Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Waiting for Santa

Get One At - Friendster Comments
I love this!  What a smart dog. As with all of these music e-cards and videos, you will have to pause my music player so you won't hear two different songs playing at the same time.


My Christmas Wish For You

I was reminded today that Christmas time is not a happy time for all. There could be many reasons, loss of a loved one, loss of a pet, divorce, family problems, money issues, health issues, soldiers who are keeping freedom for us, who are away and won't be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones, homeless families, and for whatever your reason is, my heart goes out to you and I hope you will be able to find some peace in your life at this special time of year. God Bless. 


Monday, December 21, 2009

Pudding Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding 2 eggs 1 tsp. baking soda 2 cups flour 1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate, chopped   HEAT oven to 350°F.

BEAT butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add dry pudding mix; beat until well blended. Add eggs and baking soda; mix well. Gradually add flour, beating after each addition until well blended. Stir in chocolate.

DROP tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.

BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 min. on baking sheets; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.    

Pecan Snickerdoodles

2-1/2 cups flour 1 cup finely chopped Pecans 2 tsp. cream of tartar 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, slightly softened 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided 2 eggs 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix flour, pecans, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in large bowl; set aside.

BEAT butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well blended. Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed until well mixed. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Another favorite.           Webfetti.com

Mexican Wedding Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1 cup powdered sugar, divided 1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups flour 1 cup finely chopped Pecans

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat butter, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and pecans, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended.

SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 1-1/2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE 14 to 15 min. or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 min. on baking sheets. Roll warm cookies in remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar until evenly coated; place on wire racks. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

These are my favorite cookies at Christmas time.

Peanut Blossoms

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 2/3 cup peanut butter 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 egg 2 Tbsp. milk 1 tsp. vanilla 1-1/2 cups flour 1/3 cup PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, finely chopped 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 48 foil-wrapped chocolate kisses, unwrapped

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Beat butter, peanut butter, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat until well blended. Combine flour, peanuts, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended after each addition.

SHAPE dough into 48 balls, each about 1 inch in diameter; roll in remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Place, 2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE 9 to 10 min. or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate piece into center of each cookie. (Cookie will crack slightly around edge.) Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.             

Snow, Snow, Snow

Well, it snowed all last night and looks very pretty this morning. Surprisingly not so cold as yesterday....only -2C. We went for a walk through St. Wolfgang, unfortunately the Advent Market isn't open today, but I took some photos anyway so you could see the snow.
Go here to see the snowy pics:


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowman Punch

There is a mute button in the lower left corner if you don't want to keep listening to the music. Have fun.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Local Library

After living in St. Wolfgang for nearly 2 years we decided to join the local library. We hadn't done so before because our German was hopeless and thought that they would only have german books. How wrong! Our friend told us that not only do they have some english books but also rent out DVDs and.......games!! Ah...well, I thought, that would only be 'Spiele für Kinder', you know Bob the Builder and Spongepants whotsitzname. Wrong again, they had a few 'games'. Keltis, Tikal, Fossil, SoC, Carcassonne and Mississippi Queen to name a few. Only a few titles admittedly but how many libraries in the UK would have even heard of any of them.

Tikal is a game that I played many years ago and liked. I have played a few online games at SpielbyWeb but nothing recently. So I thought I would rent it out for a couple of weeks at the outrageous price of 1 Euro and reacquaint myself with it. A discovery and treasure hunt game that looks good and plays well. I'm sure Tina will like it. I have been looking at Tobago, another treasure hunt game that looks impressive. Oh, by the way, it's snowing as I write this, the weather forecast for next week is warmer so I don't if we will have a White Christmas or not. Be ironic if the UK is white and we aren't.....

Happy Gaming!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Magical Christmas Eve

Santa Claus meets Krissy the Spider as he brings presents to a house where she lives. Krissy is a 7 year old little girl spider. From her home in a corner of the ceiling she gets excited watching a family decorate their Christmas tree. After a lot of asking, she convinces her parents to let her go visit with the angels. "But only in the night!" - they say. In the excitement she forgets about her webs and spoils the whole tree. Santa arrives, sees the mess, and blows Krissy a big red kiss turning her webs into tinsel and giving her a silvery coat, which, in later adventures, she finds out has magical powers. Everyone rejoices!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Caylus finally arrives along with the Krampus

Well the postman finally brought last game I had ordered from Spiel-Offensive, Caylus, I have been playing this online and can't wait to tear off the shrink wrap. I played the game I think 2 times when it first came out and wasn't too impressed, but now I think it's a great game.

We went for a walk round the Advent Market yesterday, I had some gluhwein, hot spiced wine and it was quite strong. As we were standing there we heard a bit of a commotion, all these bells and shouting.....well, the Krampus had arrived. It is a tradition in parts of Austria that the young men of the village dress up as Krampus and terrorise the local young ladies (officially supposed to be virgins), they would put sacks over the girls heads and drag them away. Then at some point a chap dressed up as St. Nicholas would come and banish the Grampus and save the village’s virgins.

The Frightening Face of the Krampus!

I grabbed the camera to get a few shots of the great costumes but didn't get out of the way quick enough and got whipped with birch twigs......great fun.

You can see more on the Krampus here......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

And I've put some more shots of the Krampus on my Advent album on Picasa here


Must go now, got some shrink wrap to destroy!

Happy Gaming!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reindeer, Elves, Mrs. Claus

The common names given for Santa's reindeer in modern culture are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Eight of these names are taken more or less directly from Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas," and the ninth from the song "Rudolph the Red  Nosed Reindeer" and the TV special based upon it.

Santa Claus has many elves. They speak all different languages just like Santa Claus. If there is an average of one present per child, there needs to be a lot of elves to make all of those toys. Most children even get two to three presents from Santa Claus. Name a name, and at least one elf probably has that name.

