Saturday, 12 November 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers # 10


The birth of Christ
Is the reason for the day
Santa Claus does his part
In his magical way
Rudolf and the other reindeer
Pull the loaded sleigh
Decorations and lights
Put Christmas on display
And festive songs and carols
Have a part to play
But it takes a mother
To make it a very special day


It was Pope Julius I, In 320 AD, who selected 25th December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.


The site of the Eudocian basilica, erected to honor St Thomas, was identified some twenty years ago, and a new edifice has been erected on the old foundations by the Dominican Fathers.


St Thomas the Apostle is the patron saint against doubt and of architects,
blind people, builders, carpenters, construction workers, Ceylon East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, people in doubt, Sri Lanka, stone masons, stonecutters and theologians.


This Christmas Time
When you celebrate the day
With friends and family
Good spirits on display
When your dining table
Is full to overflowing
Everyone cosily warm
With the firelight glowing
And you sit in your armchair
With your waist band straining
Opening all the presents
When outside its cold and raining
When you have over indulged
To the point of gluttony
Take a moment to think
About the all too many
Spare a thought for the needy
For the tired and the weary
Or those who are just lonely
The cold and the hungry
The numerous homeless
The defenceless and the helpless
Enjoy this Christmas Time a lot
But think of those who cannot


1185 Afonso I, the Conqueror, king of Portugal (1143-85) aged 76
1352 Clement VI, [Pierre Roger], Pope (1342-52)
1779 Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, French still life painter aged 80
1882 Anthony Trollope, writer
1889 Joseph H "Jozef" Neuhuys, painter, 48
1889 Jefferson Davis, President of Confederate States (1861-5), 81
1926 Claude [Oscar] Monet, French impressionist painter aged 86
1933 Auguste Chapuis, composer, 75
1943 Hermann Lohr, composer, 72
1946 Maximilian Oseyevich Shteynberg, composer, aged 63
1973 Robert A Watson-Watt, English physicist (radar), 81
1988 Roy Orbison, singer (Pretty Woman), dies of massive heart attack at 52
1989 John Paine, actor (Miracle on 34th St), aged 77
1992 Percy Herbert, actor, dies of heart attack at 72
1993 Prof Wolfgang Paul, German physicist, Nobel prize winner 1989, aged 80
1993 Don Ameche, actor, dies of prostate cancer at 85
1994 Alan Owen, English screenplay writer and actor (Hard Day's Night), 69
1995 Claire Polin, composer aged 69
1995 Kathleen Harrison, British actress (Mrs Thusday), dies aged 103
1997 Eliot Daniel, composer (I Love Lucy theme), aged 89


Seth Webster (James Van Der Beek) is a widowed single father who can’t find a housekeeper, or rather can’t keep a housekeeper, to manage his unruly and boisterous twin sons.
When Mrs. Merkle (Doris Roberts) a seemingly magical housekeeper arrives, whom the boys call "Mrs. Miracle" She helps Seth move on after his wife’s death and to find him a new love Reba Maxwell’s (Erin Karpluk) who also has wounds to heal.
But with her unquenchable and infectious spirit she strives to bring the family together.


My great uncle John was an actor on the stage
Who was best known as a pantomime dame
Famous for his ugly sister and widow twanky
But not anymore which is a great shame

He has gone to that great pantomime in the sky
No longer will he don grease paint and his regalia
I will still see him though from time to time
Because he’s not dead he’s just working for Ryan air


The Roman poet Virgil wrote about the decorating of pine trees in honor of Bacchus, the god of drinking and revelry.


Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, Lycia modern day Turkey.
He was from a wealthy family and was known for his Generosity to the poor and a special protector of the innocent and the wronged.
He has spawned many stories such as giving three bags of gold to prevent a poor man from having to sell his three daughters into slavery or prostitution.
Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming Santa Claus. Some examples:
He is also purported to have raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and then pickled in a barrel of brine to conceal the foul crime.
He Induced thieves to return their plunder and during a voyage to the Holy Lands when a fierce storm blew up which threatened the ship He prayed to calm the storm.
He died in 346 AD at Myra and his relics are held in Bari.


Words by Edward Caswall and Music by John Goss

See amid the winter's snow,
Born for us on earth below,
See the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He, who throned in height sublime
Sits amid the cherubim.

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Say, ye holy shepherds, say
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

"As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light;1
Angels singing peace on earth
Told us of the Saviour's birth".

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Sacred infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Teach, O teach us , Holy Child,
By Thy Face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy Sweet humility!

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.


It is ironic that St Lucia of Syracuse revered St. Agatha so and prayed often at her tomb
as there were many parallels in their lives.
Agatha was born in Sicily and also belonged to a rich, important family and dedicated her life to God as a young person, and resisted both marriage and sex.
Agatha, Young, beautiful and rich, lived a life consecrated to God and When Decius announced the edicts against Christians she was brought before the magistrate Quinctianus who tried to profit by Agatha's sanctity.
He planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her for her beliefs.
she refused his advances and was imprisoned in a brothel but she refused to accept customers so she was tortured and even had her breasts cut off then after further torture she was then rolled on live coals she was later comforted by a vision of St. Peter when she was near to death then an earthquake stuck and Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died.


