Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day

"Boxing Day dates back to past centuries when it was the custom for the wealthy to give gifts to employees or to people in a lower social class, most especially to household servants and other service personne. As with Christmas itself, some elements of Boxing Day are also likely related to, and ultimately derived from, the ancient Roman Saturnalia, which also had elements of gift giving and social role reversal."

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Monday, 22 December 2008

Santa Baby, just slip a sable under the tree
For me
Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight
Santa baby, a '54 convertible too, light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed

Next year I could be just as good
If you'll check out my Christmas list

Santa Baby, I want a yacht
And really that's not
A lot
Been an angel all year

Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey,
One little thing I really need, the deed
To a platinum mine
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie,
Fill my stocking with a duplex

And checks, sign your 'x' on the line
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree

With some decorations bought at Tiffany's I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me!

Santa Baby,
Forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean on the phone
(but that works, sometimes!)
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

as sung by

Sunday, 21 December 2008

you know
Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen;
Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen?

well, did you know:

“The famous Christmas song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started life as a poem created by an American advertising executive called Robert May. He was requested to produce a poem that could be given away to children by the Santa Claus employed by Department Stores at Christmas! Working as an Advertising Executive, Robert May had a natural flair with words and was able to compose the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer poem which was specifically designed to appeal to children. This marketing ploy was a massive success and approximately 2.5 million Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer poems were given away in the first year of its publication! In 1949 the singer Gene Autry recorded a musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer composed by Johnny Marks."
so, now you know. . .

Saturday, 20 December 2008

on snow. . .

. . .men. . .

. . .and an angel

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 brought 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 hate going out in the storm
But if you really hold me tight
All the way home I'll be warm

The fire is slowly dying
And my dear we're still goodbye-ing
As long as you love me so
Let it snow, let it snow, let it
As long you love me so
Let it snow, Let it Snow, Let it snow

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

Thursday, 18 December 2008

It was Christmas Eve, babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me,
"Won't see another one"
And then he sang a song
The rare old mountain dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So Happy Christmas
I love you, baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me
You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas Day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there, almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas Day

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas Day

(not carol, song)

and my favourite city. . .

and here is the song sung by Katie Meluha
(rather than Kirsty MacColl)
altho the front man from The Pogues is a little worse for wear
in this rendition. . .

(and there's actually not an NYPD choir,
so you have the pipe band instead)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I used to love singing this when I was a child
and I still do. . .

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

crackers are odd -
the silly paper hat, the silly joke,
the silly motto, the silly toy. . .
but we pull them,
we love the BANG!
and we enjoy them all the same

crackers were invented by a guy called Tom Smith (find the history here) and I'm glad for that - they are so silly and trite, but it is quite wonderful to have crackers at Christmas. . .
. . .and I like them with cheese too

Sunday, 14 December 2008

silent night
that was so beautiful,
I don't need to add
anything really
(but I have to!)
I was brought up listening to my mother's records of the Vienna Boys' Choir. . .
so "pop" versions of carols never quite do it for me
(however much I admire Aled)
here's a more traditional version

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Christmas for me has always included foil covered chocolate money. . .
. . . a few coins in the toe of my childhood Christmas stocking (usually my largest sock); a bag each in the toe of my children's Christmas stockings (always beautifully handmade by moi, out of lovely seasonal fabrics with ric rac and sparkles and and and and) and some more hung on the tree in the deepest darkest middlest parts; I often undergo a chocolate money quest - hunting down the different varieties each year so there was a good selection. . .
. . .this year I've sourced a seletion of varying sizes of individual coins, bags of Imperial coins, bags of "new" money, and - for the first time - Euros (the bags of which also contain small slabs of chocolate notes) (inflation, eh). . .

a little history:

"Chocolate money, chocolate coins, consists of small disks of chocolate moulded into the shape of coins, and wrapped in gold or silver foil for added effect. It has no value as currency, but is sometimes used as "play money" by children as well as being consumed as a snack. Chocolate coins were likely invented to be a substitute for Hanukkah gelt or rededication money and are often used in place of real money in dreidel games. For use by observant Jews, Hanukkah Gelt should be certified Kosher."

so, for anyone who would like this calendar
to contain some chocolate - here it is. . .

