Monthly Archives: December 2014

Yule flowers

December 21 marks one of the turning-points of the year. The days seem more or less equal; the closer you are to the equator, the more true that is. For the northern hemisphere, we have our shortest night and we get a smidgen more light every night until the third week in June. In the southern hemisphere, it’s the exact opposite: the days get shorter and the nights longer. Continue reading

Christmas cactus

A Christmas cactus is part of a seasonally-named cactus group that springs into action about the time of certain holidays. (Easter and Thanksgiving cacti are two more examples.) But if your cactus never buds up or show flowers, here are a few ideas to give it a boost. Continue reading

St. Nicholas’ Day

Today, December 6, is St. Nicholas Day. (Eastern Christians celebrate on the 19th.) In most of Europe, this is a religious festival, the feast day of St. Nicholas. However, Dutch kids will leave out clogs to receive candy and money, and many other kids will leave out shoes for the same purpose. It’s rather like the Christmas stockings we hang, in fact. Of course, there’s a tradition of leaving out carrots and cookies—though it’s not for reindeer, it’s for the saint’s horse. Continue reading