Christmas is celebrated in so many different ways. From colorful decorations to festive food and music, various countries and cultures all have their own special ways to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. With Christmas just days away, we’d thought it’d be fun to share these snapshots of Christmas from around the world:
In Dublin, Ireland, Nollaig Shona Duit lights up the road. It means ‘Merry Christmas’ in Gaelic.
In Germany, star lamps are a traditional decoration that can be seen hanging all over town. These beautiful glowing lights were found in a Christmas market in Hamburg.
In Mexico, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without ponche, a warm tropical punch made with cinnamon, guavas and other fruits.
Christmas isn’t a public holiday in most countries in Asia, but you’ll still find stores stocking special Christmas snacks like these found in Taiwan.
South Korea celebrates Christmas with Santa Haraboji or Grandfather Santa. This figurine of Santa wears a ‘gat’, a traditional hat worn by men during the Joseon Dynasty.
In the southern hemisphere, Christmas comes in summer. Here’s Papai Noel (Father Christmas) wearing his swim trunks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Tell us—What’s Christmas like in your corner of the world?
What would Christmas be without those memorable holiday movies, music, and stories to help celebrate the season? Break out the eggnog and fire up the Yule Log as you reminisce with some classic favorites.
Enjoy the memories as you snuggle up with loved ones to watch film classics like 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. Have some fun by turning the holiday season into a “12 Days of Christmas Movies” marathon leading up to the big day…and after! You can start out with It’s a Wonderful Life to remember all that’s good in the world, then follow it up with A Christmas Story to add some holiday humor. And, of course, what would Christmastime be without a visit from the Peanuts gang in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Why not pop some popcorn, and, as you snack, string some together with festive cranberries to make a festive garland for your tree.
Whether enjoying the wintery weather with a group of carolers or cozying with friends and family by the fireplace, nothing celebrates the season like harmonizing to classic Christmas songs. Tune up that yuletide tradition with a twist on the classic favorite Twelve Days of Christmas. Simply write the different parts of the song on slips of paper (“three french hens,” “five golden rings,” etc.) and have each singer draw one. Of course those are the parts they’ll sing during the chorus.) With plenty of other greats to choose from, including Deck the Halls, Silent Night, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, your repertoire will be set for the season.
Remember when you were little, how much fun it was to sit in your parent’s lap as they read The Night Before Christmas to you before bed? Keep that special tradition alive byhaving your little ones cuddle up in your lap as you read their favorite Christmas stories. Perhaps they like The Sweet Smell of Christmas or The Christmas Story. Whichever they choose, spruce up the delivery by adding voices appropriate for each character. It’s a great way to make warm memories with your little snowflake!
Celebrate this Christmas season by taking a snowy stroll down memory lane, or creating new traditions to pass on to generations. Favorite films that bring a smile to your face, sweet-sounding carols, and stories that warm the heart are all a part of what makes Christmas so memorable for those both young and young at heart.
If you’re looking for something new and different this year for your countdown to Christmas, we’ve found a truly wonderful Alpine Advent Calendar we think you’ll love! Stunning animations, seasonal stories or festive games are revealed daily, each one celebrating the magic of the holiday season. You even get your own cottage to decorate in the charming Alpine Village where all the activities take place. You can watch a demo of this modern twist on an old tradition, by visiting http://www.jacquielawson.com/advent/alpine or you can find it and two other similar Advent calendars as well at www.jacquielawson.com/gift-shop
The London Advent Calendar and the Village Advent Calendar are both available for iPad and the latter has a Kindle Fire version as well.
Just a reminder that Black Friday is almost here, even though it seems like retailers have started their campaigns to begin the sales season even earlier than that…this week has been like a pre-Black Friday bonanza! By next year, it should start right around the 4th of July. Just kidding, of course, but guess the point is that the earlier you get started, the better the bargains you’ll find and the sooner the shopping phase of the holiday season will be complete. Well, for some of us anyway! Oops, gotta run…there’s a bargain out there calling my name!
For additional information on Black Friday and some helpful tips, click here.
Today we join in celebration to honor America’s more than 22 million veterans for their patriotism, their love of country, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the country and principles they believe in.
To read more about this special day, please click here.
Know a veteran or someone currently serving? Take a minute to send a patriotic ecard or postcard and let them know how much they are appreciated and loved.
Happy November Birthday, You Magnetic Visionaries!
Deep, passionate souls with a contagious optimism, those born during the month of November have a wealth of hidden riches and an enviable exuberance and vitality.