. . .chocolate. . .


Friday, 12 December 2008

the 12 days of Christmas

not that anyone's counting. . .

"The Twelve Days of Christmas, and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day through the morning of Epiphany(January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6.

"Over the centuries, differing churches and sects of Christianity have changed the actual traditions, time frame, and their interpretations. St. Stephen's Day, for example, is December 26 in the Western Church and December 27 in the Eastern Church. December 26 is
Boxing Day in the United Kingdom and some of its former colonies; December 28 is Childermas or the Feast of the Innocents. Currently, the twelve days and nights are celebrated in widely varying ways around the world. For example, some give gifts only on Christmas night, some only on Twelfth Night, and some each of the 12 nights.

"In the Middle Ages, this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season. Twelfth Night itself was forever solidified in popular culture when William Shakespeare used it as setting for one of his most famous stage plays - Twelfth Night.

"Some of these traditions were adapted from the older pagan customs, including the
Roman Saturnalia. Some also have an echo in modern day pantomime where traditionally authority is mocked and the principal male lead is played by a woman, while the leading older female character, or 'Dame', is played by a man."

and a little something else:
"1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the theological virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed"
so there we have it
- apparently -
and I thought it was
just another Christmas song!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


for the uninitiated

and the snowman. . .

. . .the one and only snowman!

(made entirely out of this stuff )


not as sung by ALED JONES

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Mistletoe (viscum album)

The evergreen mistletoe plant with its succulent white berries is a parasite most commonly found growing on apple trees but also on other deciduous trees such as hawthorn and rowan. The word mistletoe comes from the Old English words "mistel" and "tang" – meaning "dung" and "twig" – because people had noticed that mistletoe grew on trees where there were plenty of bird droppings.

Mistletoe was recognized by the Druids as a magical plant. According to tradition they would only cut the mistletoe with a golden sickle and made sure it never touched the ground by placing a white cloth under the tree to catch the magic prunings. Oak trees also featured in Druidic ceremonies and when a mistletoe plant was found growing in an oak it was thought to have especially strong magical powers. Unfortunately we now have no idea what the druids thought the mistletoe plant was capable of.

Mistletoe’s traditional magical properties include the ability to drive away witches, get rid of fleas in your bed and prevent faeries from stealing your children. Norse legends also celebrated mistletoe as a plant that brings love into a household. The story goes that the goddess Freya had a baby boy called Balder whom she loved deeply. She became obsessed by his safety and made all the plants and animals in the world swear they would never harm him. Unfortunately she forgot to ask the mistletoe. Only one god, named Loki, noticed the omission and he stored the information away for the future. As Baldur grew older the gods were amused by the way missiles thrown at Baldur would swerve away and miss him. It became a game to throw things at the growing lad and watch them fall harmlessly to the ground.

One god was not amused by the boy’s popularity. Loki was jealous and looked around for a way to do the boy harm. He carved a spear tip from the mistletoe plant and mounted it on a stout ash stave then placed the spear in the hands of Baldur’s blind brother Hadr and encouraged him to throw the spear at Baldur. Hadr at first refused to throw the spear saying that he had no wish to throw anything at Baldur whom he loved dearly. Loki wore him down with his persistence and eventually the blind lad threw the spear which struck Baldur and killed him instantly. Freya was horrified and commanded that the world would turn to winter and stay that way for ever. She only relented when the other gods brought Baldur back to life.

The mistletoe was then banished to grow only in high places away from the meddling hands of dangerous fools like Loki. Freya then commanded that henceforth it would always bring love rather than death to the world and that people passing underneath the plant should embrace.

It became a custom in the middle ages for soldiers seeking a truce to meet under a sprig of mistletoe to discuss terms.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is much later in origin and has some strange quirks that need to be observed if you want to get the best from your sprig of mistletoe. It is important that the first kiss under the mistletoe is not between a man and his wife. Traditionally the first kiss should always be between people with different hair colour and like holly and ivy, in some places it is considered unlucky to bring mistletoe into the house before Christmas Eve. Perhaps the most important rule is that each time a kiss is taken under the mistletoe a berry should be picked from the sprig. When all the berries are gone then the kissing has to stop. Shame!