25 Days ‘til Christmas…. Tinkle Bells

Yes, you heard that right. I often wondered about the meaning of the song, Silver Bells. It turns out to be the most delightful story of Paramount Pictures in the making of a movie called, “The Lemon Drop Kid.”

The producers were insistent that the composers, Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, write a Christmas song for the movie. Both Ray and Jay were nervous about their contracts with the production company and were concerned that a new hit song for Christmas an impossible feat.

As behind every good man is a better woman, the original song was called Tinkle Bells. When Jay told his wife the name of the song she suggested that he was out of his mind! Jay was not thinking of the double meaning of what tinkle referred to. I wonder how the song would sound today and if it would bring a chuckle!!!

The inspiration behind the song came from a bell sitting on their desk. They began to think of the Salvation Army volunteers starting the season with their bells soliciting donations on street corners. I must say those volunteers will bring joy to my heart and “ring” in this season with plenty of Joy and “tinkle” to my ears!

The song was debuted in 1951 and was sung by one of my favorites, Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. Bring on the Silver bells and place your donations in the red bucket today. Try singing the song tinkle bells and see if it doesn’t bring a smile and laughter.

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26 Days ‘til Christmas……. Why the 25th?

Wiki suggests “One theory to explain the choice of 25 December for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is that the purpose was to Christianize the pagan festival in Rome of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means “the birthday of the Unconquered Sun”, a festival inaugurated by the Roman emperor Aurelian (270–275) to celebrate the sun god and celebrated at the winter solstice, 25 December. According to this theory, during the reign of the emperor Constantine, Christian writers assimilated this feast as the birthday of Jesus, associating him with the ‘sun of righteousness’.” And since Jesus is the “Son” of God I found this interesting.

Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, with certain elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity. These elements, including the Yule log from Yule and gift giving from Saturnalia, became syncretized into Christmas over the centuries.

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

Love history, the research on this was endless. It is non the less a day to celebrate Christianity, love of God and his only Son, Jesus, and all he brings to this earth. AMEN

Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas day starts with breakfast. After everyone slips on their robe and creates a grand cup of java, we migrate to the refrigerator to pull out the staples of the meal.

The table is set with special care with garlands twinkling around the window making the room magical. A run to the grocery store for the indulgence of cute donuts has created a stir. Mr. Grinch, Frosty and the Christmas wreath are displayed on a tray. The creative effort of the pastry chef leaves us laughing. Christmas music belts out “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” while a gentle rain runs by the coast only lingering long enough to wet the surface of the sidewalks.

Christmas morning is a time to unwrap presents and share special surprises that we have thoughtfully purchased. Later in the afternoon we will gather for party with my California cousins and the evening we will attend dinner at our friends home.

Have a very Merry Christmas to you, your family and friends. May your day be filled with the joy this season has to offer and may you have a very blessed 2015 New Year.

Christmas Eve

In celebration of Christmas, my added bonus is that I was born on Christmas Eve and I have a twin sister. Because we often times celebrate the holidays with family, the day has become what traditionally we felt as “left forgotten” but now an excellent day to have a birthday as we now spend it together. Our family is large and we live in various places around the country, I am usually the furthest away so this is a plus to be able to see them.

So what is this day’s significance? Christmas Eve around the world has traditionally included the gathering of family and friends, the singing of Christmas carols, the illumination and enjoyment of Christmas lights, trees, and other decorations, the wrapping and/or opening of gifts, and general preparation for Christmas Day. Legendary Christmas gift-bearing figures including Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and Saint Nicholas are also often said to depart for their annual journey to deliver presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve. My bonus is I get to open the first present!!!

This year my birthday celebration was spent with very special friends, such a beautiful treat to be here in lovely Southern California!

May the special pleasures and surprises of the season adorn you this holiday and in the New Year.

2 Days until Christmas: Getting Ready for Guests, Remembering Friends

Anticipation for company and getting the last details together definitely has me scrambling. A note has been left on the guest bed and a little present to let my friend know that I appreciate her effort to fly in for the holidays. The guest bed has a large garland draped behind and I have Christmas bulbs dangling from the ceiling.

There are a few more little presents to wrap, a grocery store run and cleaning up from my messes to put my house back in order. I have been up early in the flurry of everything that needs to be done today.

My mind races as I prepare other small gifts to neighbors and friends. I am making a conscience decision to let a few people know I appreciate so much that they have done for me throughout the year.

Christmas is a time for us to stop and consider how fortune we are and to let those special people in our lives know that we appreciate them. The giving of a Christmas card or a phone call to wish them a very Merry Christmas, perhaps a bottle of bubbly or homemade jam are the ways I hope to bring joy to others this season.

4 Days until Christmas: Music

Pandora has become my go-to music app for the Christmas season, I enjoy the Perry Como Holiday station as it continues to play all the songs from my childhood. Music is certainly mood setting, I play Pandora almost everyday.

