Sunday, 6 November 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers # 4


A good friend of mine
Does his Christmas shopping
In less than two hours
With decs for party popping
And Gifts for twenty five
Friends and family
All on Christmas Eve
Including a six foot tree


In 1979 the Christingle Service was for the first time introduced into
Barbados at the St Ambrose Church.


After the Krsna Slava ceremony In Serbia & Montenegro the Slava candle is never blown out.
It has to be extinguished with wine from a glass and then the glass is passed around for each member of the family to take a sip.
This symbolizes the constancy and unity of the family within the orthodox faith.


In many cities around the world On Christmas Day and Boxing Day the destitute and homeless served a festive meal by teams of volunteers who give up their time and sacrifice their own Christmas festivities to help those less fortunate than themselves.


In Austria, Krampus, a strange and frightening devil like creature accompanies St. Nicholas on his travels.
Krampus, the devil figure is in chains and is dressed in fur with a scary mask with a long red tongue.
He carries a wooden stick to threaten naughty children who misbehave but St. Nicholas never lets the creature hurt anyone.


Made in 1999 One Special Night is the story of local builder Robert (James Garner) who after visiting his ailing wife in a nursing home becomes stranded when an intense snow storm hits the area.
Katherine (Julie Andrews) whose husband was a patient at the nursing home before his death and had also been visiting offered Robert a lift back to town in her sports car.
The journey was not the most congenial ever and got worse when they went off the road and got stuck.
As a result they end up walking until they come to an empty cabin in the woods where they talk shelter and after some food and conversation they begin to bond.
But on their return to civilization the relationship struggles to get off the ground.
But love will out.


Since the advent of Cable and Satellite Every Christmas is the same. It used to be bad enough in the old days when there were only three channels to fill but now we allegedly have more choice the terrestrial channels don’t even try to offer anything that we might consider to be acceptable.
Take this Christmas just gone, it doesn’t have to be the latest every one is the same now, but we will stick with this latest offerings as they are freshest in the memory.
They really pulled the stops out and so packed was the schedule that they couldn’t even squeeze in the Great Escape.
Unfortunately all five channels were packed with a mixture of repeats and things which should never be seen again.
Tom Browns schooldays gave the impression it might brighten an otherwise dull selection only to disappoint.
However the choice plum of the holiday season has to be Uncle Adolph, what were they thinking, at one point good old incestuous Uncle Adolph was sat knocking out a tune on the piano to impress his niece when I thought he was going to burst into a chorus of “Springtime for Hitler” the play couldn’t have been anymore ludicrous if he had.
Thankfully the smug and inanely grinning Miss Marple has been returned to the asylum from whence she came (hopefully never to be released again) and the writers have returned to writing daytime soaps for the Outer Mongolia broadcasting corporation.
Still it won’t be long before we’re doing it all again so better get the sprouts on


Lucia was born to a noble and prosperous family in Syracuse on the island of Sicily.
It was in the days of Diocletian and his persecution of Christian’s that Lucia carried food and drink to Christians hiding in dark underground tunnels.
In order To light her way she wore a wreath of candles on her head.
Lucia’s father was long dead and her ailing widowed mother, Eutychia, planned to marry the beautiful young Lucia to a pagan bachelor.
Lucia however had no interest in marriage and spurned the suggestion of marriage and told her mother she had no want of worldly goods and she had vowed to remain a virgin in the tradition of St. Agatha, at whose tomb she regularly prayed for help and for three years she managed to keep the marriage on hold.
To change her mother Eutychia's mind about the girl's new faith, Lucy prayed long at the tomb of St Agatha.
Miraculously her mother's long hemorrhagic illness was cured and to show her gratitude to her devout daughter the grateful mother was ready to exceed to Lucia’s wish to give herself to prayer and poverty and commit her life to god.
The young pagan suitor, Paschasius, was less understanding and was so angry that he denounced her as a Christian to the Roman authorities.
In keeping with the Emperor Diocletian’s edict to eradicate Christianity the Roman governor sentenced her to be taken to a brothel and forced into prostitution.
The Romans were thwarted in their efforts after divine intervention as Lucia became rooted to the spot and was thus immovable and the Romans could not carry her away even when they hitched her to a team of oxen.
Not to be diverted after they tortured her and tore her eyes out the Romans next condemned her to death by fire, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afirebut after another divine intervention she proved impervious to the flames.
In the end a roman soldier pierced her neck with a sword and she died.
Miraculously her eyesight was restored before her death which is why she is the patron saint of the blind.


