May 11, 2007, Newsletter Issue #102: Three Wise Men Costumes

Tip of the Week

Gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. You remember them from the hymns and Christmas carols--the Magi offered them in celebration of the baby Jesus' divinity. This was before Pottery Barn. Now you, or your children, are planning to dress up as the Three Wise Men at Christmas, for a party or school or church event. Gold you can easily handle--you can donate some jewelry or carry some chocolate coins, or a faux block of gold.

But what are frankincense and myrrh and how do you use them in your Christmas costumes? Maybe you'd be better off dressing up in a reindeer costume, elf costume, or Santa costume.

Frankincense and myrrh are, quite simply, spices, and spices were valuable in Arabia in the time of Jesus. You can use patchouli or another type of incense for frankincense, since incense has been a sacred offering in religions for centuries. Buy incense from your local naturalist shop or candle shop. You may even be able to buy frankincense, which is a tree sap found in the Middle East, from specialty stores.

Myrrh is a little trickier--it means "bitter," and is also a tree sap. You can also get it at specialty stores. Both myrrh and frankincense are used to make incense. If you carry incense sticks along with the gold, you'll have historically accurate Christmas costumes. Hey, it's more original than shopping at Pottery Barn for a Christmas gift.

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