Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers # 6


In Russia St Nicholas is greatly revered as the protector of the weak from the strong, the oppressed from the oppressor, and the poor from the rich.
He is regarded as the Christian champion of the disadvantaged and In the Orthodox tradition he is the known as the Wonder or Miracle Worker.


If on Christmas day
Snow fall is seen
Then come Easter
Everywhere be green


The first President of the United States, George Washington, was a particular devotee of eggnog and concocted his own recipe which included rye whiskey, rum and sherry.


In the not so distant past, there was a tradition of giving gifts throughout all of the twelve days of Christmas rather than finding them all stacked up on Christmas morning.
The tradition, perhaps not surprisingly, never quite caught on in America.


Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) is the older sibling who grows up to resent his brother and grows a chip on his shoulder as big as Christmas itself.
The film begins with the birth of Nicolas in the Middle Ages when within a few minutes of his birth, the baby starts saying "Ho, ho, ho!"
Older brother Fred pledges to be the best big brother ever, a promise that turns out to be easier said than done.
By the present-day Nick has become the modern-day Santa Claus, giving gifts to people and Fred runs a repo company taking them away.
Rachel Weisz plays Fred’s long suffering girlfriend, Wanda Blinkowski who gets mad at Fred for forgetting her birthday and standing her up all in the same week.
Fred’s dream is to own his own gambling establishment but in order to raise the deposit he poses as a Salvation Army Santa and his antics result in him being arrested and Nicholas has to bail him out.
Nicholas insists as a condition of his bailing him out that Fred visits him at the North Pole where he can earn the money he needs for the deposit..
Unfortunately coinciding with Fred’s visit is the imminent arrival of an efficiency expert Clyde Northcutt (Kevin Spacey) whose only intention is to shut the operation down.
On Fred’s arrival he attempts to play cupid between an elf named Willy (John Michael Higgins) and Santa's Little Helper Charlene (Elizabeth Banks) but his efforts appear to make things worse.
In addition he manages to get into endless arguments with his mother (Kathy Bates) rubs Mrs. Claus (Miranda Richardson) up the wrong way and brings the whole Christmas operation to its knees after incapacitating Santa.
Ultimately after attending a Siblings Anonymous meeting, where he is joined by the brothers of Alec Baldwin, Sylvester Stallone, and Bill Clinton, Fred comes good and saves the day, his relationship and Christmas into the bargain.
I found it to be a hugely enjoyable film but my favourite scene would have to be the snow globe scene.
Where after Christmas has been saved all the Elves run to the snow globe room where on the giant snow globe they can see the children of the world opening there presents accompanied by Hazel O’Connor’s rendition of Silent Night, just lovely.


Every year as a token of their gratitude the people of Norway present Britain with a 70 foot Christmas tree which stands in Trafalgar square.
However the tree has not always been received in the same spirit as it was given at times the discord has soured the season of goodwill.
In 1960 Westminster City Council wanted to charge the Norwegians for the electricity used to light the tree but thankfully Parliament intervened.
While In 1980 the very same council tried to stop the tradition altogether by refusing to accept the tree in an attempt to save the £5,000 cost.
Good sense again prevailed and now the costs are met by the Greater London Authority.
Other bureaucrats have tried to interfere and spoil Christmas this time from Brussels and they complained about the breaking of import restrictions.
The tree has also over the years suffered physical damage, on a number of occasions from high winds and on one occasion it was attacked with a chain saw by anti-war protestors.
In 1987 protesters actually chained themselves to the tree although I don't know what their cause was.


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 sixth selection.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” written and performed by Mariah Carey

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you can ever know
Make my wish come true...
All I want for Christmas
Is you...

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you...
You baby

I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe
I won't make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won't even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click
'Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do
Baby all I want for Christmas is you

All the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's
Laughter fills the air
And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need -
won't you please bring my
baby to me

Oh I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just want to see my baby
Standing right outside my door
Oh I just want him for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby all I want for Christmas is
All I want for Christmas is you baby


A popular German Christmas decoration is an Adventskranz which consists of a wreath of evergreen leaves with four candles equally spaced.
Advent which means 'coming' is the 4 week period before Christmas and on each Sunday of Advent, another candle is lit.


1117 Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury
1537 Johan III, king of Sweden (1569-92)
1804 Benjamin Disraeli, British Tory Prime Minister (1868, 1874-80)
1879 Joseph Stalin, Russian dictator murdered 11,000,000 during his reign
1913 Raich Carter, English footballer
1918 Kurt Waldheim, Austrian President, Nazi, 4th United Nations Secretary General
1928 Ed Nelson, New Orleans Louisiana actor
1937 Jane Fonda, New York City, actress
1940 Frank Zappa, Baltimore, rock musician
1940 Ray Hildebrand, (Paul), Texas, singer (Hey Paula)
1946 Carl Dean Wilson, Hawthorne California, rock vocalist
1948 Samuel L Jackson, actor
1953 Betty Wright, American gospel singer
1954 Chris Evert, Fort Lauderdale Texas, tennis pro
1957 Lisa Gerritsen, Los Angeles California, actress
1959 Florence Griffith Joyner, Los Angeles California, athlete
1962 Christy Forester, Lookout Mountain Georgia, country singer
1968 Khrystyne Haje, Santa Clara, California, actress
1969 Julie Delpy, actress
1978 Michael Vitar, Los Angeles California, actor


Last day of school,
Kids say “that’s cool”
Angel’s wings
Shepherd brings
Presents for Jesus
Rudolf sneezes
Everything is frosting over
Even my car made by “Rover”
Reindeer fly
But I can’t fly
But I have cream on my
Hot mince pie
But I still get a lift
When I get a gift


In 529 AD, the Emperor Justinian decreed that no one should work on the festival of Christmas.