963 Leo VIII elected Pope
1196 Northern Dutch coast flooded in the "Saint-Nicolaas Flood"
1240 The Mongols under Batu Khan occupied and destroy Kiev
1424 Don Alfonso V of Aragon grants Barcelona the right to exclude Jews
1491 King Charles VIII of France marries Anna of Bretagne
1492 the island of Haiti is discovered by Christopher Columbus
1648 Thomas Pride prevents 96 Presbyterians from sitting in the English parliament
1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army retreats to Scotland
1756 British troops under Robert Clive occupy Fulta India
1768 1st edition of "Encyclopedia Britannica" is published in Scotland
1820 US president James Monroe re-elected
1833 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard departs Rio de la Plata
1849 Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Maryland
1862 President Lincoln orders the hanging of 39 Santee Sioux Indians
1865 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery
1873 1st international football game in the USA Yale 2, Eton 1
1876 1st crematorium in the USA begins operation, Washington, Penn
1877 1st sound recording made by Thomas Edison
1877 Washington Post publishes its 1st edition
1907 Coal mine explosions in Monongah, WV, kills 361
1912 China votes for universal human rights
1914 German troops over run Lodz
1917 Finland declares independence from Russia
1917 French munitions ship "Mont Blanc" explodes in Halifax killing 1,700
1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty signed giving Ireland dominion status and partition creates Northern Ireland
1940 Gestapo arrest German resistance fighter the poster artist Helen Ernst
1941 Dutch and British pilots see Japanese invasion fleet at Singapore
1956 Nelson Mandela and 156 others are arrested for political activities in South Africa
1963 Beatles begin a tradition of releasing a Christmas record for fans
1966 Polio vaccination becomes obligatory in Belgium
1973 Gerald Ford sworn-in as 1st unelected VP, succeeding Spiro T Agnew
1989 Worst Canadian mass murder when Marc Lepine kills 14 women at Montreal university
1990 Shoeless Joe Jackson's signature is sold for $23,100
1992 300,000 Hindus attack and destroy the mosque of Babri India, 4 die
1994 Maltese Falcon auctioned for $398,590


In England in 1644 the observance of Christmas was forbidden by an act of Parliament.


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 fourth selection.


Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing
Ring ting tingle-ing too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling "You Hoo"
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

Giddy-yap giddy-yap giddy-yap
let's go
Let's look at the snow
We're riding in a wonderland of snow

Giddy-yap giddy-yap giddy-yap it's grand
Just holding your hand
We're gliding along with the song
Of a wintry fairy land

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together like two
Birds of a feather would be

Let's take the road before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

There's a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray
It'll be the perfect ending of a perfect day
We'll be singing the songs we love to sing without a single stop
At the fireplace while we watch the chestnuts pop
Pop! Pop! Pop!

There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives


On St. Nicholas' Day, during the middle ages, a 'Boy Bishop' was elected, and he exercised a blasphemous Episcopal jurisdiction by parodying ecclesiastical functions and ceremonies.


2 pints of water
8oz sugar
Half a bottle of rum
Half a bottle port
The juice and rind of 3 lemons
1 sliced apple
1 sliced orange
Grated nutmeg
Add the sugar and lemon rind to the water in a saucepan and boil. Remove from the heat and when cool strain before adding the rum, port and lemon juice.
Decant into large a pre-warmed punch bowl and float the sliced apple and orange on the top and finally sprinkle with nutmeg.


People have been discovering
On a Christmas Morning
That the curse of Christmas
That’s causing the most fuss
Has been unanimously concluded
To be “Batteries not included”


The lord protector Oliver Cromwell
Killed thousands, the truth to tell
Beheaded the king and closed hostelries
And he cancelled the Christmas festivities


There has never been a good time to be poor
Certainly not Christmas
As Dickens wrote
“This time when want is keenly felt by the poor”
And there has never been a good place to be poor
Certainly not Victorian London
Now a wealthy Victorian family
Would dine upon a Christmas dinner
Of Vegetable soup
Oyster patties,
Roast turkey or goose,
Boiled leg of mutton with caper sauce
Followed by Port wine jelly,
Mince pies and plum pudding
Queen Victoria is known to have eaten roast swan
While in the country
A piece of Smoked bacon
Or rabbit pie was had
The poor in town or country
Dined upon whatever could be found


Words by Isaac Watts and Music by Lowell Mason

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.


