Holiday Greetings 2022

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Holiday Greetings

Five days before Christmas

Five days before Christmas, in Minnesota, and school was out for vacation. The dreaded chemistry exam was done. I had squeaked out a “B” in trigonometry, and my English essay was finished.

It was 1974, and I was walking the six blocks to our local florist. I was 16, and headed to my after-school job to make deliveries. Brr! I pulled my jacket hood up over my hat. It was a chilly 10-below zero.

Hoping for a quick work day, I was excited about getting

truck, I gave all the bouquets extra wrappings.

By 4:30 p.m., I rounded the corner and pulled up to my last delivery. An older home, but lights were on so I knew someone would be home. I left the flowers in the truck to make a quick path to the door and get the owner ready. I didn’t want any frozen flowers on my last stop.

Ring, ring, ring, waiting, waiting, ring, ring, ring again, more waiting. Finally, I could see an older lady walking with a cane coming to the door.

“Greetings, I’m from North-

Editor’s note: Storytelling by Enterprise readers is one of our favorite holiday traditions. So grab a cup of hot cocoa and snuggle under a warm blanket to enjoy poems, memoirs and short fiction by your friends and neighbors. There are tales to make you feel grateful, to remember and to be hopeful. Thank you to our contributors!

One Starry Night

On some unnamed Judean hill outside the little town, They shivered as the night air froze, their staves and rods laid down. They’d rest their legs and close their eyes, unsheltered from the cold, Not knowing of the wonder that this common night would hold. Night skies were like a canopy, a backdrop for the glow, So brilliant were the stars that night, but how were they to know? These were but rugged shepherds, a group that was despised, Unschooled, unkempt, outcast by those who fancied themselves wise.

Yet God would herald His good news to just such men as they; He’d break the wall of prejudice, the taboos of the day.

Attempting sleep or dozing, in ragged tunics bound, The chosen ones were startled by an other-wordly sound.

The glory of the Lord shone round most unmistakably, No earthly voice could say, “Fear Not” with such authority.

But fear they did, each humble shepherd falling on his face, Awed by the clear announcement of so wonderful a grace.

“For unto you is born this day, A Savior, Christ the Lord.”

They lifted heads, amazed at hearing first this glorious Word. The angels spoke of “Glory,” “Peace on earth,” “Good will to men.”

Still awestruck were the shepherds by the hearld’s message plain.

“Let’s go,” “Make haste,” and “even unto Bethlehem below us, The Lord has made this known tonight and surely He will show us.”

Confused, but with new boldness now, and by the Spirit led, They left their flocks and found the Babe where animals were fed.

Again their faces touched the ground, but this time not from fear, With hearts so moved to worship and proclaim, “Our King is here.”

To some, this story’s history – a fable sweet and dear, But when you know the Savior, it’s more powerful each year.

God in a stall – the Sovereign in the arms of but a maid. What saw we now as sinners, for the plan of God is laid.

The elf with more personality than a shelf

enough Christmas Spirit around the world. Hence his idea to send off elves to watch over the humans of this world. And here it was, ready to bring joy to them. Hurray.

VRUDNY: Page B3

The noises and smells were overwhelming as they shoved their way to be filtered into the elf’s button eyes and cotton head. This place was a cacophony of terribleness. Truly these folk needed a lesson in knowing when to stop.

ELF: Page B2

A special supplement by the

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A Christmas perspective from young and old

“Hello, dear friend,” an old man greeted. His nose was perpetually tinged a cute, rosy red from the cold. It gave him the look of a friendly grandpa, well, that paired with his beard, which hung just a few inches off his face.

“What a time it is with all the hustle and bustle!”

And he liked to think himself quite right, for the blinking lights and the children rushing between storefronts painted quite the chaotic picture.

“A time, my friend?”

A young man in a blinking sweater answered, “No, this is perfect,” gesturing to

the children, his arms drooping slightly due to the bags looped around his wrists. “This excitement, this is what gives us life!”

“True, true, but it used to be different, oh, so different then.”

“Well, that’s always been you, living in the past,” the young man said, as he passed his bags to the other man.

The old man nodded his head while his eyes focused somewhere else, or perhaps more accurately somewhen else.

“Did you know that man over there?” The old man’s gloved hand gestured to some far off bench. “He’s bought exactly three every year for the last 18, but this year, just two.”

