Tag Archives: celebration

Why Do We Hang Stockings?

& Other Holiday Traditions Explained Cat Stocking - Caption

The end of Halloween heralds the start of eggnog lattes, “holiday” spiced everything, TV Yule logs, elves on the shelves, and the waiting laps of Mall Santas. But how did all these traditions get started?! Sock It to Me is here to shed some light…on those that have explanations.

Hang Your Stockings with Care

While there are no written records of the origins of this tradition, there is folklore! Legend has it that a villager with 3 daughters lost his wife and with her, his savings. His daughters were left dowryless and futureless. The widower was too proud to accept charity, so local Bishop Nicholas, (later named Saint), decided to throw bags of coins down their chimney. One happened to fall into a freshly washed stocking that was hung near the fireplace to dry. The widower accepted this anonymous gift as a miracle and his 3 daughters went on to have happy lives. Now we all hang stockings, usually more ornate than the original, hoping they’ll fill with gifts overnight.

What the @#$% is eggnog?Noggin-Resize Caption

Love it or hate it: you can’t escape this holiday treat. Modern eggnog is generally made of egg yolks, sugar, milk, cream, nutmeg, and varying additional spices (and usually booze). In 1300’s England eggnog was: hot milk, wine or ale, and sweetener. Somewhere on its way to the American Colonies, eggs were added to the mix, and ale was replaced with rum, which was cheaper. During that time, alcohol was served in wooden mugs called “noggins.” Colonial bar patrons would ask for “eggnog” when they wanted this curious mixture. What does it have to do with the holidays? No idea.

The Tree

While many cultures have brought evergreen plants into their homes during the winter to represent the inevitable return of spring, the Germans are credited for starting this Christmas tradition! For the Feast Day of Adam (12/24) they would perform a procession of “paradise trees” decorated with apples, the forbidden fruit. German settlers most likely brought this tradition to America. The first documented tree in Williamsburg, VA was brought over and decorated by German Professor Charles Minnigerode to a colleague’s home. It was decorated with colored papers and candles. Sounds beautiful and dangerous!

Chanukah_gelt- Resize CaptionWhy do children gamble during Hanukkah?

Both children and adults play dreidel (Yiddish for “spinning top”) during the eight nights of Hanukkah while the candles are burning and work is traditionally not done. Unfortunately, like many Jewish traditions, this gambling game may have started as a way to study the religion secretly. During the time of the Maccabean revolt (when the miracle of lights that is celebrated during Hanukkah occurred), Greeks outlawed studying the Torah. Jewish people took to learning in secret, always keeping their dreidels near so that they could pretend to be playing games instead of studying. Kind of the opposite of being in high school.

The letters on the dreidel are also meaningful. Each side of the top has one of these letters: nun, gimmel, hey, shin. They stand for “Nes gadol hayah sham,” meaning “A great miracle happened there.”

Hawaii? Or Heaven?

2011 was such an AMAZING year for Sock It to Me that we decided a little celebration was in order.  And what better way to celebrate all of our hard work than a team trip to Hawaii?!?!  So we packed our bags and took off for a long weekend in Maui, which turned out to be just the R&R we needed after a super hectic holiday season.

Of course, we have many awesome memories (some not appropriate for a blog post!), but the highlight of everyone’s trip definitely has to be the Skyline Zipline.  We were all a little nervous about it at first, but after that first trek thousands of feet above the valley floor, we shook off the jitters (and the cocktails probably helped a bit too!).

 

Check out that view!
Getting ready for take-off!
Kisa ziplining in our Giraffe socks!

As if that experience wasn’t exhilarating enough, Kisa, Amber, and Jacob decided to tack on a little extra excitement during their road trip to go hiking in the National Park.  The GPS showed an alternate route to the park that took them through a part of the island we hadn’t explored before – which seemed like the perfect opportunity for a little sight seeing.  Instead, they found themselves on a one-lane highway climbing the side of a mountain with rocky cliffs on one side and a steep plunge into the jungle on the other.  Needless to say, the gas pedal was not used once on their impromptu trip.  Luckily, they managed to make it to the top, although a couple hours late and a bit nauseous from the journey.  For anyone thinking about visiting Maui soon, heed Amber’s advice: “Rethink the scenic route.”

Other than those two adventures (one planned and one not so planned), the trip was full of rest, relaxation, and cocktails. 🙂  Whenever the Sock It to Me team gets together, there’s plenty of food and drinks to go around.  If anyone’s hitting up the islands soon, make sure to try the Kalua pork salad with mango chutney and the beef teriyaki and wash it down with some of our favorite drink choices: a Lava Flow (pina colada with grenadine!), a Mai Tai (got to have a classic on the list), or Nummers (a brilliant concoction made from pineapple juice, vodka, and Malibu rum). Hmmmm, we are thirsty just thinking about these yummy cocktails!

Check out some more of the great photos from our Hawaiian getaway!

 

Kisa posing for a picture
Amber in her festive Hawaiian shirt
Carrie preparing the feast
Breakthtaking, isn’t it?

Did we miss anything on our trip to Maui?  Let us know about your adventures to Hawaii, and what we should check out next time!