Seasonal Advice for December: Recipes, Gardening, Folklore

Happy Holidays! December 2014 brings with it snow (for some), family, and parties, but remember to grab some hot cocoa during this winter month and relax when you can.

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat;
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny, God bless you!

Beggar's rhyme.


December comes from the Latin word decem meaning “ten” because this had been the tenth month of the early Roman calendar.

December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, inspires traditions around the world from hunts for presents to stockings with sweets. 

The 7th of the month is always National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

St. Lucia's Day on the 13th has long been associated with festivals of light. Before the Gregorian calendar reform in 1752, her feast day occurred on the shortest day of the year (hence the saying “Lucy light, Lucy light, shortest day and longest night”).

Winter begins with the solstice at 12:11 P.M. on the 21st. See more about the first day of winter including facts, folklore, and wonderful winter photos!

December 25 is Christmas Day, a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Learn more about American Christmas Traditions and Christmas Questions and Answers.

On the last evening of the year, December 31, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing!

Recipes for the Season

To help you prepare for this holiday season, check out our Holiday Recipe page for delicious dinner, side dish, and dessert ideas.

Going to a party? You may also enjoy our Christmas Party Appetizer Recipes.

Baking cookies for friends and family? See 5 new Christmas Cookie recipes.

Need a gift for a cook? Give him or her 118 scrumptious recipes for cookies, pies, cakes, breads, and more home-baked goods with our brand-new Everyday Baking cookbook!


This is a good time to start pruning dead and dangerous limbs from trees. 

If you enjoy holiday plants, here are tips on plant care for poinsettia, Christmas cactus, and amaryllis.

As houseplants are growing more slowly in December light, cut down on watering by half until active growth resumes. Hold off on fertilizing as well. See tips on growing houseplants.

Everyday Advice

To help you with this holiday season, check out some of our tips and fun crafts:
The Holiday Table: Setting and Decorating
Holiday Cooking and Cleaning Checklist
Christmas Tree Care Tips
Make Your Own Holiday Candle


The dark winter night sky is a joy to behold. See our monthly Sky Watch for highlights of the December sky.

The Geminids will light up the skies December 13–14. See our Meteor Showers Guide and viewing tips.

December brings the Full Cold Moon on December 6, 7:27 A.M..


Love snow? Check out our Snow Report page for snow conditions across the U.S.

Plus, you'll find long-range weather forecasts, great recipes to warm you up, weather references, and more!

December changeable and mild, the whole winter will remain a child. December cold, with snow, brings rye everywhere.


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