The new media does not feed us fully formed chunks, but broken chips and blips of imagery. We are required to piece an identity together to create a configurative or modular personality. This explains why so many millions are desperately searching for an identity.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Culinary Family Traditions - Christmas Recipes

The holidays bring about numerous opportunities to gather with family to celebrate the season of sharing and giving. Throughout the years my family has collected quite a list of some favorite Christmas recipes.
These favorites have been enjoyed over and over again, and we have yet to grow tired of them.
We've shared some precious memories in pitching in and preparing the holiday meals.
Here are just a few of our family favorites:
Christmas Punch (One of Tammy's recipes)
1 1/2 liter of chilled 7-Up
About 20 scoops of green lime sorbet
2 Tbsp of lemon juice
Gather up your favorite punch bowl set. Make sure it is washed and cleaned for use. Pour the chilled 7-Up in the punch bowl. Scoop up 20 scoops of sorbet into the 7-Up. Add the lemon juice and then give the punch mixture a quick stir. Serve immediately.
Cheesy Potato Casserole (My Sister's Recipe)
32 oz frozen hash browns
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz tub of sour cream
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 cup crushed corn flakes or potato chips
Mix onion, soup, sour cream, and cheese in bowl.
Place potatoes in 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour melted button on top. Then stir in mixture of remaining items.
Sprinkle corn flakes or potato chips on top. Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
Ambrosia Salad (My Sister-In-Law's Recipe)
2 cups shredded coconut
1 8oz container whipped cream, thawed
1 11oz can madarin oranges, drained
3 apples, peeled and chopped
3 bananas, sliced
1 8oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1 10oz jar maraschino cherries, drained
3 cups miniature marshmallows
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a large bowl, combine the whipped cream, coconut, chopped nuts (if desired), apples, pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows, and cherries. Mix together well and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes.
Important Tip: Wait until right before serving to peel and add the bananas to help preserve them from turning brown.
There was a time when we did a recipe exchange. This was a lot of it was a perfect way to get lots of great recipes to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Here's a neat holiday gift idea for your family members
Make a scrapbook up of memories including family favorite recipes, events, pictures, and even special memories shared by the family. Get creative with this and include lots of illustrations. This will be a gift that will be special to your family and will last for a lifetime.
It's important to keep your family traditions going...and keep sharing them even when the Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren come along.
There's nothing more important than gathering with your family and just being together and sharing old memories, laughing, and loving one another.
Article Written By Tammy Embrich
You can find more articles and recipes, along with grandparenting and parenting tips at Grandma's Home Bloggers
Tammy also offers free work at home job leads, work at home articles, tips and more at Work At Home Jobs.
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Early Christmas Shop For the Best Christmas Gifts

Do you promise yourself each and every year that you will get all your Christmas shopping done early so that you can have a relatively stress free holiday season, only to find yourself shopping for last minute Christmas presents a day or two before Christmas day and having no idea what to get or where to get it? Proper planning is important. I am sure that you can come up with at least ten minutes a day or week to think about your Christmas list. The only way to have a stress free holiday season is to early Christmas shop for the best Christmas gifts.
As we get closer to the holiday season, you need to find a couple of minutes to compile a list if you haven't done so already for the best Christmas gifts. Last minute shopping does not allow you to find the best Christmas gifts for your friends and family. A thoughtless gift is worse than no gift at all. Getting the best Christmas gifts requires that you put some thought into the task and early Christmas shop for the best Christmas gifts.
If you have no idea what holiday gifts to get and what would make great holiday gifts, find suggestions on or offline on the best gift ideas and where to find them or pay attention to any hints dropped by family and friends in order to prepare a list of the best Christmas presents.
Make this the year that you early Christmas shop. Most holiday shoppers usually wait until the very last minute which is seen with the crowds of people at the mall and other shopping centers and the resulting stress. Waiting until December to find Christmas presents also means that if you are using a credit card, you will have a large credit card bill in the new year to pay off. Early Christmas shopping for the best Christmas gifts allows you to spread out your expenses on Christmas presents.
Online shopping is continuing to explode and while you do not deal with the crowds, you need to place the orders early to ensure that you receive the best Christmas presents well before Christmas day especially if you need to mail some of these holiday gifts. Plan to shop early to avoid the stress of wondering whether you will receive the Christmas presents before Christmas. Although some online stores can gift wrap and mail the Christmas present to the recipient for you, I prefer my own wrapping and you do not want the recipients to receive the Christmas presents too early or too late.
Various stores and other outlets should have information on some of the best gift ideas to help you with your Christmas list. You also need to set a budget that you stick to when reviewing the best gift ideas.
This information on the best Christmas gifts usually contains lists of the best Christmas gifts for men, the best Christmas gifts for women and the best Christmas gifts for girls and boys in order to help you come up with ideas on great holiday gifts to fill out your Christmas list. Once you spend some time compiling this Christmas list early of the best Christmas gifts and made the purchases, you can then have a relaxing and stress free holiday season because would have done all your Christmas shopping early.
One of the best ways to Christmas shop early for the best Christmas gifts that you can keep in mind for next year's Christmas since it is already late in the year 2010, is to shop in the few days after Christmas day 2010 for for the following year's holiday gifts since a vast number of stores both off and online have various sales to prepare for the new year by getting rid of excess inventory which means that you will be able to get some of the best Christmas gifts for the following year.
Some of the best gift ideas for 2010 will more or less still apply for the coming year. For electronics, you will probably have to wait until the coming year before making purchases because updates occur frequently in this area.
Another tip to help you with early Christmas shopping for the best Christmas gifts once you have reviewed any lists showing the best gift ideas, is to purchase two gifts instead of one gift for the people on your list at the time of their birthday so that you can give them one gift as a birthday gift and the second gift at Christmas time.
These are only a few tips to keep in mind that will ensure that you have a relatively stress free time at Christmas because all your Christmas presents would have been purchased and wrapped since you properly planned and put a lot of thought into your gift giving and allowed yourself enough time to come up with the best Christmas gifts for your family and friends.
Have a great holiday season by early Christmas shopping for the best Christmas gifts []. For the best gift ideas, visit my website for a listing of the top 10 best gift ideas for him, for her and for boys and girls. Properly plan for the season so you can relax without stressing about all the Christmas presents that you still need to get right up until Christmas day. Visit my website at [].

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Simple And Delicious Goose Christmas Recipe

The Christmas season brings so much traditional fare to tables around the world that some look forward to the amazing meal all year long. It's no secret that weight gain is a concern of Christmas celebrations worldwide as well. There are always so many rich options of protein, potatoes, cheeses, and sweet treats that it is anyone's guess how we managed to eat so much in a single day. Not including leftovers, of course.
One lovely meal that is quite popular in Europe is the Christmas goose. Goose and duck are enjoyed regularly around holidays and are prepared to accentuate their fatty flavor, which makes for a crispy skin and delightfully tasteful meat on the inside. Thanks to our European roots, we were always able to get a taste the delicious goose over the holidays, as our maternal grandmother insisted on it at her table, lamenting every year that turkey was so pedestrian, and improper. Her lovely accent made the Christmas recipe even more delightful to watch her execute year after year.
It took until around the age of ten to realize exactly what she was cooking, as her reference to the bird as a goose was simply slang, we thought. It was certainly smaller than a turkey, and it tasted incredible, but we all assumed it was the magic of her heritage that made it so. Besides, a goose wasn't something you ate in our minds. It was a bird that actually flew -- unlike the turkey or chicken -- and moreover, a character in one of our favorite nursery rhymes, "Mother Goose."
Our mother was never a fan of its preparation, or our grandmother for that matter, so when granny was gone, she would never entertain the idea of cooking it herself. Finally, as an adult, I found a traditional German recipe for its preparation, and wowed a group of friends with it at a dinner party. It's super easy, and a great change of pace from the typical meals you would serve your dinner guests, whether around Christmas time or just as a fun departure from the ordinary.
Delicious Goose: The Christmas Recipe
It is certainly okay to brine a goose, much like you would a turkey. However, part of the deliciousness that is the goose comes from its own fatty existence, which is hard to duplicate with any other bird -- although the duck is probably second in line in richness. For the purpose of this recipe, I'd say forgo the brining, and keep it simple and easy!
What You Need:
• Roasting Pan with Rack
• 1 Young Goose (4-5lbs), Completely Thawed
• 2 Apples, Peeled, Cored & Quartered
• 1 Small Onion, Cut into ¼" Wide Strips
• 2 TSP Thyme
• Plenty of Kosher Salt
• Lots of Cracked Black Pepper
• Water
What To Do:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Clean the goose thoroughly, inside and out -- removing and tossing anything in the cavity.
• Pat the goose dry with paper towels, and apply kosher salt, cracked black pepper and thyme generously to the bird, inside and out.
• Place the apples and onions inside the cavity.
• Mix one tablespoon of kosher salt with one cup of water, and pour into the roasting pan.
• Add the rack to the pan, and place the goose atop it -- BREAST SIDE DOWN.
• Pierce the goose's skin in several places, front, middle and back to allow the fat to exit as it cooks.
• Cook the goose for 50 minutes, using the salt water to baste 2-3 times during that period. You can add more salty water to the pan as needed.
• Remove the pan and turn the goose over onto its back, and return to the over for an additional 50 minutes.
The goose should cook to a temperature of 150 degrees, so check the temperature before turning the oven off. The goose can cook for another 20 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Be sure to baste in between, and allow it to sit for five minutes before carving.
Serve the goose with fruity options of peach halves or Current jelly. The sweet and salt mixture will delight your senses, and beg an answer to the question, "Why is this the first time we've had goose?" Leftovers will store just like chicken or turkey, and can be added to bread the next day for a wonderful twist to the leftover sandwich you are used to.
Steven Ircha is the Senior Managing Director of Aegis Capital where he helps individuals and institutions manage their investments. He lives in Bronxville NY with his wife and five children. Steven attended NYU, Brooklyn Law School and the Harvard Business School.
He is also the assistant Scoutmaster of Bronxville Troop 5 and the Friends of Scouting Chair for the Westchester Putnam Council Boy Scouts of America. He frequently watches Jet's games with his brother-in-law,Woody Johnson,owner of the New York Jet's football team.
To contact Steven, please call 914-361-1099 or email him at

