Tag Archives: Christmas

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My favourite Friday Night Christmas Music links….

…are here!

Years ago (2011, 2012) I used to post music links every Friday night (as well as other days and nights). On December, I would focus on Christmas music. These are some of my favourites.

Enjoy! And joy to the world….

Do you need last minute gift ideas?

Then you need this article in the New York Times:

www.nytimes.com/2019/12/18/smarter-living/last-minute-gift-ideas.html

It has a wide range of gift ideas but more importantly, it will help you better think about what to get someone.

Don’t panic, you still have time!

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If you feel overwhelmed at Christmas but still want to decorate – minimalist decorating


Then consider this idea from Apartment Therapy: Fresh Christmas Garland Home Decor Idea.

Basically just get some garland (and a tree) and keep it simple. If you have a bit more energy, candles are a good idea. Or small LED light chains in a vase with some Christmas balls.

But the garland (and the tree) signify the holiday season quite nicely.

Merry Christmas!

For those celebrating, a very merry christmas.

For those looking to relax after a busy day, here are many Christmas links I’ve gathered over the years for you to read if you are still in the Christmas spirit.

 

Silent Night is supposed to be performed on Christmas Eve, and other interesting things about the 200 year old carol

As Silent Night turns 200 this year, the CBC has come up with a great piece on the history of this famous carol, which you can read here:
www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4950242

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10 Spectacular Roast Recipes That Aren’t Turkey

Many people

  1. want to make a roast turkey for Christmas
  2. do not want roast turkey

If that’s you, Chatelaine has your back with this:  10 Spectacular Roast Recipes That Aren’t Turkey | Chatelaine.

They truly are spectacular recipes, perfect not just for Christmas but any time of the year (ahem, winter) when a good roast is just what you need.

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In search of the real Scrooge

suppression

Everyone knows of Scrooge, the character in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. But is there a real person Scrooge was based on? This article sets out to find him: The real man who inspired Ebenezer Scrooge.

On “River”, the sad Joni Mitchell song that became a Christmas classic

A fine and detailed study on Mitchell’s great song from her masterpiece album, “Blue”: www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2018/12/07/how-thoroughly-depressing-joni-mitchell-song-became-blue-christmas-classic/

My impression reading it was that there were no sad or melancholy Christmas songs before it, but “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Blue Christmas” are two that immediately come to mind. And later on songs like “Last Christmas” have shown that the holidays can be sometimes difficult.

Read the piece though. Lots of good commentary by great singers who have covered it, as well as what it really means.

Last minute Christmas decorating ideas

This title is a bit harsh, Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas For the Truly Lazy | Apartment Therapy, because if you are like me and you still needing to decorate, it’s likely you aren’t so much lazy as you are too busy. Either way, lazy or busy, read that article and you’ll have  lots of ideas to get your place looking more festive right away.

As for me, I find grabbing 3 or 4 small poinsettia plants and filling up a few cheap glass vases with Christmas tree ornaments gets the place looking quickly more seasonal.

Sunday is a perfect time to go out and get that done. So get off the Internet and get started on this. 🙂

Natural Christmastime Decorating Ideas

The folks at Apartment Therapy have put together a nice compilation of Christmastime decorating ideas that are simple as it is beautiful. For example, this:

from here. And this

from here.

What all the images have in common is the use of natural decoration, from boughs to wood to wreaths to baskets to lanterns. It’s seasonal, but timeless.

If you find it too austere, mix in some holly or some ribbon.

Enjoy the season, and the beauty of this time.

Some loose thoughts on the magic of Christmas

When you are very young, Christmas is a magical time. We all know that. But
it is magical when you have children, too, for .then you are the magician.
I realized that the hard age for Christmas is in your 20s. The magic
bypasses you then. No wonder people of that age cut up Christmas. The magic
they once held is lost.

Christmas is magic not because the day itself is magical, but because we
invest the magic that we have within us on that day. It would be better if
we brought forward that magic every day, but one day is better than no
days. We have such, well, .. Magic!..within us. We need to be reminded to
let it out.

(Originally posted on posterous, December 24 2011, 9:24 PM)

My Lessons Learned from Christmas’ past (including where to buy trees in Toronto)

Christmas for me is many things, including an annual exercise in planning. I keep a Word document that I update every year. It contains the typical list of things to do, by when. It tracks cards sent and received, presents given to whom, key dates, even what I need to buy for Christmas Day meal. One other thing I keep is a list of lessons learned. Here’s mine.