Sometimes when you least expect it life can really slap you in the face and then it kicks you when you’re on the ground.
The slap came when Jackie Melville was taken ill in January last year and needed surgery.
Her husband Bob had a steady job and they even had limited medical insurance and although they had to pay the difference Bob knew he could cover it by putting in some overtime.
Then came the first kick, in February with two thousand dollars in medical bills unpaid, Bob lost his job.
In April Another kick, with the medical bills still unpaid and Bob unemployed and Jackie unable to work for several months because of the surgery and with mounting bills and no money for rent they lost the house.
Bob, Jackie, 9 year old son Sam and seven year old twins Ben and Josh moved into a mobile home in a trailer park.
Over The following seven months the Melville's worked hard to rebuild their lives.
In June Bob found another job and although not as well paid as the one he lost it seemed to be more secure and In July Jackie fully recovered was able to return to work herself.
The boys did their bit as well by washing cars, cleaning windows and doing odd jobs on the park.
By December they had managed to pay off their debts and even had a bit left over for Christmas.
They were doing so well that in another six months they would be able to move back into a house.
Then on the 20th December life kicked them again.
During the night the electric heater in the mobile home burst into flames and rapidly spread.
The alarm was raised by Clinton Avery, a shift worker and one of the other residents of the park who was returning home when he saw the burning trailer.
Thankfully everyone was rescued safely but the Melville's lost everything all that remained after fireman Billy Daly had doused the fire were a few scraps of melted toys half-burned books and scorched and tattered clothing.
They had lost everything to fire, smoke and water, including all the children’s clothes and the Christmas presents.
How cruel for a family who had worked so hard to get back on their feet to be dealt such a blow.
This would be bad enough at any time but just before Christmas compounded the cruelty.
But it is under the very circumstances experienced by the Melville's that brings the best out in people.
That night the family were boarded in various homes on the park and the next day they had a visit from a man called Howard Daly.
Howard was the brother Billy Daly, one of the firemen, and he gave Bob and Jackie the key to a mobile home on the park belonging to him which he wasn't using and he said that they were welcome to stay as long as it took to get back on their feet.
The Melville's were overcome with Howard's generosity but that was only the beginning in the space of a day-and-a-half, friends, family and strangers helped the family get back on track.
The pharmacist at the drugstore refused to accept Jackie's money for the twin's asthma medication.
In fact nobody would accept any money and people just kept on donating goods.
One man, he wouldn't give his name, pulled up at the trailer park in his pickup, unloaded some bunk beds and he said "I had these at home, and I heard you needed them more than me," got back in his truck and left.
Pat Phillips who was a teacher at the local School, and knew the family drove Jackie from place to place to collect medications, clothes, dishes and such like.
Come Christmas day the boys had some toys including a race track, a football and a baseball glove.
Due to The generosity of friends and strangers alike the Melville's were able to enjoy their Christmas and look forward to hopeful New Year just five days after they thought their Christmas dreams had burned away.
This story goes to prove without any shadow of doubt that the Christmas spirit truly dwells within the hearts of mankind.


Boudouin I of Boulogne was crowned king of Jerusalem


It was Christmas Eve at the magistrate’s court
And the Magistrate was in charitable mood
And in keeping with the season
Was inclined to show a little latitude
"Now then, what is the charge against you?"
He asked the unfortunate prisoner
The man in the dock replied
"I was caught Christmas shopping very early sir"
"That doesn't seem like an offence to me.
What do you mean by “very early” man”?
"Well, your Honour." said the defendant,
"It was an hour before the shop was open."


It was an unforgettable morning
After the winter sun reluctantly rose
And the new dawn broke gently
To light the frosted landscape
And heralding the holy morn
Bathing cosy homes with light
Awaking children from their repose
As grown-ups wipe sleep away
Or tiredly yield to a yawn
And so the day has begun
Joyful yells and screams ensue
As gifts are opened frantically
Wrappings scattered here and there
It was an unforgettable morning
Though soon enough it became forgot
And as the day progresses
The latest must haves cast aside
Attention turns to the Christmas feast
When eyes are bigger than bellies
And indigestion comes on all
How different to the first morn
When in a strange and distant land
Lit by a star of brightest hue
And sheltered in a humble stable
God lay in human baby form
Watched over by lowly beasts
And shepherds stood in reverent pose
Three travellers from the east
Offered gifts to God made man
So as you enjoy your seasonal repast
Take time and spare a thought
Raise your hearts and a grateful glass
And remember the saviour’s birth


Idah Saidan WA Sanah Jadidah
GeSëende Kersfees
Een Plesierige Kerfees
African (Eritrea, Tigrinja)
African (Kwa, Yoruba)
E ku odun, e ku iye'dun
African (Chadic, Hausa)
Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara
Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Iran (Farsi)
Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Idah Saidan WA Sanah Jadidah


In North America there is a long standing tradition of placing little villages of little houses at the foot of the Christmas trees.
The origins of the practise are unclear although the general consensus appears to be that Christmas villages began as over-elaborate additions to a tradition Nativity scene.
This practice was probably taken to North America by the Moravians who emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1741, and established the town of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.
The Moravian tradition involves adding to the Nativity dozens, sometimes more, of handmade figures, houses, waterfalls, bridges, churches creating a winter wonderland.
Then in the early 20th century Sets of small buildings began to be commercially produced.


Christmas tree skirts or Rugs for the base of the Christmas tree have become an indispensable addition to the 21st century festive decor but originally they had a much more practical use and were meant to protect floors or carpets against the dripping of candle wax.
The first commercial tree skirts or rugs depicted Santa Claus driving a sleigh drawn by his eight reindeer.


Christingle has its origins in Eastern Europe and The Christingle Service is a Service of candle lights where very many years ago people gathered in the street, sang carols and collected gifts to help the less fortunate in the community.
It is a beautiful candle light service of hymns, carols, recitations and bible readings, but Christingle goes beyond a candle light service and it tells a story.
A story is told with the symbolic use of the following items:
An orange representing the world.
A red ribbon tied around the orange to symbolize the blood of Jesus shed for
his people.
Tooth picks decorated with dried fruits and sweets are placed at the
four corners of the orange representing all the people of the world.
A lighted candle in the centre of the orange represents the light of
Christ to the world.

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