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Kids Christmas Recipes

With the Festive season just around the corner you may be looking for some Kids Christmas Recipes, that you can cook for or with your kids.
There really is no better time than the festive season to get in the kitchen cooking with your kids. Christmas is steeped in traditions and flavors, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and of course lashings of hot chocolate.
Kids love to bake and enjoy nothing more than making gifts that family and friends can eat. Lebkuchen are Traditional German Christmas Cookies and my children love to decorate these with white icing and silver balls. Sugar Mice and Coconut Ice are ideal gift ideas.
We have another family favorite Christmas Recipe Chocolate Cherry Fudge.
Starry Mince Pies
Mince Pies are traditional at Christmas, this recipe will make approx 12 pies.
250g Plain Flour
150g Cold Butter, extra for greasing
Cold water to mix, allow between 1 to 1 1/2 tsp per 25g of flour
1/4 Level tsp Salt
350g Mincemeat
Beaten Egg for brushing
Sifted Icing Sugar
Pre-Heat your oven to 190c/375f/Gas Mark 5.
For the pastry:-
1. Sift the flour and the salt into a bowl.
2. Add the butter, cut into the flour with a knife then rub with your fingertips. When rubbed sufficiently, the mixture should look like fine breadcrumbs.
3. Sprinkle the water over the crumbs, mix to stiff crumbly-looking paste with round-ended knife.
4. Draw together with fingertips, turn out on to lightly floured board. Knead quickly until smooth and crack-free.
Building the Pies:-
1. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface,using an 8cm round cutter stamp out 12 circles.
2. Grease your muffin tin and line with your pastry circles.
3. Using a teaspoon put equal amounts of mincemeat into each pastry case.
4. With your remaining pastry using a small star cutter cut out your stars.
5. Place your stars in the center of the pie and brush with a little beaten egg.
6. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown)
7. Remove from the tins and dredge thickly with sifted icing sugar.
The mince pies can be served warm, with whipped cream or custard, you could also decorate with other festive shapes depending on your cookie cutters.
Whether you are looking for Kids Christmas Dessert Recipes or Easy Kids Christmas Cookies Recipes I have put together some Family Favorite Xmas Treats and Kids Christmas Recipes.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Mexican Christmas - 3 Traditional Mexican Christmas Recipes

hristmas in Mexico is all about hospitality and making traditional Mexican Christmas food recipes to share with friends, family and neighbors. There are some Mexican Christmas recipes, which are made only at Christmas, and others, which are made throughout the year, for various occasions. Tamales, for example, are enjoyed all year in Mexico but sweet tamales are for birthdays, christenings and Christmas parties.
There are also traditional Mexican drinks, including atole, which is a thick, cinnamon-flavored drink, and ponche, which is a fruit punch. Ponche can be made with or without alcohol.
Atole - A Traditional Mexican Beverage
This recipe serves four people and it is warming and delicious. Atole is meant to be served thick but if it thickens too much, you can add a little extra milk to thin it down a bit.
What you will need:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 oz white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz masa dough
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
How to make it:Dissolve the masa in the water, then strain this liquid and add the cinnamon sticks. Bring it to a boil, and then stir in the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and milk. Keep boiling the atole until it is thick. Take out the cinnamon and serve hot.
Traditional Mexican Bunuelos
This easy recipe for bunuelos serves ten people and everyone will enjoy these festive Mexican cookies. They are served broken into pieces with a hot anisette-flavored syrup poured over them. Bunuelos are popular with adults and kids and they are popular at Christmas but made for other occasions too.
What you will need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 9 oz piloncillo (raw sugar)
  • 9 oz lard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons anisette
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lb flour
  • 2 cups water
How to make them:Boil half the anisette in half the water and let it cool. Sift the salt with the flour. Add the eggs and egg yolk, as well as the water and anisette mixture. Knead the dough until it is stiff, and then form small balls. Roll them out thinly, and then fry them one at a time in the lard. Heat the piloncillo in the remaining water with the rest of the anisette. Strain the mixture once it is thick, then break the fried bunuelos into pieces and serve them with the syrup poured over the top.
Mexican Christmas Salad
This salad serves ten people and is a combination of fruit with a tangy dressing. This is a colorful and healthy Mexican Christmas food recipe and it is easy to make. Chill it for a couple of hours before you serve it, to let the flavors combine and to ensure it is very cold.
What you will need:
  • 2 peeled, diced, cooked beets
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pecans or almonds
  • 1 diced banana
  • 1 peeled, diced apple
  • 1/4 fresh peeled, diced pineapple
  • 1 peeled, chopped orange
  • 1 diced cooked carrot
  • Seeds for 1/2 pomegranate
  • 3 tablespoons salad oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
How to make it:Put the lime juice, salad oil, salt and sugar in a screw-top jar and shake until well blended. Combine the fruits then pour the dressing over the top and stir well. Garnish the salad with the pomegranate seeds and nuts and chill it in the refrigerator before serving.
Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:
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Is There Something Special With Christmas Recipes?

What makes your Christmas exciting and moving? For other people, they say that there is a different joyous atmosphere that only Christmas can bring. Some say that the gifts excite and electrify them. There are also others who look forward to having a taste of different Christmas recipes. How about you? What part of Christmas do you want best?
Preparing your Christmas recipes
If you and your family are looking forward to have a wonderful dinner during Christmas Eve, then you must read through tips on how to prepare your special Christmas recipes.
• Ask everyone who will celebrate Christmas with you about the food they want. This is just to make sure that everybody likes the food that you will serve. Apart from that, you should also assess the eating capacity of each of your family members so that you could prepare enough food for everyone. This is also a good thing so as to avoid spoilage and rotten food the next day.
• Finalize the list of Christmas recipes that you will prepare and include each ingredient and the quantity. By doing so, you can be sure that there will be nothing that you will forget while in the market. By the time you are already doing the preparations, you have everything that you need and you will be able to finish cooking earlier.
• You can also do your marketing in a place that you are familiar with so that you know where to get every item that you need to buy. It will not take you time just trying to look for the store lane where you will get your ingredients.
• Prepare a practical budget for your Christmas recipes. If there are expensive ingredients that are not easy on the pocket, you can look for alternative ingredients that will give the same great taste to your dish. By doing this, you will not only be able to serve a delicious delicacy, you will also serve one that is easy on the pocket.
• Keep in mind that there are so many people in the market so it would be better to do your shopping a little earlier but not so early because the food might not be fresh when you cook it.
• You can prepare traditional dishes that your family likes or you can also introduce new dishes from websites. Just be sure to look for Christmas recipes that are easy to prepare so that it will not take much of your time cooking it. Of course it would be better if you can spend more time with your family than staying in the kitchen while you cook hard to prepare meals.
You can prepare a Christmas recipe for your family and not have the same feeling if you prepare it on Christmas. Why is that? Because it is not really that recipe that excites you, it is the thought that you are celebrating the Holiday season with your loved ones. No matter what you serve on the dinner table, you and your family or friends will still have a great time sharing the feast that you have prepared.
If you like my work, you may read more at 40 foot container [] and dog agility training equipment [].
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A Delicious Christmas Recipe To Make Your Mouth Water

I don't know about you but the one thing I especially look forward to at Christmas time is the food. And I mean really look forward to it. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying Christmas is just about food, the festive season is a great time for bringing families together and celebrating, but hey, like I said, I really do like the food.
Traditions Of A Recipe For Christmas
This goes way back and to most families is the main focal point of their Christmas. Waiting to see what that big juicy Turkey will taste like and how it will be presented on the table. Of course there are many other meals for Christmas with a lot of these recipes having been passed through generations of families. It's kind of eerie when we think of this; I mean just think, our ancestors were tucking into the same mince pie that we are eating now at our Christmas Soirée. Well, perhaps not the 'same' mince pie but certainly the same recipe perhaps.
Some Ideas For A Christmas Recipe
I think the fun recipes are desserts as these are a pleasure to create and everybody always loves a lovely Christmas pudding. The Christmas fruitcake is also a great choice and isn't too difficult to prepare.
A Simple Fruit Cake Recipe
Why not try this very easy fruit cake which doesn't take a great deal of time to prepare and tastes absolutely mouth watering. This is traditional recipe for Christmas time and will always be well received by your guests. To make this you will need to compile the following ingredients: -
One and a half cups of raisins
Three cups of sifted flour
One and a half cups of shredded dates
One cup of crushed nuts
Two cups of water that has been boiled
5 tablespoons of standard vegetable oil
One teaspoon of baking soda
Two cups of sugar
Two teaspoons each of cloves and cinnamon and add one teaspoon of salt.
Now that we have all the ingredients measured as above, simply find a clear and clean surface and then proceed to lay them out. Take the sugar together with the vegetable oil and your raisins and place these in a pot and simmer for approximately twenty minutes or so. Make sure you allow the mix to cool down for approx 5 minutes. During this time the soda, salt and pour cloves can be mixed together in a sifting fashion and then incorporated onto the now cooled down mix. Now get your nuts and start stirring the designated amount into complete mix. An old trick to stop the nuts from sinking is to also add some flour at the same time of adding the nuts. Simply then pour the finished mix into pan which has been pre-greased and bake in your oven at three hundred and twenty degrees for approximately one and a half hours. Set your timer for this and additionally check from time to time.
Making a delicious Fruit cake is just one out of many many mouth watering Christmas recipes that you can make. If you browse the internet you will find all sorts of ideas that you can put to use. Whether you refer to a cookbook or browse the web in general, with a little digging and delving you are bound to find the Christmas recipe that is just right for you and your family.
If you require more Christmas Decoration info [] then be sure to visit the Outdoor Christmas Decoration Site which provides comprehensive help, advice and ideas on all aspects of Christmas Decoration. Clive thoroughly recommends this site so check it out today here =>[]
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3 Great Christmas Songs For Your Heart's Content

