The picture was taken by my photographer daughter on Christmas Eve many years ago. The two grandsons are almost grown now. One in college, the other a senior. Fine young men who exhibited their loving hearts early as you see in the picture of them sharing cookies from the treat table.
About the quote
Dale Evans, Queen of the West and my childhood idol, passed away in 2001. These two grandsons didn’t even know her or that she sparked my young girl longing to be a rodeo barrel racer. I did frequently sing “Happy Trails to You” and “The Bible Tells Me So,” though. Evans wrote both songs. Her quote is a great thought for this holiday season.
This will be my last blog post for 2019 before we head to our holiday break. May your holidays be filled love. See you in 2020.
The Coca Cola Santa – sleigh driving, gift-giving, plump with a white beard and distinctive red suit trimmed with white fur and sipping a Coca-Cola – created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom for their advertising campaigns of the 1930s and 40 may be the Santa most of us recall when we think of Santa Claus.
But Santa’s image was not always of a red suited, jolly man. That image morphed through a variety of different looks.
He was first St. Nicholas, celebrated on December 6th.
In his Dutch form he’s Sinterklaas. That figure made its way across the Atlantic in the early 19th century and the Americanization of Santa Claus began.
The Victorians’ Father Christmas was the emblem of ‘good cheer.’ His appearance was varied. One famous image was an illustration from “A Christmas Carol.”
Thomas Nast’s illustrations immortalized Santa Claus into his current look. This is his “Merry Old Santa Claus” published in the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly. Nast is also credited with incorporating the North Pole, Santa’s workshop, and the big book with names of children noting naughty or nice.
Norman Rockwell further the evolution with his many Santa themed covers for the Saturday Evening Post.
For me, my Santa is the red suited man in the Coca Cola ads.
This two minute video explains how he became most people’s Santa.
This meme was created by Edie Melson. She is a fellow member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an outstanding photographer, as you can see, and one of the most generous, loving individuals I know. She posts memes on her blog for others to share and use. This is one of my holiday favorites.
About the quote
I’m not sure who the Charlotte Carpenter of the quote is. Sir Walter Scott’s wife and a UK singer came up with a Google search. I’m going with Charlotte Carpenter, wife of Sir Walter. What do you think?
Whichever one said it, it’s great advice for this time of year as we hustle and bustle shopping for the perfect gifts in anticipation of Christmas Day, don’t you think?
That means hearing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and Christmas hymns like “Carol of the Bells.” Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas songs—in December. I love Christmas hymns year round and wish we sang those more throughout the year.
But Christmas songs? We’ve been hearing them now for two months.
Hallmark Christmas movies started in October too. Granted most were reruns of older movies, but I was slow to Christmas movies bandwagon and many have been new-to-me. But I’m getting kinda sick of Christmas movies too.
I sense others may share my feelings and be on the verge of Christmas overload with three weeks still to go.
For December blogs, I’m not doing tradition Christmas topics. I’m going to talk blog statistics for 2019 instead.
I’m a cynic about statistics because numbers can be manipulated. Think about it margins of error are rarely disclosed and those margins can change the stated statistical results.
So why am I talking about statistics? WordPress.com offers statistical data about our blogs and looking at that data helps me determine the course of my blog for the next year.
I learn some interesting things. July and August had the most blog views and March was a close third. November doubled the views for all three months.
Curious, I checked to see which November blogs received the most views in those months. Overwhelmingly, Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day received the most views.
The topic: “Irish Blessing for Thanksgiving.” I offer that Thanksgiving blessing every year. I guess this year more folks wanted an Irish blessing for their turkey.
To be honest with you, Thanksgiving is not an Irish celebration. The holiday doesn’t exist in Ireland. There is no special Irish prayer, blessing, or grace for the day.
So, unless you have ties with family and friends in America, it’s simply another day. If, perchance you do have family celebrating Thanksgiving, then you might enjoy turkey in November and think of Pilgrims and Indians.
Nonetheless, Chicken Wrangler Sara and I have shared this Irish Thanksgiving Blessing for you and yours for years. And, we’re sharing again this year.
We’ve been watching our two orange trees beside the driveway. Every day the oranges slow turn from green and hidden in the leaves and branches to orange and shouting, “It’s time!”
This weekend they screamed, “Now!”
Here it is Thanksgiving week, the time when there are a million other things to be doing in the kitchen besides squeezing oranges.
But no. The oranges couldn’t wait.
Hubby dear selected the most need-to-be-picked ones and loaded the picking crates and bucket.
I prepared the sink area. Because orange juice tends to squirt when juicing, I drape the counters and cabinet doors with towels. Makes cleanup easier-no sticky floor or counters. I also sit on my vintage kitchen chair while I work.This is our third year of juicing. We have a system—an assembly line. He washes then slices the oranges in half and pitches the halves into the colander. I run the juicer and pour through the strained until the pitcher is full then pour the strained juice into quart jars. He seals, dates the lids, and carries to the garage freezer.We recently found a great, small freezer at a garage sale unbelievably cheap and it’s now the orange juice freezer.We prepared five gallons of juice this weekend and there’s another five or more crates on the tree starting to whisper our names. It looks like, while the rest of the world is wrestling and grabbing for bargains on Black Friday, we’ll be into orange juice manufacturing.
I know I’ll be happy come February when I’m sipping fresh orange juice. And, some lucky people on our Christmas list will be excited too.
Except right now, I’m not happy with the oranges. I need to be baking!
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that in order to achieve contentment, we should “cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”
Blogging about thankfulness and gratitude in November is cliché. But this is the time of year when we pause to focus our thoughts on being thankful.
Most of us will have a thankful attitude on Thanksgiving Day. Too often, though, our thankful attitude wanes for the rest of the year.
I’d like to suggest two ways to focus an attitude of thankfulness beyond one Thursday in November.
Use social media
Create posts, pictures, videos, and tweets that cultivate thankfulness on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Heaven knows we get enough of wars, earthquakes, floods, fires, sick children, murdered spouses and, lately, politics.
Do you know the origins of Veterans Day? Why it’s not a normal four-day weekend holiday like so many of our other federal holidays?
This two-minute video from the History Channel provides the Cliff Note answers.
I love that the day falls in November now and not October.
After all, November and Thanksgiving and gratitude are so interlinked, it’s only right that we pause today to say “thank you” to a friend, a relative, or a co-worker who is a U.S. military veteran or active member of the military.
These men and women have made tremendous personal sacrifices so that we enjoy freedoms unheard of in so many nations of the world.
It’s been said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
Don’t let that happen today! Find a vet and say, “thank you!”
All of these are vintage postcards connecting romance and Halloween. Postcards—the text messaging and social media of that period—were sent on holidays.
Being a romance writer, I find them fascinating.
About the postcards
Victorians adapted pagan Halloween celebrations and traditions into a genteel holiday about romance, parlor games, and child’s play. Even ghost stories were softened into tales of passion.
Turn-of-the-century Halloween postcards depicted cute, fat jack o’ lanterns topped with equally adorable chubby-cheeked children. Black cats weren’t portrayed as “witches familiars,” but cuddly icons on these cards, and witches were shown as pretty ladies bringing messages of love.
Sadly, the trend only lasted until about 1918.
Makes me kinda sad. I would prefer romance to scary ghosts, goblins, and vampires.