Showing posts from December, 2017

Christmas Countdown - Day 17 and 18

Candy Canes or Chocolate? 
Candy Canes were invented to keep children quiet during the traditional Christmas Eve service back in the 1670’s in, Cologne,  Germany.  According to folklore, a choir master had the local candy maker create the ‘sugar sticks’ in the shape of a shepherds crook to justify the practice and to remind the children about the shepherds who visited Christ at his birth.  The white and red were symbolic of Christ’s purity and the blood he shed for our sins respectively.  

From Germany, the candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during Nativity plays and henceforth the candy cane became associated with Christmastide. Isabel enjoys an occasional candy cane and when she was at primary school all the kids and teachers gave them out in conjunction with Christmas cards.  This tradition was quickly dropped in high school.  One year I decided to give all the children who were members of our congregation a candy cane attached to a card with the …

Christmas Cournt Down - Day 16

The Sixteenth Day of Christmas - Celebrating FriendshipWe can't choose our relatives but we can choose our friends. Sometimes it feels like we have too many and at others it feels like we are friendless. This can be particularly so at Christmas.  Some of us  may be invited to so many events we have a difficult time choosing which invitations to accept and worry about offending a mate if we choose to accept another offer.  Others may feel be feeling alone and uncared for because they have not been invited to certain parties or events.  Too nanny or too little social engagement is one of the stressors of the festive season. 
In the 1980’s, Robin Dunbar ,the University of Oxford anthropologist and psychologist (then at University College London) determined that judging from the size of an average human brain, the number of people the average person could have in her social group was a hundred and fifty. He further divided this number into a series of subgroups.  The largest number of …

Christmas Countdown Day 15

Did you  know that Santa's red  suit does not have it's origins in in some ancient legend or early pagan myth? Originally Santa's clobber included the colors of green, purple, light blue, navy blue , brown and red. Then in the 1930's, some clever advertising guru for Coke Cola put together a campaign with Santa dressed in the now familiar red suit.  And it stuck.  It's funny how some things get started and then the origins become blurred with time.
Red and green are the traditional colours of Christmas.  Traditionally for Christians red symbolizes the blood of Christ which was shed by Jesus for our salvation.  In earlier times apples on a paradise tree were displayed at Christmas to represent the fall of Adam. Adam in Hebrew can be translated as man or red.  Jesus is also called the 'last Adam' (man/red). The first Adam brought death to mankind.  Jesus spilled his blood to conquer death and give us life. Red for blood and green for new life.

Another explan…

Christmas Countdown - Journaling Day 14

It was the fourteenth day of Christmas and my little doggy said to me - Is there a  gift for me under the tree?
Ziggy is a Chit-sue Maltese cross rescue dog I was lucky enough to adopt 5 years ago.  His owners at the time had a small child who was a bit rough with him so he became aggressive and bitey.  His behaviour changed marked after a couple of days - he was very friendly and cuddly.  I think he was just in the wrong environment for his nature. Anyway, he has become an integral part of our family. So much so that my mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, loves him and has him visit her regularly . Sometimes she even forgets that he is not her dog, but he is always pleased to come home again.

Christmas is a great time for us humans but it can mean a change in routine, new and potentially dangerous objects around the house, more visitors entering the house, higher noise levels, not to mention all those great smells wafting from the kitchen! The RSPCA  have put together a list …

Christmas Count Down - Days 10, 11, 12 and 13

Taking a Road Trip as part of your Christmas vacation can be an exhausting activity, as I have just found out.  In the past 9 days I have traveled in excess of 3600 kilometers.  The roads were very busy, packed with other holiday makers and trucks transporting goods up and down the coastline.  There were also numerous road works requiring extensive stops and detours.  Isabel asked "Why do they schedule all the road works for the busiest time of the year?" A question I expect my fellow travelers were also pondering at the time.

Our journey to and from Mackay took us along the infamous "Murder Highway".  This is a 300 kilometer stretch of highway between Rockhampton and Malborough and Sarina.  Locals dubbed it this after a spate of murders (five in total), rapes, robberies and assaults back in the 1960's and 1970's.    I remember when I was living in Townsville over a decade later people still having qualms about travelling the road alone.  Now it is referr…

Day Nine - Christmas Count Down

Ninth Day of Christmas
No matter where you live in the world the weather is a conversation starter and a significant influence on your mood and activities.  Sunlight has repeatedly been found to boost a positive mood, dampen a negative mood and diminish tiredness.  Anything that alters our mood can also affect our behaviour.  Happy people are more likely to be social able and affable.  On the other hand, grey weather may induce "grey flanneled thinking" and a bleak mood.  Research has found that the more weather departs from the optimum of 20 degrees Celsius the more discomfort we feel. The more discomfort we feel the more grumpy and argumentative we become.  Other aspects of the weather such as humidity can also affect or mood.  High humidity can lead to tiredness and irritability.  While Barometric pressure fluctuation can trigger headaches while rainy days can cause us to feel less satisfied with our lives.  
The weather also influences how we plan to spend our holidays,…