It's hard to find a more joyful occasion than Christmas and there's nothing better than to celebrate this special yearly occasion with great Christmas songs. It is actually these types of songs that create great memories for us during this festive period and which are heard all across the world on TV, radio or on the Internet. It's hard to beat listening to such great songs while sitting around a fireplace on Christmas Eve with your loved ones. This article features 3 great Christmas songs that will warm your heart.
"Silent Night, Holy Night"
Originally a German carol written in the early 19th century, it has since been translated in more than 44 languages and can easily be sung without any music. As a result, it is probably the most common and most popular Christmas song going around. Although a more religious song announcing the birth of Jesus Christ, it has since been adopted by non-Christian audiences in their celebration of Christmas. A quiet, simple and sweet melody that stands the test of time.
"Last Christmas" by WHAM!
A more modern Christmas song, "Last Christmas" was written by British pop singer George Michael in the 80's when he was with Wham!. A huge hit the world over, it continues to be one of the most-played songs on radio during Christmas. Its catchy melody and simple lyrics continue to stand the test of time.
"All I Want For Christmas Is You" by MARIAH CAREY
One of the few modern Christmas songs that has been embraced by people the world over, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" explores someone's wish that the only thing they want for Christmas are not gifts but just to be with their lover. This is essentially the spirit of Christmas, spending time with your loved ones. The song continues to enter the music charts on a yearly basis in many countries around the world.
My only hope is that this article has provided you with some great Christmas songs that will make your Christmas that bit more special.
Martin Sejas is the main writer of [], a website exhibiting some of the all time great christmas songs [] in music history.
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Inflatable Water Slides Are a Christmas Gift Idea to Be Enjoyed Through the Year Ahead

Inflatable water slides may not seem like the most natural of Christmas gift ideas, but they are something that will be appreciated and enjoyed long after the turkey is done with. They are great for getting kids outdoors and having healthy fun on clear days, and thanks to their durability they are able to be used year after year. Now that's value in a Christmas gift.
There are some truly ingenious variations on the traditional inflatable water slide this Christmas time, and there are models to suit every garden, yard or open space where fun can be had safely. You can use inflatable water slides and similar outdoor toys at any time of the year that has the right weather, and thus they are great ideas for not only birthdays and Summer treats but also for superb Christmas presents too, because, as everyone knows, the very best Christmas gifts are always the ones that last!
Some of the best-selling and most wanted inflatable water slides available this year include the Slip N' Slide Double Hydroplane, the Wham-O Slip'N Slide Double Wave Rider, the Intex Waterslide and many more! These popular models are all available at very reasonable prices online, eliminating the struggle of finding them in stores and finding them as cheap as possible in order to meet a festive budget.
With all manner of slides and other different outdoor toys available to use and enjoy, they will get so much use that they will pretty much pay for themselves over time as they are used and enjoyed by friends and family time and again. The best outdoor toys and inflatable water slides are those that the family can use together, safely and happily, and they really are an unusual and unexpected idea for Christmas presents for loved ones this year.
You will find more information about buying the best inflatable water slides here and other backyard, garden and outdoor toys here.
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Is Christmas Different Now Or Is It Just Me?

I hear people banging on about the real meaning of Christmas all of the time. Especially around Christmas time. When older people hear that a youngster has received an iPhone for Christmas they seem to blame the downfall of our whole society on it. They seem to think Christmas has changed and I can't decide whether I agree with them or not. My feelings about Christmas have changed over the years but is that more to do with me than what's happening in the rest of society?
Being a child of the 80's, my early Christmas memories are of Band Aid, Wham, Peaches and Cream (a Barbie doll), Operation and a Spectrum and do not include any romanticized scenes of caroling and church. A fizz of excitement would appear in my stomach just after Halloween and this would grow as each of the following events passed.
Growing up in Newcastle, one of the events was a trip to see 'Fenwicks window'. Every year, this relatively smart department store on Northumberland Avenue in the centre of Newcastle city centre, would unveil a new Christmas themed moving animatronics display and it was up there in my favourite of the seasons events.
My school Christmas play was the next indication that the best day of the year was on its way. We would start preparing for it in late October and over the years I had varying amounts of involvement in it. Soon after the auditions for the school play were over we would begin singing Christmas hymns in our school assemblies. These two events alone kept me going right up until the highlight of my year - the school Christmas party. This event required a completely new outfit and shoes (which would also be worn on Christmas day) as well time set aside in the school week to practice organised group dancing - which I loved even more!
After what seemed like years, I finally made it to Christmas eve! You may be thinking that the hard work was over but Christmas eve felt even longer than the 2 month stretch I had just completed! It was boring and slow. It was spent picking up last bits and pieces with my mum and then picking my dad up from the pub. Once I had gotten over the pain of the day, we would go home and I would be sent off upstairs to bathe. I would then be allowed to open one present, which my mum selected for me and would always be my special 'Christmas eve' pyjamas. Then I would spend some time getting together cookies, brandy and carrots for father Christmas and Rudolph before heading off to bed where I would lie, listening to all of the activity happening below me downstairs and smelling the festive smells wafting up the stairs.
Awake all night, I would be looking at the clock constantly, waiting for it to be time to get up. The wait was agonising, I would lie there wide awake, waiting and waiting until i couldn't wait anymore. I would then run into my parents bedroom, begging them to get up now!. They would persuade me to go back to bed a couple of times but eventually, the only way to stay in bed was to invite me into theirs where I would lie, whining every 5 minutes.
Once 5:00am had arrived, I would persuade them to get up and off we would trot, downstairs to find out what father Christmas had left me. Although I spent many Christmas' with just my Mum and Dad, there were also times when my grandparents, aunty and cousins would join us. These were my favourite Christmas'. Being an only child meant that the house was always empty and I loved it when there was a person in every room.
This was the thing that made me happy as a young adult. Having got over the huge excitement of a child at Christmas and moved away to London, the excitement I felt about the season changed. I became more excited about the party scene leading up to Christmas - the fact that you would have drinks planned every night and everyone seemed to be up for having a laugh. I would also look forward to the train journey home and then arriving home and getting straight to the pub to meet up with old school friends. Christmas eve became the highlight of the festive season. My best friends birthday is on Christmas eve, and we would spend the day getting very drunk with a big group of friends. At this time of my life Christmas day was the day that dragged. Hungover, and bored with having to spend the day with family, my favourite part of the day was when we got to sit down and eat a huge meal and then fall asleep.
I have my own daughter now and as you can imagine things have changed once again. I look forward to the Christmas season for a combination of all the reasons I used to know because I have her. She has brought back the excitement of Christmas and I try very hard to make it as magical as possible. I can see that she, like me as a youngster, likes to have lots of family around her at Christmas time and has started to enjoy the small things on the lead-up to Christmas that make this time of year very special.
When I was young these things spelled the arrival of Christmas; the school nativity play, writing my Christmas cards to send, writing my list for Father Christmas and then visiting him to tell him what I wanted, the advent calendar, 'toy day' at school and the school Christmas party. I get in the mood for the festive season now by; organising my Christmas e cards, buying presents, planning our Christmas meal and putting up the Christmas tree.
I try to replicate these things for her but some things for me have changed. I send each of my loved ones a Christmas ecard in stead of paper cards, but the essence of the season is still the same for me. I still make my famillies traditional Christmas eve glazed ham. We still gather together every Christmas eve to eat the ham and other treats together as a family. These are the things that are incredibly important to me.
Racheal Ellis is the web marketing manager of Katies Cards, an ecard company who have been creating fun, entertaining and beautiful e cards for over 4 years.
Racheal has 7 years experience in marketing and has worked within publishing, not-for-profit, business to business and consumer sectors.
E cards are a fantastic, cheap and environmentally friendly way to send greetings to your loved ones. Katies Cards offers unlimited access to their library of more than 160 cards for all occasions, tastes and ages, all of which can be sent with your own personal message in return for a small membership fee. Members receive their own account from which they can manage their address book, card deliveries and pre-schedule cards. Please visit for more information.
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Top Christmas Songs For Your Office Christmas Party

After a year's hard work at the office, everyone just wishes to relax and enjoy the annual Christmas party. Organising a fun, universal and relaxing party is the best way to show your gratitude. After organising the venue, food, drink, the DJ and invitations, next all you need to do is choose the music for your Christmas party. To help you choose, here's a few of the best and probably cheesiest songs out there to get your staff boogieing the night away.
Music is vital to creating the party atmosphere. Remember, there's going to be a mixture of people there, from all ages and backgrounds, so keep to the familiar, popular tunes, which most people like. But bear in mind, you can't please everyone, so don't get upset if your staff don't enjoy all the music chosen. Moreover, keep the music varied, so that there is a mixture of lively and chilled music.
It's without a doubt that Christmas songs provide that Christmassy atmosphere and get people into the mood of Christmas. Here's a few of the favourite Christmas songs of all time, recommended by Christmas song lovers, for your office Christmas party.
Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas is you is a key tune that will get your colleagues dancing together with dramatic arm movements after a tipple or two. Wham's Last Christmas will get all those romantics up on the dance floor for a romantic dance. More classics like Bruce Springsteen's Santa Clause is comin' to town, Boney M's Mary's Boy Child and the Eurythmic's Winter Wonderland will get the young and the much more mature dancing on the dance floor.
Another few songs that definitely can't be missed out of any Christmas party are Slades' Merry Christmas Everybody and Shane MacGowan and Kristy MacColl (Pogues) Fairytale of New York, which are without a doubt the perfect songs for the finale!
Music is a great way to get your staff together and set that party mood, so select you music carefully. You want music that everyone is likely to know, so choose a mixture of classic and current popular tunes.
If interested in Christmas party organisers organising your office Christmas parties [] have a look at []
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Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Food Around The World