He glanced back at the

young man. “Why is that?”

“It’s his son. This year, he’s off celebrating abroad,” the young man stated, as he manipulated the old man through the door of a local grocery.

“Oh…”

“Yes, oh,” the young man said, striding through the isles, tugging the old man behind him. “What to have this year?” The young man pondered looking through the frozen meats.

“Last year was turkey,” the old man said, peering over the younger man’s shoulder.

“Really?” The young man’s eyes widened more than a fraction. “Well, no matter, this year isn’t going to be

so traditional. Prime rib seems to be our winner.”

“How unusual.”

“Don’t fret, though, we’ll still be having potatoes,” the young man said, as he snatched the spurs from the bag the old man carried. “Though this year, they’ll be roasted.”

“Bringing that back this year?” The old man didn’t seem surprised, as he picked up a box of stuffing and turned it round.

“Oh, yes. How long has it been since we had roasted potatoes?”

“Oh, at least a decade,” the old man replied, “What box?” he asked, lifting up the stuffing.

“Hmm, I’ll have to go with what was popular last year,” the young man said and raised his

eyes expectantly.

The old man just smiled and passed over the classic stovetop.

“Should’ve known,” the young man said, scowling, but his eyes still hadn’t lost their playful shimmer.

“Dessert?”

“Ice cream!”

“You’re a menace,” the old man said, shaking his head. “No pie?”

“Fine, I’ll have both.” The young man strolled through the store until he stopped them in front of a display table, heavy laden with all different flavors of pie. He turned his head, and looking over his shoulder he asked, “What flavor? You choose.”

“Apple.” “You’re old-fashioned to an absolute tee.”

This only made the old man smile.

“Well, come along then. That’s all we need, but I just know that as I walk out of this store,” he pointed an accusing finger at the old man, who only smiled benignly, “the exact ingredients for green bean casserole will end up in my bags. I just know it!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, and I’m Christmas Future.”

“Well, my friend let’s be off, there’s much to do and so little time to do it,” Christmas Present said, looping his arm around the old man’s.

“And this,” Christmas Past said, surveying the streets, “This will be a wonderful thing to remember.”

chuckled before placing the elf upon the highest bookcase next to the Christmas tree.

“Mama, what is that elf guy gonna do?” The little girl’s voice echoed through the walls. She was young, but energetic. The kind of kid that looked like an angel, but was truly a savage inside. The elf had seen her kind before, brown eyes shown in the light, reflecting a true evil…hope. Despicable.

The elf felt her eyes staring into their own. It was for only a few seconds, but it knew that their time here was limited. No matter what happened in the next few weeks, it knew that the little girl would be his last sight of this cruel world.

“This is a silly elf that goes on the shelf, Abigail.” The mother spoke softly to her child as she picked up the elf. Her hands were tainted with skin. It wasn’t soft cotton or even gloved in rubber, just straight up skin. Did she have no manners? Was she truly making its worst fears come

Did she just dismiss it as some sort of holiday decoration? Not the mention that the shelf was crusty and musty and clearly not taken care of. The elf felt fury begin to build.

“Your brothers are going to be back with dad soon, go wash up in the kitchen, sweetie.” The mother patted her daughter’s head lightly before pushing her towards the doorway that led into the kitchen.

The elf gagged at the thought of being touched on the head in that way. Did humans have no respect for one another? These beasts were not only dirty, but rude as well!

It watched as the monster took uncoordinated steps to the kitchen. There the girl stood upon a stool, delicately washing her hands with snow. The elf had to do a double take at the young one’s replacement of soap. It was a mystery to how she even got it.

The door opened from the otherside of the house and a flurry of footsteps rushed in, tracking slush and mud

into the home. Disgusting. Did they know how many germs were on their feet? Let alone in a snowy slushy mess! If these humans hadn’t lost their respect before they definitely would have now.

The father that had brought the two wild animals into the house came in and kissed the mother? The elf felt the need to throw up all the cotton he had inside of him and then some. PDA was bad enough, but on the lips? That was just too far. Did these humans not know how many germs got on their mouths throughout the day?

