Sunday, 13 November 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers # 11


Merry Christmas
Yuletide friend

Cherished memories of
Heartfelt love and
Remembered moments
Instantly recalled
Special moments of
Time spent together
Merry Christmas’s
And happy new years
Special friend of mine

For me always
Remembering your smile
Instantly helps me
Each time I’m down at
Not being with you
During the season


It was in Germany in 1531 that the first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared.


It sparkles there for all to see
Threaded round the Christmas tree
Silver tinsel shinning bright
Silver strands of Christian light
It shines and sparkles as a symbol
Of the love Christ has for us all
A strand of love, looped and curled
Threaded all around the world
And when you look at a Christmas tree
Silver strands of love you’ll see


In England on St Thomas day, poor women and children went from door to door "a-Thomassing".
They would beg for the ingredients or “goodenings” for a Christmas feast, such as wheat for frumenty and flour for Yule bread.


The family McCallister are gathering in preparation of spending Christmas in Paris, at Peter (John Heard) and Kate's (Catherine O'Hara) home in a suburb of Chicago.
On the night before their flight their eight-year-old son Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is sent to the third floor bedroom of the house as punishment for fighting with his brother.
While in solitary confinement he wishes his family would disappear.
During the night a power cut resets all the alarm clocks and causes the entire group to oversleep.
In the resulting panic and confusion of the rush to make their flight their youngest son Kevin is left home alone.
Its only when the family are airborne that they realise and immediately on arrival in Paris they desperately try to book a flight home.
Kevin is overjoyed to find that his wish came true when he wakes up to find everyone gone and the house to himself and able to do anything he wanted.
The downside to all this are The Wet Bandits, Harry Lyme (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), who are planning to break into vacant houses in the neighbourhood.
There is also another danger that of Old Man Marley (Roberts Blossom) who Kevin believes murdered his whole family.
The story follows the bad guy’s attempts’ to rob the house and Kevin’s efforts to thwart them while Kate takes extreme measures to get home.
There is slapstick galore, humour in abundance, sentimentality and a happy ending.


I don’t want a present
That’s very practical
Or a gift home made
Or something musical
Something for wearing
Thoughtful or twee
Things for the garden
Or things fragrant or smelly
Nothing expensive when
The value is shocking
I just want something shapely
In a Christmas stocking


267 Dionysius, bishop of Rome and saint
1476 Galeazzo Maria Sforza, duke of Milan, murdered
1627 Gonzaga, Italian monarch of Mantua and Monferrato
1776 Johann Gottlieb Rall, mercenary Hessian colonel killed in battle
1862 in Mankato Minnesota, 38 Santee Sioux Indians were hanged
1890 Heinrich Schliemann, German archaeologist aged 86
1956 Holmes Herbert, actor 74
1966 Noel Gallon, composer 75
1971 Robert Lowery, actor aged 57
1972 Harry Truman the 33rd President of the U.S. died in Kansas City aged 88
1973 William Haines, actor 73
1974 Jack Benny, comedian aged 80
1977 Howard Hawks, director, aged 81
1985 Dian Fossey, zoologist specializing in Gorillas, murdered aged 53
1986 Elsa Lanchester, actress 84
1988 John Loder, actor aged 90
1992 Constance Carpenter, actress, dies of stroke aged 87
1993 Jeff Morrow, actor aged 80
1994 Robert Emhardt, actor, 80
1997 John Whitley, air-Marshal, aged 92


It was Christmas Eve
We were preparing for Christmas day
Stuffing the bird and peeling veg
Singing of Santa on his sleigh
When the phone call came
I thought great Dads on his way
Or maybe it will be Gran
With another Christmas cliché

A happy Christmas call
Full of happiness and cheer
In truth it was the very opposite
It was the call we all fear
The death of a loved one
The voice says so very clear
“I’ve lost my best friend”
And I had no words only tears

Out of the blue so unexpected
Certainly not on Christmas Eve
Christmas should be a celebration
Certainly not a time to grieve
But Christmas Eve or not
It seems it was his time to leave
So farewell dear brother
Life without you I cannot conceive

For my Brother Peter who died on Christmas Eve 2008


St. Stephen was one of the first seven deacons selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members of the community.
The Apostles appointed the deacons as they were Dissatisfied with the distribution of alms from the community's fund.
Stephen's life prior to his appointment is something of a mystery in is believed as his name is Greek that he was a Hellenist, which means he was a Jew who had been born in a foreign land and his native tongue was Greek.
However it is believed that the Aramaic form of the name Stephen, Kelil was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb which may indicate that was his original name.
Other evidence suggests that Stephen was not a proselyte (a stranger, a comer to Palestine or a sojourner in the land) in fact Nicolas is the only one of the seven referred to as such indicating that the other six were Jews by birth.
It is unclear under what circumstances he became a Christian but he was obviously suited to his calling in order that the apostles should select him.
He spent much of his ministry as deacon among the Hellenist converts which is where he came into conflict meeting opposition from the synagogues of the "Libertines" the “Cyrenians, the “Alexandrians”, and those from Cilicia and Asia.
He was regarded as a good character and as a man of good reputation, a man full of faith, and full of grace and fortitude.
A great speaker capable of causing the most vehement opponent to doubt his own convictions.
It was after such an incident when cavilers of the various synagogues, Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilician’s and Asian’s, had challenged Stephen to a dispute.
After Stephen had defeated all their arguments and twisted their own words back them the cavilers came out with the pride wounded and with such hatred in their hearts they bore false witnesses against him claiming to have heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and God.
The ancients and the scribes had long been waiting for a chance to stop Stephens preaching and had him arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin.
He was accused of many blasphemies his clever words now fired back at him like arrows each wounding him.
Finally he said: "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God"
No other words could have angered the mob more they violently set upon him and dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death in 33 AD.
Stephen's funeral was a large affair and many made great mourning over him.
However for centuries the location of St. Stephen's tomb was lost until in 415 AD a priest named Lucian learned by revelation that the sacred body was in Caphar Gamala, some distance to the north of Jerusalem.
St Stephens’s relics were then exhumed and carried first to the church of Mount Sion and then, in 460AD, to the basilica erected by Eudocia on the spot where, according to tradition, the stoning had taken place outside the Damascus Gate.


