Sunday, October 21, 2012

Deck The Halls

It’s easy to say I believe in Santa Claus, because all of us know that it’s a symbol for something larger. People over a certain age know that the jolly old elf with red suit, white beard, and bag full of toys does not really live at the North Pole and deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve in a sleigh with flying reindeer. Santa Claus is the symbol of the magical spirit of Christmas, and of the eternal spirit of humankind. Santa Claus is Love. God is Love. If I say I believe in God, I mean that I also believe in the concept of God, like the concept of Santa Claus. But many prople take the concept as literal truth. Most educated adults probably realize that God is also a symbol – a symbol of the transcendent, not a super-natural father figure who lives in “Heaven”, created the universe, and influences the earth and its inhabitants with punishments, rewards, and myterious ways. The majority of American adults can’t bring themselves to say they don’t believe in God, though, because it still seems so socially unacceptable. God is the politically correct and sanctioned version of Santa Claus that good adults are still expected to believe in. If you don’t you’re seen as immoral, unethical, perverted or down-right evil. We’re encouraged to be tolerant of others’ religious beliefs, but not of others’ non-theistic view of existence. Atheists, secular humanists, or however they are labeled, are the last group that it seems socially and politically acceptable to misunderstand, vilify, and discriminate against. Will they be the last group to come out of the closet in our supposedly advanced, tolerant, and enlightened age of scientific consciousness? 

 Deck The Halls ---> sheet music

“The kingdom of God is within you.” This quote attributed to Jesus is a very wise expression of truth. The best and highest qualities of humanity are encapsulated in the ideas of God and Santa Claus: peace, joy, love, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, hope, tolerance, cooperation and community. They try to express the things that we cannot adequately explain with language: the transcendent, the sublime, the ineffable, the ultimate mystery of existence. They are beautiful, artistic stories we tell to illustrate our highest yearnings, ideals and aspirations. They are an invaluable part of our history and culture. I believe in the human spirit. Just as we need morals and ethics, we also need maturity, consciousness, and truth without delusions. However, we still need fantasy, fun and magic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Justin Bieber - All I Want is You

  • A day that is marked as an important day in Belgium during the festive season is December 6th; it is marked as the Feast of St. Nicholas. It is his birthday that is celebrated on this day. This day begins with a church service where families gather and greet each other. Thereafter; they begin preparing delicacies and also start serving items which include tempting cakes and puddings. On Dec 5th, children wait for their gifts and as a result leave their shoes or baskets beside the door for their gifts. They also leave back some hay, twigs for the Saint’s horse and some wine for the saint himself. For children December 6th is extremely important as this is when the little ones receive their gifts for being good all through the year. 

  • The Christmas tree is decorated with great enthusiasm and joy with stars that are used as a symbol of the birth of Jesus.In some houses, gifts are bought for each other and placed under the tree while in other households, children are the only ones who are gifted.

Justin Bieber - All I Want is You ---> sheet music

  • On Christmas eve, actors will enact Christmas stories in a parade.People might also find choirs rendering concerts at Hall Bruges and in local churches throughout the month of December. Families usually gather around the Christmas tree and then go for a midnight mass. It is either after the service or before when presents are keenly opened. 

  • When it comes to food, a special buffet is laid out. The buffet will begin with an aperitif(drink) and snacks followed by sea food as the first course. Later, a delicious stuffed turkey will be served to you. The feast will come to an end with the serving of a delicious creamy cake. Cougnou is sweet bread that is meant to symbolize the infant Jesus.

  • Like most other countries, Belgium too has extended Christmas markets during this time of the year. There are stands that serve you hot, spiced wine, champagne, hot chocolate and Belgium waffles. You can also shop for Christmas candles and chocolates.

Justin Bierber - Mistletoe

 Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.
Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen - and kissed me there.

Justin Bieber - Mistletoe ---> sheet music 

 When you’re caught under the mistletoe, the tradition is to kiss the person next to you. 
 Here are some fun facts about mistletoe.

