Monday, 14 November 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers # 12


The Christmas trees are trimmed
And all the halls are decked
Santa has made his list
And all the names are checked
The reindeer have been harnessed
The sleigh is loaded high
Santa climbs into his seat
And they’re off into the sky
Santa goes from roof to roof
From city to city and town to town
He finds the chimney pot
Then takes the presents down
And the gift giver goes about his work
So that every girl and boy
Can awake on Christmas morning
And unwrap that wanted toy


For those who are visiting from another planet the Good Life, Written by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey was about a man who on reaching his fortieth birthday decides to give up the rat race and become self-sufficient.
The man having the midlife crisis is Tom Good played by Richard Briers who with the help and support of his long suffering wife Barbara, Felicity Kendal turns his detached Surbiton home into an urban farm.
This doesn't go down too well with their good friends and neighbours, Jerry Leadbetter played by Paul Eddington and his snooty wife Margot, Penelope Keith.
The Christmas episode, Silly, But It's Fun, first broadcast 26th December 1977 is in my opinion the funniest Christmas sitcom ever made.
Most Christmas sitcoms highlight the most negative aspects of the day creating a kind of nightmarish microcosm of family life at Christmas.
The good life was the story of contrasts with the Good’s making the best of the resources they had while the Leadbetter’s just bought the best of everything and lots of it.
It “ Silly, But It's Fun” Margo ordered Christmas to be delivered from Harrods on Christmas eve but refused delivery when the tree was six inches shorter than the one she had ordered.
As she rejected the tree she also rejected everything else including Jerry’s gin under the impression that Harrods would redeliver Christmas including a tree of the requisite height for her later that day.
She was sadly mistaken and on Christmas day she had to phone around canceling all their Christmas engagements under the pretext that Jerry has Chicken pox.
Jerry was unperturbed at having political chicken pox but horrified when he discovered that there was no more gin.
Enter the Goods who save the day by inviting the Leadbetter’s to their house for the day and a good time was had by all.
They all got plastered on pea pod burgundy and played silly games.
The moral of the tale being that you can’t buy Christmas you have to make it yourself.
Candlemas was originally a Pagan festival to celebrate purification but now it is part of the Christian calendar.
The feast of the presentation is celebrated on February 2nd the 40th day after Christmas and it is a day honoring Christ and Mary's purification in the temple.


The family McCallister are gathering in preparation of Christmas in Miami, at Peter (John Heard) and Kate's (Catherine O'Hara) home in a suburb of Chicago.
Ten-year-old son Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is unimpressed with the prospect of Christmas in Miami and on the night before their flight after a family argument he storms off to the third floor bedroom of the house where he wishes he had his own money so he could go on his own vacation.
Peter unknowingly resets the family's alarm clock, which causes them to oversleep.
In the resulting panic and confusion of the rush to make their flight their youngest son Kevin gets on the wrong flight and is bound for New York.
It’s only when the family arrive in Florida that they realise Kevin is missing.
Kevin meanwhile is touring New York is checking into the Plaza Hotel.
In Florida, the McCallister's discover Kevin has been found using Peter's credit card in New York so the family flies to New York and Kate desperately tries to find her son.
Sadly after visiting Duncan's Toy Chest Kevin crosses the paths of The Wet Bandits, Harry Lyme (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), who are planning to break into Duncan's Toy Chest and steal the proceeds which are due to go to a children’s charity.
The story follows the bad guys attempts’ to rob the Store and Kevins efforts to thwart them while Kate takes extreme measures to find him.
There is slapstick galore, humour in abundance, sentimentality and a happy ending.


When Christianity reached Scandinavia St Lucia dethroned a pagan goddess to become the most revered female figure.
In Norse mythology the pagan goddess Freya was the most beautiful goddess of love and fertility to whom sacrifices were offered at Yule.
She was the daughter of the god Njord and the sister of Freyr and married to the mysterious god Od who disappeared, she mourned so much for the loss of her husband that she wept tears of gold.
Freya wore the bright necklace of the Brisings and a cloak of bird feathers which allowed her to change into a falcon, and her chariot was pulled by two cats.