Having seen enough of the family the elf began a long draft to Santa. It took almost a whole day, but finally the elf had a list of reasons why these humans should not get any sort of gift for the atrocities they had committed. With a simple signature, the elf sent the letter off with magic and sat down with a satisfied grunt. This Christmas would not be tarnished with them around. A holiday tune floated through the air as the dusk faded into the night.

to life? The elf fought the urge to shudder as her fingers curled around its body. “Your grandma Yolanda gave it to us. Though I’m not sure what she expected us to do with it.” She
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Light and love always remain

Evan was taking out his trash when he ran into his neighbor, Helen, who lived across the hall.

“Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and you still haven’t decorated your door!”

“Yeah, I’ve been a little behind,” Evan grinned.

“You’re not the only one! Joe is behind, too. Actually, he’s not decorating at all with this year being the anniversary…” Helen trailed off as she gripped a worn out, gawdy Christmas star in her hands.

“Hey, that’s the star Joe always hangs on his door! Why isn’t he putting it up?”

“Didn’t he ever tell you? Right before Christmas, Joe’s tour was up in Vietnam and on the very day he flew out for home, he got word that his best friend had been killed on a patrol.”

“Oh, man. I had no idea! I knew he served, but he never seemed to want to talk about it or his family,” Evan said.

Helen paused. “I told him I’d never say anything, but I know you care about him like I do. There’s more.”

VRUDNY

From Page B1

“Well, Happy Birthday! I’m busy and need to go,” as I quickly stepped to the door.

Ever so softly, she touched my arm, and said, “Please stay for a while, and tell me what is in the bouquet.”

That’s when I finally slowed down, turned,

“More?”

“When his plane landed right, it had been snowing heavily. He waited for his wife to pick him up. She was running late.” Helen dabbed her eyes. “She never came, Evan. She had gotten into an accident on the way to the airport. When Joe finally made it home, he saw that she had pulled out all their Christmas decorations for them to do together. The only thing she did hang was that special star to welcome him home with all its light and love.”

“Mind if I try to clean this up?” Evan reached out for the tired old star.

“Sure, Joe asked me to toss it a few weeks ago and I tried again today, but I just can’t get rid of the last thing his wife did for him before she died. And Evan, this Christmas makes 50 years since that double tragedy that hit him.”

Evan tossed and turned all night. So that’s why Joe was never happy at this time of year. So much grief for one man to bear.

The next day was Christmas Eve.

Evan listened at his

door while the apartment manager escorted Joe down the hall, saying, “I promise this won’t take long. I need you to sign some papers in the office.”

Evan heard Joe grumbling as they went into the elevator, “Better not take long. I left my door unlocked.”

Evan grabbed his bags and dashed down the hall to Joe’s open apartment. He had just finished laying out the food when Joe returned.

“What are you doing in here???” Joe bellowed. His eyes spotted the meal on his table. “What is this?”

“I didn’t want to intrude on your privacy, Joe. I asked the manager for help so I could do this for you. I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone, especially this year.”

“So, you…you know then,” Joe whispered, his eyes filling with tears.

Evan knelt next to Joe’s wheelchair, “Yeah, Joe. Helen and I were worried about you and that’s when she told me about what happened. I hoped you might reconsider hanging this.” He pulled Joe’s Christmas star out of a bag. “It still has a lot of light left in it.”

“You should have seen how it shined when my wife first hung it. Our neighbors complained that it kept them up at night!” Joe laughed briefly at the sweet memory, but then just as quickly, the sadness returned. “I told Helen to get rid of it. I just wanted to forget the pain this year.”

“Helen didn’t have the heart to throw it away. As I worked to clean this up for you, I thought about your buddy in Vietnam and your wife. And I think, just like light can still shine from this old star, their love is still with

you. It may have gotten buried in the darkness all these years. But like that very first Christmas star so many years ago, you can’t extinguish it. That’s what Christmas is about – Light came into the world.”

Joe had tears in his eyes as he held the precious star in his hands once again. “How about we don’t let your meal go to waste, okay?” He smiled at Evan. “And after we eat, let’s put that star back where my wife would want it to shine brightest – on my door for all to see.”

looked up, and noticed her for the first time.

An older lady, beautiful, frail, with white hair, very tiny, and obviously, to the unhurried person, blind.

I took a very deep breath, and sighed. Well, I thought, maybe hockey games and pizza with friends can wait a little bit, as I took off my coat and sat down.

I helped her touch and smell the flowers.