Jingle and Jangle are the names of the two elves who help Mrs. Claus in the movie, "The Year Without A Santa Claus". Elisa, Aaron, Roger, Miley, and Taylor are a few one of the known names of elves. You can find more by searching the internet.
Mrs. Claus is the wife of Santa Claus. Unlike Santa Claus, however, she does not have a counterpart in folklore or mythology, but was the creation of American authors. She was popularized by poet Katharine Lee Bates in Bates' poem, "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride" (1889). The character has since appeared in story, film, television and other media. Since 1889, Mrs. Claus has been generally depicted in media as a fairly heavy-set, kindly, white-haired elderly female baking cookies somewhere in the background of the Santa Claus mythos. She sometimes assists in toy production, and oversees Santa's elves. She is sometimes called Mother Christmas, and Mary Christmas has been suggested as her maiden name.
GreetingSpring.com                             GreetingSpring.com
From Wikipedia
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Looney Tunes Sing-A-Long Christmas


Go ahead and sing! You know you want to! Aww...c'mon...!

Legend of the Poinsettia

    The plants' association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The True Meaning of Christmas by Brian K. Walters


In todays' day and time,
it's easy to lose sight,
of the true meaning of Christmas
and one special night.

When we go shopping,
We say "How much will it cost?"
Then the true meaning of Christmas,
Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter
And ribbons of gold,
We forget about the child,
born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa
In his big, red sleigh
Never thinking of the child
Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality,
When we look into the night sky,
We don't see a sleigh
But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,
Of that night so long ago,
And of the child we call Jesus,
Whose love, the world would know.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Craziness


Well, the Thanksgiving weekend is winding down. It was nice having four whole days off in a row! It gave me a chance to finish decorating for the holiday. It's only taken me just about two weeks to get it all done! Isn't that just crazy? This is why I need to get started early. I don't have all day to devote to just decorating because I work evenings, so I just do two or three...if I'm lucky...hours a day until I'm done. I'm so glad it's done!! I had Thanksgiving dinner at my house. It was a good day and everyone enjoyed the food. It seems like no matter how much you try to prepare ahead and clean things up as you go, you still end up with a huge mess to clean up at the end of the day. It's not just the dishes, it's extra tables and chairs that were set up, extra food table, sweeping the carpet, putting everything away, making room in the refrigerators for the leftovers and just putting your house back together again! Whew! But, I do like having people over for the holidays or I wouldn't do it.

Now...a little more Christmas craziness...Black Friday, the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. Stores opening at 4:00 a.m., people standing in line to get into the store at 2:00 a.m. for those great sales. I did this once with my husband, but never have since. He loves to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. He was up at 3:00 a.m. as I was just going to bed. I told him to have fun. He met up with his sister, shopped for a while, had breakfast, and was home by noon. His gifts were wrapped and are now under the tree.
Mine are still in boxes waiting to be wrapped...by me...and before you know it with all of the shopping, decorating, inviting friends and family over for dinner, visiting with others, etc., Christmas is here...and gone...in just a day. It's amazing how much of your time goes into preparing for one day. I get a little sad after it's over because I really enjoy this time of the year. Then reality sets in and I'm looking at two more weeks of taking down decorations and putting them all away. Yikes!!! But I'll do it again next year. I love the music, the lights and decorations, the Christmas movies, the yummy cookies, the food...but not the weight gain that comes with that...the wine to help me get through it all, the closeness of family and friends, and to help someone else have a better Thanksgiving and Christmas with a donation or a tag from a Christmas tree for gifts. It's a magical time of the year for me which I will always keep in my heart.

More Advent Pictures

Just a quick post to say that I have added a few more pictures to the Advent album on Picasa. Also, two of my games have arrived......hooray!!! Posted on Wednesday and arrived on Friday..not bad. So been getting into Assyria and Il Principe and must say like both a lot. Just waiting for Caylus to arrive now.

Happy Gaming!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Advent Market

The Advent Market opened on the 20th November. Even on the first weekend there was a lot of people visiting, I have created a Picasa Web album where you can see the pictures I have taken so far. I will be adding more as we go. The atmosphere is really great! There are all these little wooden huts selling everything from soup in a loaf! to Christmas decorations, Krapfen (like doughnuts filled with apricot jam), Gluhwein (of course) and loads more. Everywhere you look there are Christmas trees and candles.

St. Wolfgang produces a special mug each year for the Advent Market and if you buy some Gluhwein it comes in the special mug which you can keep after you have drunk the Gluhwein. We tried the soup in a loaf, it comes served in a hollowed out loaf with the top cut off to form the lid. I had green pea with sausage and Tina had Garlic soup....mmmmm....very tasty!! After the soup I had a beer and we bought some lovely roasted Maroni....chestnuts!

There are horse and carriage rides available round the town, they are decorated with lights and lanterns and sleigh bells that sound wonderful as they pass by. The passengers are wrapped up warmly with blankets and the route takes them past the Schafberg train station, the ferry point and along the lakeside. The boats are all lit with lights and decorated inside with decorations, you can have a ride on the boat from one end of the lake to the other. At the Northwest end is St. Gilgen, they have a wonderful Advent market as well and as well as all the usual huts they have a special display of wooden carvings, especially Kripps, depicting the navitity scene. At the opposite end of the lake is Strobl, again they have a great market with whole tree trunks burning in the streets providing a wonderful atmosphere. The emphasis at Strobl is animals, they have deer, goats, sheep and cows all in pens in town centre providing a great treat for the children who can pet them.

