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Joseph tried to find a place that he and Mary could stay in for the night, but the inn had no room for them. Finally, Joseph took Mary to a stable because the baby was coming. There she gave birth to a child. She and Joseph named their newborn son Jesus, just as the angels had told them.

Mary wrapped her baby in wide strips of cloth she had brought from home. She gently laid Jesus in an empty manger, a place where the animals ate. Joseph and Mary were very happy.

That same night some shepherds were guarding their sheep out on the hillsides near Bethlehem. All at once they saw an angel from God in the sky. Great light flashed down around them and they were very afraid.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I am bringing you wonderful news. This very night a Savior was born for you and your people. He is Christ the Lord. Go and see him. You will find him in a stable lying in a manger."

Suddenly the sky was full of angels who joined together to sing praises to God. "Glory to God in heaven and peace on earth to everyone who pleases God."

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Santa Claus

Santa Claus - A legendary figure who supposedly brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus is an American adaptation of European traditions concerning Saint Nicholas. These were introduced into America by the Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam. The name Santa Claus is a contraction of the Dutch Sint Nilolaas (Sinter Klaas). In the United States, Saint Nicholas became associated with Christmas rather than December 6, his traditional feast day, and he developed into a purely secular figure.

Most of the central features of the Santa Claus legend, such as his climb down the chimney and the switches he leaves for naughty children, are of Dutch origin. His red suit trimmed with white fur originted in the bishop's miter and cape worn by the Dutch saint. His association with reindeer and the North Pole, however, apparently came from Scandinavia. These and other attributes of Santa Claus were popularized during the 19th century through the stories of Washington Irving, the cartoons of Thomas Nast, and the famous 1822 poem by Clement Moore, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas."

Male and female European counterparts of Santa Claus include the English Father Christmas, the German Kris Kringle, the Italian Befana, and Russia's grandmotherly Babouschka. He is also known as Father Christmas in England, Grandfather Frost in Russia, Pere Noel in France and Saint Nick in the United States. Many of them have been influenced by the American conception of the figure.

I can remember growing up and believing in this jolly old guy! I was the oldest in the family so when it came time for me to fess up and tell my parents that...well ~ you know! I had to pretend because my brothers and sisters still believed. It's always hard to fess up when you are growing up because then you think...hum ~ if I tell my parents, I won't get any gifts anymore. Well, that turned out to be false. I still got wonderful gifts that I knew were special. You see my father worked 3 jobs to support six children. He worked hard for all of us to make sure we got what we needed to get a good education. I knew how hard he worked, so each gift I received meant more to me than it would for most children. Like most children, we left cookies and milk for Santa. One year I even left an autograph book. He actually signed my book! We had wonderful Family Traditional Christmases. We still do, even though we are now grown with children and grandchildren of our own.

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The Legend of the Poinsettia

The legend of the plant we now associate so strongly with Christmas arose years ago in Mexico, where it was traditional to leave gifts on the altar for Jesus on Christmas Eve. As the story goes, among a group of worshipers one night was a poor boy who had no present. Upset by his inability to provide a gift, the boy knelt outside the church window and prayed. In the spot where he knelt there sprung a beautiful plant of vibrant red leaves. In Mexico, this plant is called "the flower of the Holy Night."

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Christmas In Florida

Believe it or not, Christmas in Florida is a wonderful time of year. We offer sand instead of snow! We have some cold Christmases, but we also have some Christmases when it's 85 degrees. One good tip is to turn your air conditioner down to 50 degrees, then throw another log on the fire! We string lights all over our palm trees, decorate our houses with beautiful lights, and swim in our heated pools by christmas lights instead of candlelight! It's very romantic ~ try it sometime. As you can see we can make it pretty great here. Take a look at one of our Creations of Christmas Poems...

Twas A Florida Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town,
No rose were frozen - no snow fluttered down.
No children in flannels were tucked into bed,
They all wore shortie pajamas instead.

To find wreaths of holly was not very hard,
For holly wreaths grow in most every back yard.
In front of the house were Daddy and Mom
Decorating the Crotons and Coconut Palm.