  • Christmas planning should start the day after Remembrance Day.
  • Get gifts at the end of November, if possible. It takes time to get
    them, wrap them, send them off.
  • Indigo has lots of gift ideas, not just books. Music, movies, nic nacs.
    Plus, if you shop there early, you can provide gift ideas for others
  • Winners is also good. Future shop (now Best Buy) is better than Toys R Us for electronics for the kids.
  • Get time consuming activities done asap. You have less time in December than you think.
  • Check Canada Post web site for mailing dates. It helps to keep you on track.
  • Get tree on Saturday. While it is settling, put up the lights. On Sunday bring it in and decorate it. It takes time to set it up and decorate and  it is difficult to get done during the week.
  • Get a poinsettia around the same time you get the tree (or much
    earlier). You can get some small plants at the green grocer for $2.99:
    has the same effect as a big one.
  • I used to say: get your tree at Sheridan: It is close, you don’t need a
    car, and the prices are better. But last year a 6′ tree was $60 and a 7′
    tree was $99! And we need a 7′ tree. I called after the fact and the
    Loblaws trees this year were $40 for 6-8 feet. IKEA trees are $20 and you get a coupon for $20 for a purchase of $75 or more.  After that, you can get your tree from Dominion at Bayview/Eg. It
    was better there than Loblaws. Then IKEA last.
  • Use cut off branches from the bottom of the tree to make something to hang on the door. Just add some red ribbon.
  • Plan Christmas spirit events throughout December. Start planning them in November. Besides putting up the tree and Santa, there could be: get a gift for poorer children, Swiss Chalet Festive Special Run
  • Put up decorations outside earlier than you think. Lots of people have them up in the first week of December before it gets too cold
  • Indigo is good for more than books: calendars, DVDs, music CDs,  nicnacs
  • The week before Christmas is busy. Not just with the Xmas activities, but with cleaning, etc. Don’t assume you have time to do much more
  • Playing shinny / going skating daily is a great idea over the Holidays.

(Originally posted on Posterous, December 5 2011, 7:51 AM)

The quality of darkness and the luminosity of winter nights

I like when artists emphasize darkness in photography and film. To me, it is not negative space, but an essential part of the space. Just like all colours are essential parts of a colour photograph, all tones are essential parts of a black and white image to me. If anything, the darker spaces are exciting because they challenge your eye – outer and inner – to see more, to see what is in the darkness and the shadows. What I love about a photographer such as Roy Decarava is how he uses exactly those ideas in his photographs to tell very powerful stories and convey powerful images.

One thing that I don’t like about most movies is that there is rarely any darkness. There is always some light somewhere lighting the protagonists. It’s as if there is a fear that people will complain if they have to use their ears and their imagination. I’d like to see more films where much of it is shot in near darkness such that the audience is more engaged in the film.

There is a quieting aspect to darkness or near darkness. We sleep in that state, or we watch movies or plays or concerts. We become quiet and still. We contemplate, dream, express our inner selves more than we do in the fast paced brightness of day. This is a quality of darkness too.

Looking out on the backyard tonight, what I realized, as I have before, how
it is that ‘dark’ really isn’t once your eyes get used to the light that is there. This is especially the case in winter, when the sky turns light gray with clouds and the fallen snow has a luminosity all of it’s own even without street lights or house lights. If it is snowing it can actually get quite bright, even at midnight, as the snow falls and sparkles. Some nights can be brights as days.

At this time of year in Canada there is also the luminosity of house lights and Christmas trees that shine on as the end solstice nears and Christmas is celebrated. Despite long nights, there is much light.

And as we pass through the bleak midwinter, I like to warm it up with tea
lights and roaring fires. Though it be dark, the darkness is tinged with that glow of burning logs and burning candles. And when finally when all that is spent, I can go to the window and given some time to adjust, my eyes can eventually see much that is visible, though it is very late, for in the darkness there is more light than we may have suspected, and much to see and enjoy.

These are some of the things that I thought of while I looked on the snowfall arriving tonight at midnight.

Thanks for reading this. Enjoy your night.

(Originally posted on posterous, December 15 2010, 9:53 PM)

Meanwhile, this Freshpet Holiday Feast (13 Dogs/1 Cat Eating with Human Hands) is great

I am amused every time I watch it. The folks who make it do a great job. It reminds me of the classic: Dogs Playing Poker,

Freshpet Holiday Feast – 13 Dogs and 1 Cat Eating with Human Hands – YouTube.

The Holiday Season is upon us. You need great gifts. You need to go to Art Interiors

Why? Because it is their annual festival of the smalls. As you can see from the JPEG above, they have art from $55-$250. Great pieces too. Perfect for the Holidays.

Want more info? Go here: Affordable Artwork / Art Interiors / Toronto Art Gallery. Bonus: lots of the work is viewable online.

Highly recommended. Make it a holiday tradition.

How to turn old paper into new Christmas garland


For those wanting to make their own Christmas decorations, the blog Olive Loaf Design shows you how to turn old sheet music into something very festive. If you don’t have old sheet music, you can try your hand at other pretty paper to make something worthy of gracing your mantel or any other surface that needs some holiday cheer.

Nice!