Take In Special Performances At The Children’s Museum Of Atlanta, The Hip Hop Nutcracker At The Fox & More!
Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Las Posadas – there are many winter holidays, and the diverse residents of the upscale Collingwood Apartments community in Alpharetta, Georgia, celebrate them all!
And whether you’re planning to mark the 2021 Winter Solstice (on Tuesday, December 21, fittingly enough) at Lift Yoga on Main Street’s celebration of new beginnings or take your babies – human or pet – to get their picture made with Santa on the Alpharetta Town Green or tucked in by him and Mrs. Claus at The Hotel at Avalon, sweetness and light are always a part of the season.
And not just in the form of love of our families and friends. Candles and confections have historically played leading roles in almost all holiday decorations, rituals, and gatherings.
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is offering special performances, storytimes, and crafts to help families learn more about these traditions, beginning with a Hanukkah program Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 11 a.m., featuring Michael Levine, the music producer of New York Times bestselling Pete the Cat picture books by Eric Litwin and James Dean.
Hanukkah is celebrated to commemorate and publicize the miracle of a one-day supply of oil lasting eight days and eight nights after the Jewish people reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Greeks and marked their victory with the burning of the Hanukkah menorah (candelabrum). This year, the traditional period began early, on the night of Sunday, November 28, 2021. In Alpharetta, the menorah lighting at Avalon took place with the help of Chabad of North Fulton, complete with a chocolate gelt dropping!
Other holiday-related museum events include:
- Celebrate Las Posadas, Saturday, December 11, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
- Celebrate Christmas Saturday, December 18, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
- Celebrate Kwanzaa Sunday, December 26, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
According to the Franciscan Media publication St. Anthony Messenger, “The roots of Las Posadas stretch deeply into Latin culture. It originated in Spain, but it’s been a yearly celebration throughout Mexico for over 400 years. The tradition commemorates Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a warm place to stay the night. (Posadas is Spanish for “lodgings” or “accommodations.”) Beginning on December 16 and ending nine days later, on December 24, Las Posadas commemorates the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Each night, one family agrees to house the pilgrims. And so it begins: At dusk, a procession of the faithful takes to the streets with children often dressed as angels and shepherds. Religious figures, images, and lighted candles are a part of the festivities. The group representing the Holy Family stands outside a series of houses, singing songs, asking for lodging. They are refused time and again until the group reaches the designated house. Finally, the travelers are permitted to enter. Prayer and song continue in the home, and festive foods are shared. The evening ends with a piñata in the shape of star.” The piñata of course includes candy!
During the week of Kwanzaa, families and communities come together in feasting, honoring the ancestors, affirming the bonds between them, and in celebration of African and African American culture. Each day they light a candle in the Kinara, a seven-branched holder, to highlight the principle of that day and to breathe meaning into the principles with various activities, such as reciting the sayings or writings of great black thinkers and writers, reciting original poetry, African drumming, and sharing a meal of African diaspora-inspired foods. The seven principles of Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba (in both English and Kiswahili) are unity/umoja, self-determination/ kujichagulia, collective work and responsibility/ujima, cooperative economics/ujamaa, purpose/nia, creativity/kuumba, and faith/Imani. The colors of the candles are black, red, and green, representing the people, the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and green for the rich land of Africa. Liveology Yoga Studios in Atlanta will celebrate Kwanzaa 2021 over the course of seven evenings, from Sunday, December 26, to Saturday, January 1.
The Christian tradition of celebrating Advent also is already underway; it began the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which in 2021 was Sunday, November 28. It will end Friday, December 24. During these four weeks, an Advent wreath adorned with five candles is traditionally used to symbolize different spiritual aspects of getting ready for the Christmas Day birth of Jesus Christ. The three Advent candle colors—purple, pink, and white—symbolically represent the spiritual preparation that believers undergo to prepare their hearts for the birth (or coming) of the Lord, Jesus Christ, according to Learn Religions. Many people delight in Advent calendars, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has highlighted some of this year’s best, from Jingle & Mingle to Christmas in Gotham City (The Official Batman Advent Calendar).
For many members of the upscale Collingwood Apartments community, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without participating in a Toys for Tots campaign. This year, we’re having one of our own – just bring an unwrapped children’s toy by the office. Donations will be received until Wednesday, December 22, 2021.
For other folks, attending a performance of The Nutcracker is a beloved holiday occasion for families and friends. Opportunities abound in the Atlanta Metro to enjoy Clara’s classic story, danced to the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s inimitable music. For a fun twist, check out a remixed and reimagined version of the story by attending The Hip Hop Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.
What’s a blog about the winter holidays without a few gift-giving ideas? In keeping with our theme, let’s wrap up with a couple of candle suggestions. Trust the Collingwood Apartments Idea Specialists™ when they say you can’t go wrong with the Winter White Scented Mercury Glass Candle from Crate and Barrel at Avalon.
However you celebrate the season, enjoy and be safe!