The sleeping kiddies were dreaming with glee,
Hoping to find water skis under their tree.
They all knew that Santa was well on his way,
In a read and white sports car, instead of a sleigh,

He whizzed up the highway and zoomed up the road,
In a snappy convertible delivering his load.
And soon he arrived and started his work,
For he hadn't a moment to linger of shirk.

As he jumped from the car he gave a deep chuckle,
He was dressed in Bermudas, with Ivy League buckle,
There weren't any chimneys, but that caused no gloom,
For Santa came in through the Florida room.

He stopped at each house, stayed only a minute,
Emptying the bag 'o toys he had in it,
Before he departed, he treated himself,
To a big glass of Orange Juice left on the shelf.

He turned with a bounce and leaped in the car,
Remembering he still had to go very far.
Then turning the key and lighting the dash,
Up Interstate ninety-five he went like a flash,
But we heard him exclaim as he went on his way,
"Merry Christmas, Y'All ~ I wish I could stay."

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Christmas Recipe (Humor)

Nova Scotia's Best Holiday Fruit Cake&nbsp

1 cup butter

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Dried Fruit
4 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
Lemon Juice
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 or 2 Quarts Whiskey

Before you start, sample the whiskey to check for quality. Good, isn't it? Now go ahead.

Select a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc. Check the whiskey again, as it must be just right. To be sure the whiskey is of the highest quality, pour 1 level cup into a glass and drink it as fast as you can. Repeat....

With an electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of thugar and beat again.

Meanwhile, make sure the whiskey is of the finest quality. Cry another tup. Open second quart if nethathary.

Add 2 large leggs, 2 cups fried druit and beat 'til high. If druit gets stuck in beaters, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whiskey again, checking for tonscisiticity.

Next, sift 3 cups of salt ~ or anything. It doesn't really matter. Sample the vhiskey once again.

Sift 1/2 pint lemon juice, fold in chopped butter and strained nuts. Add t babblespoon of brown thugar, or whatever color you can find, and wix mell.

Grease roven and turn cake pan to 350 gfredees. Now pour the whole mess into the roven and ake.

Check the viskey agin' and bo to ged.

Happy Holidays!

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A Christmas Chronology

1510 A decorated Christmas tree recorded at Riga, Latvia.
1610 Tinsel invented in Germany.
ca. 1660 Record of a tree lit with candles in Germany.
ca. 1800 Tree ornaments being manufactured in Europe
1819 Popular sketch by Krimmel released depicting an American family with a Christmas tree on the table.
1822 German merchants living in England have decorated trees in their homes.
1822 Clement Moore, an American, writes A Visit From Saint Nicholas for his family (now known as Twas the Night Before Christmas)-published in 1848
1833 Red poinsettias sold in Philadelphia.
1841 Christmas crackers being manufactured in England.
1843 Charles Dickens writes A Christmas Carol.
1846 Illustration London News publishes a picture of the Royal Family gathered around a Christmas tree. The picture helps popularize the table top Christmas tree.
1880 German glass ornaments sold in Woolworth's.
1882 First electric Christmas tree lights sold in New York.
1892 Wire hook for hanging tree ornaments is patented in the United States.
1896 The T. Eaton Company produces its first Christmas catalogue.
1905 Santa Claus arrives by wagon at the T. Eaton Company store in Toronto.
1917 J.C. Hall (of Hallmark) imported fancy decorated envelope linings from France to sell as "gift dressing".
1923 Pink poinsettias produced.
1939 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer created by Robert May for an American department store as a Christmas promotion.

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Holiday Shopping
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Gift Calendars!

Cynthia Hart's Victoriana 2003 Wall Calendar
Gift Collection With Calendar
Like the period it celebrates, CYNTHIA HART'S VICTORIANA is the calendar of wonderful excess-hundreds of rare jewel-like antique paper pieces, rich fabrics, lace collectibles, and a riot of fresh flowers happily mingle in its enticing collages.

Butterflies 2003 Wall Calendar
"Butterfly" pictures some species so rare that they carry no common English name. Each one is shown at its iridescent best in images by butterfly farmer Bob Wilson, who shares his passion for these aerial artworks in this calendar.

 

Recommended Reading!

