Christmas

4 12, 2019

A Holiday Quote – Christmas Is

By |2019-12-03T08:16:18-06:00December 4th, 2019|Holidays, Wednesday Quote, Wednesday Words of Wisdom, Weekly Quote|1 Comment

About the graphic

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?

11 07, 2016

What items work to regift and what doesn’t?

By |2016-07-02T14:11:55-05:00July 11th, 2016|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

giftChristmas is officially six months away. It’s time to start thinking about gift giving. For me, that means checking my gift box supply for things to regift.

What’s in my gift box? Items I’ve received over the year(s) that really didn’t work for me. Things that might suit someone else that I can regift.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, regifting is the act of receiving a gift, and then after some time, wrapping it up and giving it to someone else.

It’s a way of recycling what you don’t want or can’t use.

The trick to regifting lies in knowing what’s acceptable to re-gift, what’s a definite no-no, and the cardinal rule of regifting:

Only regift NEW items not used items unless they classify as antiques.

Here are ten items considered acceptable to regift.

  • Candles – Designed to be used up and thrown away, are very easy to regift when unused and plastic remains.
  • Soaps, Lotions, and Bathroom Items -Soaps, hand creams, lotions, bubble baths are all fine to regift. Only if the items haven’t expired and haven’t been opened.
  • Games, Toys, and Puzzles -Perfectly okay to regift if intact. Do make a note of who gave what to whom, though. Last thing you’d want to do is give a game/toy/puzzle back to someone who gave it to you.
  • Some Clothing -Don’t risk a friendship or argument if you travel in the same circle of friends and the fact you never wear the gift will be obvious. Also, be sure all tags remain intact.
  • Wine and Spirits – Wine only gets better with age. Hard liquor does too. So if it’s sealed, you’re good to give.
  • Gift Cards – Make sure the balance never expires, or is still intact because some devious people out there operate gift card frauds.
  • Gift Baskets -As long as you haven’t removed half the contents, destroyed the packaging, or kept the basket so long the items have expired.
  • Fragrances -Perfumes, aftershaves, and eau de toilettes are all fair game for regifting provided they remain sealed in the original box.
  • Kitchen Items -Toasters. Blenders. Frying pans. Coffee makers. All very regiftable if in original packaging. Be careful not to offend anyone who might come to your home and cannot see what they gave you. Awkward situation you want to avoid.
  • Novelties and Gag Gifts -Perfect for those white elephant exchanges that abound in December or age-related parties. The fun of some white elephant exchanges is the same gifts appear year after year and become a running joke.

Now these four things should NEVER be regifted:

  1. Personalized items even if you share initials
  2. Anything with an inscription
  3. Opened CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays
  4. Anything universally awful unless used as a gag gift

What about you? Are you a regifter? What things do you pass along?

25 12, 2015

Wishing you a joyous Christmas Day!

By |2015-12-23T10:26:23-06:00December 25th, 2015|Holidays|0 Comments

View from the Front Porch will be on hiatus until January 8th. Before we go we invite you to take a break and enjoy this amazing version of Silent Night performed in ASL by Susan Layton.

From Chicken Wrangler Sara and myself, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate the day, and Happy New Year to all. See you in 2016!

7 12, 2015

My Holiday Paradox… I hate this part!

By |2015-12-06T17:37:20-06:00December 7th, 2015|Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

Christmas is always such a paradox for me.

I love it, but hate so much that goes with the season like the decorating, the baking, the Christmas cards, the parties, the gift shopping… you get the idea. And, most of all, I hate the rushing to get everything done. I want to wiggle my nose like Samantha from the Bewitched TV series of the sixties and seventies and have all the preparations done.

At the same time, I miss all the falderol after years of not decking the halls. Why did we stop decorating, baking, and partying? Several reasons…

Last year I broke my right wrist at Thanksgiving and had surgery, so not much Christmas happened last year.

Before that, we were only at our cabin for December so it seemed pointless to decorate or bake at either the Colorado place or our Texas home, which meant three years of not much Christmas spirit around either homestead.

When we made the decision to move permanently to Colorado and put the Texas house up for sale, the Realtor said no Christmas decorations. We took her advice and celebrated the holiday sans decorations and homemade holiday treats instead we went to relatives’ homes during the season.

Our move and remodel/addition consumed two more years of no decorating, baking, etc. We always had a tree, though. Our son-in-law hiked up into the forest behind our house and cut one.

This year, we vowed to change what was becoming a trend of a minimalist holiday celebration. It is time to get back into the holiday spirit.

Boyton shirtI donned my “I hate this part.” tee shirt, gathered all the red and green plastic containers filled with years of holiday decorations, played Christmas music from satellite radio, and begin the arduous task of making the house festive.

