanent change.
International Coffee Month
Whether your favourite coffee stop is in a mall, at a café, or inside a bookstore, this month we have a solid excuse to splurge! Take this opportunity to catch up with a friend by inviting them to join you. Has this coffee shop become a safe haven or a special place to hide away from the rat race? Take a photo or bring home the cozy that keeps your cup warm and make a page with journaling on the role this place has in your life.
Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love.
Coffee in England is just toasted milk.
--Christopher Fry, British playwright
The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
After a few months’ acquaintance with European “coffee,” one’s mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed.
Look here Steward, if this is coffee, I want tea; but if this is tea, then I wish for coffee.
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
National Thank You Month
Rodeo & Stock Show Month
National Thank You Month
Clean Up Your Computer Month
And now let us welcome the New Year full of things that have never been.
--Albert CamusHangover Day
First Foot Day
In Scotland and northern England, people keenly watch their thresholds to ensure that the “first footer” – the first visitor to come through the door in the new year – is of the propitious kind. Some regions swear by dark-haired men, others by blonde men; no one seems to want a woman. No first footer worth his salt arrives empty-handed. Preferred gifts are herring, bread, and fuel for the fire.
1942: Twenty-six nations sign the United Nations declaration.
E. M. Forster, English novelist (1879)
Polar Bear Swim photo ops and prompts:
Family bundled in warm towels after the dip
The thermometer reading outside
Drinking hot chocolate
What was the temperature of the water
What was the outside air temperature
Who was the first person in the water
Who was the first person out of the water
Who stayed in the longest
Ring out the old, ring in the new.
Ring, happy bells, across the snow.
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
--- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
They say that English husbands gave their wives money on New year’s Day to buy pins and other articles. Although this custom disappeared in the 1800s, we still use the term pin money to mean small amounts of spending money. Why not ask for a little pin money on New Year’s Day to purchase a new pin. Start your own pin collection.
1947: The Canadian Citizenship Act was proclaimed. Native-born and naturalized citizens are now defined as Canadians rather than British subjects.
New Year’s Traditions
Satisfying (because it indicates having survived the previous year) yet scary (because who knows what the next year will bring), New Year’s Day calls for safeguards, augurs, charms and proclamations. All over the world, people kiss strangers, shoot guns into the air, toll bells and exchange gifts.
Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old.
Here’s to the tings that are yet to come
And to the memories we hold.
We do not remember days, we remember moments.
1894: Ontario voted in favour of prohibition.
In Japan this traditional festival begins when they apply the first formal calligraphy of the New Year to paper with traditional brushes. Writing phrases that are appropriate for the New Year is customary, such as “kibo no funade” (hopes for a new start). Create a scrapbook page with your wishes and hopes for the New Year using your favourite fonts or fancy alphabet stickers.
1959: The Soviets launch Luna I, the first spacecraft bound for the moon.
Philip Freneau, American poet (1752)
James Wolfe, British general (1727), English general who died on the Plains of Abraham at the hour of victory against Montcalm, in a battle that assured the future of Canada as a member of the English family of nations.
Roger Miller, American singer and songwriter (1936)
Shigoto Hajime, or Beginning of Work Day, is observed in Japan with the belief in good omens for work begun on this day.
Feast of Saint Macarius, patron saint of pastry cooks and confectioners, famous for sugarplums.
Scotland’s New Year’s holiday is observed on the first Monday in January. Old Year’s Night and New Year’s Day were once called “daft days” in Scotland.
January 2 – 6, 2017 – Thank Your Customer Week
Festival Of Sleep Day
1938: President Franklin D. Roosevelt founds The March of Dimes.
Cicero, Roman writer, statesman, and orator (106 BC)
Bobby Hull, Canadian ice hockey player (1939)
St. Genevieve’s Day
This plucky saint came to reign as the patron of Paris, as well as of secretaries, actors, lawyers and the Women’s Army Corps.
J. R. R. Tolkien, Oxford professor, linguist, and author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (1892)
1992: Baton Broadcasting cancelled the Miss Canada Pageant and ended a tradition that began in 1946.
The first covered skating rink in Canada opened at Halifax on January 3, 1863.
