Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Communion Dresses Represent

First communion dresses for girls are a wonderful way to celebrate the importance of this very special time in the life of a Catholic. This very holy occasion is when the person first receives the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the bread and the wine that represent the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. Often times it is celebrated by inviting extended family to share in the occasion, often celebrated with a large feast and even small gifts.

First communion dresses come in many different styles. Sometimes a veil and gloves are also worn. Most of the dresses are white, symbolizing purity. It is said the veil is worn to represent Jesus' robes worn at the last supper and the veil is likened to the tablecloth. These beautiful dresses can be made of any number of materials, including fine silk and satin. They can be adorned with ribbons and tulle, or heavily embellished with pearls and even crystal beads. The dresses can be found in department stores, or online.

Many first communion dresses have become treasured family heirlooms. Handed down through the generations, along with the pictures and stories of each of the girls who have worn the dress before them. This is such a special day for the child as they have prepared themselves by giving their first confession and have spent many hours studying for their first communion.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Church Nativity Sets Help Remind Us of His Birth

St. Francis of Assisi introduced us to a wonderful depiction of the birth of Jesus in 1223 A.D. He had the baby Jesus in a manger inside a cave, along with Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, animals and the three wise men bearing gifts. This has become the traditional nativity scene as we know it. Many of the modern-day church nativity sets are recreated much in the way St. Francis did so many years ago.

A church nativity set can be depicted in various ways. There is, of course, the live scene, complete with real people and animals, the colorful murals adorning walls, or beautifully crafted stained glass allowing the changing light to tell the story. There are small nativity scenes intended to be played with by children, and some that are passed on from generation to generation becoming family heirlooms.

Church nativity sets are usually displayed in front of the church so all that pass by can be reminded of Christ’s birth. Although the scene is the same no matter where you go, there are vast differences in the materials they are made of. They can be made of white resin, resembling marble, painted poly resin, LED lighted sets or a more contemporary style with the nativity figures appearing as though they were growing out of live wood.

Many sets have figures that are sold separately. This can come in handy in the event that a piece may be dropped or broken when setting up and taking down for the season.

Ceramic Advent Wreaths Anticipate Christs Birth

The four weeks leading up to Christmas represent Advent. This is the time of year that the Christians celebrate the anticipation of Christs birth. A ceramic advent wreath is a wonderful way to celebrate the advent season. The wreaths traditionally consist of the base and 4 candles. There are three purple candles and one pink. The purple color symbolizes royalty and penance, this is used for the first, second and fourth candle. The third candle, which represents joy is colored pink. The wreaths were once made of evergreen branches tied in the shape of a wreath, representing life in the middle of winter.

A popular ceramic advent wreath design is a shallow circular well that can hold water for you to have fresh flowers and greenery all through the advent season. There are also designs such as a bridge made up of the nativity figures, and porcelain nativity figures that are placed together to form a wreath.

One advantage to having a ceramic advent wreath is its resistance to fire. There is no need to worry about burning a fresh bough should a child like to help light the candles. Pewter and Celtic advent wreaths are also flame retardant. Aside from the practicality of a wreath you can use year after year is the family treasure that will be handed down through the generations.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The History of Christmas Ornaments

Since the introduction of the Christmas tree into homes, the history of Christmas ornaments have been ever changing. Trees were once decorated with whatever the homeowner had on hand. They would use anything from nuts and berries to popcorn pieces strung together. Over the years baked goods were cut into various shapes and sizes and hung on the tree.

The history of Christmas ornaments took a drastic turn in the mid 1800’s as Germany’s glass blowing tradition became widely known. These beautiful glass ornaments were shaped into stars, hearts, bells. As the ornaments became more popular, more shapes were eventually added. By the mid 1880’s, the popularity of these glass ornaments had spread and they were being exported the world over.

Another major change in the history of Christmas ornaments was with the Victorian era. The people of Great Britain, as well as the Americans were inspired to put Christmas trees in their homes after a popular magazine published a picture of Queen Victoria and her family with a beautifully decorated tree. This brought about a change in decorating ideas and trees were now being adorned with pictures of flowers and angels as well as pressed tin. It was during this era that the Germans also introduced tinsel, which was also called angels hair.

As time passed, the U.S. began dominating the mass production of Christmas ornaments. You can find ornaments from many countries around the globe, and the styles are only limited by ones imagination.

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Garden statues add beauty to your yard

Many people use garden statues to beautify their yards. Driving through a neighborhood you may see garden gnomes or large statues. Many of these statues are copies of original works of things like Winged Victory or Venus de Milo or works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Auguste Rodin, and Canova.

Often Religious garden statues, although primarily Catholic, are seen through yards and prayer gardens. Depending on the homeowners background you may also see a Budda or A Hindu prayer garden as well. Some times homeowners also stick these statues in bushes or flowerbed and some are not always human. Sometimes you will see small animals throughout a property. All of this helps the homeowner beautify his yard as well as have an outward expression of who he is or his faith.

Garden statues for some are a hobby. For others, they are an outward expression and for some they are used to beautify and complement their landscaping of their home or office. These works of art, made of resin, marble, stone and even cement add character to where ever they are placed.

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