Category: Holidays

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month.

My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

 

They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
– English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –

 

The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree tradition when he put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848.

We have a Tannenbaum forest here at the Red House, but my Christmas Tree is a very realistic, artificial tree – I don’t want my forest to think of me as a tree killer…

Are you ready for Christmas, or are there still lots of things to tick off your list before you can say, “It’s a Wrap!”

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite.

Pumpkin Meets Drill

A well-rounded and compact head – a good description of a cabbage, but it works for a pumpkin too!

drilled hole design

This year I used a drill to make almost perfect round holes in my jack-o’-lantern. (Did you know that the term jack-o’-lantern comes from an Irish folktale? Large turnips and potatoes were used by the Irish in Ireland, but they switched to the readily available pumpkins when they came to America.)

holes drilled zentangle design

‘Jack’ doesn’t look all that handsome in the daylight, but he really ‘shines’ in the dark!

When I was looking for a quotation about pumpkins, I found a musing by Alexander McCall Smith. It reminded me of transporting my pumpkins last year.  I secured them in the back seat of the Jeep and briefly thought about what quiet, friendly companions they were.

The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it… And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.

There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child’s will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship?
– Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine –

Happy Halloween, all!

(Is it still called Halloween in your community schools, or has it been changed to Black and Orange Spirit Day?)

There is a growing list of Halloween costumes that have been described as inappropriate because they are negative representations. Lynda Davis, at BoomerBroadcast wonders: “If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation?”

Cårven Der Pümpkîn | Recipes with The Swedish Chef | The Muppets

This weeks’ WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Rounded.

The Christmas Spirit Can’t Come too Early this Year

The World of Commerce starts promoting Christmas earlier and earlier each year, it seems. In Canada and the United States, the ‘Great Pumpkin’ products can be in one shopping aisle and ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ can be in the next. Personally, I don’t like the crass materialism of the season, and I really feel sorry for the Sales Associates in the stores. Imagine having to listen to the same Christmas music for almost 2 months!

This year, however, I’ve put up my small table top Christmas tree already. Every time I walk by it, I am cheered by the tiny white snowmen decorations that my daughter and I made over 18 years ago. At night the twinkly lights brighten that corner of the room. It is peaceful.

Christmas Tree with a crackly filter

I have several reasons for putting up this tree so early. First, it is a calming reminder that this final journey with a loved one is down their path to a peaceful place.

Christmas Tree with Drawing filter

The tree is also a reminder that the greatest contribution I can give others right now is a smile. I painted smiles on all those little snowmen and their unfailing cheer is contagious! Mine should be too.

Christmas Tree with a liquefy filter

Even my friends on Facebook have been infected by the outrage and anger that is so prevalent in many parts of the world. Compromise, understanding and sharing don’t seem to be objectives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Christmas Season this year moved people into the spirit of goodwill and giving, and somehow, magically, they just got stuck there?!

Christmas 2016 – Santa and the North Pole

558-christmas-tree

Christmas is very nearly here, and I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and All the Best in the New Year. As you can see from this photo of my Christmas tree, I’m all ready for Santa to visit.  I anticipate one very nicely wrapped medium sized gift of the hair drying appliance variety!

For better or for worse, Christmas is a time for gifts and giving. Who knows that better than Santa – and Wal-Mart, Costco and Tesco, to name just a few of the larger retailers!

While it is easy to walk into the familiar brick and mortar stores in communities around the world, it is quite impossible to visit Santa’s establishment. There are several reasons for this. First, of course, is the fact that Santa is not a retailer. He is the owner of a factory and distribution outlet. His business model simply does not include on-site sales.

Then there is the issue of the location of his  facility. It is, according to lore, at the North Pole – a place that isn’t even located on a land mass. It is nearly in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and  is almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice. So, even if you could get to the North Pole, you might find Santa’s factory at the designated GPS location or it might be miles (kilometers) away in an undetermined direction.

The North Pole, in the winter, is a very cold place. Winter temperatures can range from about −50 to −13 °C (−58 to 9 °F). It is quite inhospitable. Despite that, several countries have laid claims to these icy high seas (Canada, Norway, Russia and Denmark.) It could be decades before their claims are scrutinized by the United Nations and one of them is declared the owner. When that happens, Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves will have to apply for citizenship, I suppose. The paperwork will be monumental…

While you may not be able to visit Santa at his home, you can certainly mail him a letter. Canada has assigned the North Pole a Postal Code, so letters to Santa can be mailed to North Pole, H0H 0H0. Finland says Santa’s official office is in their country and his address is Tähtikuja 1, 96930 Arctic Circle. There is place called the North Pole in Alaska, USA. Letters to that Santa can be mailed to North Pole Postmark Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Drive, Anchorage, AK 99530-9998. In the UK, Santa’s letters go to Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ. In Australia, letters may be mailed to Santa, NORTH POLE 9999. Santa has other addresses in other countries and these can be found at a site called Letters to Santa.

On Christmas Eve, you will most certainly want to watch Santa’s journey around the world on the NORAD Santa Tracker Site.

I’ll end this post with a burning question – should the North Pole become part of any country at all? By extension, should Santa have to become a citizen of any country, and if yes, which country do you think it should be?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Anticipation.

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Christmas Greetings – 2015

The Car Guy is in the kitchen making S’More Pinwheels; the snow is gently falling; NORAD is already tracking Santa’s progress; we have no place we have to be until tomorrow morning – Life is Good.

I don’t mean to sound like a Grinch, but if we are going to be ‘entertained’ by Christmas Carols for almost a month, don’t you think they could play this one now and again?

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles or rhinoceroseses
I only like hippopotamuseses
And hippopotamuses like me too!
– Written by John Rox, sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953-

To the member of our family who got my name in the Christmas draw – you didn’t ask me for a Christmas Wish List. Did you finally get me a hippo?

To my small group of faithful readers – and to the thousands of followers of this blog who might stumble onto this post by mistake – Have a very Merry Christmas!

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