My mum got me a jumper
That fits what it touched
My sister got me novelty socks
That didn’t cost very much
My dad got me a Philishave
To shave between my spots
My Nan got me a scarf
And a box of jelly tots
But it’s the identity,
That I would like to know,
Of who got me the condoms
Tied up with a bow


The nativity scene with the baby Jesus Christ laying in the manger surrounded by Mary, Joseph the shepherds and the wise men has long been a favorite Christmas decoration. It has been used for centuries to bring the story of Christmas alive.
It was Francis of Assisi who instituted the custom of the nativity scene after receiving permission from the pope.
Who was renowned for his love of animals, so at Christmas in 1224 he erected the first nativity scene in a cave outside the town of Greccio in Italy.
It did not resemble the type of scene you might see nowadays it was not a hand crafted nor mass-produced but a live scene.
Parishioners played the parts much as children do in the school nativity plays today.
People would gather to watch the spectacle and Francis stood in front of the manger reciting the appropriate gospel followed by a sermon.


2 pks Dry yeast
¼ cup Water (warmed)
1 pint Milk
1 cup Shortening
1 cup Granulated sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs (beaten)
2 tbs Ground cardamom
7 cups Flour (sieved)
2 cup Candied fruit (floured)

Cream the shortening, sugar and salt together then add the cardamom and the beaten eggs.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water the Scald the milk until lukewarm then combine the lukewarm and the softened yeast.
Then Blend in 3 cups flour beating until smooth Add the creamed shortening mixture and the remaining flour mixing until smooth.
Make dough that can be handled add 1 more cup of flour if necessary, then Add the candied fruit then knead well.
Allow to rise until it has doubled in size.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured board and shape into loaves the dough should make three good sized loaves. Bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour.


A tenth reindeer flew in Santa’s team
One unknown pulling Santa’s sleigh
We know the names of nine of them
Including Rudolf leading the way
So who was the mystery number ten?
Twas Rudolf the brown nosed reindeer
Flew behind his red nosed brother
But he couldn’t stop as quick I fear


Many of our modern Christmas customs are carried over from pre-Christian celebrations.
Hanging gifts on trees is purported to stem from the ancient Druids tree worship, and the belief that the tree was the giver of all things good.


After the French Revolution and the Monarchy was overthrown the new republican government banned Midnight Mass and as a result the people were denied access to the Church Crèches.
Though supporters of the revolution the people of Marseilles were not best please with this decision as they were particularly fond of the church Crèche and as the revolutionaries had denied them access to the church they created "public crèches" these were produced by individuals but displayed for all to see.


It was just twelve months ago
Since my special wish was made
A wish you thought so simple
For which a fortune I'd have paid
And now it's our first Christmas
In our first little house
But I hope the first of many
With my beautiful new spouse
This year my wish is simpler still
On this Christmas day with you
May our hearts be always filled with love
And the stockings be filled with you


Feliz Navidad
Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Netherlands Antilles (Papiamento)
Bon Pasco
En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Happy Holidays


In ancient Rome After the festival of the Saturnalia, came the Festival of Infants known as Juvenalia, at which the children were presented with gifts.


Music and lyrics traditional

Ding Dong! Merrily on high
In heav'n the bells are ringing;
Ding Dong! Verily the sky
Is riv'n with angels singing:
Gloria, Hosanna in Excelsis

E'en so here below, below,
let steeple bells be swungen,
And "Io, io, io!"
By priest and people sungen,
Gloria, Hosanna in Excelsis

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers:
May you beautifully rhyme
Your evetime song, ye singers.
Gloria, Hosanna in Excelsis.


Angels from on high
Behold we bring news
Christ is coming
Do not be afraid
Emmanuel is coming
Follow yonder star
Go to Bethlehem
Hosanna God be praised

In the town of Bethlehem
Jesus was born
Kneeling shepherds before him
Lowing beasts in attendance
Magi from the east
Noel, noel, noel

On the first morning
Peace came to the world
Quelling fear and pain
Rekindling the light
Saviour son of God
The prince of peace was born
Uniting the world

Verily the most
Wondrous of times
Xmas festival of love
Yule tide of good will
Zion brought to earth


Boleslaw I Chrobry was crowned as the first king of Poland.


It was a bitterly cold and bleak Christmas morn
And had been snowing heavily since before the dawn
And for the morning service the waiting minister
Was eventually joined by just one solitary farmer
The clergyman said “Well even though it’s Christmas day
I don’t suppose there's no point in having a service today.”
The farmer replied “Well that's not quite how I see it.
If only one cow turns up at feeding time, I still feed it.”


If you seek a special gift
The greatest gift of all
Don’t look beneath your tree
It was never there at all
The greatest Christmas gift
Was given to us all
The Christ child in a manger
In a lowly cattle stall

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