For our holidays as a kids, the one album that is our family classic was “Ski Trails” by Joan Stafford. For those of you that are too young to remember, we use to play records on a phonograph, often scratching the album if the needle that delivered sound was bounced on the album to find and replay our favorite songs. The best part of this album is that because of its age you can hear the phonograph needle background and we had one song that “skipped”. Funny because we never went skiing as kids. Maybe it was reminiscent of the romance of winter to my parents that loved it so dearly. For me it also sings to many a White Christmas or the time of year for freezing cold weather and the blizzard conditions that Iowa often delivered.

If you get a chance go to YouTube and punch in Jo Stafford Ski Trails, click on several of her songs from the album.

Today, share a special holiday song or album from your childhood with a friend or take the time to light a fire and listen away to bring back special memories of past Christmas’s.

5 Days until Christmas: Neighbors at Christmas

I love this time of year. I have to confess, in an effort to meet my new neighbors after a move in December back in 2007, I bought several poinsettia’s and marched up to the doors to announce the Morrison’s had arrived. Apparently the neighbors did not really socialize with each other at the time, so they were most surprised to see me with my potted plant. It was fun because many reciprocated and also invited us to their holiday parties.  What a great way to “invest” in those people that surround us!!! Ironically this year I have several people moving into the condo complex across the street that was just completed. So I will do my neighborly duty and welcome them to the neighborhood and wish them a Merry Christmas. A Christmas card in hand and some Christmas cheer is this years plan.

Not to forget my other neighbors (construction crew), I have put together a pot luck lunch tomorrow.  Being in the business of construction and a project manager, I am probably the only soul around that takes a personal interest in this great group of guys. I see pictures of their families and hear their life stories. They are my friends. We have know each other for a year and it looks like we will have another year together. I think that qualifies for neighbor. I post a message of good will in a silly way with a chalk board that I write a quote on each and every day for them.  I place it in front of my window. These kind gentlemen will often help me unload my car of groceries or help me with some crisis project at the cottage.

So this year, grab a card and a thoughtful gift of food, drink or whatever strikes you as the perfect idea and bang on a door or two in your hood. The act of giving and sharing will surely bring you great joy!

6 Days until Christmas: Meet a friend for shopping

One of the greatest joys is sharing the holidays! Today, Cathy and I will have a special lunch, put on our Santa hats and filter through the stores at the mall. Crazy, I know, but I treasure these days the most. Kinship and building special memories and creating even a new tradition is a part of the Christmas fun.

Cathy and I have a special history. We met because of her dog. Funny, right? I was at my infamous bench at the beach pondering life and her dog, Cloe, would not leave my side. Besides Cloe being the cutest dog on the planet, I was struck by the serendipity of the moment. I reached over the bench and stuck out my hand for introduction. I said, “Well, it looks like your dog would like for us to meet, I’m Kerri”. And what a blessing that day was. I enjoy the randomness of our meeting and I consider her one of my best friends today. We are two birds of a feather and I am blessed with our meeting.

If you find the opportunity, take today to call a friend for lunch or invite them to a fun Christmas shopping outing. Giggles are necessary and dressing up to add to the pleasure of the day will add to special memories. Reach out and introduce yourself when by chance you are lucky enough to have intervention allow you to meet a new and special friend.

7 Days until Christmas: The Christmas Present Wrapping

The package wrapping has always been a challenge for me. We’ve taken the time to shop and buy something thoughtful, but then we need to put our creative charm to the actual package.

My twin sister, Terri, is the queen of the complete elegant Christmas. Perfect care in making sure the package is as important as the present inside is her forte. I often sit with her package, unwilling to open. Her packages coordinate with her tree and the statement is resonates is nothing short of elegant. But if you know me well, I can’t stand not knowing the secret that resides inside. As a child, I must confess, I would sneak under the tree, carefully unwrap the package to see my surprise. Family took great care in later years to secure the present in hiding places. My bad!!! It was the family joke.

So if you are up for some creativity and fun, take care this year in the wrapping of the package. I am reserving a day and seeking out something unusual. Pinterest will be my guide as well as a trip to Michaels and probably nature.

Today, consider giving a gift to one of the many causes in your community that distribute good will this Christmas. There is something exhilarating about “anonymous”. Spend some time on the wrapping!

8 Days until Christmas: The Christmas Tree Skirt

My tree skirt is awesome. It was a special gift from my friend Catherine. It is made of fabulous green velvet with embroider embellishments. The thing that I like the most is the attention to detail that includes covered buttons that complete the circle under the tree. Grabbing the skirt out of the storage box, the jingle bells clan and remind me of sleigh rides in Colorado. Crisp cold weather, horses with sleigh bells and trees glistening in the snow. Blanket wrapped, we journey through the forest and chat with the horseman.

Of course there is a history of the Christmas Tree skirt. The first Christmas trees were actually lit with candles as opposed to bulbs. This meant that while lit, the candles would drip wax onto the floor. Christmas tree skirts were created to gather the wax as well as the fallen needles from the live trees to make clean up easier.
Traditional tree skirts were not very decorative and were simple pieces of circular fabric that could be placed beneath the tree and taken out for cleaning without hassle. As technology advanced, tree skirts became more decorative. Since wax was not going to drip on the tree skirt and ruin it, the skirt became more ornate with new fabrics and designs.

Today, wrap others in the joy of the season with warmth of a pleasant smile.