-- Mistletoe is found mainly in tropical or temperate areas. Its name refers to species of parasitic plants from families in the order of flowering plants known as Santalales. There are some 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide.

-- The word “mistletoe” is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon “mist” or “mistel,” meaning dung, and “tan,” meaning twig, or “dung twig.” This derivation stems from the fact that mistletoe is mostly spread by birds, through their droppings.

-- Birds also squeeze mistletoe seeds from the fruits before eating them and wipe the seeds on a branch. Mistletoe seeds are covered in a sticky substance so they stay put on a limb until they sprout.
-- Mistletoe is semi-parasitic, meaning it invades a living branch of a host tree or bush with a shallow root (called a “hastorium”) and absorbs food, minerals and water, and also produces food through photosynthesis in its evergreen leaves. 

-- Viscum album, the European mistletoe, and Phoradendron serotinum, from North America, are the two mistletoe species most commonly harvested and sold during the Christmas holidays.

-- Mistletoe is considered a pest in many areas of the world. A host tree or bush heavily infested with mistletoe can be stunted or even die. Still, mistletoe provides an important food source and a nesting place for a variety of bird species.

Justin Bieber - Christmas Eve

Is it possible for Santa to determine which children were naughty or not? How could he deliver so many presents in one day? It would seem that the laws of physics would make it impossible for Santa Claus to do what people claim he do.

No known species of reindeer can fly. 
There are about two billion children in the world. But Santa does not deliver gifts to Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist children leaving 15% of the total. Further calculations estimate that there are over 90 million homes to which Santa must deliver presents. 

Allowing for the rotation of the Earth, Santa has up to 31 hours of delivery time. Santa must make over 800 deliveries per second. 

Justin Bieber - Christmas Eve ---> sheet music

So for each Christian household with at least one good child, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to land, jump down the chimney, deliver the goods, eat his snack and get back into his sleigh.
Assuming the houses are evenly distributed (they are not); Santa’s total mileage will exceed 75 million miles.
Santa’s sleigh must travel 650 miles per second or roughly 3,000 times the speed of sound. Much faster than any known man-made vehicle. 
If every home leaves Santa a snack of one cookie and an eight ounce glass of milk, our portly hero would consume over 20,000,000,000 calories. Since one pound is equal to 3500 calories, Santa might gain 2900 tons. 
Assuming each child gets only two pounds worth of toys, the sleigh is carrying over 320,000 tons not counting Santa. That is a lot of weight for eight (or nine if Rudolph is invited) reindeer to pull.
Assuming the reindeer Santa employs are ten times stronger than any know reindeer species the job would require more than 200,000 animals in all. 
The weight of the payload and reindeer (over 350,000 tons) traveling at 650 miles per second creates unimaginable air resistance. This will heat the reindeer the same way a spaceship re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14 quintillion joules of energy per second. 
The huge amount of energy absorbed will create deafening sonic booms and cause the entire team to be vaporized almost instantly.
Santa would be subjected to centrifugal forces more than 17,500 times greater than gravity.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Remember I was the one that told you the truth about Christmas, to all of you that are listening, Santa Claus, he is real."
~ Lady Gaga.

“There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmas time. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them."
~ P.J. O'Rourke.

Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."
~ Charlotte Carpenter.

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"
~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends."
~ Margaret Thatcher (1925- ), English political leader.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
~ Peg Bracken.

Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given--when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes."
~ Joan Winmill Brown, American author and editor.

This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone."
~ Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), English novelist.

There are no strangers on Christmas Eve."
~ Adele Comandini and Edward Sutherland. Michael O'Brien (Charles Winninger), Beyond Tomorrow, after proposing that the partners invite three strangers to dinner (1940).

To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world."
~ Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), American president. Presidential message (December 25, 1927).


Christmas, in its final essence, is for grown people who have forgotten what children know. Christmas is for whoever is old enough to have denied the unquenchable spirit of man."
~ Margaret Cousins (1905- ), senior editor Doubleday Publishing Company.

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'."
~ Bing Crosby (1904-1977), American singer and film actor.

It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one's fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit."
~ Isabel Currier.

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
~ Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English author. From 'A Christmas Carol'.