Hope you have enjoyed a little taste of what the Christmas markets are like here in Austria, you can find my Picasa album here for more pictures:


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wizards in Winter

http://www.friscochristmas.com/  The song is Wizards in Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Light show by Jeff Trykoski.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Humbug Christmas

This is a very cute story that I have never heard of until now. Imagine that, I thought I knew them all! Hope you enjoy listening to this story.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas is coming and my games aren't!

Well, here in St. Wolfgang it is very busy at the moment. Everyone is getting ready for the Christmas Advent Market which starts on the 20th. There are Christmas trees everywhere, little wooden huts are being readied with fir branches, stars and decorations. There is a huge lantern floating on a pontoon out on the lake, which will light up and look great. Logs fires are burning in the street, with chestnuts roasting and gluhwein everywhere.....we can't wait.

News from the gaming front. I have found a great online games store....spiel-offensive.de They have some great bargains on older games and even the very latest Essen releases are very competitively priced. Even better, orders over 40 euro are post free to Austria. I put an order in for 3 games, Assyria, which I read a lot about during Essen, Caylus, an old game I know but a classic and Il Principe. The last one was only 7 euro so quite a bargain. The only trouble is that Caylus was out of stock and I am still waiting for it to arrive in the store. My german being very poor, while I was looking at my order I accidentally clicked the cancel order button.....Doh!! Anyway, I sent an email off and within 30mins I had a reply, in english, saying no problem they would just ignore the cancellation and any more problems get in touch. Good service I think, I just hope the games arrive soon.

Hopefully when the Advent Market is under way I will post some photos....stay tuned.

Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Frosty the Snowman

One December afternoon, a young girl named Karen and her group of friends create a snowman after school. The children suggest names for their creation including Christopher Columbus and Oatmeal but Karen decides to name him "Frosty". They later acquire a top hat discarded by inept magician Professor Hinkle. When Karen places the hat on Frosty's head, the snowman comes to life and exclaims "Happy Birthday!" When Hinkle learns of the magic power his hat actually possesses, he takes its back and departs. However, the professor's pet rabbit Hocus Pocus returns the hat to Frosty. Frosty soon senses the temperature is rising and worries about melting. The children suggest putting him on the next train to the North Pole, where he will never melt, and they all parade into the city on the way to the train station, where Frosty has his confrontation with the traffic cop mentioned in the lyrics. When they cannot afford a train ticket, Frosty, Karen and Hocus stow away aboard a refrigerated train car. Unbeknownst to them, Hinkle has also hitched a ride on the same train, intending to get his hat back. Soon Frosty notices Karen freezing up in the box car so they jump off the train, leaving Hinkle behind.
Fearing that Karen cannot survive the cold weather, Frosty asks Hocus who might be able to help them. Hocus suggests (by pantomiming) the President of the United States and the United States Marines, before suggesting Santa Claus. Frosty agrees, and promptly takes credit for the idea himself. The forest animals build a campfire to keep Karen warm until they can locate Santa Claus, but Hinkle again arrives and blows out the fire. Frosty and Karen are again forced to flee, this time with Karen riding on Frosty's back as he slides head-first down a hill. At the bottom of the slope, Karen and Frosty discover a greenhouse filled with poinsettias. Against Karen's advice Frosty steps inside the warm greenhouse, suggesting that he could afford to lose a little weight anyway, but Hinkle again catches up to Frosty and locks him and Karen in the greenhouse. Hocus brings Santa Claus to the greenhouse only to find Karen in tears and Frosty melted on the floor. Santa explains to Karen that Frosty is made from Christmas snow, and that he can never completely melt away. With a gust of cold wind through the open greenhouse door, Frosty is brought back to life. Hinkle again arrives on the scene and demands the return of his hat. He relents only when threatened with being removed from Santa's Christmas list for the rest of his life. Santa states that if Hinkle is truly repentant for his mean attitude and harming Frosty, that he may find a gift in his stocking on Christmas morning, which makes Hinkle run home to write repeatedly his apologies. Santa then takes Karen home and Frosty to the North Pole, but promises that Frosty will be back next winter.

The end credits show all the characters the next Christmas marching through the town square with Frosty in the lead, singing the "Frosty the Snowman" song. Among them is a reformed Professor Hinkle, who is proudly wearing his new top hat. At the end of the parade, Frosty gets back into Santa's waiting sleigh and they return to the North Pole, with Frosty exclaiming, "I'll be back on Christmas Day!"

The Polar Express

You will need to pause the music player on the left side bar if watching video.

As the book starts off on the night of Christmas Eve, a young boy is lying in bed waiting to hear the sound of Santa Claus's sleigh bells. Suddenly, he hears loud rumbling outside on the street as a magical train called The Polar Express pulls up in front of his house. The boy ventures outside and is invited by the train's conductor to journey to the North Pole. The train is filled with children, all dressed in their pajamas, who drink hot chocolate as rich as melted chocolate bars and the train rumbles on.

As the train reaches the North Pole, the boy and the other children see thousands of elves gathered at the center of town waiting to send Santa Claus on his way. The boy is handpicked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas. Realizing that he could choose anything in the world, the boy asks for one beautiful-sounding silver bell from Santa's sleigh. The boy places the bell in the pocket of his robe and all the children watch as Santa takes off into the night for his annual deliveries.

Later, on the train ride home, the boy discovers that the bell has fallen through a hole in his pocket. The boy arrives home and goes to his bedroom as the train pulls away. On Christmas morning, his sister finds a small package for the boy under the tree, behind all of the other gifts. The boy opens the box and discovers that it is the bell, delivered by Santa who found it on the seat of his sleigh. When the boy rings the bell, both he and his sister marvel at the beautiful sound. His parents, however, are unable to hear the bell and remark that it must be broken. The book ends with a famous quote, also promoted to the film based on it:

At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.

