Kwanzaa 2019



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Prairie View A & M University


Celebrating Kwanzaa


Woman Wearing a Uwole and Lighting Candles in a KinaraKwanzaa Table


1. Kwanzaa is a Swahili word. Swahili is the native language of several countries in east Africa and is learned as a second language by many other people.

2. A kinara is a candle stick holder. Seven candles are put in the holder: three red, one black, and three green.

3. Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture.

4. Pan-African colors: red for the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, black for the people, green for the rich land of Africa.

5. The US government has issued two Kwanzaa stamps: one in 1997 and another in 2004.

6. During Kwanzaa people say Habari Gani, which means “What’s the News?”

7. A uwole is a brightly colored article of clothing worn by women in Africa.

    • Kwanzaa is a seven-day cultural festival that celebrates African American heritage.
    • It is celebrated from December 26 to January 1.
    • Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga of United Slaves Organization in 1966.
    • It was offered at that time as an African American alternative to Christmas.
    • Recently, it has become acceptable for participants to celebrate Kwanzaa along with Christmas and Hannukah.
    • Kwanzaa is Swahili and means “first fruits.”
    • The “Seven Principles of Kwanzaa” are:

1. Unity

2. Self-Determination

3. Collective Work and Responsibility

4. Cooperative Economics

5. Purpose

6. Creativity

7. Faith

  • These seven principles emphasize traditional African values.
  • Kwanzaa decorations include African art, colorful cloth, kinaras, and fresh fruits.
  • The Pan-African colors – red, black, and green – are common in Kwanzaa celebrations.
  • A Karamu feast is held on December 31. Families and friends get together to eat, listen to music, dance, pour libations and exchange gifts.

25 Fun Christmas Party Themes

You’ll feel inspired to deck more than just the halls with these original ideas.  Way Better Than Another Ugly Sweater Party

By Caroline Picard and Katie Bourque

Christmas party themes

The holiday season is in full swing: You’ve found a white elephant gift everyone will try to steal, baked some cookies that will make Santa’s mouth water, stocked up on some pretty amazing Christmas gifts, and even your nails are looking festive. Everything is coming together! But you’ve come to to realize something — all of the holiday parties you’ve been attending this year are basically the same, and it’s up to you to mix things up. These Christmas party themes will take your own holiday celebration to the next level.

Whether you want to host a countrified Christmas, harmonize to your favorite carols, relax in your comfiest pajamas, or make your loved ones dress up like the Grinch, there are plenty of party themes that will make your get together feel fun and original. Click through these party ideas to get some inspiration for your greatest celebration yet.


1 Party Theme: Reverse Christmas in July

Christmas Santa Claus Enjoying Tropical Beach Vacation Holiday Travel

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The beachgoers among us are familiar with Christmas in July, a midsummer excuse to celebrate with some yuletide cheer. Bring that summer vacation vibe to the holiday vacation by firing up the hot tub and playing The Beach Boys’ Christmas album. Party guests should bring their most festive swimsuits!


2 Party Theme: Characters of Christmas

Portrait enthusiastic young women wearing Christmas reindeer antlers and drinking champagne at party

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Costume parties aren’t just for Halloween. There are plenty of recognizable and easy to recreate characters to choose from, like Santa, Santa’s elves, Scrooge, or even a busy working woman who winds up falling in love with a town obsessed with Christmas (hello, Hallmark Christmas movies!).


3 Party Theme: 12 Days of Dip

Healthy green yoghurt  smoothie and beetroot  dip

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Appetizers are the best part of the meal anyway. Invite your friends to bring their favorite chip dip for this casual spin on a traditional potluck. Plus, there are plenty of great, low cal recipes you can try.

4 Party Theme: Christmas Pajama Party

Baby it's cold outside

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You don’t need high heels and Spanx for a successful Christmas party. Have your girls over for a night of wine and Christmas flicks in your comfiest PJs.

5 Party Theme: Ho Ho Ho-down

Southern Hemisphere Christmas

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Who says cowgirl boots and Santa hats don’t match? For a country twist on your traditional Christmas party, play these country Christmas classics that will have your friends line dancing all night.


6 Party Theme: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Roasting on an open fire

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Nat King Cole was right about one thing, there is something magical about roasted chestnuts around Christmas. Packed with Vitamin C, they’re also a healthy treat. Try roasting your own with friends these holiday season (though they’re equally delicious pre-roasted).


7 Party Theme: DIY Christmas Ornaments

Midsection Of Woman Preparing Bauble
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I could go on, but I’m running out of space.  To continue to see more themes, just click on the link.  18 more themes to check out before the big event.


20 Dishes and Appetizers to Bring to a Holiday Party

We all know the standard Thanksgiving foods — turkey, mashed potatoes, all the stuffing — but Christmas brings a bit more confusion. Everyone has a different opinion on what Christmas foods are and has their own traditions, so when you’re invited to a holiday party, what exactly are you supposed to bring?

We’ve rounded up some of the tastiest, most universally crowd-pleasing appetizers that will be sure to be a hit at any holiday party you attend — whether it be your own family’s Christmas dinner, or just your office potluck.


1. Thyme and Garlic Baked Camembert


2. Baked Brie with Pomegranates


3. Pesto Pinwheels


4. French Onion Beef Sliders for a Crowd


Enough already.  My mouth is watering so much that you will have to visit their website to continue this mini-food fest for the eyes.  Just click here (you won’t regret it):

Christmas Around the World

Christmas is not just for Americans.  The birth of Christ is celebrated by believers all over the world.  Here is a sampling of those countries.


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Here’s how Christmas is celebrated around the world !


