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Christmas Tidings

Blog Post #245

It’s Christmas Eve!

We’re excited and ready for a relaxing evening before the big morning. This year we are staying in. Bruce is making a slow-simmered Christmas Eve chili and I’ll be adding a pan of freshly baked cornbread to this comforting meal. We have wine and snacks and a line-up of our favourite Christmas movies. One of our daughters will be joining us for dinner and our movie marathon.

Vintage Swedish Santa image

To me, it wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without a reading of one of our favourite traditional Christmas poems —
A Visit From St. Nicholas  by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Santa and reindeer image

It will be a quiet and reflective night, we might play a game and we will definitely reminisce about Christmases past. I, myself, will be contemplating the suffering of so many people in war-torn countries and feeling so grateful that I am lucky enough to be here in Canada, surrounded by abundance, with a roof over my head and living in peace, safe and sound in my own home.

I am sending you my most heartfelt wishes that you have love, joy and blessings in your life right now.

I pray for peace throughout the world tonight and for the days that come.

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Peace on Earth — Goodwill to Men

Blog Post #225

Getting into the Christmas spirit for me means setting up the tree, decorating the house, wrapping presents and watching my favourite Christmas movies. And feeling grateful for it all.

With all the festivities, Christmas songs, glowing lights, and cookies, that fill the 24 days until Santa comes, there is also an increase in Christmas marketing on TV and social media.

Among the enticements to buy more things to ensure a “wonderful and joy-filled season”, I love to see more companies airing emotionally sweet, poignant and amusing commercials during the holiday season — ads that promote goodwill to all.

This post is a short roundup of some of the funnier, warmer and endearing Yuletide ads that I’ve seen on TV and YouTube and one message to think about when viewing these heartfelt sentiments.

The Wish Writer

Macy’s 2015 Christmas spot is sweet, cute and shows the true spirit of Christmas, when a young girl finds a magical pen that can make wishes come true. Watch as she and her brother discover the joy in giving. Have a box of tissues handy!  Santa is real!  #thesantaproject  

A Priest and an Imam Meet for a Cup of Tea

Amazon Prime’s 2016 commercial portrays a friendship between the priest and an Imam. We are more the same than different and this ad is a heartfelt example.

Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus

This 2016 Marks & Spencer ad is delightfully sweet and features a thoroughly modern Mrs. Claus. (Check out the book she’s reading!)

I like this ad because the character of Mrs. Claus is portrayed as a strong, independent woman who does more than bake cookies and wait up while Santa delivers Christmas joy. Find out more about this special Christmas “operative” #LoveMrsClaus

The Greatest Gift

This stop frame animation musical is from Sainsburys, a supermarket chain in the UK. This 2016 commercial tells the story of Dave, who is searching for the best gift he can give his family. As James Cordon sings the lyrics, Dave soon realizes that the most important gift he can give his family is… him. Cheesy? Maybe — but it is true — giving of yourself IS the best present!

The animation is great in this spot and I love the diversity of the families depicted in the story. The tune and lyrics are catchy too!

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I love these commercials, but as I was searching for the official YouTube versions of them for this post, I came across a video by Stop Funding Hate and it gave me a lot to think about. Things like what does it say about a company if they support (with their advertising dollars) a publication or company that espouse discrimination and hate?

Stop Funding Hate heads up a movement that opposes hatred, discrimination and racism in the press. The organization works to encourage companies to cease advertising in newspapers that print perpetuate divisive hate campaigns. They also call on the public to further the cause by sharing their videos through social media.

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Peace on Earth

MP900341552It is early Christmas morning, December 25th, 2012. I’m still up…

I have finished wrapping presents, filling stockings, and preparing a breakfast dish to bake while the paper is flying around the tree later this morning.

As I sit here in the quiet, I am reflecting on this past year, on how fortunate I am, how blessed my life is. I have a loving family, beautiful daughters,  food on my table, a roof over my head, clothes on my back. I live in a place of serenity, surrounded by those I love. I have so much, my life is joyful and good. I am happy.

Today, I am grateful for loved ones gathered together.

Today, I wish for Peace on Earth!