25 March 2012

Rudolph Day, March 2012

"Rudolph Day" is a way of keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long. You can read a Christmas book, work on a Christmas craft project, listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie.

Start off the day reading some Christmas e-stories:

"A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas

"A Christmas Mystery" by William J. Locke (is this perhaps the original of the oft-told movie tale of the three godfathers?)

"On Christmas Day in the Morning" by Grace S. Richmond and its sequel "On Christmas Day in the Evening"

Christmas Wishes, Tim Hollis
A sheer joy for baby boomers—or an explanation of sorts for anyone younger who wonders why their boomer parent/grandparent/relative/whatever gets so starry-eyed at Christmas! I read this book with a big grin on my face via every page, and even with all the Christmas books I own, there were facts I didn't know! Via reproduction covers, ads, catalog pages, and even personal photos, Hollis takes us on a journey to Christmas past: classic toys (Barbie! Lite Brite! Little Kiddles!) and candy/candy containers; Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and Frosty the snowman and other Christmas characters like the Cinnamon Bear and Uncle Mistletoe (would you believe Jimmy Durante singing a version of "Rudolph"?); Christmas storybooks (with Santa and with cartoon characters—including the Flintstones celebrating Christmas thousands of years early); Christmas records, including chronicling all the different versions of "The Chipmunk Song" sung by critters like rabbits, crickets and more, plus Disney Christmas records; Christmas decor from the first glass ornaments to "shiny aluminum Christmas trees" to candoliers with C6 "pine cone" bulbs to outdoor Santas and nativities; and finally the classic department stores at Christmas, animated windows out front, and their huge "Santa Land" or "Enchanted Forest" and accompanying giveaway booklets. Filled on every page with eye-popping color and nostalgic art, this book is a sheer gem from first page to last. A must for every Christmas lover.

19 March 2012

Happy St. Joseph's Day!

About St. Joseph's Day

From New Jersey: On St. Joseph's Day, Collingswood Chef Celebrates Sicilian Fare

From Rhode Island: Zeppoles Still #1 on St. Joseph's Day

From California: Church celebrates St. Joseph's Day

From Louisiana: St. Joseph's Day Altar is Proud Tradition at St. Dominic Church in Lakeview (More about St. Joseph's Day altars.)

From Illinois: St. Joseph's Day the Chicago Way: Feasts, Traditions and Zeppole (note the difference in the Chicago zeppole compared to the Rhode Island ones; they are made differently in Sicily).

From New York: St. Joseph's Day, a Feast Filled With Gratitude

St. Joseph's Day is also when the swallows return to Capistrano.

Food, family, fathers...and feathered friends. Poor St. Patrick—all he gets are drunken people pretending to be Irish.

17 March 2012

St. Patrick's Day Blues

Oh, it's not that I don't like St. Patrick's Day. I remember it fondly from school days. We made shamrocks, sang some Irish songs in music class, learned to jig, read legends about leprechauns and stories about real life in Ireland. We were mostly kids of Italian descent, and it was a fun day where you wore green and learned about someone else's ethnic heritage.

Now it seems to exist mostly as an excuse to get drunk. Did we need another holiday for this? New Year's Eve has certainly held the title for years. Then came St. Patrick's Day in hot pursuit, and now Cinco de Mayo is vying for the lead as another day where you slurp down as many margaritas as you can. Let's not even talk about the Super Bowl, which apparently is now an unofficial American holiday, and one where you stock up on too-numerous-to-count six-packs of beer.

I'm not the only one who thinks so, per this report on NPR this morning: Shamrocks and Stereotypes.

13 March 2012

A Seasonal Shift

I spent my lunch hour today doing "the big change," collecting the winter things in their boxes and putting back the autumn decor that is usually up, plus the seasonal spring decorations. This did not take as long as I expected, thankfully, so I could finish today; it was just a busy hour of packing and running up and down the stairs—a great workout. There are only one large container and two smaller containers of winter things, plus a Hallmark bag with the two "snow baskets," the winter bouquet, and the pine cone garland. The spring decorations are even less: two "sweater boxes." The vase of cattails and Chinese lanterns is back on the hearth, the pretty "friends" plaque and the Country Pickins shadowbox back up in the dining room, and my cute little lamb figurine that I bought at Hobby Lobby now sits smiling in front of a bouquet of spring flowers on the table.

I was kicked into action to do this by realizing yesterday that it was a week to St. Joseph's Day and I still didn't have my St. Joseph's altar up yet! This is on the china cabinet and replaced my winter village.

I had the things on the porch down over a week ago, disgusted by our warm weather, having taken them down in a fit of pique, but they were still lying in a depressing heap in the foyer. So they're all away, and James will put the boxes up some day this week, and that will be that.

Now if I could just get all the Christmas presents off the hearth...

Eighty degrees for the rest of the week! Aieeeeee!