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December 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the Editor

December 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the Editor

 “I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year.”
_ Charles Dickens

December is here and for many of us around the country, it’s the season to be freezin’!  But we’re from hardy stock, here at Blue Mountain, and we think the best month was saved for last. December is sparkling snow, crackling fires, and frosty mornings.  It’s wonder and dreams, laughter, nostalgia, old friends, and traditions we treasure.

December brings the holidays, giving us the feeling of hope in our lives, the promise of peace in our world, but most importantly, the gift of love in our hearts.  It’s a joyful time of reaching out to those we care about and remembering that the greatest gift we can give someone is our time and attention.

We’ve pulled out all the stops for this year’s BlueMountain.com Christmas offering.  We created a beautifully rendered and richly animated show that takes place in New York’s Central Park in Charles Dickens’ time.  You can watch the horse and carriage walk over the Vine Arch Bridge and the skaters spinning on the Pond.  We brought in a special choral group to sing “The Carol of the Bells” as the choir in the Pavilion.  At the end, you can roll over the historic landmarks and learn more about them.  Our new religious card celebrates the first Christmas in Bethlehem.  We brought in an ensemble to perform an awe-inspiring version of “O Holy Night,” and have included the amazing story behind the hymn at the end of the show.  We have warm-hearted wishes for the season and light-hearted smiles, such as our talking Chihuahua, “Feliz Navidog,” and our adorable talking Penguin, “Let It Snow!”  For those of you celebrating Hanukkah, we have a fun snowman surprise for you in “It’s Hanukkah!”

We also wanted to offer our friends and fans a beautiful winter-inspired  download for your desktop background, your phone background, or even your Facebook cover image. All of us here at Blue Mountain wish you peace and joy and beautiful holiday memories to keep throughout the year.

Merry Christmas!
Caroline Leech, Senior Editor

December 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the Editor

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December 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the Editor
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December 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the EditorDecember 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the EditorDecember 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the EditorDecember 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the EditorDecember 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the EditorDecember 2014 Desktop Wallpaper & Letter from the Editor

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The History of Birthdays (Part II)

The History of Birthdays (Part II)

Since our readers enjoyed our first post all about the history of birthdays, we thought we’d share even more fun birthday facts that you may not know. Isn’t it funny that we all do similar things on our birthdays without any thought about how or why we do them?             For instance, where did the idea come from to wear pointy hats? Why do we give gifts? And who came up with that birthday song in the first place? Read on for some fun and interesting information regarding the special day each one of us celebrates.

Pointy Party Hats

The History of Birthdays (Part II)

Though there is no one origin of the pointy party hat, this distinctive headgear has been around at the very least since     2800 BC, and was recognized as a symbol of power or status:

  • In ancient Egypt, only the nobility were allowedThe History of Birthdays (Part II)      to wear pointed hats as a symbol of their elevated status above their subjects. The different designs made individual pharaohs identifiable to their subjects.
  • In medieval Jewish traditions, some people started wearing cylindrical hats secured around the chin to distinguish themselves in Christian Europe. These hats were higher and more pointed than the traditional Jewish Kippah of today.
  • It was believed that witches and wizards wore pointed hats because the hats   were representations of the cone  of power.The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)

 

  • CaThe History of Birthdays (Part II)tholic princesses and noblewomen                                   in Medieval Europe would wear                                             cone-shaped hats intricately decorated                           with long veils, precious jewels, and even                         intricate butterfly and flower detailing.

 

 

 

  • The party hat can also be traced to the dunce cap, worn by misbehaving or poorly
    performing schoolchildren from the mid-19th century to the The History of Birthdays (Part II)early 20th century, signifying that the wearer engaged in frivolous and foolish behavior—naturally what we all expect of the birthday person on their special day!

 

 

 

Overall, these cylindrical birthday hats continue to be the proud tradition in many different cultures, with the point of the hat elevating the wearer to the status of royalty—which, we all agree, a person becomes on their birthday.

Giving Birthday Gifts

One theory regarding the giving of birthday gifts dates back to early Europe, when people believed that evil spirits would seek out and haunt someone on his or her birthday, most importantly the king.The History of Birthdays (Part II) Therefore, on one’s birthday, people would gather to protect that person and would bring with them good wishes. These gatherings later became our modern day birthday parties, and over time, people brought more than just good wishes to ward off evil spirits; they brought presents, too.

 
Who Wrote The Birthday Song?

The History of Birthdays (Part II)According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English language, and its lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages. But where did it come from?

In 1893, sisters Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a song they called, Good Morning to All,” which was part of the book Song Stories for the Kindergarten and was intended to be sung by students before classes began. As the song caught on across America, it developed a number of variations, becoming “Good Morning to You” and then, in 1924, Robert Coleman published a songbook and added a few extra lyrics that would quickly come to overshadow the original lines and came to be the rendition we all know today, “Happy Birthday to You.”

The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)The History of Birthdays (Part II)

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)

Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)

It’s the day to don green clothing, get ye’ eyes smilin’, and put a bit of a jig in your step!

It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish for the day or Irish all the way—Saint Patrick’s Day
is the day for song, lilting laughter, and spending time with family and friends.
For a wee bit o’ fun, we thought you might enjoy discovering how our Blue Mountain family likes to celebrate this festive day. From favorite foods to timeless traditions,
here’s how our “resident leprechauns” celebrate the wearin’ o’ the green!

“I’ll get together with a group of friends and cook some traditional St. Pat food               like corned beef and cabbage, or colcannon sometimes. The best part is we’ll make     black and tans and use the spoon to actually separate the 2 ingredients, preferably    Harp and Murphy’s.” –Tom Page; Art Director

I always spend St. Patrick’s Day with my family and friends.  All the men wear kilts,    we drink green beer, and we all go watch the parade.” –Jess Buse; Designer

I don’t make food, but I do eat it. The green I wear is the green frosting on my lips     from eating green cookies. I’ll listen to lots of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, and I always like to see the parade.” –Matt Friske; Designer

“We always go to my brother-in-law’s house and then walk over to the Irish bars, enjoy some Guinness and some Irish music, and then walk back for a corned beef and cabbage dinner made in the crock pot. What I’ve loved about St. Pat’s in recent years is that the weather has been so nice. It’s like the first taste of spring; something to look forward to.” –Kristin Thorne; Manager

“Even though we’re Italian, we like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year in the same manner we would any special holiday: with food, of course! In honor of the Irish, we always make the same special annual dinner: corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage. And then for dessert, we have home-baked Irish soda bread that I think is the best I’ve tasted anywhere!” –Maria Isabella; Editor

“I’ll definitely play some Irish music, including Tommy Sands, and also The McNulty Family’s ‘O’Hara from Tara, McNamara from Mayo,’ which my father would play every St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll also be on the phone a good bit with calls to my family. Wherever we are, we always raise a pint to my father, who has been gone from us now much too long. (Just like the Irish to end with a twinkle and tear in ye’ eye!)”                                           –Liza McNamara; Sr. Editor

B’gosh ‘n Begorrah!  As the luck of the Irish would have it, Maria agreed to share her     Irish Soda Bread recipe with us!
Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)

Warm up the oven and join us in baking this tasty treat for St. Paddy’s Day.  Either click the image above to download your very own recipe card or CLICK HERE!

Sláinte!

Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)Happy St. Patricks Day (FREE downloadable recipe!)