Tuesday, December 23, 2008
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, DONNER 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!"
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk until combined. Add vanilla. Beat until combined.
- Add flour and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
- Between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap with a rolling pin roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes. Reroll and use scraps until all dough is used.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes,depending on the size of the cookies, or until lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
These cookies can be made through step 3, wrapped well, and refrigerated up to 1 week, or frozen up to 6 months.
Tips & Tricks
These cookies are also the perfect consistancy for making spritz cookies.
25 minutes, not including decorating time
About 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies
Sunday, December 14, 2008
For many of us, Rudolph and the rest of Santa's reindeer are as much a part of Christmas folklore as the holiday spirit itself. But these classic characters are very much a modern addition to Christmas tradition.
The legend of Santa's reindeer began in the now famous poem, "The Night Before Christmas." The poem, written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822 as a Christmas gift to his children, introduced the notion of Santa's sleigh being magically pulled by eight mythical reindeer:
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!"
But where was Rudolph, the most famous of all the reindeer, in Moore's poem?
Rudolph wasn't born until more than a century later. In 1939 the Montgomery Ward company wanted to give away a Christmas booklet as a promotional gimmick. The store tapped one of its best copywriters, Robert L. May -- a 34-year old father whose wife was terminally ill -- to author the booklet. With his knack for writing children's limericks, May was the perfect choice.
May sought out to create a hero for all children, but especially for those like himself, who were taunted and picked on for being smaller and slower than his peers. His vision led him to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, an underdog champion outcast for his glowing red nose.
Printed in 1939, the booklet reached a distribution of more than 2.4 copies through nationwide Montgomery Ward stores. Paper rationing during World War II curtailed production, but by 1946, more than 6 million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had been given out. But by then, May was a widower and single dad, in deep debt from his wife's medical bills. In 1947, though, May secured his financial future when Montgomery Ward granted him the copyright over Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
May okayed the licensing of the first short animated film version of Rudolph in 1948 and in 1949, Gene Autry recorded the musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. That song went on to become the second best-selling song of all time ("White Christmas" is number one.)
The special place of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer in America's Christmas culture was codified in 1964, when an animated version of the story was telecast for the first time. That beloved show has been aired every year since, making it the top Christmas show of all time.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
|What do monkeys sing at Christmas ?|
Jungle Bells, Jungle bells.. !
|Why are Christmas trees like bad knitters ? |
They both drop their needles !
|What's Christmas called in England ?|
Yule Britannia !
|What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas ?|
Thanks, I'll never part with it !
|Why is a like being thirsty ?|
Beacause a little water ends both of them !
|What do you get if you cross an apple with a Christmas tree ? |
A pineapple !
|What do you give a train driver for Christmas ? |
Platform shoes !
|What did the big candle say to the little candle ? |
I'm going out tonight !
|Whats happens to you at Christmas ? |
Yule be happy !
|How long does it take to burn a candle down ? |
About a wick !
| Knock Knock|
Who's there ?
Mary who ?
Mary Christmas !
|What did one Angel say to the other ?|
Halo there !
|How to cats greet each other at Christmas ? |
"A furry merry Christmas & Happy mew year" !
|What do elephants sing at Christmas ? |
No-elephants, no elephants !
|What does Dracula write on his |
Best vicious of the season
|What do angry mice send to each other at Christmas ? |
Cross mouse cards !
|How do sheep greet each other at Christmas ? |
A merry Christmas to ewe
From the point of view of Christianity, Advent starts 4 Sundays before Christmas. Thus Advent in the religious sense could begin as early as 28th of November or as late as the 3rd of December. It was probably the German Protestants or Lutherans who invented the idea of Advent Calendar as running from December 1 - 25.
As a child, Gerhard Lang's mother had made him a basic advent calendar so that he could count down the days until Christmas. She placed 24 sweets onto a piece of cardboard and each day the young Gerhard would take and eat a sweet. When he grew up Gerhard Lang made the first printed advent calendar in 1908.Later, in 1946, we see Richard Sellmer producing calendars in Germany. The US authorities had to grant him a license in the now post war Germany which led to his advent calendars becoming known and indeed very popular in the USA.
Sellmer's first advent calendar was called 'The Little Town'. The calendar had pictures of many buildings in the town and you would open the windows and the doors to find nice things underneath for each day of advent. Although these are not funny advent calendars, they are interesting, in particular Sellmer produced a very popular lamp shade advent calendar that would fit any lamp and would revolve under heat with 24 windows to open. These calendars can still be purchased from the Sellmer organisation today.