The following provide just a taster of favourite festive foods, from around the world:
Austrians celebrate Christmas in grand style with a Christmas Eve supper of carp simmered in a ginger and beer-flavoured sauce and seasonal vegetables, followed by Topfenpalatschinken (sweet cheese crepes topped with an apricot caramel sauce) for dessert. The traditional fare on Christmas Day is roast goose with all the trimmings.
Australian Christmas dinners vary from state to state and from one group of people to another. In general, however, traditional Australian festive fare consists of roast turkey, with ham and/or pork. Christmas pudding (containing a lucky token) and mince pies are also served for afters.
As with many other European countries the main Christmas meal is enjoyed on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas Day. A typical Bulgarian Christmas dinner consists of twelve different meat-free dishes such as beans, nuts, dried fruit (usually plums), cakes and Banitza (cheese and spinach filo parcels).
In Brazil, chicken, turkey, pork and ham are all popular meats for the main Christmas meal, served with rice, salad and dried fruits.
Czech Republic
Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, in the Czech Republic. Following a typical starter of cod roe soup, a main course of carp or Wiener Schnitzel is served with potato salad including carrots, peas, celery, onions, eggs, pickles and mayonnaise, or with sauerkraut and dumplings. Linzer (sweet vanilla flavoured delicacies) are popular for dessert.
Codfish cooked in a creamy, spicy sauce, served with boiled or mashed potatoes, and roast pig, ham and vegetables are typical Christmas dishes, in Finland.
In France, Christmas fare varies from region to region. The Parisians, for instance, are fond of oysters and foie gras for their main Christmas meal, whereas in Alsace, goose is favourite. In other regions including Burgundy, Christmas food is similar to a traditional British Christmas dinner with turkey, cranberry sauce and chestnut stuffing, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies. But the French tend to take their festive fare one step further, with a mouth-watering array of sweet pastries and petits fours.
Christmas Eve, fondly referred to as "dickbauch" (fat stomach) is when the Germans gather together to enjoy their main Christmas meal. German and Austrian Christmas dinners are very similar, consisting typically of gebackener karpfen (carp), or roast goose served with potatoes, cabbage, parsnips and pickled vegetables. Sweets include Christbaumgerback, sweet, sugary dough delights cut into festive shapes and baked until crisp, as well as Stollen, the traditional German Christmas cake.
Pork is the most popular meat for a Greek Christmas feast, served with sweet loaves called Christopsomo (Christ Bread).
Christmas treats, in Greenland range from lamb to a dish of small auks, (seabirds, wrapped in sealskin until they decompose before they are ready for cooking), or whale steaks. After the meal Mattak (whale skin with a strip of blubber inside) is passed around the guests.
A traditional Italian seven-course Christmas dinner (Cennone), may consist of antipasto, anchovies, various fish, pasta especially spaghetti, meat (only occasionally), salads, fresh broccoli, fruits, cheese, sweets and magnificent cakes and pastries that vary from region to region.
Turkey and plum pudding are traditionally served for dinner on Christmas Day, in Malta. Timpana (pastries filled with minced meat macaroni) are also popular.
New Zealand
Barbecued meats such as pork, lamb or venison served with roast vegetables including sweet potato and pumpkin, salads and coleslaw are all popular Christmas fare, in New Zealand. For pudding, hot fruit compote with custard and ice cream is a "hot" Christmas favourite among New Zealanders!
Christmas in Poland is celebrated on Christmas Eve (Wagilia) with a traditional feast of twelve different dishes, each representing a month of the year. Oplatek (Christmas wafers or sacred offerings) are also shared. Fish dishes, especially herring, pike and carp are generally served instead of meat, at Christmas time. Other Polish festive favourites include fish or mushroom soup, or red borscht (beetroot soup served with soured cream), sauerkraut with wild mushrooms with pierogies (crescent-shaped, stuffed dumplings with a variety of fillings), and kutia (a rich dried fruit compote) for dessert.
The Portuguese are partial to a speciality dish called Bacalhau (dried salt cod). For dessert, Rabanadas (bread soaked in wine, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and fried in eggs) or Bolo Rei (a fruit cake with a topping of glazed fruit and chopped nuts), are traditionally served at Christmas.
The focus, in Scandinavian countries, is on sweet foods more than on savoury dishes. Pepparkakor (cinnamon and gingerbread biscuits) in the shape of stars, moons, hearts, even pigs, are traditionally baked for Christmas.
In Sweden, the main celebratory meal, consisting of pork, ham, fish (usually herring) and brown beans is served on Christmas Eve, rather than on Christmas Day.
Similar in many ways to Portugal, Spanish festive fare focuses on seafood. White sea bass roasted in olive oil, onions and lemons and sprinkled with breadcrumbs is a traditional Christmas dish. Almonds and marzipan both feature prominently in most traditional Spanish Christmas "puddings" and sweets. Turrón, (nougat made from toasted sweet almonds and honey, similar to nut brittle) is particularly popular.
In the Ukraine, it is customary to serve a special twelve-course supper, on Christmas Eve. Traditional courses include borscht (beetroot soup), various fish dishes, cabbage stuffed with millet, and dried fruit compote topped with honey and crushed poppy seeds.
Christmas Dinner Past & Present
Did you know that...
• In Britain, during Elizabethan times, the well-to-do would feast on roast swan, peacock, boar's head and goose, for Christmas dinner?
• More and more people, in Britain today, are foregoing the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey with all the trimmings, in favour of vegetarian options such as chestnut patE, borscht, savoury strudel parcels, chestnut stuffed mushrooms, cranberry sauce and walnuts, or vegetarian Christmas lasagne?
• In some European countries, including Slovakia and in the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas's birthday, December 6th, is also celebrated, with sweets pastries and goodies handed out to children who have been particularly well-behaved, throughout the year. Naughty brats are traditionally handed pieces of coal, potatoes or onions!
Paul T Gregory works at the and is eclectic online writer. This article may be reprinted and copied as long as this signature and link are displayed.
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How to Decorate Your House and Yard for the Christmas Holidays