Music by Josh Groban, "Believe"
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A Christmas Carol

Reproduced from a c.1870s photographer frontis...Image via Wikipedia

The tale begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. That night seven years later, the ghost of Jacob Marley appears before Scrooge and warns him that his soul will be bearing heavy chains for eternity if he does not change his greedy ways, and also predicts that a series of other ghosts will follow. Three Christmas ghosts visit Scrooge during the course of the night, fulfilling Marley's prophecy. The first, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to the scenes of his boyhood and youth which stir the old skinflint's gentle and tender side. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to the home of his nephew Fred to observe his game of Yes and No and to the humble dwelling of his clerk Bob Cratchit to observe his Christmas dinner. The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, harrows Scrooge with dire visions of the future if he does not learn and act upon what he has witnessed. Crippled Tiny Tim does not die as the ghost foretold and Scrooge becomes a different man, treating his fellow men with kindness, generosity, and compassion, and gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas.

Cards and Presents for Christmas

The giving of gifts at Christmas comes from several different ideas. One is that God gave his son, Jesus, to the world at Christmas. There is also the story of the Wise Men who came to the baby Jesus with three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. For many centuries it has been the custom for people to give small gifts at Christmas, and also to give generously to the poor and needy to help them through the winter. Another tradition has become linked to this one, and the result is the tradition of Santa Claus, or Father Christmas as he is sometimes called, and who is nowadays thought by many children to be the bringer of presents.

In the 4th century, in a Greek village that is now part of Turkey, there was a good man who would secretly given presents to the poor to help them. He became a bishop and is called Saint Nicholas. Over the centuries, he became a very popular saint and lots of churches were named after him. He was very popular in places where there were lots of sailors. One of those places was the Netherlands. In the Netherlands and many other European countries, presents are given on the feast of Saint Nicholas, December 6th. Traditionally, the presents are not big, and are sometimes hidden, or have a funny joke or poem that must be read. In many towns of Europe a man dressed in bishop's robes comes on a horse or in a boat, acting as St. Nicholas. His name was often shortened to Sante Claus, or Santa Claus in English.

In Spain it is the Three Wise Men who bring gifts to children.In English speaking countries, where presents are usually given on Christmas Day, not December 6th, Santa Claus, (or Father Christmas) is usually thought of as coming on Christmas Night, when his magic sleigh is pulled across the sky by reindeer, and he comes into houses through the chimney. While in Europe, children put out their shoes for St. Nicholas, the English tradition is to hang up stockings (or long socks) in front of the fireplace. Santa Claus would traditionally fill the socks or shoes with nuts, raisins, chocolates and an orange. Nowadays children usually get much more expensive presents, and hang up pillow cases or have the presents in a big pile under the Christmas tree.

Another Christmas tradition is the sending of cards to friends and relatives. These contain warm greetings and may also have a letter telling all the things that have happened to the person or family during the year.

From Wikipedia

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Santa's Tree

Decorate Santa's tree the way you want it to look like. Mute the sound in the top right corner if you don't want to listen to it.

The Christmas Tree

Comments by ZingerBug.com   The Christmas tree is a decorated artificial or living tree, a popular tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. Normally an evergreen coniferous tree that is brought into a home or used in the open, a Christmas tree is decorated with Christmas lights and colourful ornaments during the days around Christmas. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity story.


Tree trimming decorations:

A bauble decorating a Christmas treeTinsel and several types of garland or ribbon are commonly used to decorate a Christmas tree. Delicate mould-blown and painted coloured glass Christmas ornaments were a speciality of the glass factories in the Thuringian Forest especially in Lauscha in the late 19th century, and have since become a large industry, complete with famous-name designers. Lighting with candles or electric lights (fairy lights) is commonly done and a tree topper, traditionally either an angel or a star, completes the ensemble.

Silvered saran based tinsel was introduced later, which many have found to be unsatisfactory, since it did not drape well, leading to the demise of tinsel in tree decorating in the United States (it remains popular in many European countries). Baubles are another extremely common decoration, and usually consist of a fairly small hollow glass or plastic sphere coated with a thin metallic layer to make them reflective, and then with a further coating of a thin pigmented polymer in order to provide colouration.

Individuals' decorations vary widely, typically being an eclectic mix of family traditions and personal tastes; even a small unattractive ornament, if passed down from a parent or grandparent, may come to carry considerable emotional value and be given a place of pride on the tree. Conversely, trees decorated by professional designers for department stores and other institutions will usually have a "theme"; a set of predominant colours, multiple instances of each type of ornament, and larger decorations that may be more complicated to set up correctly. Some churches decorate with Chrismon trees, which use handmade ornaments depicting various Chrismon symbols. Chrismon means simple monograms of Jesus Christ.

Many people also decorate outdoor trees with food that birds and other wildlife will enjoy, such as garlands made from unsalted popcorn or cranberries, orange halves, and seed-covered suet cakes.

Tree mats and skirts:

Since candles were used to light trees until electric bulbs came about, a mat (UK) or "skirt" (US) was often placed on the floor below the tree to protect it by catching the dripping candle wax, and also to collect any needles that fall. Even when dripless candles, electric lights and artificial trees have been used, a skirt is still usually used as a decorative feature: among other things, it hides the Christmas tree stand, which may be unsightly but which is an important safety feature of home trees. What began as ordinary cloth has now often become much more ornate, some having embroidery or being put together like a quilt.

A nativity scene, model train, or Christmas village may be placed on the mat or skirt. As Christmas presents arrive, they are generally placed underneath the tree on the tree skirt (depending on tradition, all Christmas gifts, or those too large to be hung on the tree, as in "presents on the tree" of the song "I'll Be Home for Christmas").

