Jolly Old Saint Nicholas December 23, 2011Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Music & Dance, Special Events.
Tags: Christmas, Humor, Photography, Santa, Santa Claus
Now, before you get your tree-hugging panties in a wad, let me explain . . .
We DO use cloth napkins for all but the messiest meals, but Jolly Old Saint Nicholas needed something to do over the holidays.
For rather obvious reasons, we didn’t trust him with our chocolate stash or Christmas cookies. So we asked if he could hold paper napkins for guests . . . while standing on his head.
He thought not.
Seeing our disappointment, he conjectured that he could guard the napkins while doing a split.
Well, to make a long story short, the spry little guy is S~T~U~C~K.
The Elves are on the way, but we don’t know if he”ll be unstuck in time to make his appointed rounds on Christmas Eve.
We’ll keep you posted on his progress.
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way
Don’t you tell a single soul what I’m going to say
Christmas Eve is coming soon, now you dear old man
Whisper what you’ll bring to me. Tell me if you can.
O Little Town of Bethlehem December 20, 2011Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Gratitude, Home & Garden.
Tags: Christmas, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Photography, Santa Claus
Years ago, we hosted an Open House each year during the holidays for friends, family, co-workers, and the occasional random acquaintance.
One year, my best friend’s father attended and gave me the little red Santa as a hostess gift. Always happy to add another Santa to my growing collection, I thanked him for the kind gesture.
A few days later, while moving the gift from Point A to Point B, I turned it over and noticed an inscription on the bottom ~ My First Santa, by E Dix.
As the words sunk in, I realized he had hand-carved the Santa just for me!
A more profuse and effusive “THANK YOU!!!” followed the discovery.
O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight
Another Christmas craft idea ~ use paint, markers, crayons, or colored pencils to create a ”Shaker” tree standing in a spool of thread with simple hearts and stars dangling from its branches.
May you delight in the light and love so evident at this festive time of year.
For a darling Christmas poem (written from a child’s perspective) . . . check out The Longest Wait on Fantasy Fic.
For a darling Christmas poem (written from a parent’s perspective) . . . check out ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Write Up My Life.
The Friendly Beasts December 13, 2011Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Fun & Games, Humor, Special Events.
Tags: Christmas, Humor, Photography, Santa, Santa Claus
Santas come in all shapes, sizes and colors . . . tall ones, short ones, thin ones, fat ones, jolly ones . . . and even furry ones!
Here are a few of my four-legged Santas.
“I,” said the cow all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed.”
“I gave Him my hay to pillow His head.”
“I,” said the cow all white and red.
Want more craft and decorating ideas?
O Christmas Pine December 12, 2011Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Fun & Games, Special Events.
Tags: Christmas, Christmas tree, Photography, Santa, Santa Claus
Another fun craft idea . . . especially if you’ve got stray buttons and felt scraps floating around.
The star at the top and spool at the base of the tree (wrapped with thread) are cut from felt, the ornaments are mismatched buttons, and the tree trunk and branches are simple straight stitches.
The Santa on the Ho~Ho~Ho box is made of paper mache!
O Christmas pine, fair Christmas pine, Gifts of love we bring thee
Thy myriad light in gladness shine, Carols sweet we sing thee
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a Guest Post by Julie Hedlund to promote her book, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys.
To get a sneak preview of the FAB contest she’s hosting . . . click HERE.
Wanna build a snowman? No snow? Check out Ice Bubble Snowman to see how Mother Nature manages . . . with or without snow.
Need some new Holiday Traditions? . . . visit Tammy’s Top Ten Holiday Ideas.
Want more craft and decorating ideas? Visit the 2011 Virtual Home Tour!
Joy To The World December 9, 2011Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Fun & Games, Gratitude, Happiness.
Tags: Christmas, Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Photography, Santa Claus
To celebrate the Advent of Christmas, I’m going to share some of my beloved Santas (and Reindeer) with you.
* The two hand-carved Santas (on the right) are 21 and 22 years old, respectively. Of course, Santa, himself, is timeless and ageless.
* I painted this watercolor ”Welcome” sign of reindeer antlers in 1998. Each year when I unwrap it . . . it sings to me:
Joy to the World! . . .
And heav’n and nature sing.
And heav’n and nature sing.
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing!
For a beautiful Christmas Plea . . . visit this post by Joss, The Crowing Crone!
Want more craft and decorating ideas? Visit the 2011 Virtual Home Tour!
Related posts: Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Celebration (WP Prompt) * Santa Claus is Coming to Town * Joy To The World * 10 Holiday Classics + 2 Year Round Faves * Ho~Ho~Ho! Merry Christmas! * Christmas Music (Sidey) * Joy Maker (Under The Oaks)
What is “G~O~D”? May 9, 2011Posted by nrhatch in Special Events, Spirituality & Faith.
Tags: Bible, Easter Bunny, Faith, God, Mother Nature, Santa Claus, Spirituality
One reason I prefer to speak of Spirit, rather than God, is due to the vastly different interpretations placed on the word G~O~D by different religions and denominations.
To some, the word God conjures up the image of a personified God looking down on us from heaven . . . in flowing robes with a long white beard.
That God is a father figure to pray to and obey . . . a God with a bit too much testosterone for my taste.
God created Man in his own image and Man returned the favor.
For New Agers, God is the Loving Source of All ~ an energy field far too vast to be encapsulated in a flowing robe . . . or epitomized in a single word.
Jewish tradition teaches that the true aspect of God is incomprehensible and unknowable, and that it is only God’s revealed aspect that brought the universe into existence, and interacts with mankind and the world.
I see the God of the Old Testament as a vengeful, vindictive figure . . . waiting to smite us down for Eve’s failure to obey his commandments.
I also see more than a hint of that Old Testament God in the words of the New Testament. As a child, that caused me to see God as someone to fear ~ a retributive figure waiting to cast me into the fiery furnaces of Hell for all eternity unless I embraced the late J.C. as my lord and savior.
What loving ”parent” would create us only to condemn us for being us?
What artist would paint a Daisy then punish it for not being a Rose?
That God (introduced to me in Sunday School before I was old enough to think for myself) seems a bit like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny ~ an archaic fable grounded in fiction, not fact, for adults who have not learned to connect with the Spirit Within.
God dwells within me . . . as me. ~ Eat, Pray, Love
God is the breath within the breath. ~ Kabir
No rules. Just write!
What about you? What do you see or sense when you hear the word God?
A benevolent and loving being? A vindictive father figure? Mother Nature? The Loving Source of All? A Universal energy field? A Spiritual Being? A Higher Power? The Spirit Within? Jesus Christ attired in sandals and flowing robe?
Has your view of God changed over time? Did God change . . . or did you?
Related posts: Why I Speak of Spirit, Not God * Our Spiritual Connection * A Beacon in the Dark * Winks, Whispers, and Nudges * Apologize to God or I Quit! * Doesn’t Faith Make Us Susceptible to Delusions
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town December 5, 2010Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Special Events, Spirituality & Faith.
Tags: Christmas, Christmas tree, Jingle Bells, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Winter Solstice
In recent years, I’ve noted a divergence of opinion about how Christians should celebrate Christmas.
Some enjoy all the varied traditions of this festive holiday season: Christmas trees, twinkling lights, ornaments, presents, mistletoe, hymns, carols, nutcrackers, wreaths, and flying reindeer.
Others lament the commercialism and feel the focus on Santa Claus is misplaced.
So, who’s right?
For Christians around the globe, Christ is the “reason for the season.”
Christmas celebrates the advent of Christ’s birth (despite the fact that He was not born on Christmas Day, or even in December).
Or would Christ applaud Santa’s kind spirit, loving nature, good-hearted generosity, and efforts to share magical moments with children around the globe?
And what about our other Christmas traditions? Would Christ want us to ban Jingle Bells, Christmas Trees, and Gift Giving from our holiday celebrations?
* Jingle bells fill the world with MUSIC and our hearts with JOY.
* Christmas trees instill PEACE on a winter’s evening.
* Twinkling lights remind us of the LIGHT emanating from within us all.
* Ornaments connect us with Christmases past.
* Angels help us remember loved ones who are no longer with us.
* Stars remind us of Three Wise Men who followed a star to Bethlehem.
* Gifts symbolize the enduring gifts of Peace, Hope, Love, and JOY.
Perhaps the best way for devout Christians to celebrate the birth of Christ is to emulate the messages He came to impart . . . Peace, Love, Joy, Charity, Forgiveness, Hope, Acceptance, Benevolence, and Gratitude.
Santa, of course, embodies all of these attributes, not just at Yuletide, but throughout the year. As such, Jolly Old St. Nick seems like a fine addition to the Holiday Season, especially for families with young children.
Christians who wish to put Christ back in Christmas need not launch a full-fledged frontal assault on Santa Claus, Jingle Bells, Christmas Trees, and Gift Giving. Instead, they can use these seasonal symbols and shared traditions to spread (simply, clearly, and truthfully) the positive messages that Christ came to share:
Peace on Earth.
Goodwill towards Man.
May we all delight in the Peace, Hope, Love, and Joy of this Festive Season, whether (and however) we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice!