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A Merry Vintage Christmas

The arch above Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez’s front door is composed of evergreens, holly, English ivy, pine cones, and birch. The wreath showcases pepperberry, roses, and hypericum berry. The spruce “trees” are actually cut limbs anchored in the large containers.

Life as an event planner means late nights, weekends, and multitasking in a million different directions. But it’s the thrill of those creative aha moments that drives Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez to spend their hours sketching, planning, and ultimately creating the backdrop for some of the most important events of our lives. Davis, a floral designer, and Vazquez, a set designer, combine their talents, along with a team of artists, seamstresses, carpenters, and upholsterers, to reimage everyday spaces into the stuff of fantasy.

They turn drab conference rooms into lush, candlelit gardens brimming with walls of fresh greenery and blankets of moss. They finesse bland ballrooms with bursts of color and whimsical, storybook-inspired wonders. They bring art masterpieces to life with dramatic palettes, swaths of silk, and sweeping floral arrangements. Whatever the occasion, it becomes a little more meaningful thanks to their ability to strike a mood and set a scene. When it comes to their own life, however, it’s all about finding comfort in familiarity at their farmhouse in Maryland’s historic St. Mary’s County.


For More Farm-Fresh Holiday Decorating Ideas, check out:

Hanukkah 2020

Photo credits: Flash90
Photo credits: Flash90

Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.  Also spelled Hanukkah (or variations of that spelling), the Hebrew word is actually pronounced with a guttural, “kh” sound, kha-nu-kah, not tcha-new-kah.

How Chanukah Is Observed

At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled.

Special blessings are recited, often to a traditional melody, before the menorah is lit, and traditional songs are sung afterward.

A menorah is lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) and placed in a doorway or window. The menorah is also lit in synagogues and other public places. In recent years, thousands of jumbo menorahs have cropped up in front of city halls and legislative buildings, and in malls and parks all over the world.

We recite the special Hallel prayer daily, and add V’Al HaNissim in our daily prayers and in the Grace After Meals, to offer praise and thanksgiving to G‑d for “delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the wicked into the hands of the righteous.”

Since the Chanukah miracle involved oil, it is customary to eat foods fried in oil. The Eastern-European classic is the potato latke (pancake) garnished with applesauce or sour cream, and the reigning Israeli favorite is the jelly-filled sufganya (doughnut).

On Chanukah, it is customary to play with a “dreidel” (a four-sided spinning top bearing the Hebrew letters, nungimmelhei and shin, an acronym for nes gadol hayah sham, “a great miracle happened there”). The game is usually played for a pot of coins, nuts, or other stuff, which is won or lost based on which letter the dreidel lands when it is spun.

In today’s consumer-driven society, people tend to place great importance on giving Chanukah gifts. However, the tradition is actually to give Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children. In addition to rewarding positive behavior and devotion to Torah study, the cash gifts give the children the opportunity to give tzedakah (charity). This has also spawned the phenomenon of foil-covered “chocolate gelt.”

When Is Chanukah?

Chanukah begins Thursday night, December 10 at sundown and ends Friday,  December 18 at nightfall.

What It Means For You

Noting that one should spend time in close proximity to the Chanukah lights, the Previous Rebbe would say, “We must listen carefully to what the candles are saying.” So what are the flickering flames telling us? Here are some messages:

a. Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. Judah Maccabee and his band faced daunting odds, but that didn’t stop them. With a prayer on their lips and faith in their heart, they entered the battle of their lives—and won. We can do the same.

b. Always increase in matters of goodness and Torah-observance. Sure, a single flame was good enough for yesterday, but today needs to be even better.

c. A little light goes a long way. The Chanukah candles are lit when dusk is falling. Perched in the doorway, they serve as a beacon for the darkening streets. No matter how dark it is outside, a candle of G‑dly goodness can transform the darkness itself into light.

d. Take it to the streets. Chanukah is unique in that its primary mitzvah is observed in public. It’s not enough to be a Jew at heart, or even at home. Chanukah teaches us to shine outwards into our surroundings with the G‑dly glow of mitzvahs.

e. Don’t be ashamed to perform mitzvahs, even if you will feel different. Rather, be like a menorah, proudly proclaiming its radiant uniqueness for all to see.

You can find more information about Hanukkah at the following website:

Source:  What Is Hanukkah? – Info you need about Chanukah – Chanukah – Hanukkah (

Mix and Match Your Way to a Gorgeous Christmas Tabletop

By Emma Bazilian

Tired of the same old Christmas tablescape   This year, ditch the tired set of stuffy china and mix and match your way to an inspiring holiday dinner that feels fresh and festive. Watch our video to see how House Beautiful style director Robert Rufino combines patterns, colors, high and low to create a scene that’s anything but cookie-cutter.

Step 1: Start with pattern.

Brad Holland

A vintage textile in Christmas-y colors sets the stage… and is so much more forgiving than a white tablecloth when it comes to spills.

Step 2: Layer plates and napkins.

Brad Holland

Each setting gets a dinner plate, a salad plate, and a simply folded napkin. Combine different patterns and motifs, staying within the same color family and size range.

Step 3: Bring on the sparkle.

Brad Holland

Use a mix of different glassware to add even more color and shine to your tabletop.

Step 4: Lay down the flatware.

Brad Holland

Gold-toned flatware feels extra-special for the holidays, but doesn’t require all the work that comes with using real silver.

Step 5: Accessorize!

Brad Holland

A vintage postcard on each plate doubles as a place card. The finishing touch? Flowers, of course. Pull colors from your tabletop palette to keep the look cohesive.

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