Celebrating the seasons and feasts of the Church year was never on my radar screen until my older son was almost 5. We never went beyond the usual Advent wreaths and Lenten meatless Fridays. Then, off he went to pre-kindergarten in our parish school, where he learned about St. Nicholas.
On December 6, all the school children would put one of their shoes in the hallway at a designated time. Then St. Nicholas would zip up and down the hallways, placing a candy cane into each child’s shoe.
“Why doesn’t St. Nicholas leave candy canes in our shoes at home?” my son wondered.
Honestly, I never knew it was a thing. But clearly, we were missing out. And he was not about to miss out on any kinds of treats, so it was up to me to make sure that didn’t happen again.
I consulted the free calendar that I picked up in the church foyer, and researched some things as 1997 search engines allowed (CatholicMom.com didn’t even exist then!) and for a couple of years after that, I basically drove myself crazy trying to figure out special treats for all the special days and then some, which usually meant I was trying new recipes a few days each week.
Hello, liturgical-year burnout.
We’ve settled back in with meatless Fridays all year long, and the Advent wreath is on the table, and St. Nicholas has never stopped leaving treats in the shoes (and mailing treats to that same son, who’s now out on his own, two time zones away). I’ve let teenagers’ work schedules and sports schedules and rehearsal schedules mess with our liturgical living, but it’s time that I got it together and made the feasts part of our family life again, in a way that works for our family.
A new subscription box makes living the liturgical year a whole lot easier. Feast Day is an online Catholic grocery that offers curated subscription boxes (and grocery bags!), seasonal items for one-time purchases, coffee from Guadalupe Roastery, and a whole stack of books on liturgical living for those who want to learn more — including books by CatholicMom.com contributors Margaret Rose Realy, OSB, and Tommy Tighe.
I purchased the Premiere Box earlier this fall and enjoyed the mix of fun treats, coffee, and sacramentals that was inside. (That box had a dual theme: St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s feast day, October 1, and the premiere of Repent and Submit, a new show on CatholicTV featuring Tommy Tighe and Steve the Missionary.)
This week, I received a sample Feast Day box for December, packed with some goodies I’m familiar with, as well as new-to-me treats and a spiritual book I’ll dig into during Advent.
What’s in the box?
More appropriately, what’s in the bag? They have to mail the groceries in a box to protect fragile food items, but it’s all packed in a handy reusable cloth tote.
December’s Feast Day Box contains:
- Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Alphonsus Liguori by Maurice J. Nutt, CSsR: readings and reflections to use from the First Sunday of Advent through Epiphany. These average two pages per day and include quotes from Liguori’s writings, Scripture, a prayer, and an Advent or Christmas Action for each day.
- Speculaas (from Holland) for the Feast of St. Nicholas, December 6. I grew up in a town originally settled by the Dutch, and these lightly spiced windmill-shaped cookies were always easy to get in the local supermarket. That’s not the case where I live now, so I’ll enjoy these familiar treats from my childhood! These sweet cookies are packed in a beautifully decorated cookie tin.
- Mexican Hot Chocolate mix for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12. This one-pound container of hot chocolate mix serves 13 — invite friends to enjoy it with you.
- Red Borsch Soup (from Poland) for Christmas Eve. There’s enough soup mix to make 8 servings. My Polish family-in-law serves many Polish favorites on Christmas Eve but we’ve never tried this soup.
- Oplatki (from Poland) also for Christmas Eve. This is a beloved tradition in my husband’s family. Oplatki are thin, rectangular wafers, stamped with designs, that taste like Communion wafers. (The children in the family actually call it “holy bread.”) On Christmas Eve, the wafers are passed around, and people break off little pieces and give them to others as they exchange Christmas greetings. Even if we were arguing about sports or politics five minutes earlier, this is the time when we put all that aside and remember that faith and the love of family bring us together.
You can choose among three different grocery subscriptions in addition to the seasonal (non-subscription) offers. “The Memorial” contains a seasonal food item, votive candle, spiritual book, and a beverage. “The Feast Day” comes in a tote bag with three food items, one or two devotional items, and a prayer card. “The Solemnity” grocery bag comes with food items for three feasts — in amounts appropriate for larger families, one or two devotional items, a prayer card, a book, and a votive candle.
There’s always free shipping (my favorite online-shopping perk) on orders over $30.
Learn more at FeastDay.co.
Follow FeastDayBox on Twitter for late-breaking special deals, hints about what’s coming in the next subscription box, and plenty of Catholic fun.
Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS