It’s a HAPPY New Year…Everywhere!

Check out how different countries around the world celebrate and welcome the NEW YEAR:

Spain
People pop a grape into their mouth at midnight each time the clock strikes. Twelve grapes symbolize good luck for each month of the year.

In Spain it is customary to eat grapes at midnight.

British Columbia, Canada
Traditionally, the polar bear swim takes place on New Year’s Day, where people of all ages dive into the icy water.

Ireland
At midnight everyone goes in the front door and out the back door for good luck.

The French mix health and wealth and usher in the new beginning with a stack of pancakes.

 

France
The French eat pancakes for breakfast on New Year’s Day.

Greece
Children receive gifts on New Year’s Day, also known as St. Basil’s Day, instead of at Christmas.

Argentina
Residents go out onto the streets and make toasts and celebrate with neighbors. At midnight, kids shoot off fireworks.

Jack Straw in Hungary.

Hungary
People burn effigies, or a scapegoat known as “Jack Straw”. The scapegoat represents the evils and misfortunes of the past year. Burning the effigy is supposed to get rid of the bad luck.

Times Square in NYC.

U.S.A.

Probably the most famous tradition in the U.S. is the dropping of the New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 P.M. Thousands gather to watch the ball make its descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The ball is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter.

The beginning of a NEW YEAR is a time to celebrate and definitely a time to SMILE.   We wish you all health and HAPPINESS with the coming of 2013!

Happy New Year SMILES to you!

http://www.newyearscheer.com/traditions/other_countries.asp

http://voices.yahoo.com/new-years-eve-customs-around-world-different-144186.html?cat=49

Oh Christmas Tree!

Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals.  In the mid 1500’s, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

Martin Luther and family celebrate with a Christmas tree 1536.

Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions

Washington crosses the Delaware while Hessian soldiers decorate their Christmas trees!

Hessian soldiers decorated Christmas trees here in America during the American Revolution because they were hungry for a little bit of home.  Some accounts even go so far as to credit the Christmas tree for Washington’s success in crossing the Delaware unnoticed. Supposedly the Hessian soldiers were so busy in decorating their Christmas tree with its candles and celebrating that they were paying little attention to their duties!

Fast forward to 1923 when Calvin Coolidge became the president responsible for lighting the First National Christmas tree in 1923.

The first White House Christmas Tree in 1923.

The tradition of decorating a tree at the Rockefeller Center began in 1931. This spectacular tree is often close to 100ft. tall.

 

The Seeds of Happiness family wishes you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year…may all of your wishes come true!

Frosty Lives!

Frosty first came to life on December 14, 1950.

On December 14, 1950 a much loved, classic Christmas song was released. “Frosty the Snowman” was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys. The song tells the fictional tale of a snowman who is magically brought to life by a black top hat that a group of children place atop his head. Although Frosty enjoys frolicking and romping throughout town with the children who constructed him, the sun becomes too much for him to bear and Frosty is forced to leave town, promising his friends that one day he will return.  “I’ll be back again someday…”

 

Frosty rules!

The song  was subsequently adapted to other media including a popular television special. A lot of us grew up watching the original animated version which debuted in 1969 and was narrated by Jimmy Durante. 

 

 

 

This year, you don’t have to be sad when Frosty leaves.  With our Seeds of Happiness snowmen, you can keep Frosty alive ALL year long. Just like Frosty, our snowmen are handmade; HOWEVER, they will never melt!

Share the Snowmen, share the Smiles!

St. Nick!

St. Nicholas is one of the best know of all of the Saints.

Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th, celebrates the life of Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century bishop best known today as the real-life model for Santa Claus.

The legend of Saint Nicholas includes his becoming an orphan at a very young age. Though his family had been rich, Saint Nicholas decided to distribute all of his possessions to the poor and to dedicate himself to serving Christ. It is said that he would toss little pouches of coins through the windows of the poor, and that sometimes the pouches would land in stockings that had been washed and were hung on the windowsill to dry. Once, finding all the windows in a house shut, Saint Nicholas tossed the pouch up to the roof where it went down the chimney.

Lots of goodies from St. Nick!

After Saint Nicholas’ death, his fame continued to spread in both Eastern and Western Europe. Throughout Europe, there are many churches and even towns named after Saint Nicholas.

In Germany, children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, and hope to find candy, coins and maybe a small gift in them on December 6.   In the Netherlands, children put their shoes in front of their chimneys in hopes of finding chocolate or a small toy in their shoe when they wake.  And just like Seeds of Happiness,  St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared!  Do you celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day in your family?  Let us know how you keep this tradition alive in your home!