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10 reasons to celebrate and remember in December

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The month of December is the busiest month of the year for many families. The Christmas holiday season flavors many of the month's activities with band and chorus concerts, theatre productions, church events and shopping.

At Merry-Christmas.com, you will find many family-friendly activites to help kids of all ages enjoy the holiday season as they wait for Christmas Day.

The NORAD Santa tracker was activated on Dec. 1, allowing children and their parents to track Santa's journey, play games and enjoy the fun of Santa Claus.

Here are 10 reasons to celebrate and remember during the month of December. From beginning to end, December is always packed with many activities and events, but take time to enjoy making family memories.

The liturgical season of Advent began this year on Dec. 1, the First Sunday of Advent. In many Christian faiths, Advent is a time of joyful anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Light a candle each week on the Advent wreath, put out greens, spend time in prayer and reflection as you grow in your faith during Advent.

The Jewish Feast of Hanukkah continues during early December. This eight-day festival, also known as the Festival of Lights, began this year on Thanksgiving and continues through Dec. 5 to commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. You can read more about Hanukkah at the website above.

Dec. 2 is celebrated as Giving Tuesday. Following Black Friday, the Thanksgiving weekend shop-a-thon and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a time to give back to others. Check in your community for ways you can help.

The week of Dec. 1-7 is celebrated as Cookie Cutter Week. What a great time to make a batch or two of homemade cookies to give to friends and neighbors. Maybe your family, like mine, has a traditional Christmas cookie recipe that has been handed down through the generations.

St. Nicholas Day is celebrated each year on Dec. 6. Nicholas was a Fourth Century Christian bishop who is the basis for the character of Santa Claus. St. Nicholas still fills the shoes of Dutch children with gifts as they sleep.

It was a quiet Sunday morning on Dec. 7, 1941 when Japanese fighter planes appeared in the skies above Pearl Harbor. When the attack was complete, 2,400 Americans were killed, 1,200 more were injured and the United States was drawn into World War II.

At History.com, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous address to Congress are noted:

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Each year on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, survivors of the attack travel to Hawaii to remember and honor their fallen comrades.

The Winter Solstice, also known as the first day of winter in the United States, is on Dec. 21. Have a first day of winter party with the kids. Serve hot cocoa, make snowman crafts or ornaments and look forward to a new season.

Christmas Day is celebrated on Dec. 25 each year. In some families, the celebration begins on Christmas Eve. Families may attend a religious service together, enjoy sharing a meal and exchange gifts.

Christmas is a favorite holiday in many families, including mine. Gathering with extended family and friends tops the list for many people. Christmas is also a great time to give to those in need, donating food, clothing or gifts to others.

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday celebrated by many African-Americans between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 each year. The colors of Kwanzaa are red, black and green. Seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and earth.

New Year's Eve is celebrated on the last day of December. Many families celebrate with parties and special foods while watching the ball drop in New York City's Times Square on television.

December is a great month to celebrate. Put on your festive face, wear your favorite Christmas sweaters, bake cookies, play Christmas music, decorate your home and yard and get into the spirit of the month of December.

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