Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25?
There are several reasons Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25. The date is nine months after March 25, a day recognized by Christians as Annunciation. It was the day Mary was told she would was having a baby. The nine months that follow are an approximation of Jesus’ birth. Dec. 25 also coincides with pagan Winter Solstice celebrations like Saturnalia' and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. Since they were historically celebrated around that time of year there was precedent for holiday festivities during this time of year.
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What Does the Name 'Christmas' Mean and What Is the Meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is a shortened from the words “Christ’s mass.” It’s derived from the Middle English word "Cristemasse" which has Greek, Hebrew and Latin origins. Christmas is an annual holiday that honors the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Christians around the world and is regarded as an important religious and cultural holiday.
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How Can We Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is traditionally celebrated in many ways and celebrations vary across cultures. In the days leading up to Christmas, people usually put up special decorations including colorful lights and evergreen trees. Gifts are often placed under the tree and exchanged on Christmas day among loved ones. Large meals are also typically served as part of the celebration as well.
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Vanilla extract is called for in just about every baking recipe, but what most people don’t know is that making your own is incredibly easy, and even saves a little cash. (Our vanilla is about 25 percent cheaper than buying it at the store.) Just don’t confuse this recipe with an infused liquor for drinking—the extract is way too concentrated to sip on the rocks.
What to buy: Vanilla beans can be found in the spice or bulk section of most grocery stores. Choose dark, supple, oily pods.
Game plan: Using vodka for the base creates a vanilla extract with a neutral, all-purpose flavor, but we found that other liquors like rum and bourbon could also be used to add different flavors to your baking. Try a rum-based vanilla in rice pudding sprinkled with raisins, or top a steaming mug of Irish Coffee with some bourbon-vanilla whipped cream.
Make sure your jar is very clean or it may impart unintended flavors to the extract.
To get more mileage from the spent pods, tuck them into a jar of granulated sugar for a vanilla-scented sweetener to use in coffee, tea, or cookies.
This recipe was featured as part of our Homemade Vanilla Extract project.