The waxy holly with their sharp prickles at the ends, and red berries. Peppermint-colored mini carnations and tiny, red spray roses. There were two small candy canes, and lime-colored chrysanthemums. Jingle bells tied to the front of the basket, and finishing it all off, two kinds of fragrant evergreens that smelled wonderful, and filled the air.

Twenty minutes later, her son came home from work, and I left and drove back to the flower shop.

I was a little late for the hockey game, and too tired for late night pizza shenanigans, but as I walked home after the game, I remembered what my dad had once told me as a little girl.

“Slow down, enjoy life, don’t miss out on the little things, when

you are looking too far ahead. You will miss the tiny details that make life interesting and fun!

The small details can bring us great joy! Like the squirrel in the tree above you, the crocus just popping up from the ground, and the details in the snowflakes. The raspberry to pick hiding under the leaves.”

My father was always pointing out the tini-

est details that I always seemed to miss.

My husband, like my father, points out these tiny details now, to me, and later our children and now, our grandchildren.

My father is 96 now, but I always remember that day. God bless him.

Merry Christmas! May your New Year be filled with tiny details of exceptional joy!

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Did you have a ‘Mary’ or a ‘Martha’ little Christmas this year?

In early October, a large local retail store was stocked full of Christmas trees and decorations, well before the fall celebrations of Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Christmas is a “really big deal” in stores all across America.

Lots of people are “making a list, checking it twice, to find out who’s been naughty or nice” because “Santa Claus is coming to town.”

We often measure each Christmas by what gifts we gave, or got, or didn’t get, from our family and friends.

And then we take down the decorations and the tree and put it all away until next year.

But, with all the buying

and giving and getting did we miss something very important? You can read the real Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2:1-21. It might be a great family Christmas tradition to do every year.

The focus in this account is on a young virgin named Mary who is engaged to be married to a man named Joseph.

An angel named Gabriel tells Mary not to be afraid but that she had been chosen to give birth to a Son and that she should name him Jesus and that he would save the people from their sins. It would take less than 3 minutes for someone to read this story out loud.

“And this, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.” (As Linus reminds us in the “Char-

lie Brown Christmas Special.”)

But I’m reminded about another woman named Mary. Her story takes place some 30 years after the birth of Jesus. The story is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10:38-42.

Jesus is in the home of Martha and Mary, whose brother, Lazarus, Jesus had raised from the dead. In verse 40, it says that Martha “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Jesus and asked ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’”

Martha was focused on the “preparation” for having Jesus come to her home. No doubt, the house was spick and span. Everything had

been scrubbed clean. The yard had been raked and fresh flowers picked and arranged. The best plates and silverware were on the table, and now she was cooking Jesus’ favorite foods and desserts. And I’m sure there are many who can identify with Martha when special company is coming. And what was her sister doing? NOTHING!

Except, Mary was actually doing the most important thing. Verse 39 says that Mary “was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said.” Her focus was on being “present” and focused on the implications and applications of his words, what his coming meant to her and the entire world, and what were the most important things about this life and the next. And

possibly about how much the Heavenly Father cares about everyone, including each one of us today.

Please note Jesus’s response to Martha in verse 41: “‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered. ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.

Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

Here’s my question in closing: Are you having a “Mary” or a “Martha” Christmas this year? Has your focus been on the decorations and gifts and food and parties, etc. or have you made Christ the most important guest in your heart and home and life this Christmas?

The good news is that there is still time to focus on God’s gift of Jesus,

Blue Christmas

I would see you every year, back when Christmases were white I’d always wished for more, after every cheerful night I’d wait for the coming years, presuming they’d exist I didn’t know my days with you were so limited This Christmas without you

Everything feels blue

There may be lights and decorations, covering our house But what should I be celebrating, when I’ve only been given doubts I see the trees, I see the gifts I’ve seen papers filled with Christmas lists You might say there are things that I desire Items on shelves that all people admire But there’s nothing I could ask for No way to bring you back Not a thing Santa could give me Nothing found in his famous toy sac I want a white Christmas One I can share with you I want your warmth, your hugs, your smile But here I am, alone and blue

Our Lord and Savior. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

As Isaac Watts, the great hymn writer, wrote so long ago: “JOY TO THE WORLD! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.” May God richly bless you. Have a wonderful celebration of the birth of Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

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Christmas tree

One of the most memorable holiday traditions is a Christmas tree. Converting a simple pine tree into a glorious Christmas display, full of colorful lights and various sized bulbs, each containing a special memory from many years passed.

