Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

‘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.

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.

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.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest

December 6, 2009

Santa’s Enchanted Forest is the world’s largest Christmas Theme Park and Carnival!

Located in Miami, Florida, Santa’s Enchanted Forrest offers endless excitement and fun with over one hundred rides, shows, games and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. 

Open November 5th through January 3rd, the park features hundreds of themed displays, the most prominent of which is a 92 foot tall Christmas Tree!  They also have pony rides, a petting zoo, and over 3,000,000 lights!  You’re sure to be amazed.

Don’t forget to stop by and visit Santa while you’re there and tell him what you want for Christmas…or you can send him a letter through their post office.

You can even visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest on Facebook.

What’s in a Name?

December 3, 2009

Christmas Vacation versus “Winter Break/Holiday”; Easter Vacation versus “Spring Break”…having homeschooled our children and, therefore, having little exposure to the public indoctrination system (aka public schools), we were unaware of the Left’s assault on the terms Christmas Vacation and Easter Vacation over the last 10 years.  Anti-theist crusaders have threatened milquetoast school board members across this nation that referring to Christmas and Easter Vacations as such violates the Constitution (written by men with Judeo-Christian beliefs) and is otherwise insensitive.

Historically, the only reason these two vacation periods have existed was to allow sufficient time off from school to celebrate the Birth and the Resurrection of Christ.  Now, the Left would have us believe that an en masse departure has suddenly occurred and these simple terms must replaced.  There’s no longer any need to recognize Christmas or Easter.  in its place, a universal desire to have a vacation in the middle of winter for no apparent reason (other than maybe to celebrate the winter solstice), followed by another vacation in spring so heathen college kids can take over resort destinations to get drunk and hold wet t-shirt contests.

The Petoskey News gives us an example of a successful return to sanity taken by the Petoskey Board of Education.  Board member Jack Waldvogel proposed, and the board voted unanimously, to rename the “winter holiday break” in the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District calendar to "Christmas break."

Daniel Dankoff wrote to the Petoskey News-Review to criticize Waldvogel saying,"We’re a nation of many faiths, and he’s jamming it down the throats of everyone who’s not a Christian."  Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable in Dankoff’s eyes for the 5% of the U.S. population that does not celebrate Christmas to jam their hatred of Christmas down everyone else’s throats.

Be sure to email Jack Waldvogel to express your support and encouragement to help him endure the assault of the Grinches.

Christmas Makes a Comeback in Patchogue

November 3, 2009

Due to our support here at Where’s Christmas?  I received this email from Phil Butler just this morning:

from: Phil Butler
date: Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 8:08 AM
subject: Christmas Holiday Boat Parade 

Christmas

Great News – No more holiday boat parade in Patchogue–it has been agreed and accepted that this year and for ever more the boat parade will be called the: 

Christmas Holiday Boat Parade

So please spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors to come to the 16th Annual Christmas Boat Parade on Sunday, November 22nd and join the fun and excitement as big and small boats parade from Shorefront Park to head of the Harbor fully decorated in lights, colors and the spirit of Christmas.  The Grucci Family will again donate the fireworks with the arrival of Santa Claus.

For those who e-mailed us last year, thank you very much and please be assured that your support and encouragement greatly helped and was most appreciated and if you wish to help us make this the biggest and best Christmas Boat Parade on all of Long Island, you can again help; to do so, simply mail a donation as follows:

Sponsorship of the Best Boat Christmas Decorations $500.00
Sponsorship of the Best Boat Theme …………………..$250.00
To donate any amount from…………………$25.00 to $100.00

Simply mail us sponsorship or donation to:
Christmas ‘n Patchogue Committee
38 West 1st Street
Patchogue, NY 11772

Philip Butler
Chairman
Christmas ‘n Patchogue Committee

Thanks to all of you who called and wrote in last year to express your support for the Christmas Parade.  This is just one of several examples I’m planning to post this year of success stories I’ve witnessed since last year.  The Grinchs are feeling the push back, so be encouraged and continue to speak out in support of Christmas!

Take a moment to email your support to Phil Butler: PButler@grucci.com

Dennis Prager: A Happy Jew at Christmas

December 24, 2008

Dennis Prager My absolute favorite talk radio host is Dennis Prager.  I’ve been listening to him for about 25 years now (since his Religion on the Line show).  I often describe him as my best friend, whom I’ve never met. 

If you haven’t heard him, or don’t get a chance to hear him often, I urge you to download this segment of his show, entitled: A Happy Jew at Christmas.  Here’s the description of what you’re in for:

Addressing a mixed group of Jewish and Christian leaders, Dennis explains why Christmas makes him a happy Jew.  Dennis marvels at the controversy that has surrounded the celebration of Christmas as a national holiday for the last decade.  He explains why he loves the Christmas season and why the expression of the Christmas spirit with its special songs and gift-exchange is important to our national well-being.  He also explains why Christmas is disliked by the Grinch crowd. 

Major Points of the Lecture:

  1. To be happy is both a choice and a moral obligation.
  2. The nation’s majority culture is Christian and celebrates Christmas.  It’s a matter of simple decency to let them do so without whining and complaining about being excluded or made to feel uncomfortable.
  3. We are a religious nation, founded on Judeo-Christian values.  If we lose our religious character, we will lose our moral fiber.
  4. Those who protest the celebration of Christmas are narcissistic and probably unhappy.

No matter where you stand on Christmas, I urge you to listen to this segment by Dennis, or perhaps his Celebrating Diversity (Save the Christmas Party), or read his column entitled Minorities Should Express Shame, Not Only Pride, or Christians Offer Beauty At Christmas; Atheists Offer Nihilism.

Why Christmas Matters

December 22, 2008

Check out Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo entitled, Why Christmas Matters:

Voicemail Messages for the Christmas/Holiday Party

December 11, 2007

Thanks to Ratkey Ramblings for posting an audio file of “A collection of voice mail messages I’ve saved regarding the office Christmas Holiday Party where I work.”

It’s absolutely ridiculous, but all too realistic.  Merry Christmas to all you Human Resource-types. 🙂