Eighth Day of Christmas - Christmas Count Down

Eight Day of Christmas - Naughty or Nice When I was a child, we were told that if we had been good all year (or reasonably so) then Santa was sure to give us a gift of our choosing for Chirstmas.  However, if we had misbehaved then, we would not receive a gift but a lump of coal.  I know for sure that I was no angel, nor were any of siblings but we always received a present of some sort.  There was never a lump or bag of coal even thought sometimes I am sure I deserved one.  
When my son, Nick started working in the coal mines he always brought home a lump of coal at Christmas to give to his younger brother just to stir him up.  And it worked.  But it was all done in good humour.
With my own Children we always had Santa's present something simple and left the big ticket times to ourselves - it was easier this way especially as they got older and the choice of presents became more complex.  Bit challenging for Santa to bring the right sized Vans or Levi's.  We also made the 13…

Seventh Day of Christmas - Christmas Counrt Down

Seventh Day of Christmas - Newsletter Time
Before the advent of the computer and the internet, pen and paper were the only way people separated by distance could communicate with each other. Hand written letters, while time consuming can be a great way to reflect and reconnect with friends and family.  If to write a Christmas Newsletter had been on you 'to do list' or you thought about writing one but never got around to it, then today is the perfect day to start.  It is National Letter Writing Day.

A site I found useful was .  It offered a number of options that will help spark your creativity and make for a fund and interesting read for the recipient.  Some suggestions I liked include:

Re-purpose the 12 days of Christmas.Include a traditional family recipe and use the recipe format to write a recipe for a memorable year.Write you letter from the perspective of the family petMake a quiz asking questions and supplying the answer eg: who go named School…

Sixth Day of Christmas -Christmas Count Down

Day 6 – Christmas Count Down
Gratitude Christmas is a time of giving and giving thanks. This year, let your gratitude show. When things are going well and the sun is shining on our faces it is easy to be be thankful for what we have and express gratitude.  However, when we are facing personal challenges and life is like wading though treacle we often ask ourselves “why me?” We look across the fence and are envious of the ease with which our neighbour sails through life.  Last year when my son died, I hated everyone.  I wanted what they had – a healthy family gathered around the Christmas dinner table.  I wanted others to share in my misery and feel my pain.  Gratitude! Hardly something I thought I would ever feel again.  A year on and while the pain of loss overwhelms many days I am grateful for the gift of his life ( despite it being cut short).  My son, Nick, was a joy to be around and always tried to come home and celebrate Christmas with me.  I am grateful for my extended family …

Fifth Day of Christmas - Christmas Count Down

Christmas Countdown At Christmas it’s a race to the mail box to see if I have received any Christmas cards.  I love the Christmas stamps, the texture of the paper and the varied illustrations on the cards.  I also love to hear all the news from friends and family that live far afield.  Some cards contain newsletters with photographs that help me to keep abreast of how my nieces and nephews are growing and changing over the years.  I use to make and send cards to all my sisters and brothers but with the increase in the cost of postage I have resorted to the trusty internet to send my season’s greetings this year along with a couple of hand delivered cards to those who live nearby. 

Day 5 Today I went down town and was amazed at the array of different cards on offer this year.  I got to wondering about the origins of Christmas cards so I Googled it and found out that it all started back in the UK in 1843.  A guy called Sir Henry Cole and his mate, John Horsley who was an artist came up…

Fourth Day of Christmas

Day Four of the Christmas count down and we are gearing up for a road trip with CD's MP3's,.blue- tooth and much more to boot. There is no way we are going to travel 600 km in silence. Christmas rocking the airways today - that is a certain.

Singing carols and Christmas song is an intricate part of Christmas celebration. Some people enjoy singing along with the kindy favorite like Frosty the snow man and jingle bells, while others prefer classics like Noel and he Town of Bethlehem. Regardless of what of which one you prefer they all place you in a place and time of celebrating Christmas. Although sometimes these songs can become a bit repetitive and old hat, I like to keep my eye out for something new and spicy.  So although there was on Drummer Boy we did here some new and very old versions of the classics. 
What is your favourite Christmas tune? The one you just can't get out pf your head .Is it the tune or the words or the images that it brings forth?  Sometimes it is …