Generally, the difference between a mat and skirt is simply that a mat is placed under the Christmas tree stand, while a skirt is placed over it, having a hole in the middle for the trunk, with a slot cut to the outside edge so that it can be placed around the tree (beneath the branches) easily. A plain mat of fabric or plastic may also be placed under the stand and skirt to protect the floor from scratches or water.

Christmas tree stand:

A Christmas tree stand is an object designed to support a cut, natural Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree. Christmas tree stands appeared as early as 1876 and have had various designs over the years. Those stands designed for natural trees have a water reservoir to hydrate the live tree.


In the 1940s and 1950s flocking was very popular on the West Coast of the United States. There were home flocking kits that could be used with vacuum cleaners. In the 1980s some trees were sprayed with fluffy white flocking to simulate snow. Typically it would be sprayed all over the tree from the sides, which produced a look different from real snow, which settles in clumps atop branches. Flocking can be done with a professional sprayer at a tree lot (or the manufacturer if it is artificial), or at home from a spray can, and either can be rather messy. This tradition seems to be most popular on the West Coast and Southern parts of the United States.

Because flock contains flame retardants, a flocked tree can be placed in a public building in accordance with local fire codes.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Santa Quest

Please be patient while game is loading.
Warning: game may be addictive.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas

This was one of those stories my mother read to me as a child. I enjoyed watching it on television as a child...and who am I kidding...I still do!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours!

Christmas Picture Frame
imikimi - Customize Your World!
From top left to right:
Pepper, myself, my daughter Bridget & Jason
Kashmir, my grandaughter, Gino, Kelsi, my grandaughter
George, my son & Jen, Bruce, my husband, and Jinx

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The story begins on Christmas Eve at the stahlbaum house. Marie, twelve years old, and her brother Fritz, eight, sit outside the parlor speculating about what kind of present their godfather Drosselmeyer, who is a clockmaker and inventor, has made for them. They are at last allowed into the parlor, where they receive many splendid gifts, including Drosselmeyer's, which turns out to be a clockwork castle with mechanical people moving about inside it. However, as the mechanical people can only do the same thing over and over without variation, the children quickly tire of it. At this point, Marie notices the Nutcracker doll, and asks whom he belongs to. Her father tells her that he belongs to all of them, but that since she is so fond of him she will be his special caretaker. Marie, her sister Louise, and her brother Fritz pass the Nutcracker among them, cracking nuts, until Fritz tries to crack a nut that is too big and hard, and the Nutcracker's jaw breaks. Marie, upset, takes the Nutcracker away and bandages him with a ribbon from her dress.

When it is time for bed, the children put their Christmas gifts away in the special cupboard where they keep their toys. Fritz and Louise go up to bed, but Marie begs to be allowed to stay with Nutcracker a while longer, and she is allowed to do so. She puts Nutcracker to bed and tells him that Drosselmeyer will fix his jaw as good as new. At this, the Nutcracker's face seems momentarily to come alive, and Marie is frightened, but she then decides it was only her imagination.
The grandfather clock begins to chime, and Marie believes she sees Drosselmeyer sitting on top of it, preventing it from striking. Mice begin to come out from beneath the floor boards, including the seven-headed Mouse King. Marie, startled, slips and puts her elbow through the glass door of the toy cupboard. The dolls in the cupboard come alive and begin to move, Nutcracker taking command and leading them into battle after putting Marie's ribbon on as a token. The battle at first goes to the dolls, but they are eventually overwhelmed by the mice. Marie, seeing Nutcracker about to be taken prisoner, takes off her shoe and throws it at the Mouse King, then faints.
Marie wakes the next morning with her arm bandaged and tries to tell her parents about the battle between the mice and the dolls, but they do not believe her, thinking that she has had a fever dream caused by the wound she sustained from the broken glass. Drosselmeyer soon arrives with the Nutcracker, whose jaw has been fixed, and tells Marie the story of Princess Pirlipat and the Queen of the Mice, which explains how Nutcrackers came to be and why they look the way they do.
The Queen of the Mice tricked Pirlipat's mother into allowing her and her children to gobble up the lard that was supposed to go into the sausage that the King was to eat at dinner that evening. The King, enraged at the Mouse Queen for spoiling his supper and upsetting his wife, had his court inventor, whose name happens to be Drosselmeyer, create traps for the Mouse Queen and her children.
The Mouse Queen, angered at the death of her children, swore that she would take revenge on the King's daughter, Pirlipat. Pirlipat's mother surrounded her with cats which were supposed to be kept awake by being constantly stroked, however inevitably the nurses who stroked the cats fell asleep and the Mouse Queen magically turned the infant Pirlipat ugly, giving her a huge head, a wide grinning mouth and a cottony beard, like a nutcracker. The King blamed Drosselmeyer and gave him four weeks to find a cure. At the end of four weeks, Drosselmeyer had no cure but went to his friend, the court astrologer.
They read Pirlipat's horoscope and told the King that the only way to cure her was to have her eat the nut Crackatook, which must be cracked and handed to her by a man who had never been shaved nor worn boots since birth, and who must, without opening his eyes hand her the kernel and take seven steps backwards without stumbling. The King sent Drosselmeyer and the astrologer out to look for the nut and the young man, charging them on pain of death not to return until they had found them.
The two men journeyed for many years without finding either the nut or the man, until finally they returned home and found the nut in a small shop. The man who had never been shaved and never worn boots turned out to be Drosselmeyer's own nephew. The King, once the nut had been found, promised his daughter's hand to whoever could crack the nut. Many men broke their teeth on the nut before Drosselmeyer's nephew finally appeared. He cracked the nut easily and handed it to the princess, who swallowed it and immediately became beautiful again, but Drosselmeyer's nephew, on his seventh backward step, trod on the Queen of the Mice and stumbled, and the curse fell on him, giving him a large head, wide grinning mouth and cottony beard; in short, making him a Nutcracker. The ungrateful Princess, seeing how ugly Drosselmeyer's nephew had become, refused to marry him and banished him from the castle.
Marie, while she recuperates from her wound, hears the King of the Mice whispering to her in the middle of the night, threatening to bite Nutcracker to pieces unless she gives him her sweets and her dolls. For Nutcracker's sake, Marie sacrifices her things, but the Mouse king wants more and more and finally Nutcracker tells Marie that if she will just get him a sword, he will finish the Mouse King. Marie asks Fritz for a sword for Nutcracker, and he gives her the sword of one of his toy hussars. The next night, Nutcracker comes into Marie's room bearing the Mouse King's seven crowns, and takes her away with him to the doll kingdom, where Marie sees many wonderful things. She eventually falls asleep in the Nutcracker's palace and is brought back home. She tries to tell her mother what happened, but again she is not believed, even when she shows her parents the seven crowns, and she is forbidden to speak of her "dreams" anymore.
As Marie sits in front of the toy cabinet one day, looking at Nutcracker and thinking about all the wondrous things that happened, she can't keep silent anymore and swears to the Nutcracker that if he were ever really real she would never behave as Princess Pirlipat behaved, and she would love him whatever he looked like. At this, there is a bang and she falls off the chair. Her mother comes in to tell her that godfather Drosselmeyer has arrived with his young nephew. Drosselmeyer's nephew takes Marie aside and tells her that by swearing that she would love him in spite of his looks, she broke the curse on him and made him handsome again. He asks her to marry him. She accepts, and in a year and a day he comes for her and takes her away to the Doll Kingdom, where she is crowned queen.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV special)Image via Wikipedia