The many ways to decorate a tree is one of the most special experiences. Costly bulbs, full of detail and creativity. Homemade ones, packed with love and dedication. Some are made from sweet crafts and gifts from loved ones.

The wide variety of lights, all blinking and sparkling in an array of colors.

And most importantly, the shining star at the tip top of the tree, or maybe a glittering angel, whose smile will light up the room.

Each tree is just as unique as

their decorations, with many different sizes and lengths to fit their designated household.

Every home has a perfect location where memories are made each year. Some are created from years of growth in forests and farms, and some are made from plastics and metals. That wonderful sticky mess of a natural tree, the delightful pine smell that lives in every candle shop. Some may argue that an artificial tree suits better, no smell, no pine needle mess all over the floor. You may even get a pink, or blue tree, maybe even rainbow if you’re feeling extra.

Whatever they may look like, they will always be a reminder of the festive holiday season to come. Whether it be trudging through the forest to find the perfect tree, or unwrapping the beautiful gifts that lay under its branches, everyone has a memory surrounding their beloved Christmas tree.

8 easy holiday centerpiece ideas

The holiday season is a great time to make any home a bit more merry and bright.

Most individuals let their personalities show through their home decor, and holiday decorating is just as personal as decorating throughout the rest of the year.

The main living areas of a home get the most decorating attention, with a Christmas tree taking a prominent position in the front window. Garlands, candles and other accouterments also may dress up spaces.

When it comes to holiday hosting, attention also should be given to the dining table, which can benefit from a festive centerpiece.

Premade centerpieces are undeniably attractive, but adding a homespun touch can be a fun creative pursuit and become a family tradition.

Explore these eight simple ideas to dress up your holiday table.

1. Frosted pine cones: Take advantage of a crisp winter’s day to venture into a forest or park that is rich with evergreen trees. Gather pine cones from the forest floor and, if possible,

a few evergreen boughs. Give the pine cones a touch of winter whimsy with a little faux snow in a can or even white paint. Nestle the boughs and pine cones into a wide-mouthed vase or bowl in the center of the table. Individual pine cones can later be turned into place cards for seating guests.

2. Holiday thanks: Cut many strips of paper roughly 6 inches in length from various colored pieces of paper to match the holiday theme. When guests arrive, ask them to write a favorite holiday memory or two. Twirl the paper strips around a pencil to curl them, and then place the curlicues into a decorative bowl in the center of the table. Later in the evening, the host or hostess can read some of the sentiments.

3. Magical forest: Use green and silver conical party hats to turn a table or sideboard into a veritable evergreen forest. Arrange them on a blanket of faux snow or white confetti.

4. Freshly cut: Select attractive flowers in vibrant holiday hues from a florist or even the supermarket floral section. Cut the stems and place them into

an unusual display container, such as holiday themed mugs or a punch bowl.

5. Glass baubles: Who says ornaments should be exclusive to the tree? A crystal or glass cake stand can be transformed into an icy delight when topped with silver and clear glass ornaments.

6. Birch wood: The crisp white coloring of birch bark is right at home with holiday decor. Go stark with pieces of the cut wood in varying heights intermingled with white candles that mimic the shapes and scale of the wood.

7. Fruit and vegetables: If guests are coming over and the race is on for a fast centerpiece, look no further than the kitchen. Lemons, artichokes, pears, or pomegranates look festive in a bowl interspersed with some greenery and baby’s breath.

8. Cornucopia: The horn of plenty can be customized to any holiday. Purchase a horn in wicker or woven grapevine and fill with flowers, fruit and greenery, or even painted gourds or miniature pumpkins.

Festive centerpieces can be handmade without much effort on the part of hosts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Jay Pike Financial Advisor

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Contributed/Metro Creative Connection Explore eight simple ideas to dress up your holiday table.
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Test

ROCHESTER — As the holidays continue to dazzle our senses throughout the month of December, let’s take a moment to have a little festive health-related fun. See how many of these seasonal true-or-false trivia questions you get right.

contains a lot of saturated animal fats will start to affect the lining of the arteries, making them more likely to rupture or tear. A clot could develop, block blood flow, and cause a heart attack. Also, consuming too much salt, fat, caffeine and alcohol could cause irregular heartbeats called atrial fibrillation.

Are the following statements true or false?