Then the part of Christmas that I love came rushing back…

decorating 2flippedEvery ornament and all the decorations whispered a story. Memories brought smiles as we hung ornaments and added touches of Christmas to all the rooms in the house. We went slowly, taking time to relish each and every precious memory.

Seeing the house transform into a winter wonderland inspired my husband to make his famous Chex Mix. Familiar scents from that holiday favorite spurred plans for other traditions like his pralines and fudge.

I’m also planning to bake Christmas cookies for the first time in years. I’ve even started practicing Christmas carols.

decorating3flippedWe had helpers, who reminded us of Christmases past when our adult children were toddlers fascinated by the sights, the sounds, and the smells of the season.

It’s fun seeing all the familiar Christmas things again. We’re truly pumped about our celebration this year and refuse to allow even the tiniest thought about what has to be done to undo after New Year’s Day.

What about you? Do you have an “I hate this part.” of the season? If not, what’s your most favorite part of your holiday season?

11 12, 2013

Claymation Christmas Celebration – One Word Wednesday

By |2013-12-11T06:00:35-06:00December 11th, 2013|Holidays, one word Wednesday|0 Comments

If you’re not familiar with A Claymation Christmas Celebration, you’ve missed a real treat.

The television special won a 1988 Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program following its original broadcast on the CBS TV in 1987.

It was my youngest daughter’s favorite holiday television special. Still is.

We watched the show live and then for years afterward on VHS to kick-start the holiday at our house. She’s now sharing with her children.

Producer and director Will Vinton used stop motion clay animation to create awesome animation that equals some of today’s high tech productions.

So what’s the story about?

Two prehistoric dinosaurs one named Rex, an intellectual tyrannosaurus, and the other Herb, a dimwitted, bespectacled styracosaurus with a voracious appetite, are the main characters.

The pair guides you along a typical small town’s Christmas choral celebration with various Christmas carols preformed. The California Raisins are special guest stars.

Throughout the story, Rex tries to explain the true pronunciation and meaning of the term wassail. Different groups sing their rendition, all of which are lyrically incorrect.

Finally, a large truck loaded with elfin, cider-swilling townsfolk arrives, singing the correct version. When one of the townies explains wassailing means going around the neighborhood singing Christmas carols and getting treats and cordials, Rex’s theories are validated, much to his delight.

My favorite carol from the show is “We Three Kings.”

The Walrus ice-skating to “Angels We Have Heard on High” is a very close second.

If you want, you can watch the full thirty-minute show on YouTube here.

For repeated viewing, you can purchase your own VHS video from Amazon or a DVD with Will Vinton’s Claymation productions for Easter and Halloween.

9 12, 2013

Christmas Customs and Traditions – Carols and Caroling

By |2013-12-09T06:00:00-06:00December 9th, 2013|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Christmas music blogEvery year, the holidays bring Christmas music playing non-stop through store speakers and on every radio station. Satellite radio devotes entire channels to holiday songs. Cable networks have channels exclusively for holiday music and shows.

Christmas carols show up at the same time every year and their annual appearance signals the descent of the Christmas spirit.

According to blogger Nathan Heller, “A December without them would be strange and slightly lonely, yet the prospect of their absence tends to be, by one week in, a reason in itself to look forward to the New Year.”

The word carol or carole is a medieval word of French and Anglo-Norman origin, meaning a dance song or a circle dance accompanied by singing. A carol, by broad definition, means a song of joy.

Yuletide songbooks overflow. Church hymnals devoted whole sections to Christmas songs.

Probably the most popular Christmas song is Jingle Bells, a song written by James Lord Pierpont, not for Christmas, but for the sleigh races held in his New England hometown.

Johnny Marks, a Jew who specialized in Christmas songs, gave us “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer“,”Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree“, and “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas.” There’s a complete list of his songs here.

rudolphsheetmusicI still dig out my copy of the original Rudolph sheet music every year.

But the tunes I think of as Christmas carols date back to the 14th century and the medieval English songs written with alternating verse and refrain, at times blending two languages such as English and Latin.

Songs sung around the themes of the Christ child or the Virgin Mary.

The carols that bring to mind the Victorian era and Christmas caroling with ladies with muffs and men in top hats. Victorian Carolers

And, family times around the piano on Christmas Eve singing carols from the church hymnal. Christmas 1957

 

A tradition our family carries from  generation to generation.

music traditionEvery year new versions of these old songs, secular and traditional, emerge.

The popularity of flash mob caroling found in the video below confirms the impact Christmas carols and caroling can have.

People stop what they are doing. They listen. They join in.

Whether you lean toward secular songs or Christmas hymns or newer contemporary songs, carols and caroling bring a Christmas spirit that speaks to the continuity of Christmas past and a hope of Christmas future.

YOUR TURN: Do you have a favorite Christmas tune?

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