Simple Tips to Decorate Your House for Christmas
Make Christmas a special time for you and your guests by decorating your house in a special and unique way
Christmas is a special time for everyone. Furthermore, many people decorate for Christmas and go around the neighborhoods around Christmas time to admire how other houses are decorated for the holidays.
There are many things to take into consideration in decorating your home and yard for Christmas. There are many different types of holiday lights that you can buy for both inside and outside. The trick is how to decorate your home inside and out and make it stunning and the talk of the neighborhood as well as making your home a cozy place full of holiday spirit for your family and friends.
Lighting is very important for the Holidays. Usually when people tour the neighborhoods at Christmas time is during the evening, when it is nice and dark and the holiday lights are on bright display. You can have a lot of Christmas lights on your house, and it looks nice, but you want it to look nice, not gaudy.
For example, if you have a nice suburban home, you want the lighting to look neat and beautiful, not like the trailer park where everything just slopped together. Different types of lighting for outside use and how they should be displayed are listed below.
1. Chaser lights can be some awesome lighting but if use too much, these lights can be very annoying. Chaser lights are lights that blink on and off in a chasing type of motion. Many chaser lights are controlled by a special control box that is attached to the strand near the plug. This control box can control how the chaser lights function and the speed of the lights.
2. Sparkling lights are also chaser lights. If you buy a strand of chaser lights, you look at the control box and you will see different modes for the chaser lights. Sparkling lights are chaser lights that are in slow mode. Sparkling lights have a much better effect than chasers do. When you have chasers running in the fastest mode possible, it can drive some people nuts, but on the other hand, other people like those kinds of lights.
3. Colored lights versus white lights is probably one of the thoughts that comes to mind when deciding what types of Christmas lights you want to install for the holidays. Both are great, but where to place them is the question. Chaser lights work best when they are multi-colored.
If you choose to place chaser lights on your home in fast mode, the best place would be either on the roofline of your house or along your fence line on the front end of your property. Never use chaser lights together with icicle lights. That just does not look good. You can also buy chaser lights that are all white or another particular color.
If you choose to use the sparkle mode and want to have sparkling lights in your yard, you should use white lights. White sparkling lights look great on your evergreens and bare bushes that have a neat look in the wintertime, such as a crooked man bush. White sparkling lights have a special effect when there is a lot of snow.
4. Icicle lights are special light strands that have wires with the lights dangling down from the roofline giving the icicle effect. These lights are very beautiful on the rooflines and gables of your house. The key to make icicle lights look good is use only white icicle lights. Lately, there are many icicle lights that come in different colors, but for these lights, white is best to resemble the natural color of the icicles.
5. Colored lights can also be used outside in the yard. The best place for colored lights outside is on your pine trees. If you have tall fir trees that have that traditional Christmas tree shape, colored lights are the best. They will turn those fir trees and spruces that you have in your yard into outside Christmas trees.
6. Special shaped lights of all kinds of shapes and sizes are also available at most of your major stores around the Holidays. Some of these lights can be great accent lights in your yard. One of the favorites is the ball or star lights. These are large balls that are sometimes shaped as round stars or spheres that hang from their power cord. These lights are great to hang from some of your landscape trees in your front yard. These lights will look like glowing Christmas tree balls.
7. Flood and spot lights can also be used to shine on certain yard decorations such as Nativity scenes.
8. White reindeer lights are also beautiful decorations. However, if you live in the woods, you should find some sticks and a small piece of a large tree trunk and parts of a tree root. With these ingredients, you can make your own natural looking reindeer and wrap them with white Christmas lights that have green wire. This can be a wonderful accent to your yard at Christmas time.
Choosing your Christmas tree
You are done decorating your yard and Thanksgiving weekend is here. It's the traditional time to get the Christmas tree in the United States. There are many places that sell both live and artificial Christmas trees.
Though you might prefer a live tree, there are many artificial trees available that look like the real thing and mimic the various different varieties of Christmas tree breeds from balsam firs to the Scotch pine. If you do choose to go with a real Christmas tree, some of the things to check are:
1. Look at several trees before making your selection. Check and make sure the tree is healthy and will last throughout the entire holiday season. Avoid buying a live Christmas tree from a big-box store unless it is a live tree that is in a pot. Cut trees may not be kept in water and be already dry and losing needles.
2. Shake the tree before choosing it. Shaking the tree is a good way to test it and make sure that it does not lose any needles. If a tree looses needles, do not buy it. The best tree to buy is a Frazier fir. These trees last the longest when indoors.
3. Keep water in the stand. Most cut trees sold at Christmas tree places are usually kept outside and in a cold climate, so they will not dry out as fast out in the cold as they would inside where there is dry warmth. The water will keep the Christmas tree moist and prevent it from drying out until the Holidays are over.
4. Do not leave Christmas lights on the tree on when you are not home or when you cannot see the tree. Remember, that live evergreens can be highly flammable when kept in a warm and dry environment. If you like to have your Christmas tree lights on a timer, you are better off buying an artificial tree that is required by law to be made from fire-retardant materials.
Christmas tree lights and other lights for inside
There is a wide variety of Christmas tree lights available for everyone's taste. You can get lights that can be shaped as Christmas tree ornaments or candles, etc. Some of the more beautiful lights to get for your Christmas tree are:
1. Bubble lights are an American Christmas classic. Bubble lights are lights that have a special light bulb that fits into a C-7 light socket. The actual light bulb is in a cup and has a glass tube with different colored petroleum-based fluids which bubble when they get hot. This can create some wonderful effects.
These lights have been popular in the United States since the 1940s and 1950s. This is a great choice for those of you who like the classic style. A warning about these lights though. Take special care not to break them and keep children away from them.
The fluid that bubbles is highly toxic. If one of those bulbs does break, immediately discard any clothing that the fluid comes into contact and wash the area of the break very well.
2. Candle lights are another popular Christmas light and another excellent choice for those of you who like the classic Christmas look. You can get Christmas tree lights that have candles on strands which can be clamped to the branches of your Christmas tree.
There are also candle lights that are made to be placed at the window. These larger candle lights for the windows take a regular C-7 bulb. You can also give your indoor window lights that extra pizzazz when you get a spare bubble light bulb to screw into the window candle light.
Imagine the look of C-7 candle lights at the windows with the extra bubble light. This can make your house the talk of the neighborhood during Christmas time.
3. Chaser and sparkling lights can also be used inside as well as outside for lighting. On the Christmas tree, sparkling lights are the best and can give your Christmas tree that sparkling look.
Ornaments are a must for any Christmas tree. Ornaments come in all different shapes, colors, sizes, and made from different kinds of materials. Some ornaments can be family memorabilia, whereas others can be glass and plastic or wood.
1. Glass ornaments are the classic. There are many small curio shops and import shops throughout the United States that sell glass ornaments that are hand-made in several eastern European countries such as Poland, Romania and the former republics of the Soviet Union.
Some of these glass ornaments are not your typical balls. Many of them are elliptical shapes. Others are decorated with glitter and some are done in the shapes of pine cones and other things that have to do with the Christmas motif. Most of these imported glass ornaments are hand-blown and the glass has different mineral additives to give off the color.
2. Straw ornaments are another wonderful addition to your Christmas tree decorations. Straw ornaments are traditionally made in Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. Each country has its own style and these are also handmade and are very beautiful.
3. Figurines are an American classic. You can get all kinds of Christmas figurines that are made for the Christmas tree. Some of these figurines are of the familiar Christmas characters such as Santa Clause, elves, nut crackers and tin soldiers. You can get figurine ornaments from other countries as well. Russian imported ornaments that are made from wood and painted to look like traditional men and women in ethnic dress are very beautiful.
Other unique decorations
If you are the multicultural type, look for different decorations to buy or even try your hand at making your own decorations. One nice decoration is the Georgian Chichilaki. The Chichilaki looks like a white Christmas tree and really stands out.
How to make the Georgian Chichilaki
1. Take a wooden rod which is made of a wood that can be carved thinly and the shavings are long.
2. Carefully carve the rod with a sharp knife to make sure the shavings do not come apart. Do not carve the shavings all the way to the end of the rod. When you carve the rod enough that the shavings start to fill out and form the shape of a Christmas tree, take a small flat piece of wood to affix to the bottom of the Chichilaki with a small nail and glue.
3. Get some green ivy leaves and winter berries and carefully glue them to the shavings. You can also find some seed pods from flowers outside.
Another unique decoration is the German advent wreath. This is very simple to do.
All you need to do is to cut some evergreen branches and place them on a round tray in a wreath form. Decorate the wreath with four red candles that are tapered to be smaller at the top. Light the first candle at the fourth to last Sunday before Christmas, then the following Sunday the second, you get the picture. Then by Christmas Eve, all four candles are to be lit.
There are many more ideas that you can come up with to decorate for Christmas. If you are creative and artistic, the sky is the limit and you can have your place uniquely decorated for Christmas.
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All! (I Ain't Afraid of No Grinch!)

At this this time of year, I miss Christmas's past, those of years ago when I was a kid--and continued to miss those throughout most of my life. The excitement was greater by far then, the anticipation grew more intense by the day as Christmas drew near. There were parties to attend, presents to look forward to, and holiday spirit filled the air. Christmas carols were heard and sung everywhere I went. I even sang a few myself. The songs, and the music that went with them, seemed to cheer everyone up, seemed to trigger the transition into the holiday season beginning the day after Thanksgiving.
I especially miss the old days of Christmas in a rural area--days of my youth. Christmas meant Christmas trees each year. In the country, one does not go to a tree lot to buy a dried-out and sometimes-scraggly, exorbitantly priced Christmas tree. Instead, in rural areas one packs their recently sharpened ax, heads to the nearest wooded area, scouts out the best fir tree there, and harvests it.
Tree-cutting day is an exciting time for kids. I remember vividly, with sentimental pining, my brother Fred's and my adventures into the woods to find the perfect tree to take home. Most times we had scouted that tree for a year or two prior to actually cutting it for Christmas--found and located it precisely during the warm summer months on the farm in Belfast, Maine.
During our summertime tree-scouting explorations we unfailingly, on our way, stopped by a bubbling, crystal-clear artesian spring--known only to us hidden in a clearing close to the edge of the woods--for a cold drink on a hot summer afternoon. Refreshed, we continued on to our future Christmas tree, or perhaps several trees of differing heights, where we cleaned anything growing nearby so it would have some sunlight and not be crowded out by the underbrush. We monitored its growth until it had reached just the right height for our living room--slightly over six feet tall.
A few weeks before Christmas, and once we deemed it the best we could find, we journeyed from our warm farmhouse, usually on a cold Sunday afternoon, across the ordinarily snowy fields (there always seemed to be snow at that time of year) to the distant woods where we axed it down, tied it to our Flexible Flyer sled, and slid it all the way home to the back porch. There we trimmed it as needed, and ceremoniously moved it to our living room. We had already stationed the Christmas decorations retrieved from the upstairs bedroom closet--placed there with sadness the prior January when we grudgingly took down our previous year's tree, most often on New Year's Day.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon decorating our prize tree-looping our bright blue, green, and red lighting, wrapping sequences of garland around it, and hanging fragile glass ornaments of all colors and shapes--sometimes popping and stringing popcorn for an additional homey effect. The tree, only hours before growing in thick woods, gradually morphed from its wild, natural form to a very Christmassy and fragrant addition to our cozy living room.
The final touch--the pièce de résistance--was a diminutive, white-clothed angel, wings of silk with silver glitter, which we placed on the very top spur of the tree. Our mother had died when I was four-years-old, and I always envisioned that angel as her coming to spend Christmas with her boys, perched atop the tree, smiling down, with her focused eyes keeping watch over us. I sustained that visualization from the age of about five until my last Christmas in Maine--1962, when I was seventeen.
Her presence atop our tree every Christmas never failed to give me a boundless feeling of comfort, sentience, and wellbeing. I always glanced upward on Christmas morning before opening any presents--and there she was, always, smiling down at me and assuring me I was not alone in life after all. Christmas was so much more heartening seeing that angel above my head, knowing with confidence she would be with me and guide me at all times.
A tree freshly cut from the woods always seems to smell so much better, look more Christmassy, and provide infinitely more satisfaction than one bought at an urban tree lot. Always did for me anyway. I always felt sorry for city kids who never got to experience this firsthand.
And as for Christmas, 2015, and all seventy-one Christmas's I have lived to see, it is still the most joyful time of year for me. Always was! Oh, I have to work at it more now than ever to get even a modicum of that Christmas spirit sentiment, and buying that Christmas tree, putting it up, decorating it, and ensuring it has water every day is more of a chore now. I have gone from always having a six-to-seven footer to now a four-to-five foot tree has to do--and does.
I do have one gimmick that always seems to work if I haven't achieved a satisfactory level of Christmas spirit--if I have not the full measure of joy in my heart I know should be there. My morale booster, if needed: I have saved every Christmas card I have ever been mailed, or acquired some other way, since the late 1960s. I have them in a box, sorted to some degree--the Hallmark's take precedence. Those who sent me a Hallmark Christmas card, a card that had printed on the back "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best," the slogan of Hallmark since about 1928, are people who distinguished themselves to me. I always appreciated that special card immensely with those special words. I just felt that that was exactly what those senders were saying to me personally, a Christmas message that they cared.
After nearly fifty years, since the 1960s, I have saved each and every card. I now have over five hundred and that was the last count several years ago. Each year, some December evening when the day is coming to an end, I retrieve that special box from the closet, perhaps with some Christmas carols playing in the background, an icey martini close at hand, and I open it and begin to look at all those cards. Each evokes a memory, especially if the person dated it and wrote a Christmas message in it. Those are separated from those just having a signature. Most dear to me are the ones from friends and family members who are no longer with me in person, but their cards reassure me they are present in spirit. The cards from the dead I place around my home as decorations--and memory aides of each, out of love and respect.
Now, that all may seem eccentric, it may seem peculiar, or it may seem to you as downright ridiculous. However, not to me. I began the tradition nearly fifty years ago with no intent to continue for anything other than not throwing such nice, decorative items into the trash. Each had a memory with it, each meant someone had taken their time to communicate with me no matter how distant. As time went by, each year I actually got to eagerly anticipate taking that box down and opening it. Not always, but many times there is a card in the collection from someone who no longer able to send one--the departed.
That happened the first year of having saved the cards, about twenty-five of them. As I looked at each, I came upon one which shook me to my core. Tears welled in my eyes as I read the message written so neatly, so positively, so thoughtfully almost exactly a year prior. Then he was full of life, brimming over with Christmas spirit, and never for one minute thinking, I am certain, that this would be the last card he would send me, nor I even remotely thinking that the Christmas card I grasped in my hand--trembling slightly now from the reality that is life--would earn a place of honor henceforth at Christmastime in my home.
In that moment I realized I had begun what would be a life-long tradition--for me. I knew immediately I had done the right thing and would continue to do so. It happened just that simply and just that suddenly. It is probably not for everyone; I celebrate the living who send cards, too, but I am especially devoted to those I once knew here on earth. Those I called "friend" without reservation, and those whose blood also courses my veins. At least for that very brief period every year.
I have several cards that are very special in that regard. The one I mention above, the first of the tradition, and therefore longest to be so honored. My brother, Fred, who died of cancer, my sainted Aunt Alice and, nearly sainted himself, Uncle Don, both deceased for some years now, are all family.
Although all who have died at some point over the years have their own spot, the cards of these have a place of honor in my home separate from all others. It is not a shrine of any sort, nor has their place any religious connotation. It is just something I do out of respect and in remembrance. If you came to visit me, you would see a number of Christmas cards as decorations and think nothing of it.
The process--appropriately placing each card (I do not have an overwhelming number of them.)--is no big production, requires no expense, and expends a minimal amount of time and energy. As a result, I gain touch with the past, and as I handle and place each card, separately, a glimpse of each person flashes past my eyes from the deepest recesses of my mind. In the vision, as quickly as it comes, then goes, they are all smiling, all happy, all content. By doing so each is then clearer in my mind, each renewed in my memory and thoughts that the past year may have diminished.
Think about it and, especially if you are young, begin the same tradition yourself. You will be rewarded as you get older at the wealth of memories you may have discarded as trash that such a simple habit will preserve.
My only fear is the scourge of e-cards. Have we really become so busy? Have we really become so much in need of efficiency? Have we really become so insensitive? But most excruciating, have we really become so crass?
As for Christmas, 2015, rest assured, I still "deck the halls with boughs of holly," and never does a Christmas go by that I do not see "Mommy kissing Santa Clause underneath the mistletoe." Those "Jingle bells, jingle bells" still "Jingle all the way!" and "Oh! What fun it is... !" Oh, I still look to the sky every Christmas eve to see if I can spot any signs of that famous reindeer I recollect singing about when I was five years old--sixty-six years ago. Gene Autry was spot-on in 1949 when he sang the words, "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history!"
Each December at this time, I am always "dreaming of a white Christmas, Just like the ones I used to know," almost every year at my home as a kid in Belfast, Maine. Then we dreamed for snow every day until Christmas Day, and usually our dream was fulfilled. Something about snow on Christmas makes the day perfect.
The song "White Christmas," written by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby in 1942, the lyrics of which struck a chord with the soldiers fighting in the Second World War, and has continued to be especially popular with all military men and women away from home to this day. I vividly recall being in Vietnam as a United States Marine for Christmas 1968. "White Christmas," broadcast on Armed Forces Radio, could often be heard on those little hand-held portable radios--someone always had one--and the words tugged at our heartstrings, as well as, more importantly, gave us a feeling of hope that next Christmas we would all be at home with our families in peace, not at war.
So to all of you, where ever you may be, I wish you a very Merry Christmas! And please know that:
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright.
And may all your Christmases be white
Major Dennis Copson is a retired United States Marine and is a resident of Oceanside, California. He is a freelance writer and editor.
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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Christmas Card-To Send or Not To Send

