Archive for December 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

December 25, 2009

All in all, we’ve seen some very significant advancements against the Grinches in the war on Christmas just since last year…

  • More retailers have returned to using the word “Christmas” in their in-store displays and in their TV, radio, and online advertising (especially Wal-Mart and Kohl’s; and Lowes and K-Mart to a lesser extent).
  • Some retailers (like Hobby Lobby and Bass Pro Shops) never waivered.
  • The Hollywood Christmas Parade returned after a one-year stint as the Hollywood Holiday Parade (see post below).
  • Services like DISH Network advertised boldly with a very fun Christmas theme.
  • The Patchogue Christmas Parade returned.

Nevertheless, the Grinches in corporate HR departments, public indoctrination centers (aka, schools), etc. still refuse to acknowledge Christmas. 

Continue to cheerfully and unabashedly wish others a Merry Christmas with every opportunity and share your experiences here on Where’s Christmas?

Until next year, may God bless you and yours, and may you all have a very Merry Christmas 🙂

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 24, 2009

Here’s a fun little video featuring voice over actors and celebrities reading the classic Christmas story, The Night Before Christmas with a few fun little twists here and there.  Among the many voices are Jim Cummings (who replaced Sterling Holloway as the voice of Winnie the Pooh, and later took over as the voice of Tigger following Paul Winchell’s retirement), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), radio & TV personality Gary Owens, and voiceover master Don LaFontaine (you’ll recognize him when you hear him).  For fun, try listening to it without watching.

For younger children who are less familiar with the story, start with this version which is a faithful retelling of the original poem by Clement C. Moore with some nicely done animation and a brief introduction.  The entire story is narrated by two moms who dedicate the video to their children.

Notes about the Author and the Poem

Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem, which he named "A Visit From St. Nicholas," was published for the first time on December 23, 1823 by a New York newspaper, the Sentinel.  Since then, the poem has been reprinted, translated into innumerable languages and circulated throughout the world. 

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863) was born into a well-known New York family.  His father, Reverend Benjamin Moore, was president of (what is now) Columbia University and was the Episcopal Bishop of New York.  Moore’s father also officiated at the inauguration of George Washington’s first inauguration and gave last rites to Alexander Hamilton after Hamilton was mortally wounded in his 1804 duel with Aaron Burr.  Clement C. Moore himself was an author, a noted Hebrew scholar, spoke five languages, and was an early real-estate owner and developer in Manhattan.

Despite his accomplishments, Clement C. Moore is remembered only for "’Twas the Night Before Christmas," which legend says he wrote on Christmas Eve in 1822 during a sleigh ride home from Greenwich Village after buying a turkey for his family.  Some say the inspiration for Moore’s pot-bellied St. Nicholas was the chubby, bewhiskered Dutchman who drove Moore to Greenwich Village to buy his holiday turkey.

Moore read the poem to his wife and six children the night he wrote it, and supposedly thought no more about it.  But it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel which published the poem.  The condition of publication was that the author was to remain anonymous.  Moore’s poem immediately caught the attention and imagination of the state, then the nation, and then the world.  Moore never copyrighted his poem, and only claimed as his own in 1844 when he included it in a book of his poetry.

Because of his "mere trifle," as he called it, 187 years ago Clement C. Moore almost single-handedly defined our now timeless image of Santa Claus.  Prior to the creation of the story St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!  The tradition of reading the poem on Christmas Eve is now a Worldwide institution.

Moore’s eight reindeer names refer to their individual character, mission, or magical flying prowess:

  • · Dasher (hurls or thrusts with great force)

  • · Dancer (moves with skill, grace, rhythm)

  • · Prancer (springs forward on hind legs, struts with spirit and confidence)

  • · Vixen (alert and fiercely protective, guards against all possible dangers)

  • · Comet (a powerful and fiery rock hurtling through the heavens, a celestial wonder)

  • · Cupid (symbolic of love, referring to just how admirable Santa’s mission is to remind the world each year of the joy and Love Christmas brings)

  • · Donner (or Donder) and Blitzen evolved from the original Dutch words “Dunder” (thunder) and “Blixem” (lightning)

Rudolph was later revealed as the ninth reindeer in Santa’s stable in Robert L. May’s 1939 booklet for Montgomery Ward Department Stores. May’s booklet was adapted by Johnny Marks into a song by the same name made famous in 1949 by Gene Autry. The tale tells of Santa’s lead reindeer who possesses an unusually red-colored nose that gives off its own light, powerful enough to illuminate the team’s path through even the most inclement weather.

Children ‘round the world can rest assured that together, these famous reindeer eagerly exercise their God-given talents to guarantee Santa’s arrival to all points on the globe each and every Christmas Eve.

Notes: 

  • Some scholars now believe the poem was actually written by Major Henry Livingston, Jr.  Whatever the authorship controversy ultimately determines, this work has become a Christmas favorite.
  • What is a "courser?"  A swift horse; a charger. 
  • Sash – A frame in which the panes of a window or door are set.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

December 23, 2009

a-christmas-carol-jim-carrey

We’re excited to go see the new Disney film, A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey (we may actually go see it on Christmas night).

