My beloved Nana’s birthday is December 26. I have fond memories as a child of a big Thanksgiving dinner at her house, then about a month later another big dinner on Christmas Eve plus gifts at her house. All 15 or so of us in the family would pile into my Nana and Grandad’s 1,200 square feet house for festivities, especially savoring a buffet of Nana’s southern cooking. I imagine by the time her birthday came around Nana was ready to give her oven and herself a good long winter nap.
This is at the heart of Women’s Christmas- restfulness and recognizing the disproportionate domestic work of women all the time, but especially for the holidays to be a holly jolly good time for everyone. Even women who delight in hospitality and cooking get tired, even physically sore, from deep cleaning and cranking out cookies by the dozen.
Women’s Christmas has Irish origins, called Nollaig na mBan. Think celebrating friendship among women like Galentine’s Day and appreciation for the women in one’s life like Mother’s Day rolled together on Epiphany, January 6. Epiphany marks the formal and liturgical end of Christmastide (December 25 - January 5). We are also starting the new calendar year during this time. Women’s Christmas on Epiphany is a time for reflecting on the past and dreaming about the future while deeply sighing. 
American Methodist minister, artist, and poet Jan Richardson, offers an online Women’s Christmas retreat each year. Sign up and learn more at her website. She writes,
“Whether your domestic commitments are many or few, Women’s Christmas offers a timely opportunity to pause and step back from whatever has kept you busy and hurried in the past weeks or months. As the Christmas season comes to a close, this is an occasion both to celebrate with friends and also to spend time in reflection before diving into the responsibilities of this new year… At the threshold of this year, this is a time for you to consider how you want the path through this year to look like.”
This Women’s Christmas, may you and your feminine kin, create space for rest and reflection, maybe even a mimosa!
Once again, this sisterhood has come together and we are able to fund all 37 applicants to the International Women's Fund.

A few years ago, we worried that with dwindling non-profit giving, this program would have to dwindle as well. But when we shared our concerns with you, you all made it clear that this program was not just important to us, but important to our constituency. You opened your hearts and wallets and declared "not on my watch" as you ensured every woman who needed one, received a scholarship.

For over 20 years Mennonite Women USA has been supporting women all over the world by giving them scholarships. In that time we have supported about 180 women from over 30 countries. With your help, we'll keep going for years to come.
Women's Christmas

You might notice that it feels a bit late to be talking about something that happened on January 6. Well, this is a women's organization and, as such, it is affected by the things that affect women - like the excess work women find on their plate around the holidays.

We are mothers, partners, pastors, caregivers, bakers, hosts, boo-boo kissers, and even Santa Claus. Our plates fill up fast and sometimes overflow.

When life got in the way and we missed last week's planned date for the Grapevine, we discussed scrapping this article about Women's Christmas; but then we remembered that we at MW USA are called to be different. We don't just share about Women's Christmas, we honor the women in our organization who are living the struggles that call for it.

So, we're sharing this late because you, our sisters, will get it. And we trust that you'll be as blessed by it today as you would have last week.
As you can see, we're doing important work at MW USA. From offering resources and support to women throughout the church to the seminars and scholarships we offer around the world. Your contributions ensure that we can continue to do this good work.
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