GreetingSpring.comFrom Wikipedia

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a character created in a story and song by the same name. The story was created by Robert L. May in 1939 as part of his employment with Montgomery Ward.

The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, L.P. and has been sold in numerous forms including a popular song, a television special (done in stop motion animation), and a feature film. Character Arts, LLC [1] manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, L.P. Although the story and song are not public domain, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore.

The song tells the tale of Santa Claus's ninth and lead reindeer who possesses an unusually red-colored nose that gives off its own light, powerful enough to illuminate the team's path through inclement weather.

The reindeer made his television debut on NBC in 1964, when Rankin/Bass produced a stop motion animated TV special of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that became a popular hit in itself. This version was re-broadcast annually many times over the years, even after it was finally released on video and then DVD. It now airs several times during the Christmas season (on CBS rather than NBC), making it the longest-running TV special in terms of consecutive years. A small bit of trivia regarding the 1964 production, the Roman Numeral Date given at the beginning of the show is in error, missing the second "M", (MCLXIV) which equates to the year 1164. It should have read MCMLXIV to be correct.

In 1976, a sequel to the Rankin-Bass original special was produced, entitled Rudolph's Shiny New Year, and then a third in 1979 entitled Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. Then in 2001, a fourth in the series was released titled Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Greeting Puzzle

Use the space bar as you click on the puzzle pieces to flip them into place.

Christmas Picture Puzzle

Move the puzzle pieces around until you make the tree.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Christmas Facts

glitter graphics
Glitter Graphics, Christmas Glitter Graphics

     Did you know that:

1. In Denmark, they leave a bowl of rice pudding for Santa Claus.

2. Norway sends a large tree to England on an annual basis.

3. A festive "Great Bullfight" is held every Christmas in Peru.

4. The evergreen tree is a symbol of eternal life offered to Christians through faith in Christ.

5. In Holland, the gift bringer is Sinter Klaas.

6. Charlie Brown-1965-Lucy says the best snowflakes are January snowflakes.

7. In Germany, Bavarians go into the mountains and fire pistols in honor of Christmas.

8. A stoneman, Charles Pajeau, invented Tinker Toys in 1913.

9. In 1997, 96% of children between the ages of 8-12 included a big screen TV on their holiday wish list.....WOW!

10. 1.76 billion candy canes were made during the holiday season.

11. The largest yo-yo weighs 896 pounds.

12. Santa Claus is Coming To Town was written in 1934.

13. The most complete "Christmas Story" was told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

14. Dutch children receive wooden shoes filled with candy and toys at Christmas.

15. Christmas Cards originated in England and were first sent during the 1840's.

16. Americans spent 13.8 billion during the "2001" holiday shopping season.

17. The first Christmas Trees were suspended from the ceiling.

18. On Christmas Eve in Spain, children fill their shoes with straw.

19. In Norway, the last Sunday before Christmas is called Dirty Sunday.

20. In Austria, gluhwein, or mulled wine is enjoyed at Christmas.

21. Erector sets were the most popular Christmas gift in 1913.

22. In Finland, Santa is called Joulupukki.

23. Holly is a symbol of rebirth and has come to stand for peace and joy.

24. The german word Christkindl, means Christ child who was the gift giver.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Christmas Coloring Page

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cat in the tree

Comments by ZingerBug.com  
 I had to laugh when I saw this graphic. It reminded me of my cat we used to have who is no longer here. I was sitting at the dining room table eating and you can see the tree from the dining room. When I turned to look at the tree, I noticed Casey's tail swaying back and forth from the bottom of a tree branch. He was just sitting inside my tree looking out at me. I wasn't real happy with this and chased him out of the tree.  We laughed about it afterward, but hoped he wouldn't continue getting into the tree. I guess he thought he had a little of the outdoors in the house. One year my dog also thought he had a little of the outdoors inside since he used the tree as his own personal bathroom. Animals! 

