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.
Update for November, 2013 - We've been getting a lot more interest in this site (and related sites) over the last several months, and answering many inquiries. I hope that means that our "message" of cherishing your own best Christmas memories and helping others do the same is reaching people. Christmas should be a "safe place" where you can celebrate and commemorate in a way that gives you peace, and to help others to do the same. We don't tell people how to celebrate Christmas, or even that they should. But we find that when we share the memories, stories, images, and songs that bring back the best times of our childhood Christmases, other folks find encouragement as well.
We seem to have worked out most of the bugs of our new server. As always, if you find any broken links, etc., please let us know. With the new room on the server, we hope to be able to add several new features for Christmas this year.
One delightful feature we have already added is version of Beatrix Potter's Tailor of Gloucester story that includes Potter's striking original paintings for the story, something that is unavailable in any printed format. You may think you know the story, but until you've seen it set next to this stunning artwork, you don't really know the whole story.
Other features are in the works so please check back.
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.
- 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.
- Thanksgiving, Then, and Then, and Now - Harvest feasts go back to the ancient days - including three ancient Jewish festivals that celebrated harvests, with surprising parallels to our celebration of Thanksgiving.
- Thoughts About Halloween -
Does the fact that some people (and, apparently most of Hollywood) take the "dark side" of Halloween to extremes mean that Beggar's Night is intrinsically evil? What about rumors that it started out as a religious holiday? Author Paul Race doesn't have all the answers, but he has chewed on the questions a while. New for 2013!
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:
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