14 December 2010

11 Days Before Christmas

We had a Christmas luncheon at work today. In the past, we have gone out to eat "somewhere nice," but this year we decided to have folks bring food and people could donate what they would have spent on lunch and it would be given to a charity. I liked that idea very much—I'd rather give to someone who needs it than stuff myself. The main course was ham, and there was also jerk chicken and oxtail, rice, potatoes, beans, a macaroni salad done with bowtie pasta, and other goodies, plus desserts (including the gingerbread I baked last night). (And I got three orders done today, too, and distributed another two. Yay.)

Spent the evening watching specials about people who go all out with Christmas lights. I love these displays, but would not do it for the world. I can't imagine being out there night after night testing and positioning lights, going up on the roof, adding circuits to my house, and paying $500 electric bills!

Speaking of Christmas lights, I'm sure most people know that before there were electric lights on Christmas trees, there were candles, but did you know there were also fairy lights? These looked a bit like votive containers, but with hangers, and they were considered to be safer than candles. They were also used to illuminate outdoors—the 1980s television special Christmas Past notes that many British people used them to light the path to the privy!—in a similar way to our putting out light strings today.

Here in the United States they were more often known as Victorian Christmas Lights.

In the past I have talked about George Nelson's great Antique Christmas Lights website here. Well, apparently it has disappeared (although there is a placeholder saying an "Antique Christmas Lights Museum" will appear in early 2011) and fans of the page have attempted to reconstruct it.

Here's the site link for George's brother Bill Nelson's Antique Christmas Lights and the reconstruction of George's site Old Christmas Tree Lights. George's site also contains some vintage holiday recordings from Edison cylinders, Christmas memories, and more.

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