Decorating the Tree

Comments by ZingerBug.com   It's almost that time of the year when we dig out the tree and make it beautiful with all of the ornaments that we have collected over the years. Some people put up many trees...God Bless them...I put up a large one and a pencil tree on my sunporch. I do love to decorate the tree, but I have found that as I get older, it gets to be a little more work. When my children were small, we would look for a real Christmas tree, ahhh, the fresh smell of pine, nothing like it at Christmas time. Sometimes there would even be small pinecones on the tree and the warmth from the lights on the tree would make the pine cones crackle.  It was fun...and cold...looking for the perfect tree, but something you will always remember. 
 We did the real trees for a long time and then decided to get an artificial tree. I've had at least four artificial trees. They started out large and then became smaller throughout the years...it must have something to do with the getting older thing! I used to string the lights on and now they are prelit and I must say I like the prelit trees. The lights are strung on nicely so that you can barely see the wire.
My tradition is to have some wine while decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. It usually takes me all day to finish the tree. Something I find very upsetting is when you get the tree up and plug it in.....guess what....half of the lights work and the other half don't. Nice. This happened after we had bought a tree at Pool City, had it up one Christmas and the following Christmas half of the lights were out. Tested the lights, couldn't find the problem, went to Pool City, took the receipt to show we had it only one year, and they gave us a bunch of replacement lights...with a plug only on one end. Nothing else they could do...nothing else...we paid $300.00 for this tree and that's the best you can do???? Well, I tried to put these lights on a prelit tree and it just wasn't getting it if you know what I mean, so I got really upset after arguing about it with my husband, took the tree apart, stuffed it back into the box, kicking it into the box, sort of like Chevy Chase did in Christmas Vacation, when he got upset because his lights weren't working and he started kicking Santa and the reindeer all over the front lawn...I can relate to that. Anyway, we took it to the nearest dumpster and bought another one. It seems like every year I have some sort of light problems to deal with....yikes....but after it's all done, the tree and the outside decorations, look beautiful. I will always decorate a tree for Christmas even when I'm much older, even if it's just a pencil tree or a tabletop tree. I'll never forget that Christmas magic.


There are many versions of A Christmas Carol/Scrooge and this is yet another from Walt Disney shown in 3-D...my favorite way to see a movie. It's to be released in November 2009 and I think I shall have to go and see it. Update....I did make it to the movie theater to see this with my son, hubby, and grandchildren, and thought it was an excellent version of Scrooge! I loved the 3-D effect also! I finally did purchase the DVD and added it to my other Scrooge collections.

 Other versions, and I'm sure there are many more, include:

1. 1938 version with Reginald Owen "A Christmas Carol".

2. 1951 version with Alistair Sim "A Christmas Carol", my favorite.

3. 1970 version with Albert Finney, a British musical, "Scrooge".

4. 1979 version with Henry Winkler, "An American Christmas Carol," a little different from the others, but I still enjoyed it.

5. 1984 TV. version with George C. Scott "A Christmas Carol".

6. 1999 version with Patrick Stewart from (Star Trek: The Next Generation), "A Christmas Carol".

There were even a few cartoon versions:

7. 1962 "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" w/Jim Backus which I loved to watch when I was young.

8. 1992 "The Muppet Christmas Carol" w/Michael Caine as Scrooge.

First game session for a while

Last night I had the chance to play some games with Pauline and Stephen who were over for a week. I thought we would give a cooperative game an outing so Pandemic hit the table. I don't think they had played this type of game before so it was a new experience for them. We played the Normal version and played with open hands to get the feel for it.

Pandemic....so close the victory

These were the roles we drew, Pauline was the Dispatcher, Stephen was Scientist and I was Operations Expert. We started off fairly well managing to keep the infections down, I managed to meet Stephen a yellow city to pass him a that city card to enable him to cure the yellow virus. Soon after we eradicated it altogether. Well, not too shabby. But then we got an epidemic, and few cards after another. We were so close to victory, we had cured the red and black, eradicated the yellow and on the next turn or two Stephen would be in a position to cure blue and claim victory. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out like that. The outbreaks had been steadily increasing and finally with the 4th epidemic card we were finally overwhelmed and the world succumbed to multiple outbreaks and defeat. We all enjoyed the game and found it a real challenge, hopefully we will save the world next time!

Canal Mania is a game by the Ragnar Brothers about building canals across England. I hadn't played it for years and Stephen and Pauline hadn't played at all. I ran through the rules quickly and off we went. This game could just as easily be about building railways, but there are so many railway games out there I suppose canals is different. You are, to a certain extent, restricted to what contracts turn up in Parliament as to whether you can get a viable network going. Unfortunately fortune didn't favour me this time and my pathetic attempts resulted in a fractured and very inefficient system. On the other hand Pauline and Stephen both had decent networks and were starting to move goods cubes for some good points.

Canal Mania

As the game developed Stephen managed to get a decent lead and when the time came to transport all the goods cubes he kept it to get a very convincing win, Pauline was a close second with me trailing along dismally at the back

Final Scores
Stephen 128, Pauline 104, Colin 73

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holiday Cookie Recipes

GreetingSpring.com   Here are some cookie recipes for those of you who love to bake for the holidays.

Thursday, October 22, 2009



There's music of the holidays

Playing on the radio -
There's Christmas decorations
Almost everywhere you go.

The Salvation Army bells
Ring out for the poor -
The 'Ho,ho.' of Santa Claus
In the department stores.

Carolers sing Christmas songs -
Going, house to house -
Tales about, where no one stirs
Not even, a mouse.

Hoofbeats in fresh fallen snow
Pulling, an open sleigh -
Children asking Mom and Dad
'Is Santa on his way?'

Cracklin' from the fireplace -
Roasting chestnuts 'neath the coals -
The soft murmur of prayers
Said, for the lost souls.