By the end of the 1950s, chocolate advent calendars had appeared, and by the following decade they had become widespread. People still make or buy advent calendars nowadays, with hundreds of different varieties appearing across the globe. A Carols' Calendar was created with a carol for each day of advent. In 1954 they produced the 'White House calendar' with the scenery of the White House in Washington. They then produced many varieties of pull out advent calendars.
Today, the most typical advent calendar is printed on cardboard with twenty four small doors. These calendars have many themes from religious ones with Mary and Joseph travelling to the stable, nativity scenes, church scenes, Bethlehem, winter wonderland and many more. A Santa stocking advent calendar offers a different idea. The stocking has a picture of a Christmas tree on it and you hang an ornament on the tree on each day of Advent.
Celebrating advent with an advent calendar is an ideal way to prepare for Christmas especially with children. The tradition of the advent calendars adds more meaning to Christmas for families everywhere.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Pair of decorative Christmas Socks
Start by filling your socks with potpourri. If your socks are new you can stretch them out a little by placing them onto your foot.
Stuff the potpourri into the sock nice and firm. Use elastic bands to close off the top of the sock and attach some ribbon.
You can hang these in pairs or just have one smelly sock hanging up.
These make lovely gifts and fundraiser items.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Clear tree ornament, glass balls
Crinkled and shredded white paper
Small Pom Pom's
Flannel, different colors
Hot melt glue
If you have a paper crinkler crinkle the paper then shred. If not cut the paper into small 1/8" strips.
Cut the strips into 1" to 2" lengths.
Remove the top from the ornament and stuff the shredded paper into the clear ornament making it look like snow. Use a pencil to shove the paper into the ball, sometimes the glass edge is broken.
Replace the hanger top.
Cut out the eyes and mouth from black felt.
Cut out the carrot nose from orange felt.
Glue these onto the ornament to make a cute face using tacky glue.
Glue a pom pom on each side of the head to cover the ears with hot melt glue.
Cut a piece of chenille to go from the top of one ear muff to the other with hot melt glue.
Glue the chenille in place.
Cut a scarf from felt to go around the bottom of the ornament. Cut slits into the ends to make it look like the fringe on a scarf.
Glue the scarf onto the bottom of the ornament using hot melt glue.
Tie a ribbon through the hanger top to hang it on the tree.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
|Brown craft foam or card stock|
|Red glitter glue|
|Brown pipe cleaner|
|Paper clip or clothespin|
Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. To assemble one, first use a pencil to trace your child's hand onto a piece of brown craft foam or card stock.
2. Cut out the shape and add black marker hooves to the fingertips.
3. Next, add a red glitter glue collar with gold sequins for bells, then glue on a googly eye, a red pom-pom nose, and a tail cut from the brown craft foam or card stock.
4. For the reindeer's antlers, cut a brown pipe cleaner in half. Bend each half in two (slightly off-center) and curl the ends. Glue together the pipe cleaner pieces, holding them in place with a paper clip or clothespin until the glue dries. Finally, glue the antlers in place on the reindeer.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
|1/2 yard fleece fabric|
|Needle and thread|
|Buttons, appliqués, or felt pieces for decoration|
|1 yard decorative cord|
Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. First, determine the size of the hat. (To avoid ruining the surprise, measure the head of someone who is similar in size to the recipient.) Now cut a piece of fleece that?s 16 inches wide and as long as the measurement you took plus 2 inches.
2. Fold the fleece in half, right side in so the 16-inch edges match up. Sew a 1/2-inch-wide seam along this edge, stopping 5 inches from the bottom (see A). Just below the last stitch, make a 1/2-inch cut in from the side. Turn the material right side out. Now sew a seam along the last 5 inches of unsewn fleece (see B).
3. Roll the bottom of the hat up two turns, so the cuff conceals the bottom part of the seam. To keep the cuff from unrolling, sew on a decorative button, an appliqué, or a felt cutout.
4. Finally, gather the top 3 inches of the hat and tie a colorful cord around it.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine cider, sugar and salt in a saucepan. In a small piece of cheesecloth, combine spices, and tie off. Add spice packet to cider mixture, and slowly bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes. Remove spices.
Serve hot cider in mugs with cinnamon sticks.
Monday, December 1, 2008
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Using a mixer, beat egg yolks, then gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar until dissolved. Add the salt and stir in the milk and cream. Add mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture reaches about 160 degrees F (or coats spoon), remove from heat, pour into glass bowl and set inside a refrigerator to chill.
Using a mixer, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Then, gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Add to chilled mixture and whisk, mixing thoroughly.
Serves 6-8 people.