101 Things to Do for Christmas

175 Easy-To-Do Christmas Crafts

The Christmas Angel

A Cup of Christmas Tea
This heartwarming poem brings the true meaning of Christmas joyously to life. Reluctantly, in the midst of the Christmas rush, a man decides to go visit his ailing Great Aunt, but while there, peace and love and wonderful Christmas spirit surround the two of them as they share a cup of Christmas Tea.

A Memory of Christmas Tea
Tom Hegg seems quite unashamed to be sentimental. Revisiting the themes of his first book, A Cup of Christmas Tea, Hegg again gently chides his reader to remember the important things in life; taking the time to take time for others is central to his work. As always with Hegg's work, this is not a poem for the cynical, or indeed for those whose poetry must be "deep". It is straightforward, and unabashedly honest. Hegg revisits his narrator's great aunt, and the message she taught him many years before, but does so in such a way that avoids being sugary sweet. Her influence, gentle but firm, prompts the narrator to make time to find Christmas within, and share a cup of Christmas Tea with "someone"...we never know who, and it doesn't really matter. If you are a fan of Hegg and Hanson's work, you will love A Memory of Christmas Tea. If you're new to this pair, read A Cup of Christmas Tea first. The echoes in words, and in Hanson's nuanced illustrations of the first book make the sequel all the richer.

The 12 Days of Christmas
Ages 4 - 7. Ring in the Christmas season with a new rendition of a favorite, centuries-old carol. Set in the olden times of kings, queens, maidens, and lords, the tale is about a young lord who gives many unusual gifts to his lady. On single pages that extend to double-page spreads, and ultimately fold out into a six-page-long illustration featuring the merry festivities of the final night of the 12-day celebration, paper collages in bold, rich colors show the increasing number of gifts presented. Musical notes and lyrics complete the visually attractive book. As they sing along, children will delight in counting the many presents that appear on each page April Judge.

The Littlest Angel
Exquisite edition of one of the bestselling children's books of all time. An American Bookseller Pick of the Lists.

The Littlest Christmas Tree
This is a simple tale about the smallest seedling planted in a field of pine trees who yearns to grow tall enough to become a Christmas tree. Waiting to grow seems like an eternity to this eager little tree. As time passes and the seasons change, the seedling begins to observe the beauty of her forest world and the magical gifts that nature brings -- the sky, wind, sun and rain. She dreams of all the different things she could become when she grows tall -- a shelter for rabbits and squirrels, cozy winter nest for birds, even a window frame for a family's home. Gradually she comes to understand what her longing is really about: the joy of life is to be found anew in each and every day, in appreciating the ordinary moments and the wonders of nature that are often taken for granted. The Littlest Christmas Tree is a book for the entire family to read together, inspiring children impatient to be grown up, and to remind adults who may have forgotten childhood pleasures.

101 Questions About Santa Claus
The questions are answered so children no matter how old 3 to 99 could understand the answer from Santa himself.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus
A beautifully illustrated gift edition based on the legendary letter and essay that appeared in 1897 in The New York Sun. That letter and its editorial response have become a Christmastime legend.

The Night Before Christmas
In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote The Night before Christmas for his own children. Now, of course, his poem is read aloud to children around the world who are anticipating Santa's arrival.

Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook
From decking your halls to sitting down to dinner -- Betty Crocker has never done Christmas better! Here's a priceless collection of holiday recipes, both familiar and new, including appetizers, main dishes, sides, salads, breads, cookies, candies, desserts, kids favorites, and holiday gifts. It's full of fresh and inspiring ideas for easy, yet impressive, holiday entertaining.

Inventing Christmas: How Our Holiday Came to Be
For millions of Americans, young and old alike, Christmas is a fat jolly Santa Claus with a bag full of presents, carolers singing Yuletide hymns, and a lovingly decorated tree glowing with the joy of the season. But where did the best-loved traditions that make Christmas America's favorite holiday originate?

Nell Hill's Christmas At Home
The town of Atchison, Kansas, is never busier than at Christmastime. It is during this season that the acclaimed Nell Hill's home decorating emporium is transformed into a magical space where old meets new, formal meets frivolous, and imagination is key. Now you can bring that spirit into your home for the holidays. In Nell Hill's Christmas At Home, shop owner Mary Carol Garrity, the endlessly inventive home decorating marvel, turns her attention to the specifics of holiday decorating.

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Changes last made on: Tue Jul 22, 2003