Friends and family gather
To toast, Christmas cheer -
There's sounds of angels singing
(If, you really want to hear.

The sounds of Christmas, fill the air
As we celebrate His birth -
Wishing joy, to all mankind
And peace to all on earth."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Essen is here already!

Well, I see I haven't posted for a while .....again...and Essen has crept up on us again. Unfortunately I won't be going but that doesn't stop me reading the blogs, sussing out the new games, reading the rules, following the news stories...phew, it's almost as tiring as actually going. Being on a somewhat limited budget now that I am retired I have to pick any new purchases rather carefully. Also as my playing partners are also very limited, Tina, and Pauline and Stephen when they come over to St. Wolfgang, this does limit the type of game I can pick.
Definitely must be able to be played by 2, definitely must NOT be a wargame, must have pretty bits and not lend itself to AP (analysis paralysis). So, I have been looking at a few games, Colonia and Assyria being I suppose the top of the list. Cyclades also looks interesting, Bruno Cathala's games always worth a look. Will I actually buy anything, again this depends on a number of factors, but I am sure that I will buy something....after careful analysis of all the available information of course, not because of all the pretty colours :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Christmas Danger Game

Stay away from the food and collect all the presents that you can with the tree. After so many presents though, your tree grows bigger and it's harder to stay away from the food. My highest score was 267 so far.

Christmas Puzzle 3


Puzzle Game

Christmas Memory Game

Have fun!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

This is such a magical song. I found the instrument he's using to play the song on, very interesting. Never knew such an instrument existed! It's a glass armonica.
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Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song

Changing picture scenes with this music video. No one sings this better than Nat King Cole!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Little Drummer Boy

One of my favorite childhood Christmas movies.

Christmas Screensavers


Something I love to do at Christmas is to decorate my computer with beautiful screensavers for the holidays. I look for the freebies most of the time, and there are a lot of them out there, some without adware, spyware, etc. which are the best, and some are wrapped with the stuff you really don't want on your computer! I love the animated ones with music. I have so many on my computer I could probably put a new one on each day for the whole month of December. I have a couple that are transparent snow which are really nice with a Christmas wallpaper under it. I used to have a program Snow for Windows, but lost that when my computer crashed. It had settings for how hard you wanted the snow to blow, and the snow would build up on windows, also settings for polar bears that walked across the screen, settings for Santa and his reindeer, and even for Rudolph and his shiny red nose.

You can download a 10 day trial version at http://snow-for-windows.en.softonic.com/ . It's for windows XP. I don't see anything about it being for windows vista, which is what I have now. Some other places for free screensavers are http://www.scenicreflections.com/. There are some nice 3-D savers here. If you hover over the picture, if it's free, it will state it's free. Downloaded many nice ones here and am having no trouble with my computer. Another place I've downloaded nice screensavers were from http://freechristmasscreensavers.com/christmassavers.html. Also http://www.freeze.com/. It's probably a good idea to always read the terms of use policy. These places may put their cookies on your computer, but as I said, so far I haven't had any problems. Some places during the install may want to put a toolbar on your computer and I always uncheck that box. You just have to read everything during the install. If there is something you don't want on your computer, uncheck the box if that option is available, or just cancel the install, and always, always, always, before installing, scan the download with your antivirus, antispyware program, then you can enjoy the beautiful holiday screensavers. Themeshack http://www.themeshack.net/group_projects.htm is always a safe place to get screensavers, but not all of them are free. You just have to hunt for them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Traditional Santa Facts


Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply "Santa" is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. One legend associated with Santa says that he lives in the far north, in a land of perpetual snow. The American version of Santa Claus says that he lives at his house in the North Pole. Santa lives with his wife Mrs. Claus, a countless number of magical elves, and eight or nine flying reindeer. Another legend of Santa says that he makes a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior ("naughty" or "nice") and that he delivers presents, including toys, candy, and other gifts to all of the good boys and girls in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh.

The tradition of Santa Claus entering dwellings through the chimney may reach back to the tale of Saint Nicholas tossing coins through a window, and, in a later version of the tale, tossing coins down a chimney when he finds the window locked. Rituals surrounding Santa Claus are performed throughout the world by children hoping to receive gifts from the mythical character. Some rituals (such as visiting a department store Santa) occur in the weeks and days before Christmas while others, such as preparing snacks for Santa, are specific to Christmas Eve. Some rituals, such as setting out stockings to be filled with gifts, are age-old traditions while others, such as NORAD'S tracking of Santa's sleigh through the night skies on Christmas Eve, are modern invention's. Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior. Some people have created websites designed to allow children and other interested parties to "track" Santa Claus on Christmas Eve via radar; while in transit, Santa Claus is sometimes escorted by Canadian Air Force fighter jets. In the United States and Canada, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. American children also leave a carrot for Santa's reindeer, and were traditionally told that if they are not good all year round, that they will receive a lump of coal in their stockings. OtherChristmas Eve Santa Claus rituals in the United States include reading Clement Clark Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas or other tale about Santa Claus, watching a Santa program on television, and the singing of Santa Claus songs such as Santa Claus is 'Coming to Town, Here Comes Santa Claus, and Up on the Housetop. Last minute rituals for children before going to bed include aligning stockings at the mantlepiece or other place where Santa cannot fail to see them, peeking up the chimney (in homes with a fireplace), glancing out a window and scanning the heavens for Santa's sleigh, and (in homes without a fireplace), unlocking an exterior door so Santa can easily enter the house. Tags on gifts for children are sometimes signed by their parents, "From Santa Claus" before the gifts are laid beneath the tree. Santa Claus's home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates-often with the aid of elves or other supernatual beings-the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.


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