If born under the sign of Scorpio, you have a reservoir of will-power that can overcome any obstacle and a keen intuition that hones in on getting to the bottom of everything meaningful to you. Mesmerizing to say the least, you possess a magnetism that attracts others unlike anyone else. Not to mention, you’re quite the charmer! Friends and family benefit greatly from your helpfulness and devotion, for as serious and determined as you can be, you are also kind, caring, and loyal. An unbeatable combination!
If a Sagittarian, you are a visionary who inspires the masses. You rarely do anything on a small scale—“the bigger, the better” as far as you’re concerned! Seekers of knowledge, you have no hesitation traveling to the ends of the earth to learn what you must know. For you, it’s all about the journey, as well as the destination. Once you’ve mastered a subject, you love nothing more than to share with those eager to learn, for you are the guru others flock to for wisdom.
Your birth flower is the Chrysanthemum. Derived from Greek, it means “golden flower”—its original color—and was named by Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist and “father of modern taxonomy.” Blooming in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, they are among the most popular flowers in the world, and have a bouquet of meanings, including: love, optimism, joy, and fidelity. In addition, Chrysanthemums were known to have conveyed the hidden message, “You’re a wonderful friend” during Victorian period when discreet social etiquette was strictly observed. Very fitting for you, since you are popular and dedicated to finding the hidden treasures of life!
Topaz, your birthstone, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Originally named by the Greeks, it designated any yellow stone, but has since included a variety of colors and hues, including blue, pink, lavender, orange, and green. Mostly used in making fine jewelry, it is also known as a mystical gemstone, and is said to ward off sickness, aid in fertility, and help create an emotionally healthy lifestyle.
Famous November Birthdays
Celebrate your birthday this month with some notable figures in history:
Dale Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Walter Cronkite, Joe DiMaggio, Jodie Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Graham, Warren G. Harding (29th U.S. President), Rock Hudson, and Harpo Marx.
Important November 2012 Dates
All Saint’s Day 11/1
Veteran’s Day 11/11
Although we probably won’t know who the winner of this election is until late tonight (as the polls are still indicating a very tight race), we can watch as the electoral votes add up, which, of course, is how the president is actually elected. The debate over a popular vote vs an electoral vote has been going on for more than 200 years.
The electoral college was put in place by the framers of our Constitution who decided that the states should do the voting, not the people. At that time, the United States was simply a union of individual states that had come together to resolve the many issues of establishing a democracy, but the thought of being a single nation was not yet in the consciousness of many. Eventually, a compromise was struck so that voting for president would take place state by state, so that each one could have its say. Each state was given a number of electoral votes equal to the combined total number of senators and members of the house of representatives it had, usually giving the most populous states the largest number of electorates. The popular vote–your vote–is what guides the electoral college to cast its votes. We can still see this separate state idea being played out today when we hear of red states, blue states and, of course, “swing states,” those in which candidates campaign so heavily because swing states can tip the balance of the electoral college vote.
Do you know when the last time a president was elected that did not have the majority of the popular vote? It was in the year 2000 when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, who had a very narrow lead in the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote 271 to 266.
Who will come out ahead in 2012? We’ll hopefully know that tomorrow!
Today is Boss’s Day, which was officially observed in 1962–four years after being proposed by Patricia Bays Haroski who was an appreciative employee at State Farm Insurance in Deerfield, Ill. She chose the date, October 16, in honor of her boss’s birthday. Interestingly, her boss at the time was her father whom she noticed was a source of encouragement and inspiration to her and her fellow employees even when he was facing difficult hurdles in running the company. The following are a few inspirational quotes about leaders that most people say make the best kinds of bosses.
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.
Without it, no real success is possible,
no matter whether it is on…a football field, in an army, or in an office.
–Dwight D. Eisenhower
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
–John F. Kennedy
The full measure of a man is
not to be found in the man himself,
but in the colors and textures that
come alive in others because of him.
If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
–John Quincy Adam
Happy Boss’s Day!
The amazing thing about catching up with old friends is that when you do, you feel like you haven’t missed a beat…you just pick up right where you left off! Do you know someone like that…someone you’d really like to just sit down and share a cup of coffee with and enjoy a nice long chat? This adorable talking ecard, “How You Bean?” could be just the thing to help get that conversation going.
Blue Mountain has a great selection of talking ecards that are fun for any reason or any occasion. You can write whatever you’d like and then choose from several different voices to deliver your message…or you can choose one of our messages, if you’d prefer. Either way, these cards are a great way to connect and keep in touch!