Family Christmas Online™ was formed to help your family to have a joyful and meaningful Christmas, even if your life is going in thirty different directions.
Welcome to our growing library of stories, ideas, and songs to enrich (and in some cases simplify) your Christmas season. Each year we have added or improved resources, so keep checking back. This year we already have a number of upgrades in the works, but it's too early to make a formal announcement.
Also, please don't let the Victorian look fool you - we like old-fashioned Christmases, but we live and work in the twenty-first century. Most of the tips we pass on are things that we or our closest friends and family members have learned first-hand. If you have a tip you'd like to share with your fellow readers, please let us know.
Here are some areas we hope you find interesting, helpful, and encouraging, in or out of season.
- The Bible Story of Christmas - The most important Bible passages about Christmas, with illustrations
- Other Stories of Christmas - Christmas stories from diverse sources, including Charles Dickens and O. Henry, as well as original stories by our own editors and authors.
- New for 2013! "The Tailor of Gloucester" by Beatrix Potter - The creater of "Peter Rabbit" retells a Gloucester folk tale, adding a sneaky cat, a horde of helpful mice, and stunning pictures. For the first time since 1903, Bea Potter's text is reunited with her original paintings. Great for reading to children.
- Christmas Poems - This page contains links to uplifting or humorous family-friendly Christmas poems. Many are classic poems by well-known authors.
- Christmas Memories - This page represents the beginning of a new collection of special Christmas memories, from our family and from readers. Your special Christmas memories are welcome as well.
- Christmas Musings - This department contains articles that answer common questions about Christmas and Christmas traditions, as well as articles about topics that don't fit anywhere else on the site. Here are a few examples:
- The Line for the Family Stable Starts Here - A funny and touching look at the way children perceive Nativity sets in their homes.
- A Brief History of Christmas - How did a midwinter feast become the most celebrated Christian holiday?
- Why Do We Celebrate?/Why Celebrate Christmas - Early Christians didn't celebrate the birth of Jesus in any way. Have we taken a wrong turn, or is celebration a fundamental part of our human condition?
- In Search of Baby Jesus - Author Paul Race's musings about the dime-store nativity figures he grew up with and why they represent his family's priorities as much as they represent Christmas. New for 2013!
- Could Christmas Possibly Come at a Worse Time? - A different way of looking at holiday stresses
- What do Trains Have to Do With Christmas? - We examine a century-old tradition that has made many family Christmas celebrations richer.
- How Much is My Collectible Worth? - Are you hanging onto things you don't really want because you think they might be worth something? Or are you just curious about the cash value of some heirloom you wouldn't dream of selling anyway? Either way, this article gives you some things to think about.
- Who Speaks for Christmas? - First published in 2011, we're republishing this early as a reminder that publicity-hungry broadcasters and politicians who use Christmas as an excuse to "beat other people over the heads" with their religion are hardly honoring Christ.
- Why Our Culture Needs Santa Clause (and the Easter Bunny) - Santa gets blamed for a lot, including taking people's eyes off of "what's really important" about Christmas. But if we didn't have Santa, things could be a lot worse, even for those who claim to have a "corner" on the one, real, true "meaning of Christmas." New for 2013!
- Give a Toot: Busking for a Good Cause - Author Paul Race plays saxophone for a Salvation Army kettle and learns, not only how to increase donations, but how to turn givers into cheerful givers. New for 2014!
- Santa's Helpers: Mobilizing the Elves for a Restoration Project - A reader challenges us with an impossible task - tracking down the original colors and graphics for a rare vintage Christmas display she wants to fix up. But we knew just who to call for help, and our "team effort" gave her the information and the inspiration she needed. New for 2014
- Christmas Craft Resources - Original resources to help you plan and complete Christmas craft and gift ideas. Features include:
- Craft Wrapping Paper - Free vintage-looking, color-coordinated printable wrapping paper patterns you can use for crafts (or even for wrapping small presents). Note: Many of these patterns can be used year-'round.
- "Ready-to-Roast" Marshmallows - How to use a hunk of used styrofoam, a couple of sticks, and an old hole saw to add charm to a winter fireplace display. Admittedly, we've seen similar crafts elsewhere, but ours are the first round "marshmallows" we've seen.
- About Christmas Decorations - A discussion of when, how, and why Christmas decorations have been used; including articles that should give you ideas for decorating your home. Features include:
- About Christmas Trees - Describes the history and other aspects of Christmas trees
- About Nativities - addresses the history and variety of nativity displays.
- Family Christmas Music - A small but growing collection of traditional Christmas music from various countries, with descriptions of regional practices and of the songs' histories. Many of the songs include mp3 arrangements for listening to an instrumental verse and chorus.
- Christmas Recipes - A resource for folks who need to prepare a holiday dish in a hurry, or for folks who want to make some item that Mom or Grandma used to make, but you don't remember how - mostly still in the planning stage. New for 2011, a great summertime combination:
- Christmas Movies - This page is the beginning of a collection of Christmas movie reviews, focusing on movies worth watching with your family. Your suggestions are welcome as well.
- Christmas Activity Ideas - Family-friendly activities you can do during the Christmas season, including day and overnight trips.
Saint Patrick: His People, His Work and His Day -
I love Ireland. But not as much as a certain ancient Briton who, having been kidnapped into forced labor and escaping years later, returned to share the light of the Gospel (and of civilization) to his former captors. Ironically, he was later called to task by church officials for taking so much on himself. But we're glad he did. Eventually the results of his work benefitted, not only Ireland, but much of European civilization.
About St. Valentine's Day -
Who was St. Valentine, and what, if anything, did he have to do with paper hearts and DeBeers commercials? As always, there's more to the story than you might think.
Also be sure to visit:
- CardboardChristmas.com™, a careful cross-reference of the most useful and reliable web resources about cardboard Christmas houses. We have also added a forum for asking and answering questions, and collecting information about these houses.
- OldChristmasTreeLights.com™, the Internet's largest guide to collecting Christmas tree lighting. Additional features include:
- Everything you ever wanted to know about bubble lights,
- Free MP3s of century-old wax cylinder Christmas song recordings - For some truly vintage Christmas cheer. It's amazing how well most of these recordings hold up to the test of time.
- A discussion forum where members can ask questions, upload photos, and othewise share information. New for 2014
As always, our hope is that the resources we have so far can continue helping you and your family (as Dickens said of Scrooge):
Honor Christmas in your heart, and
"try to keep it all the year."
In the meantime, please keep in touch, and let us know what you'd like to see added or changed.
May God grant you joy and wonder every season of this year,
Paul and Shelia Race