Strictly speaking, a Christmas card is a greeting card specifically oriented for the Christmas celebrations of December 25th. The Christmas card is a message to all the people here and gone that we will remember them every year when the weather gets a bit colder. More often than you might like to admit, a Christmas card is the only news your friends and family get from you over the year. A Christmas card is the way to bring our love and wishes of happiness and health to all people we know. The Christmas card is a charming addition to traditional seasonal pop music. In theory sending a Christmas card is a gesture of regard so straightforward that it borders on the banal. Most Christmas cards are printed on a premium paper and comes with matching envelopes.
The Christmas card is not a Danish invention, but came to the country from England where the first Christmas card was sent in 1842. The first Christmas card is thought to have been designed by British artist John Horsley in 1840, a Royal Academician. The Christmas card is a Victorian creation, which began as a kind of stationery. The founder of the American Christmas card is said to be Louis Prang of Boston who printed a wide variety of album cards and visiting cards. The corporate Christmas card is a later invention, that wonderfully heart felt standard issue message from one company to another company. In fact the corporate Christmas card is a relatively modern invention.
A more recent invention is the photo Christmas card which is not likely to make it to the rubbish bin but more likely to be kept and either framed or placed into a photo album. A personalized Christmas card is a wonderful way to connect with friends and family during the holiday season. A handmade Christmas card is a great present to give. Even Prime Ministers send Christmas cards, Mr. Tony Blair's Christmas card is illustrated by a picture of him and his young family on the steps of No 10 Downing Street. When you want to surprise someone with a unique gift for Christmas, a personalized Christmas card is the best option for guaranteed originality. If the photo Christmas card is high quality, it will surely be displayed on friends' and family's mantels long after Christmas is over. A hand-made Christmas card is always a treasure to keep. Receiving a handmade Christmas card is somehow more special. Of course, making your own photo Christmas card is becoming easier than ever, with the introduction of the low cost color printer and the many services on the internet which specialize in making personalized Christmas cards.
The most apparent of what you're looking for in a Christmas card is the look. Think the Christmas card is the least important part of the Christmas present? Sending a business Christmas card is more than just a nice touch; business Christmas cards let you build a relationship with your clients and prospects. Creating a company Christmas card is an opportunity to send festive greetings to clients and customers. You may think a humorous Christmas card is hilarious, but this is not the time to test to see if your clients have a good sense of humor. Make certain that the type face used on your business Christmas card is large and clear enough for all your clients to read easily.
A Charity Christmas Card is a simple and effective way of giving to someone less fortunate than yourself. Of course, in the age of email, a Christmas card is a rare opportunity to send a message (such as a key fingerprint) by a pretty secure channel. The most important consideration for choosing a Christmas card is the picture. A lighthouse Christmas card is one of the most sought after cards during the festive season. It has to be said that the life of a conventional Christmas card is extremely short, particularly those sent business-to-business, you can increase the length of its life by making it stand out.
In order for a photo Christmas card to be aesthetically pleasing, great care should be given to the photo that will be used. So when Christmas is here celebrate with family and friends the gift of a photo Christmas card. There are many photo Christmas card companies on the internet that are offering unique, original, personalized designs. In spite of all the difficulties, there are few things more valuable or worthwhile than enclosing a family photo within a Christmas card. With your family's photo and the wording of your choice you will have the perfect Christmas card to spread the Christmas joy this season. Surprise loved ones with updated family photos on your personalized photo Christmas Card.
We truly believe that Christmas just isn't the same without a personalized Christmas card on your mantle, above the stockings, and we're here to help. Nothing personalizes this holiday season more than a photo Christmas card. Remember that a well thought out and personalized Christmas card can help build and cement relationships. Personalized Christmas greeting cards, what better way to stay in touch with close friends and family members than to send them a Christmas card. Surprise your child this Christmas with a personalized Christmas card from Santa Claus and the North Pole.
Should you include a business card with your business Christmas card? Should you send business Christmas cards to clients and customers? Business cards are Powerful ways to promote your Business. This allows you to feature your company logo, business related photographs or personal photographs as part of the finished Christmas card design. Get just the right business Christmas card or corporate holiday card for your profession or occupation. Will you be sending a business Christmas card to your clients this holiday season. Just let me say, forgetting to send a card to an important client is considered the ultimate snub in certain business circles. Business Christmas, Holiday and Thanksgiving cards can be personalized with your company name or logo. Most business professionals believe that it is not tactful to include your business card in with a Christmas card, but I will leave that extra step up to your judgment.
Clearly the Christmas card is a must at this festive time of year if you want to show your how important friends, family and business associates are to you. The question is not, should you send a Christmas card but, what form should that card take. With the many options available to you from the e-mail card, to the photo card to the traditional Christmas card there is no reason not to show your appreciation to your friends and business associates.
Philip McDonald maintains This content is provided by Philip McDonald. It may be used only in its entirety with all links included.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Truth About Christmas