During the month of December, most people gain an average of 5 to 8 pounds.

False (thank goodness!): Results from an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that most people gain about 0.37 kilograms, which is a little less than a pound.

Pigging out at a holiday meal that’s high in salt and fat can increase your risk of heart attack.

True: Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says research shows that within 90 minutes, a big fatty meal that

Christmas cards can kill.

True: At least it was true in 1876! A holiday review article in the journal BMJ notes that a man developed arsenic poisoning after painting cards with a highly toxic paint.

And false: These days, holiday cards seem to be good for your health. An article published in the journal Cogent Psychology shows that sending Christmas cards is associated with a lower risk of depression.

An estimated 15,000 emergency department visits result from holiday decorating mishaps, such as falling off ladders, straining your back, or cutting yourself from touching or stepping on broken ornaments. (Remember that scene from the movie

“Home

Alone”?)

True: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission came up with that number. An article on the commission’s website also includes the recommendation that everyone should pay attention to safety during the holidays so fun doesn’t turn into a tragedy.

More people die from heart attacks during the July Fourth holiday than in December.

False: The American Heart Association reports that more people die of heart attacks during the last week of December than any other time of year. An article on the association’s website outlines ways you can stay heart-healthy during the holidays. Those suggestions include staying active and getting exercise, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, taking your

medications, celebrating in moderation, and knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

If you’re counting calories, choose two frosted sugar cookies over a piece of a yule log for dessert.

Trick question! After quickly checking the nutritional content of a bunch of sugar cookie and yule log recipes, I conclude that two average-sized, frosted sugar cookies contain about the same number of calories as an average piece of a yule log. Recipes vary widely in content, but the average calorie amount for both options ranged from 260 to 390.

I hope you enjoyed the quiz. Happy Holidays! Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

This Christmas will be different from the last Trying not to dwell, on the sweet times of the past Without her smile that could light up a room Without the smell

Of her christmas perfume “Little Porcupine’s Christmas” Will not be read this year We won’t be able to See her full of Christmas cheer There will be no warm cinnamon rolls sitting on the counter When we open all the gifts We won’t be able to be all around her Christmas had always been her favorite time of the year Even though she isn’t I will always wish she was here

Historic events that occurred on Jan. 1

January 1 is all about new beginnings. But the first day of the new year also merits a look back, as many historical events have taken place on January 1.

45 BC: Of the many memorable events to take place on Jan. 1, perhaps none had a more lasting effect than in 45 BC. That’s the day when the Roman Empire officially adopted the Julian calendar, which established Jan. 1 as the first day of the new year.

404: Gladiatorial fights are banned by Christian Emperor Honorius, who issues the ban after the Christian monk Telemachus is stoned to death

by a crowd as he tries to stop a gladiatorial fight in a Roman ampitheater.

1500: The coast of Brazil is discovered by Portuguese explorer Pedro çlvares Cabral. Cabral is acknowledged as the first European to discover Brazil and during his voyage in 1500 became the first human in history to be in four continents.

1600: More than 1,600 years after the Roman Empire recognized January 1 as the start of the new year, Scotland follows suit. Until this point, Scotland had considered March 25 as the start of its new year.

1776: In the midst of the Revolutionary War, General George Washington hoists the Grand Union Flag, a precursor to the American flag, at Prospect Hill in Somerville, Massachusetts. Historians cite this as the first time any American flag was raised.

1801: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is proclaimed. The sovereign state would remain in existence until 1922, when the Irish Free State was established.

1863: The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect in Confederate territory. The proclamation from U.S.

President Abraham Lincoln changed the legal status of more than 3.5 million African Americans from enslaved to free.

1898: The City of Greater New York is created when New York, NY, annexes land from surrounding counties.

Four boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx) are established, and a fifth (Staten Island) joined less than a month later.

1912: The Republic of China is established. The People’s Republic of China, which rules the mainland today, cites 1949 as the official end of the Republic of China.

1934: Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay becomes a United States federal prison. High costs of running the prison would be one of the major contributing factors to its closure as a detention facility in 1963. The prison is now a popular tourist attraction.

1971: A ban on television ads promoting cigarettes goes into effect in the U.S. 1990: David Dinkins is sworn in as the first African American Mayor of New York City. It was not Dinkins’ first turn as a trailblazer, as he also was among the first African American U.S. Marines.

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