1194 Frederick II, Iesi Italy, German Emperor and King of Sicily
1618 abbess Elisabeth Paltsgravin of Rhine
1716 Thomas Gray, English poet
1792 Charles Babbage, English inventor of the calculating machine
1805 Joseph-Leon Gatayes, composer
1855 Arnold Ludwig Mendelssohn, composer
1891 Henry Miller, author
1894 Antonio Molina, composer
1902 Elisha Cook Jr, San Francisco California, actor
1914 Richard Widmark, Sunrise Michigan, actor
1921 Steve Allen, New York City, comedian and TV host
1927 Denis Quilley, London English actor
1930 Donald Moffat, Plymouth English actor
1932 Walter Leblanc, Belgian painter
1939 Harvey Phil Spector, record producer
1944 Jane Lapotaire, actress
1951 Richard Skinner, British Disc Jockey
1953 Matthew Harding, businessman and Chelsea football supporter and director
1972 Jared Leto, Bossier City Louisiana, actor
1985 Steven Hartman, Westlake California, actor


Although July 3rd has been the feast day for St Thomas for many centuries December 21st was given as a feast day to Thomas for no significant historical reason throughout the Middle Ages undoubtedly to divert attention from the pagan rites associated with the day.


The Christmas lights are up
The shops play Christmas tunes
The Santa’s are out in force
In their red and white platoons
Christmas goodies are on display
The best selections ever seen
Which sends the message out
That it’s nearly Halloween


Frumenty is a traditional Christmas meal from the middle ages made principally from Kibbled or cracked wheat admittedly this dish was more popular amongst the have not’s than the have’s.


Tales of the courageous Lucia of Syracuse were first taken to then pagan land of Sweden by Christian missionaries.
She became known in Sweden as the Lucia Bride and the tales told that the Lucia Bride, dressed in white robes and her head adorned by a crown of light, would take food and drink to the poor early in the morning.


If you like schmaltzy then this is for you.
An unfulfilled newspaper reporter Rebecca Chandler (Jennie Garth) is looking forward to a Hawaiian Christmas getaway with her fiancé Ryan but she gets dumped instead.
Then to add insult on to injury her editor dumps the annual romantic non-news feel good-story on her which she reluctantly accepts.
She is sent to the small-town of Hamden in pursuit of the elusive Secret Santa who every year bestows whatever is desired by a needy recipient.
She is dogged by bad luck along the way when her car breaks down and the only lodgings she can get are at a home for the elderly where she meets Miss Ruthie (Barbara Billingsley) who tries to revive her Christmas spirit.
From there Rebecca pursues Mr. John Martin Carter (Steven Eckholdt) the rich local philanthropist whom she supposes to be the Secret Santa.
A definite feel good movie.


A sorry old drunk is walking
Down the street one morning
Together with Santa Claus
The tooth fairy and of course
Honest John the Solicitor
When suddenly on their tour
At the very same moment
They spot on the pavement
Someone’s discarded wallet
So who was it who got it?
The old drunk obviously
Because all of the other three
Only exist in mythology


There is an island off the coast of California used as a research and observation facility by NASA.


Written by Julia A'Bell, David Wakerley & Beci Wakerley

Verse 1
These are the days when
We can see miracles
Your wonders everywhere
Here is my life Lord
You can use me
To show the world You care

You made me, You saved me Lord
You called me, and gave me Jesus

Supernatural, supernatural God
All things are possible
Supernatural, supernatural God
I'm gonna praise You

Verse 2
You are my healer
And my salvation, thank you for your grace
Your name is higher
Than any other, greatly to be praised

(Repeat Pre-Chorus & Chorus)

We can see miracles
We can see miracles

I know that technically this is not a Christmas Carol but we always sing it in our Church at Christmas.