Louis Braille's Birthday, French teacher of the blind (1809)
Braille Day in Canada honours Louis Braille, the creator of Braille, a system of raised dots that enables persons with a visual impairment to read and write. www.cnib.ca
Isaac Newton's Birthday (1643)
Physicist and mathematician; leader in the seventeenth-century scientific revolution. There is a popular story that Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree. An apple fell on his head and he suddenly thought of the Universal Law of Gravitation. As in all such legends, this is almost certainly not entirely true in its details. It is probably however that Newton, upon observing an apple falling from a tree, did start thinking about gravity. As we remember his birthday, let’s honour the fruit that sparked his discovery. What do you think of when you’re hit on the head with an apple? Have you ever picked apples? Bobbed for apples? Brought an apple to school to your teacher? Ate one in hopes of avoiding the doctor?
Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton), American entertainer (1838)
Jacob Grimm (1785), German pilologist and writer who, with his brother William, published the famous Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Spaghetti falls into the category of comfort food. We eat it to feel comfortable and we eat it until we can no longer comfortably sit! Some like it plain, some with marinara sauce, some with meatballs, and some from the can.
Introduce a toddler to spaghetti and stand back! Expect some humorous moments and capture them on film.
There is much controversy over the proper way to serve and eat spaghetti. Do you serve it with a spoon to twirl the spaghetti? Or twirl it with just a fork? Is it okay to slurp? James Beard says “Pasta is not a mannerly food to eat. The truly best way, the only classical and true way, to eat pasta is with gusto.”
Plan an extra special dinner to your favourite Italian restaurant. Bring your camera along to capture your family’s noodle technique.
For a clever scrapbook embellishment, wrap white string around a die cut fork.
National Bird Day
2000: Scotty Bowman became the first person in NHL history to coach in five decades.
Epiphany Eve, or Twelfth Night, has a history of centuries of merrymaking. Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night was specifically written for this celebration, and some ceremonies, such as cutting the Baddeley, or Twelfth Night, cake at the theatre Royal in London are still carried on.
The story goes that three Wise Men came to Jerusalem to inquire for the King. They were told by Herod to seek him in Bethlehem and to return and report if they had found him. On their way to Bethlehem, they met an old lady. They asked her to go along and honour the newborn King. But she was busy with her household tasks and begged to be allowed to finish her work. So they went on and found the King. The old lady started when she had finished her work, but she could never find the way. The Italians call this old lady Befana.
Did you know that the twelve days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day and end on Twelfth Day or Epiphany? The Feast of Epiphany is the oldest festival on the church calendar, going back to the second century in Asia Minor and Egypt. Epiphany, meaning “manifestation,” commemorates the star leading the Magi to the manger at Bethlehem. The day is also called the Feast of Kings, Twelfth Day, Twelfthtide, Three Kings’ Day, Day of the Three Wise Men, or Old Christmas
According to an old custom, the Twelfth Day is a day of kings, cakes and wassailing. A Twelfth Day cake was traditionally lavishly decorated with coloured confectionery designed as stars, palaces and dragons, and should have a bean and a pea baked inside. The person who receives the pea is queen. Make some paper crowns and have fun celebrating with the “royalty of the day.”
It is bad luck to leave Christmas decorations up after Twelfth Day. Take down the tree, put away the lights, and burn the decorative greens in the fireplace for luck. Just as we take photographs when we decorate for the holidays, let’s take photographs as we pack away the ornaments, lights, and tinsel into the attic until next year.
In times past, the last day of the Christmas season was traditionally the day that Christmas trees were taken down and burnt in big bonfires. For the children this was an especially joyous occasion because, associated with taking down the tree goes the “Plündern” or “raiding of the tree.” The sweets, chocolate ornaments wrapped in foil or cookies on the tree are the raiders’ reward. Even though we do not often decorate our trees with candy and cookies, we can still have the bonfire. Roast some marshmallows and sandwich them inside chocolate and graham cracker cookies. Our ancestors would have loved our s’mores.
Sherlock Holmes’ Birthday.
This fictional detective is the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Celebrated on or near this date by the Baker Street irregulars, a society of Holmes enthusiasts and other aficionados.
1942: Pan American Airlines completes the first around-the-world commercial flight.
Carl Sandburg, American poet, historian, folklorist and biographer (1878)
E. L. Doctorow, American novelist (1931)
Christmas, observed by the Russian Orthodox Church according to the Julian Calendar. Christmas Eve supper usually consists of twelve meatless dishes in honour of the twelve apostles.
1955: The opening of Parliament was telecast for the first time.
Old Rock Day
1610: Italian astronomer Galileo observes three satellites orbiting Jupiter.
1785: French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard and American physician John Jeffries of Boston are the first to successfully cross the English Channel in a gas balloon.
1913: The process to obtain gasoline from crude oil is patented.
1927: Commercial phone service across the Atlantic begins.
Albert Bierstadt, American painter (1830)