After reading Plugged In’s review (and what we’ve heard by word of mouth), the movie sticks closely to Charles Dickens’ story so think twice before taking young children to see the movie as they might find it a little too scary.

Have you seen the movie yet?  Leave a comment and share your review with the rest of us…

 

 

A Christmas Carol – free online

December 22, 2009

Ever read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? 

Now, you have no excuse!  You can read the whole thing free, online. 

Just click on the book…

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas is Making a Comeback!

December 21, 2009

Suddenly this year, “Christmas” is increasingly back in style.  Though some retailers (virtually all the drug store chains; Best Buy; and Gap, which owns Old Navy, Banana Republic, Forth & Towne and Piperlime for example) continue to ignore Christmas, many retailers like Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops lead the way in unabashedly attracting Christmas shoppers in their advertising.  Others (Lowes, K-Mart) seem to be returning to their senses, while others (Hobby lobby) never left theirs.

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Outside the retail world, Christmas is making a comeback…in leaps and bounds.  For example, last year’s Hollywood Christmas Parade went to great lengths to explain the rationale for suddenly changing the name to the Hollywood Santa Parade (for good reason – click the link to their website and read it yourself). 

Known as the Santa Claus Lane Parade since its inception in 1928, the parade was renamed in 1978 as the Hollywood Christmas Parade in order to attract more celebrities.

2009 Hollywood Christmas ParadeThis year, however, and with no explanation at all, the name is back to the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  Although the parade is broadcast live the day after Thanksgiving, you can still catch it December 10th and December 24th 8:00-10:00p, local time (7:00p Central time) on MyNetworkTV.

Here’s a well done article from 2008 in the Examiner called The Christmas vs. Holiday Battle Ensues.

The True Saint Nicholas

December 20, 2009

The True Saint Nicholas by William J. Bennett: Book Cover

If you’ve ever been asked, "Who is Saint Nicholas?"…

If you’ve ever wondered if he is just a commercial invention…

If you’ve ever thought there is no such person…

You may be surprised to know the true Saint Nicholas.

You’ll never again think of Santa Claus in quite the same way.

An instant classic by one of America’s most respected thinkers, The True Saint Nicholas is a book to be shared with family and friends every year to evoke the true spirit of Christmas.

Listen to a 5 minute audio clip of Laura Ingraham’s interview of Bill Bennett about this new book (opens in Windows Media Player).

Click on the image above to read the first chapter…and order the book.

Macy’s Christmas Window Display

December 19, 2009

Ever been to New York at Christmastime?  Me neither.  But thanks to the nice folks at travelistic.com, we can all enjoy the Christmas display windows at Macy’s.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

December 18, 2009

Standing outside an airport bookstore last month killing time before boarding, my eyes scanned the new books on display…Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue, Glenn Beck’s Arguing With Idiots, Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny…so many books, so little time.

Then, a few inches above floor level on the bottom shelf I spotted a small book with a beautiful cover…but the title is what grabbed me: The Man Who Invented Christmas.

“Another attack on Christmas,” I thought, assuming it was a story about some evil capitalist pig responsible for the commercialization of Christmas and rendering it nothing more than any other holiday.

Curiosity got the best of me, so I picked it up and read as much as I could in the 10-15 minutes before my flight.  Not near enough time, but what I was able to read certainly convinced me that I need to get this book and read it.

Not some toy company CEO, or Macy’s board of directors, or ad agency is the subject of Les Standiford’s latest book.  The subject is no less than Charles Dickens: the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and one of the most popular of all time.  Standiford describes…

…how a struggling Charles Dickens came to write the small book that would transform a somber, faded holiday into the celebration of charity and good cheer we know today.

Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist.

The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.

I still haven’t had the time to read the book, but I will (famous last words).  If you’ve read it, please comment and share your review with the rest of us.

StandForChristmas.com

December 17, 2009

Visit the website of this customer-focused rate-a-retailer campaign conducted by “Stand for Christmas” (by Focus on the Family Action), where consumers can post their ratings based on their shopping experiences.  The clear message is: don’t spend your Christmas dollars at the stores owned by Naughty retailers who don’t acknowledge Christmas.

Best Buy hates Christmas and America

December 7, 2009

happy_eid This retail giant has long led the way in eschewing Christmas.  But this year, they took a giant offensive step to bite off the hands that feed them: capitalism, and Christmas.

In their Thanksgiving Day ad, Best Buy wishes their shoppers a “Happy Eid al-Adha”.  A completely unknown holiday in the West, Best Buy puts up considerable money to bet that it’s on par with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Lenin said, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”  Reagan’s defense build-up forced the collapse of the Soviet Union, sparing us from completing the transaction Lenin predicted.  Best Buy seems eager to fulfill Lenin’s prophecy, only with Islam instead of Communism.

Capitalism allows Best Buy to advertise and sell to whomever they wish…and it also provides consumers with a choice on where to spend their hard-earned money.  Vote with your dollars – every dime you spend at Best Buy strengthens Islam’s growing influence on the world economy and brings President Obama’s vision for America that much closer to reality…