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 tenth selection.

“Santa baby” written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer and Fred Ebb and performed by Eartha Kitt

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree,
For me.
been an awful good girl,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
Light blue.
I'll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you'll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht,
And really that's not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, there's one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.
Sign your 'X' on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany's,
I really do believe in you,
Let's see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
I don't mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.


Kwanzaa is a non religious festival African festival beginning on December 26th and ending on January 1st the central practice is the lighting of the seven candles or mishumaa of Kwanzaa which
signifies each of the Seven Principles or Nguzo Saba.


Will it be a cold Christmas?
Joyless and bleak
This year in Manchester
For Mr. and Mrs. Peak

Amanda and Philip
Robbed of their pride and joys
By a drunken fool
Who murdered their dear boys

What words will comfort
The loss of Ben and Arron
What consolation is there?
To be found as the time goes on

Fathers chums, mothers pride
Funny, studious and mild
Our hearts bleed for them
No parent should outlive a child

They bear the mental scars
Of a life that isn’t fair
While Philip still broken
Sits confined to a wheelchair

I will think of the Peaks
As I spend Christmas with my family
And give thanks to God
They are all alive with me

It will be a sad Christmas
This year in Manchester
For Mr. and Mrs. Peak
The lonely mother and father

Ben and Arron will be there
If only in ethereal essence
Watching over mum and dad
I know they will feel their presence


St Nicholas is represented by 3 balls, an anchor, a ship, a bishop with 3 children in a tub at his feet or 3 golden balls on a book.
He is also represented as a bishop calming a storm, 3 bags of gold, a bishop holding 3 balls, a bishop holding 3 bags of gold or a bishop with 3 children.


Lyrics by Placide Cappeau and Music by Adolphe Adam

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.


The Astronomer Anders Celsius introduced the Centigrade temperature scale.


Vesele Vanoce
Tchestita Koleda;
Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Czech Republic
Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Sarbatori vesele
Sretan Bozic
Vesele Vianoce
A stastlivy Novy Rok
Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto


A terrible famine struck Sicily and hunger had weakened the people greatly.
So in Syracuse a large group went to the church and prayed to Santa Lucia for deliverance from the famine.
While they prayed a ship loaded with grain sailed into the harbor and they were saved.
So to celebrate Santa Lucia day and to commemorate the miracle the Italians feast on a boiled wheat dish they call Cuccia or Cuccidata.


Farmer and amateur astronomer Johann George Palitzsch was the first to sight
Halley's Comet on its first predicted return.


Out of the snowy lawn
The snowman grew
Wearing a hat and scarf
The way that you do

With pebbles for eyes
Pressed into the snow
A smiley twig mouth
And a large carrot nose

He’s a magnificent site
The snowman that grew
But he’s just snow and ice
And no substitute for you

I wish you were here
To chase the blues away
I wish you’d come back
To me for Christmas day


A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that “decking the halls” at Christmas can be dangerous. The report stated that an estimated 17,465 people were treated in American hospital E.R’s between 2000 and 2003 for falls related to putting up Christmas decorations.


Christmas is a time of joy
For every little girl and boy
All wishing for that special toy
That they can’t wait to enjoy

Christmas is a time of love
Given to us from the lord above
When we see with eyes of a dove
Christmas fits us like a glove

Christmas is a time for prayer
Christmas is a time to share
Christmas is a time to care
It’s also the time for festive fare

Christmas time is a special thing
A time to worship Christ the king
In his honour gifts we bring
And to the heavens high we sing


Christmas is the time for living
Spreading love with the gift giving
So at the festive time of year
Fill your heart with Christmas cheer


It was Christmas Eve almost twenty years ago when paramedics Harry Tyler and Yvonne Hughes had to resuscitate a six month old baby boy who’d stopped breathing at its home in Chertsey.
It was touch and go for a while but all ended happily and Every Christmas since the day the baby's mother has delivered Sweets and Chocolates to the Ambulance station where the two paramedics worked.
These gestures of gratitude are not uncommon though it is unusual for them to continue for 20 years.


The best way to prepare
Your turkey this Christmas
Is to keep it simple
To minimize the fuss
To my way of thinking
The best method to apply
Is just be straight
And say “Turkey, you’re going to die”


One interesting and long held Scandinavian Christmas tradition was the belief that it was considered dangerous to sleep alone on Christmas Eve.
As a result the extended family and the servants would sleep together on a freshly prepared bed of straw.

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