The motorway is closed
All the schools are shut
It’s a snow day, it’s a snow day
The kids can stay and play

The buses aren’t running
The car won’t start
It’s a snow day, it’s a snow day
We can stay and play

The gritter’s never did the job
The salt’s still in the bin
It’s a snow day, it’s a snow day
No work for us today

It’s bad for the economy
For us all to stay at home
It’s a snow day, it’s a snow day
Hip, hip hooray


St Stephen the Martyr is the patron saint of casket makers, coffin makers, deacons, headaches, horses, masons, diocese of Owensboro Kentucky and stone masons

George Washington crossed the Delaware River and surprised and defeated 1,400 Hessians.


St Thomas is simply represented by either a spear or a T-square.


What a perfect creation
Are the snowflakes
Beauty and geometry
Each precisely fashioned

They float to earth
Filling the air
Like cotton in a mill shed
Haphazardly drifting

Individual and unique
The crystals fall
Like pieces in an Impossipuzzle
To make a perfect picture


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 eleventh selection.

“Keeping The Dream Alive” music written by Stefan Zauner and Aron Strobel and Lyrics by Tim Touchton and Curtis Briggs performed by Freiheit

Tonight the rain is falling
Full of memories of people and places
And while the past is calling
In my fantasy I remember their faces

The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we had to try
The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive

I hear myself recalling
Things you said to me
The night it all started
And still the rain is falling
Makes me feel the way
I felt when we parted

The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we have to try
No need to hide no need to run
'Cause all the answers come one by one
The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive

I need you
I love you

The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive

The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we had to try
No need to hide no need to run
'Cause all the answers come one by one

The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we had to try
No need to hide no need to run
'Cause all the answers come one by one

The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive

The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive

The game will never be over


Born on Christmas day 1901 was Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
While on Christmas day 1742 Charlotte von Stein the girlfriend of Goethe was born.
The telecommunications pioneer Claude Chappe the inventor of semaphore lines was born on Christmas day 1763
Christmas day 1821 Clara Barton the founder of the American Red Cross was born.
While on December 25th 1886 Kid Ory, jazz musician made his first entrance and.
Noel Redding, bassist with The Jimi Hendrix Experience was born 1945.


Belgium (Flemish)
Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
Merry Christmas
Gajan Kristnaskon
Joyeux Noel
Frisian Islands
Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Froehliche Weihnachten
The Netherlands
Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
or Zalig Kerstfeast


The six o’clock alarm
Breaks my slumber
I swat at the clock
Like an unwelcome bug
A single gesture brings silence
And I lie in the quiet hush
Silence! Why is it silent?
Where is the traffic noise?
The clinking milk float?
The boy racers?
The early morning bussle?
I leap from my bed
And rush to the window
I pause for a moment
Hold my breath in anticipation
Then pull back the curtain
And what a sight to behold
Snow! Snow! Snow!
As far as the eye could see
A vista of pure virgin white
The whole scene cloaked
In a deep shroud of snow
Shapes rose up here and there
From the thick carpet
Disguising what lay below
I search the scene for signs of life
And found none
The snow was fresh and unsullied
Just lying there, waiting
I turned and dragged the duvet
Off my sleeping wife
And responded to her protests
Saying “Snow! Snow! Snow!”
Half an hour later
We were fully dressed
And on the way out of the door
Thirty seconds we were back
We had forgotten to wake the children


Adrian I a well-regarded Pope and friend to Charlemagne died Christmas day 795.
Samuel de Champlain the French explorer and founder of Quebec City died in Canada in 1635.
Czech author and inventor of the word robot Karel Čapek died December 25th 1938
Harry T. Moore the black civil rights activist was murdered along with his wife Harriet in their home in Florida Christmas day 1951.
English snooker player John Pullman passed away on December 25th 1998.


Making your way in life, it’s nice
To know you can, once or twice
Rely on other people in a trice
For assistance, guidance or advice

They’ll be no shortage of advice
But knowing what piece or slice
Of advice or guidance will suffice
You might just as well roll a dice

This axiom though it be concise
Won’t be bettered to be precise
So you take heed or pay the price
“Don’t eat yellow snow or ice”

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