Have you ever wondered about Christmas? From the time you first found out there really was no Santa Claus, did you ever question other aspects of this incredible holiday ? Did you ever wonder where Christmas came from? Why have a Christmas tree? Where did the idea of Santa Claus originate? Why is this day celebrated on the 25th of December? What do all these symbols and festivities really mean? What is God 's perspective on these things? If you were surprised when you first discovered the truth about Santa Claus, you will be even more surprised by the rest of the story.
Christmas Is Not Christian!
As shocking as it might sound, there is nothing Christian about Christmas. It was men who created the word "Christmas" from the phrase "Mass of Christ." In this way, Christ's name came to be associated with this holiday and millions have come to believe it is a Christian observance. The truth is that this holiday, with the same symbols and ceremonies, was practiced many centuries before Jesus was ever born. In fact, it did not become a part of professing Christianity until hundreds of years after the Savior's crucifixion and ascension to heaven.
This truth is confirmed by the testimony of both religious and secular authorities. The 1911 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia illustrates that Christmas did not originate in Palestine but rather in Egypt.
Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church...the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt... Pagan customs centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas.
The celebration of Christmas was not embraced during the days of the apostles or the early New Testament church. Consider the words of the Encyclopedia Americana, 1944 edition which states:
Christmas... was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth.
The Origin of Christmas
Biblical authorities and secular historians agree that the celebration of Christ's birth did not enter the church until hundreds of years after Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. It was not until the fifth century that the Roman Catholic Church ordered this day to be celebrated. Furthermore, the church directed this celebration to take place on the same day as the pagan festival dedicated to worshiping the sun god.
The connection between Christmas and a variety of pagan practices is thoroughly documented. Not only the day, but its symbols are intimately connected to religious practices embraced by the pagan world. William Walsh, a recognized authority on Christmas, writes:
...the Christmas a gradual evolution from times that long antedated the Christian period... It was over laid upon heathen festivals, and many of its observances are only adaptations of pagan to Christian Ceremonies. (The Story of Santa Klaus p. 58)
...It was on or about December 21st that the ancient Greeks celebrated what are known to us as the Bacchanalia or festivities in honor of Bacchus, the god of wine. In these festivities the people gave themselves up to songs, dances and other revels which frequently passed the limits of decency and order. (The Story of Santa Klaus p. 65)
...the Saturnalia, held in honor of Saturn, the god of time, began on December 17th and continued for seven days. These also often ended in riot and disorder. Hence the words Bacchanalia and Saturnalia acquired an evil reputation in later times. (The Story of Santa Klaus p. 65)
Why December 25?
Today, most of the world celebrates Christmas on the twenty-fifth of December. Werner Keller writes in The Bible as History:
December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [in the 500's] it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the 'Dies Natali Invictus,' 'the birthday of the unconquered sun,' the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia,...a week of unbridled carnival... (p. 331)
It is clear from the record of history that Christmas originated during pre-Christian times and was celebrated by the pagan world for centuries after the death of Christ. This day then became embraced by the Roman Catholic Church in the fifth century. Where did the pagans get their ideas regarding such a celebration?
Through her politics and the use of her son's Nimrod's name, Semeramis became the queen of Babylon, the home of the Chaldee Mysteries. She was also regarded as the "queen of Heaven" and "the mother of the divine son." After generations of these idolatrous practices and traditions, Nimrod came to be considered the son of Baal, the sun god. He and his mother became the chief entities of worship as a Madonna and child.
This belief and practice spread to Egypt, where the names of the gods were Isis and Osiris. The son Osiris was born December 25. In Asia it was Cybele and Deonius. In Rome they were called Fortuna and Jupiter. Throughout the world we still find the remnants of mother and child worship to this day. It is no surprise that this same system still exists at the end of the age. It is called "Mystery Babylon" (Revelation 17:5). Shockingly, it is disguised as Christianity and is still practiced in Christmas.
From Paganism to Christianity
The great historian Will Durant described how paganism actually took upon itself Christianity and converted it to pagan purposes.
Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it... From Egypt came the idea of a divine trinity... [and] the adoration of the Mother and Child... From Phrygia came the worship of the Great Mother... The Mithraic ritual so closely resembled the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass that Christian fathers charged the Devil with inventing these similarities to mislead frail minds. [Modern day] Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world. (The Story of Civilization, p. 595)
It is clear that a wide range of pagan practices became assimilated into the Roman Catholic Church. It began with embracing the birthday of the sun god and establishing the date of this celebration as December 25.
It is interesting to note that the practice of sun worship began in early Egypt. There the priests would make a round wafer to represent the sun. The celebrants would eat the wafer, symbolizing the sun god's life and the nourishment of man's soul.
Clearly, the church was embracing paganism in an attempt to increase its numbers and draw in a non-believing world. In reality, it was the church being absorbed by those who practiced beliefs totally contrary to Christianity. In his book The Two Babylons Alexander Hislop characterized it this way:
Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen at that precise time of the year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet paganism half-way was very early developed... (p. 93)
The church eventually adopted and merged several different pagan ceremonies to eventually end up with the modern day practice of Christmas and the New Year celebrations we witness today.
Christmas Through History
During the latter part of the third century, Deus Sol Invictus became the official deity of the Roman Empire. At that time, a great temple was built in honor of the sun and the sun's birthday was officially set as December 25. This date was chosen because it was the accepted date of the winter solstice. Less than 100 years later, Emperor Constantine came to power in Rome. At the beginning of Constantine's rule, it was a violation of Roman law to practice Christianity. Christians were hated by the state and were subjected to great persecution.
However, Constantine saw something in Christianity he believed could be very valuable in holding the empire together. Despite great persecution, Christians remained dedicated to their faith. This commitment so impressed Constantine that he issued "The Edict of Toleration" in 313 A.D. and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. As a result, state persecution of Christians stopped. However, the news was not all good. Because Christianity became the state religion, the church became very political and the doctrines embraced by the church were watered down and seriously compromised. Jesse Hurlbut describes this period in his book, The Story of the Christian Church.
...the establishment of Christianity as the state religion became a curse... Everybody sought membership in the church, and nearly everybody was received. Both good and bad, sincere seekers after God and hypocritical seekers after gain, rushed into the communion. Ambitious, worldly, unscrupulous men sought office in the church for social and political influence...
The services of worship increased in splendor, but were less spiritual and hearty than those of former times. The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with change of name and of worship.
Legalizing Christianity solved one problem for the church, but it caused another. Millions of pagans were suddenly made "Christians" literally overnight. These pagans had no desire to give up their pagan practices, however. Try as it would, the church could not prevail on the people to give up the paganism that they embraced. The church's answer was to finally "Christianize" numerous pagan practices.
This adopting of pagan festivals was not without opposition however. While many professing Christians welcomed the liberty to celebrate these pagan practices, others objected. Many at the time understood that such practices were rankly pagan, ungodly practices which should never have been brought into the church. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival.
Despite opposition by Christians committed to pursuing the teachings in scripture, pagan influence simply overwhelmed the church, transforming it into something far different from that raised up by Jesus through Peter and the apostles. This fact is confirmed by The Encyclopedia Americana which states:
Christmas... according to many authorities, was not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian Church... In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman Feast of the birth of Sol.
As you can see, ancient rites practiced by the pagan world were eventually grafted into Christianity. Rome had been pagan centuries before the birth of Christianity and it simply was not going to abandon its false religion. When Emperor Constantine ordered Christianity placed on equal footing with paganism, people preferred their old ways. They enjoyed those things they had always known, and simply adapted the old to appear to conform to the new.
They changed from worshiping the "sun" to worshiping the "Son" and this was done retaining all their old practices.
Most people today know little or nothing of the pagan origin of Christmas. They are unaware that faithful Christians first opposed these heretical practices. Additionally, most Christians today don't understand that believers dedicated to keeping the truth of God were forced to go underground, some suffering martyrdom rather than allowing themselves to participate in such things.
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is arguably the most prominent symbol of this season. Millions of people bring an evergreen tree into their homes and decorate it with beautiful glass balls, tinsel, and lights. These same millions would never think of the Christmas tree as an idol which God abhors.
The tradition of bringing a tree into the home and decorating it came from a fable regarding Saint Boniface. According to tradition, Saint Boniface cut down the "great oak of Jupiter," a tree worshiped by pagan Teutons in Germany.
The story is that Saint Boniface came upon a band of heathens who were worshiping a huge oak tree. This band was about to offer a human sacrifice. Boniface intervened, stopping the sacrifice. He then ordered the tree cut down. Legend has it that a small fir tree sprang up in it's place. Boniface proclaimed that this tree was the tree of life and represented Christ.
Careful examination of this story reveals striking similarities to the story of Nimrod and Semeramis. After the death of Nimrod, his mother Semeramis declared that Nimrod was reincarnated in the form of an evergreen tree which sprung up overnight. History reveals that the worship of trees and nature was a common practice among pagans and continues to this very day.
It is important to understand that such practices are abhorrent to God. The tenth chapter of the book of Jeremiah illustrates this point. Here, God commands his people to "learn not the way of the heathen." He then goes into great detail describing a tradition in which the heathen cut a tree out of the forest and decorate it. God goes on to characterize this tree as a graven image (Jer. 10:1-2).
Although many argue that Jeremiah is not referring to the Christmas tree, in these verses, their argument misses the point. What God revealed through Jeremiah is that His children are to avoid practices that resemble those embraced by the pagan world. He did not say that it was appropriate to modify their practices and call them Christian. The Christmas tree is clearly a symbol of a faith that was vastly different from anything advocated by the scriptures.
The Christmas tree's origin in paganism is thoroughly supported by the testimony of history. Consider the words of Alexander Hislop.
The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith.
The Christmas tree... recapitulates the idea of tree worship...gilded nuts and balls symbolizing the sun...all the festivities of the winter solstice have been absorbed into Christmas day...the use of holly and mistletoe to the Druidic ceremonies; the Christmas tree [ It is clear that the Christmas tree is a powerful symbol and conjures many images concerning the celebration it pictures. However, there is one thing the Christmas tree is NOT - it is not Christian. Everything about the Christmas tree can be traced to beliefs that are strongly condemned in scripture. There is no connection between the Christmas tree and the birth of Christ. It is a pagan symbol that God condemns.
In 1974, United Press International, one of the world's leading press agencies, carried an article regarding the origin of the Christmas tree. This article spoke volumes about this symbol that has come to be strongly embraced by the Christian world.