If you don't take your Christmas decorations down by twelfth night January 5th you should leave them up until the 2nd of February which is Candlemas.


At last I have some time to spare
No more work until the New Year
Its nearly Christmas so beware
The weather's bitter so have a care
Peace and goodwill and never fear
A wish for one and all for the coming year


The advent calendars
Are first to appear
Heralding the headlong rush
Toward Christmas cheer
On trees baubles reflect
Flickers of candle light
From Novembers end
Right up to twelfth night


When I was a kid and it came time for the “oldies” to open their presents I was always amazed by the fuss they would make about the wrapping paper.
They would first admire it then they would caress it tenderly and then they would gingerly begin to unwrap the gift.
Once unwrapped they would first set aside the gift while they carefully folded the wrapping paper so it could be used again the following year then they would examine the gift.
This ritual would be repeated with each subsequent present and would be performed by all.
I can only think that this was as a result of having been through the hard times.
The depression of the thirties, the shortages of the war years and the austerity of the fifties.
My mum would go through the whole ritual and would carefully tuck her pile of wrapping paper, Bows and ribbons away in the sideboard draw “Ready for next year”.
Come the next year and the fabulous treasures which had been so thoughtfully secreted away were nowhere to be seen only new wrapping paper, Bows and ribbons.
So I think to myself sanity has been restored this year it will be about the presents not what they were wrapped in.
But no, on Christmas day it’s the same thing all over again.


Christmas Pie is a small hamlet between the villages of Normandy and Wanborough in Surrey.
Quite how the hamlet of Christmas Pie, got its name has been a puzzle for many generations.
17th century maps show a Christmas Farm and in an article in an addition of the Surrey Advertiser it stated there was once a Pie Farm.
Another story tells of a farmer whose name was Christmas, which was a fairly common name in West Surrey at the time.
The story tells that the man, who had a large family and no prospects of feeding them through the festive season went into the wood and trapped rabbits and other small game which his wife cooked into a pie and thus the name was coined.
If that tale is too farfetched for you another theory is that it takes its name from the popular Christmas pie church festivities.
The only flaw in this theory being that as Christmas Pie is a hamlet it has no church and never has done.
As there is documentary evidence of a Christmas farm and a Pie farm I think the most likely origin of the name is that at some point after the 17th century the two farms merged for whatever reason and became Christmas pie farm which in time became Christmas Pie.


Now once more
The year has turned
The advent candle
Long since burned
Hearts darken
As we count the cost
And the season’s spirit
Is all now lost
But it need not
All be dark and gloom
Light can again
Illuminate the room
So here is a philosophy
For all of us
God is for life
Not just for Christmas


Despite the general awfulness of the Christmas song there are however always exceptions to the rule and I have a short list of personal favorites.
Without exception all my choices not only include the song but the best performer of that song and so in no particular order here is my ninth selection.

“Ring Out Solstice Bells” written by Ian Anderson and performed by Jethro Tull

Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.
Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out


Ismet Inonu Turkish statesman died at his home on 1973.
Tristan Tzara, poet and essayist and founder of Dada, the nihilistic revolutionary movement in the arts died in Paris1963
Joan Miró, Spanish Surrealist Painter and Sculptor died on Christmas day 1983.
Nicolae Ceauşescu the Romanian dictator was executed in his palace in 1989.
American baseball player and manager Billy Martin died on December 25th 1989.


Cinnamon is a popular spice used in many Christmas favorites but it isn’t just a simple flavoring spice.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a small Southeast Asian evergreen tree and
It is one of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine, prescribed for a number of complaints such as diarrhea, chills, influenza and intestinal worms.


Dear Santa Claus its that time once again
And not for the first time I have to complain
Last Christmas you once again failed miserably
In securing that one simple gift for me
Every Christmas I write and beg and plead
And I’ve been good, not perfect though I’ll concede
This is not the first complaint you’ve had from me
I’ve written since I was four and now I’m forty three
So once again I’m sending you my Christmas list
And ask you to fulfill my one and only wish
Please send me my own special red hot lover
Or at the very least my own significant other


Floods ravaged the Dutch coastal provinces and many thousands were killed.


There is a perception that more suicides occur at Christmas time than at any other time of the year.
However recent studies seem to indicate that the opposite is true.
It would seem the gathering of friends and relatives at Christmas combined with the greater availability of community resources for those in need, may serve to protect people vulnerable to suicide


In the Christmas tradition of the Scandinavian countries are a variety of Christmas gnomes responsible for the gift giving and one of them is called Julenisse.
And the Children in Scandinavia wait for a little bearded gnome called Julenisse to put presents under the Christmas tree in the night.
The children must leave a bowl of porridge out for this jolly bringer of gifts with a sack on his back who rides a sleigh drawn by a reindeer.
If the children forget to put out the porridge he plays tricks on them.

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