Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Outdoor Decorations–Advent Calendar of Memories

In Christmas on December 5, 2010 at 7:30 AM

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I love the lights and decorations that decorate the neighbourhood this time of year.  And of course, my own yard is amongst them.

Growing up, dad would always put the light strands on the outside of the house and in the trees.  As the years passed, he would add more lights, so then there were strings of lights going down the side of our very steep and long driveway.   There weren’t any of the many types of decorations that are available today.  I, for instance, have one of those fan-blown decorations–a carousel with Santa, a penguin and snowmen riding reindeer going round and round.

The biggest excitement as far as the outdoor scene went  really was the house that had a huge plywood star outlined in lights.  Having said that, there was a cul-de-sac street in my hometown where 5 or so houses all really went all out.  They had created a whole show, with teddy bears going up and down on a teeter-totter (see-saw), other stuffed animals riding a ferris wheel round and round, and seasonal music playing from a loudspeaker.

I watch in awe the videos of those who really go all-out  (try, for instance, the Lindsay household).  If it were not just me to do all the work, I rather think I’d like to try doing it up like these places.  What a great creative outlet, and a gift to those passing by.

Of course, part of it is enjoying the outdoor decorations of other houses as well.  We’re lucky to have a population here from India who put their lights up at Diwali (a light festival), generally around Hallowe’en, so the show is fairly continuous from then right through to the new year.

Don’t you wish, though, that we started calling these lights by their English name, “Fairy Lights“.  It sounds so much more magical than our simple descriptor!


Wordless Wednesday–Africa, 1962

In Christmas, McRandal on February 17, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Card sent for Christmas from Rhodesia.

and the inside:

Christmas Eve–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 24, 2009 at 6:41 AM

A topic suggested for the Advent Calendar of Memories at

This day is sometimes spent travelling to our Christmas destination.  That means tunes rocking the ride all the way–a little like modern jingle bells jingling all the way.

The evening is spent just sitting, relaxing and visiting.  When we were kids and too excited to wait ’til morning, we were permitted to open one present, a little one.  Being adults now we no longer seem to practice this tradition.  Usually.

May you and yours have a  Joyful Holiday Season!

Christmas Sweetheart Memories–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

*Sigh*.  I’m afraid this is not a topic I have much to say on.  Most of my four Christmases have been spent surrounded with family and loved ones, but very few (maybe three?) with a Sweetheart.  It’s something I wouldn’t mind changing one day.

Christmas & Deceased Relatives–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 22, 2009 at 8:04 AM

We’ve never formally acknowledged those who’ve passed on at Christmas, nor do we visit graves (anytime).  I do recall hearing that granmda Painter would visit grandpa’s grave around Christmas though.  And certainly they will come up in conversation at some point during the Christmas festivities as memories  are re-enjoyed.  Both my sister and I have toyed with starting a small tradition in some way….perhaps even just having photos of those who have passed displayed.

Christmas Music–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 21, 2009 at 9:13 AM

Part of the Advent Calendar of Memories as suggested by

Now here’s something that is most definitely a big part of our holidays.  It started with dad playing “Baby’s 1st Christmas” to us our first Christmas, not that I remember it personally, but he told us he did, and I did see it happen with my nephew (his grandson) a few years ago.  From there it moved on to albums by Wayne Newton, Perry Como, Yogi Yorgesson (Street Corner Santa Claus, for one), The Royal Guardsmen (Snoopy’s Christmas) and of course Elvis Presley.  As the year passed new albums were added including Phil Spector’s Christmas Album, Do They Know It’s Christmas, Boney M, A Very Special Christmas and Crystal Gayle.  I’ve added with my own collection which includes Barbara Mandrell, Barbra Streisand, Sarah McLachlan, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr, Canadian Brass, and The Greatest Christmas Album in the World…Ever!.

But LPs and 45s were not our only source of music.  As I’ve written before, the Player Piano (something like this one) played into our Christmas spirit.  As well mom and I would sit down and play some carols from time to time throughout the season.

The last two Christmases have brought a new music experience into my holiday season.  I’ve been given tickets and attended the local symphony Christmas concert and what an enjoyable experience it is proving to be.  Each concert includes opportunities for the audience to join in singing a carol or two–800 people makes quite an impressive choir!  Last year there was some excellent fiddling, and this year featured bag pipes.

I have never gone caroling, although I think I might like to — too bad I really can’t sing in key!  I also don’t recall ever having carolers at our door either.  Seems to be more of a historical practice in this area of the world.  Too bad.

Do I have a favourite song?  Well, I enjoy God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen because it seems to be in a range I can manage to sing comfortably.  Silent Night is beautiful, both Silver Bells and A Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire) really caputre the spirit for me, and every year I sing O Tannebaum (O Christmas Tree) to my tree.  And who doesn’t love Christmastime is Here (Charlie Brown).  The Little Drummer Boy has been a favourite since childhood, and I really enjoy David Bowie/Bing Crosby’s duet of it with The Peace Carol.  I Give up What is it? (Yogi Yorgesson) makes me laugh, even after all these years of listening to it.

Religious Services–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 20, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Well, those who know me must be wondering what I could write about this topic.  Religious Services have formed no part of my holiday celebrations, ever.  And so, really I have nothing to write about it.

Christmas Shopping–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 19, 2009 at 6:38 AM

There were a few years where dad actually did do Christmas shopping, but now he does something far more practical and writes us cheques.  The rest of us, being women I suppose, do actually Christmas shop.  Generally I think we try to do some of our shopping throughout the year, with the majority done in early December.  It seems there’s always one last minute forgotten item however that means at least one trip back to the malls the week before Christmas.

One year I actually went out for one of those Boxing Day shopping deals, standing in line for more than two hours in attempt to get a cheap tv.  When I finally got in the store of course they were sold out.  I don’t think I’ll be trying that again soon.

Christmas Stockings–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 18, 2009 at 1:43 PM

The rule was that when I woke up and got up at 3am (as I inevitably did), I could look in my stocking but not open any gifts.  And our stockings were magical things.

They always had a mandarin orange in the toe, but were topped with a plethora of interesting, unusual and sometimes even useful things.  That could be a calendar, magazine, puzzle books, pens/pencils, unique pencil sharpeners, fingernail decorations and notepads to name a few.

Our empty stockings were pinned to our wooden over-fireplace mantel.  The filled stockings would be found sitting on the under-fireplace mantel.  Mine for many, many years was a gift from a family friend when I was, well, too young to remember.  It was white felt with a red top and an felt angel on it, with a plastic angel head that popped out from it about a cenimetre.  It was embellished with a little gold and red ric-rac edging.  I made my current stocking when I was college.  I made it quite large, being a hopeful soul, and on it there is my name written in glitter glue….you’re never too old for glitter!

Grab Bag–Advent Calendar

In Christmas on December 17, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Sitting around in the evening, staring at the Christmas tree, there is one thing I miss about not having perfect eyesight (I had laser eye surgery a few years back).  I used to spend time staring at the tree purposely with my glasses off and what a beautiful sight it was.  All the lights blurred into a twinkling mass.  The sight was even more magical from under the tree, looking up.

Not don’t get me wrong, I love my new eyesight and my gorgeous tree in perfect 20/20 vision.  But I do have pleasant memories, this one time of year when bad eyesight could seem a blessing.