Something about an old-fashioned Christmas is hard to forget."
~ Hugh Downs (1921- ), American newscaster.

They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart."
~ Mrs. Paul M. Ell.

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
~ W. T. Ellis

Christmas, my child, is love in action."
~ Dale Evans (1912-2001), American film actress, singer and songwriter. Wife of Roy Rogers.

Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal."
~ Lenore Hershey

My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still."
~ Charlton Heston (1923- ), American film actor.

At Christmas, all roads lead home."
~ Marjorie Holmes, American writer.

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness."
~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together."
~ Garrison Keillor (1942-), American author. 'Exiles,' Leaving Home (1987).

Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive."
~ Robert Lynd (1892-1970), American sociologist.

Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart...filled it, too, with melody that would last forever."
~ Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954), American author, 'Song of Years'.

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
~ Oren Arnold
Which Christmas is the most vivid to me? It's always the next Christmas."
~ Joanne Woodward (1930- ), American film actress. 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
~ Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), American Protestant religious leader, author.

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
~ Washington Irving (1783-1859), American short-story writer and essayist.

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas."
~ W. C. Jones

The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung."
~ Phillips Brooks (1835-93), American Episcopal bishop, wrote 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'.

 I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays--let them overtake me unexpectedly--waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: 'Why this is Christmas Day!'"
~ Ray Stannard Baker, pseud. David Grayson (1870-1946), American author, journalist.

The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!"
~ Charles N. Barnard, American author, travel writer.

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love."
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie (1845-1916), American author, essayist and critic.

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month."
~ Harlan Miller

Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence."
~ Joan Mills

Christmas is, of course, the time to be home - in heart as well as body."
~ Garry Moore

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
~ Agnes M. Pahro

I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world."
~ Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), American Protestant religious leader, author.

Mankind is a great, an immense family... This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas."
~ Pope John XXIII

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly."
~ Andy Rooney (1919-), American writer, producer, humorist.

The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature."
~ Andy Rooney (1919-), American writer, producer, humorist.

Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."
~ Augusta E. Rundell

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone."
~ Charles Schulz (1922-2000), American cartoonist 'Peanuts'.

As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is."
~ Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), American newscaster.

Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more."
~ Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), American author of children's books. From 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'.

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves."
~ Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), American newscaster.

Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion."
~ Ralph Sockman (1889-1970), American religious leader.

He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree."
~ Sunshine Magazine
There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."
~ Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), American author and humorist.

At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year."
~ Thomas Tusser (c. 1515-1580), author 'The Farmer's Daily Diet'.

Christmas is for children. But it is for grownups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts."
~ Lenora Mattingly Weber (1895-1971), American author.

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance - each beautiful, unique and too soon gone."
~ Deborah Whipp (1964-), web designer.

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall."
~ Larry Wilde, author 'The Merry Book of Christmas'.

It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart."
~ Marjorie Holmes, American writer.

“Roses are reddish Violets are bluish If it weren’t for Christmas We’d all be Jewish."
~ Benny Hill.



Saturday, October 6, 2012


Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn't show signs of stopping,
And I've bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I'll hate going out in the storm!
But if you'll really hold me tight,
All the way home I'll be warm.

The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we're still good-bying,
But as long as you love me so,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Let It Snow  - printable sheet music

Let it Snow has been referred to as a Christmas song by many because of the seasonal lyrics, regardless of the fact that this is purely a love song that makes no mention of Christmas other than snow.  Sometimes referred to by its complete title "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!", this is a song of Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne’s creation, made popular during the 1940’s. The composers were inspired to write this song after experiencing one of the hottest days in Hollywood on record, which was on July of 1945. Vaughn Monroe was fortunate to have made the very first recording for this well-liked song, which reached the top of the Billboard charts the subsequent year. Like most Christmas carol standards, a myriad of music artists have made their own versions of this best-selling song. Such artists as Doris Day, Andy Williams, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Dean Martin, Carly Simon, Chicago, and just recently, The Puppini Sisters and Lady Antebellum have included this song in their Christmas special albums.