Toward the middle of winter, as the sun began setting further in the south, and the nights grew longer, ancient pagan priests put candles which they called fairy lights on trees in an attempt to lure the sun back toward the north. (December 17)
Today, millions of Christian homes around the world are adorned with evergreen trees every Christmas. Tragically, people fail to understand what these trees picture because they simply don't ask.
Santa Claus
One of the most prominent images associated with Christmas is that of Santa Claus. Every year, children around the world long for his arrival, for he is the giver of gifts. Today, Santa Claus is depicted as a lover of children and a true giver. During the Christmas season, people are even encouraged to join his great army of elves so that children around the world can be touched by his goodness. So popular is Santa Claus that adults tell children stories of his exploits. These stories are conveyed with such conviction that children believe them without question. But who is Santa Claus? And where did his story begin?
Many articles and books have been written to explain that Santa Claus was a bishop by the name of Nicholas who lived in Asia Minor during the fourth century. It is true that such a bishop did exist but much of what is attributed to him is untrue.
The second Vatican council formally stated that while there was a Roman Catholic bishop named Nicholas, they acknowledged that many concepts associated with him actually came from pagan sources. William Walsh wrote:
Santa Claus comes from Saint Nicholas, the saint whose festival was celebrated in December and the one who in other respects was most nearly in accord with the dim traditions of Saturn as the hero of the Saturnalia. (The Story of Santa Klaus, p.70)
Tony Van Renterghem writes the following in his book, When Santa Was a Shaman: The Ancient Origins of Santa Claus & the Christmas Tree:
In the newly Christianized areas where the pagan Celtic and Germanic cults remained strong, legends of the god Wodan were blended with those of various Christian saints; Saint Nicholas was one of these. There were Christian areas where Saint Nicholas ruled alone; in other locations, he was assisted by the pagan Dark Helper. In other remote areas... ancient pockets of the Olde Religion controlled traditions.
Here the Dark Helper ruled alone. Sometimes in a most confusing manner, using the cover name of Saint Nicholas or 'Klaus,' without in any way changing his threatening, Herne/Pan, fur-clad appearance.
By absorbing such pagan feasts and traditions, the Christian Church turned Herne into Saint Nicholas' captive, chained Dark Helper; none other than Satan the Dark One, symbolic of all evil...
The Worldbook Encyclopedia provides some interesting insights into some of the traditions regarding Santa Claus.
Some of Santa Claus's characteristics date back many centuries. For example, the belief that Santa enters the house through the chimney developed from a Norse legend. The Norse believed that the goddess Hertha appeared in the fireplace and brought good luck to the home.
Other traditions from the Druidic time suggest that Santa's red suit is a leftover from the times when ancient peoples worshiped the god of fire. Tradition has it that this fire god came down the chimney. Consider too, that in ancient times, Druid homeowners would leave a treat consisting of milk and pastries to appease this god who came down the chimney into their fireplace. This is how the tradition of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa began. The idea of placing stockings on the fireplace mantel also comes from this legendary pagan practice. It is clear that the modern Santa traces his origins back to ancient pagan traditions.
Christmas Presents
Most people believe the tradition of giving Christmas presents comes from the Bible. The assumption is that the wise men gave gifts to Jesus, therefore it is appropriate for us to give gifts to each other.
However, careful examination of this tradition will reveal that gift giving has nothing to do with Magi or the gifts they presented to Christ. Both religious and secular history reveal a clear connection between giving gifts during the Christmas season and pagan practices. Consider the following insights concerning this practice.
The interchange of presents between friends is a like characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the Pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows. (The Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 12, p. 153)
Tertullian wrote in his work, On Idolatry that during the pagan feast of the Saturnalia which was celebrated in December, gifts were "carried to and fro."
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, exchanging gifts at this time of the year may have been influenced by similar customs practiced by the pagans on January 1.
"Gifts are exchanged by the French on January 1, by the Spanish and Italians on January 6, and by other nationalities on December 25. In most parts of Europe it was the Christ Child who brought the gifts. After the Reformation, the day itself was personified, and the figure of Father Christmas was later combined with St. Nicholas, [who later became] Santa Claus." (p. 659)
William Walsh provides additional insights into the tradition of exchanging presents.
Christmas gifts themselves remind us of the presents that were exchanged in Rome during the Saturnalia. In Rome, it might be added, the presents usually took the form of wax tapers and dolls - the latter being in their turn a survival of the human sacrifices once offered to Saturn. It is a queer thought that in our Christmas presents we are preserving under another form one of the most savage customs of our barbarian ancestors. (The Story of Santa Klaus, p.67)
Gifts to a King
It is important to understand that the wise men did not give gifts to each other. Additionally, the gifts they brought to Christ were not birthday presents. Jesus did not receive toys from these visitors, but rather unusual offerings that many believe carry great significance.
It has been suggested that gold was is a gift given to a king, frankincense a gift given to a priest and myrrh-a spice used in preparing a body for burial-was a gift that was given to a condemned man. It is clear that the wise men presented gifts to Jesus because they understood Him to be a great King. The protocol at that time was to never approach the presence of kings or dignitaries without bearing a gift. Adam Clark's commentary expresses it this way:
"The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages without a present in their hands." (Vol. 5, p. 46)
The truth is that gift giving at this time of year is not scriptural and has no basis in the story of the wise men. The giving of gifts at this time of year came from the practice of the ancient Saturnalia. Today, this worship of Saturn has merged with the worship of Mammon, the god of money.
Commercialism, Not Christianity
Over the centuries the practice of giving gifts at this time of year has amplified to become big business! Hallmark, one of the nation's top three wrapping paper manufacturers, announced that during one Christmas season, it will produce over 24,000 miles of wrapping paper and Americans will spend over seven billion dollars on children's toys during the Christmas season.
Collectively, agencies and photo studios suit up and ship out as many as 20,000 Santa Clauses to malls, parades, and parties every year. It has been estimated that retail stores can generate $35,000 in additional income simply by having a photographer and a rented Santa Claus for the season. It is also estimated that mall traffic increases by 15% when a Santa Claus is in one of the big stores.
In the city of Los Angeles alone the number of Christmas trees sold tops 1.1 million. In addition, 3000 letters addressed to Santa Claus will go through the Los Angeles Post Office and this county will also consume over ten million kilowatt hours of electricity to support its Christmas lights. This is the average monthly usage for many third world countries and this is just one City of thousands across the U.S.
The average American family will receive 26 cards while 650 million Christmas packages will be sent to friends and loved ones through the mail during this season. The city of Beverly Hills will spend over one million dollars on their holiday decorations while See's Candy will sell over 12 million pounds of candy.
In the United States, retailers have glamorized Christmas as no other holiday. They lavishly decorate their stores, pipe in special music and hire men in Santa Claus suits, all for one purpose: to lure shoppers into a spirit of consuming.
So important is Christmas to the economy of the United States that the absence of such a holiday could literally paralyze the country. It has been suggested that 50% of annual profits enjoyed by retailers is generated by Christmas-related sales. Recently, an executive of one of America's largest retail chains suggested that 75% of their profits were generated between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tragically, all of this vast spending does not really make people happy. During this time of the year 35% to 40% of Americans will become so depressed they will use alcohol or drugs to simply cope with the emptiness they feel at this professed "joyous" time. Reacting to this gross commercialism of Christmas, numerous religious leaders have been heard to exclaim, "We ought to put Christ back in Christmas." But the truth is, Christ was NEVER in Christmas and He never will be!
Regardless of how Christmas has been packaged it is a pagan holiday that is wholly dedicated to materialism. It is sin wrapped in colorful paper, dressed up in a red suit and swathed in soft fuzzy angel hair. People may tell themselves that they are worshiping Christ when they celebrate it, but the truth be known that Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with the Savior of mankind and He will never have anything to do with it!
As benign as these symbols may appear, make no mistake about it: they are deeply rooted in practices God condemns throughout the scriptures. God does not need the Yule log, holly, mistletoe, or any other form of vegetation used in the worship of false gods. The Bible records that while speaking to a woman from Samaria, Jesus said that God must be worshiped in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24).
The belief that these symbols are legitimately connected to Christ's birth is totally false. They are pagan to the core and should be forsaken.
The Birth of the Messiah
The belief that Jesus was born on or near December 25 has no basis in fact. Actually, this date has a very sullied past. It was the birthday of the sun god Mithra and of Nimrod and is connected with many vile practices associated with paganism. Virtually all credible records indicate that the early Church did not even celebrate birthdays.
The World Book Encyclopedia reveals the following:
The exact date of Christ's birth is not known. The early Christians did not celebrate His birth, because they considered the celebration of anyone's birth to be a pagan custom. The first mention of the observance of Christ's birthday appears about A.D. 200. For many years, several dates were used. December 25 was first mentioned in 336. (article "Christmas")
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
It is undeniable that Christmas is the most anticipated time of the year for millions of Christians. It is a time of beautiful music, delicious food, bright colors, and family reunions. However, there is one thing Christmas is not; it is not now, nor has it ever been, Christian. The Puritans understood this vital point. William Prynne wrote the following during the time of King Charles:
Our Christmas lords of Misrule... were derived from the Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalian festivals; which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them. (Book of Christian Folklore, p. 8)
As innocent and appealing as this day may appear, it has at its very roots a dark and godless origin. Tom Flynn, in his book, The Problem with Christmas, provides a very interesting observation about the message Christmas sends.
If His purpose in coming was anything like what is supposed, then in celebrating His birthday each year Christians do violence, not honor, to his memory. For in celebrating a birthday at all, we sustain exactly the kind of tradition His coming is thought to have been designed to cast down. (p.42)
It is absolutely essential to understand that God hates a lie, no matter what form it takes. Satan himself was characterized as the father of lies (Jn. 8:44) and the deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9). The scriptures also reveal that Satan appears as an angel of light. Is it any wonder that festivals honoring him would possess great beauty and appeal?
A Final Thought
Is Christmas Christian? The simple answer is "no;" it is an emphatic "no!" Christmas is not Christian; it is pagan to the core. Its images and symbols were embraced from pagan practices and should be abandoned by all true believers. While speaking to the children of Israel, God gave a strong admonition concerning the assimilation of false religions into the worshiping of Him.
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, "How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise."
Thou shalt not do so unto the Eternal thy God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deut. 12:30-32)
The Bible reveals that Jesus Christ will return to this earth and establish His millennial Kingdom. When He comes, will He find His children have returned to Egypt? And what about you? Will you accept the teachings of a world that embraces pagan practices and dresses them up as Christianity, or will you worship Him in spirit and in truth?
Art Braidic and Dennis Fischer
Eternal Church of God
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