Related posts: Joy To The World * Ho~Ho~Ho! Merry Christmas! * 10 Holiday Classics + 2 Year Round Faves * Experiential Gifts * Gifts of Hope * Christmas Diamante * Join the Advent Conspiracy (Reflections) * Enter Into The Joy (Reflections) * Weekend Theme: Religious Holidays (View from the Side)
Ho~Ho~Ho! Merry Christmas! November 29, 2010Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People, Special Events.
Tags: Christmas tree, Happiness, Home & Garden, Mindfulness, Santa Claus
I love Santas. Small ones, tall ones, fat ones, thin ones, red ones, green ones, and everything-in-between ones:
* I have a cat, a dog, a gator, a bear, and a mouse, all dressed as Santas.
* My Scottish Santa boasts a kilt.
* Several hand-carved Santas have pipes.
All have a twinkle in their eye.
As my collection of Santas grew, my desire to have an enormous Christmas tree sitting in the middle of the living room, taking up valuable real estate, diminished.
So BFF and I gave the behemoth to Goodwill, along with several strands of tangled lights, numerous boxes of toxic tinsel (that kept ending up in our cats’ digestive tracts and litter boxes), and ornaments which did not add to our enjoyment of the holiday season.
We kept a small, three-foot tall table top tree which we decorated with our favorite ornaments ~ Santas, angels, zebras, musical instruments, and hand-made ornaments from our nieces and nephews.
A few weeks after donating the large tree, we hosted a Holiday Open House for friends and family. As soon as CTE (Christmas Tree Enthusiast) arrived, he looked around the living room, scanning with radar-like precision. He swept back and forth a few times, with a perplexed look on his face.
He swept past dozens of Santas displayed on every surface, and in every nook and cranny.
He ignored the three-foot tall table top tree next to where he was standing, and appeared not to see two smaller Christmas trees ~ one on the dining room table, and the other, complete with twinkling lights, on the hutch.
As he scanned the room, his eyes could have slowed or stopped periodically to admire nutcrackers, stockings (hung by the chimney with care), wreaths, holiday candles (glowing with warmth), reindeer, and other prominently displayed reminders of the season at hand.
Sadly, he missed all of the above.
With a look of utter amazement and complete disbelief, he asked, in an almost angry tone of voice, “Where is your Christmas Tree?”
“Right there,” I returned, pointing to our petite masterpiece.
“No. Where is your B-I-G Christmas Tree?”
“That is our B-I-G Christmas Tree. The two S-M-A-L-L trees are over there, and over there,” I added, helpfully pointing them out.
“Why don’t you have a B-I-G Christmas Tree?”
“We gave it away because we didn’t really enjoy having it that much.”
“What do you mean? You HAVE to have a tree,” he said, with such obvious authority that I wondered whether we had overlooked that clause in a social contract we had signed inadvertently at some point during our married life.
“We don’t HAVE to have a tree,” I said with a smile, starting to enjoy this unexpected cross-examination.
“Of course, you do. Where are you going to put your presents?”
“Right over there, next to my three foot tall Santa.”
“You can’t put your presents next to a Santa Claus,” he said as if he were speaking to someone who was mentally challenged. ”Presents belong under a Christmas Tree.”
“Well, I don’t know if that’s an actual rule . . . “
Even after I reminded him that we didn’t have any children who would be devastated by the lack of a tree on Christmas morning, its absence continued to bother him.
Shaking his head in dismay, he wandered over to the bounteous buffet where he filled his plate with shrimp cocktail, without commenting on the size of the shrimp.
Later, I watched him enjoying the cocktail-sized sweet and sour meatballs and petite pigs-in-blankets. He did not ask, even once, ”Where are your B-I-G wieners? Where are your B-I-G balls?”
Despite the food, drink, and convivial conversation, CTE remained stiff and ill-at-ease for the remainder of the party. Apparently, our lack of conformity to tradition, and our obvious disregard for Christmas decorating etiquette, made it impossible for him to enjoy the holiday gathering.
Instead of accepting the “what is,” as Zen enthusiasts encourage us to do, he kept looking around for the one thing that was missing.
Now, you must understand that our Christmas tree never rivaled the tree displayed outside Rockefeller Center. Nor was coming to see our tree the highlight of anyone’s Christmas season. In fact, our Christmas Eves and Christmas Days were never spent under our own roof.
You must also understand that I at no time suggested that CTE reduce the size of his own tree, which to this day easily consumes at least 75% of the available square footage in his cramped living room.
Nevertheless, he couldn’t shake the feeling that we somehow had deprived him of an essential element to his enjoyment of the Christmas Season.
After cleaning up from the party, I hurried to my office and typed up a quick letter to Santa to ask whether we had committed an egregious faux pas by foregoing a B-I-G tree as the center-point of our holiday decorations.
“Ho-Ho-Ho! Merry Christmas!”
I love Santa.