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Merry Christmas

2014

Happy Holidays from the "Valley of the Sun,"  Scottsdale, Arizona!

Here's a terrific idea! When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001      . . . and

Wounded Warriors
8901 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20889
White Christmas? It's rare. Snow is something we don't see much of around here, so thought the snowman would add a nice touch. During December the temperature will seldom dip below 35 degrees.

Nearly 30 years have passed since snow - and it was only a trace - fell in the greater Phoenix area on December 25th. (UPDATE: We experienced a 15 minute snow storm, with the wind blowing hard, about 2 years ago, however it melted as soon as it hit the ground). If we want snow, we can drive two hours north to Flagstaff and go skiing. The average temperature on Christmas day is 65 degrees.

Snowman Frosty Gets Caught!

In the desert, we do Christmas differently. The winter grass is growing, the palms swaying are in the breeze. We decorate our houses and the cacti in our desert yards with chile pepper lights while wearing our t-shirts and shorts. We also drive around town looking at the Christmas lights in our convertibles with the top down.

Our version of the 12 days of Christmas is also unique. Click here for an Arizona desert rendition.

We have put together a great "Christmas Tour" for you and your family. We have researched the history behind many of the events and traditions of this holiday season. Follow the links at the bottom right of each page to complete the tour.

You can even send your "Relationship Wish List" by e-mail to Santa Claus - designed to help you fit the pieces of the relationship puzzle together in a healthy way. Santa's Christmas elf, Larry James, will answer your e-mail.

Santa Claus
"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're online. . ."
What is Christmas? - The word Christmas comes from the words Cristes maesse, or "Christ's Mass." Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. Most historians peg the first celebration of Christmas to Rome in 336 A.D.
Snowman & Kisses

Christmas is both a holiday and a holy day. In America it is the biggest event of the year (especially for kids), and for members of the Christian religions it is an important day on the religious calendar. The federal government, all state governments, all schools/colleges/universities and the vast majority of businesses in America give employees one or two days off at Christmas, making it an important holiday.

In the Roman Catholic calendar, Christmas is one of six holy feast days celebrated in America, the others being:

  • Circumcision (New Year's Day)
  • Ascension
  • Assumption (Mary's Assumption into heaven, August 15)
  • All Saints (November 1) and
  • Immaculate Conception (December 8)
Elves Christmas tree

Where Did Christmas Lights Come From? - Albert Sadacca was fifteen in 1917, when he first got the idea to make Christmas tree lights. A tragic fire in New York City involving Christmas tree candles inspired Albert to invent electric Christmas lights. The Sadacca family sold ornamental novelty items including novelty lights. Albert adapted some of the products into safe electric lights for Christmas trees. The first year only one hundred strings of white lights sold. The second year Sadacca used brightly colored bulbs and a multi-million dollar business took-off.

In America, the weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Many retailers make up to 70 percent of their annual revenue in the month preceding Christmas.

The tradition of gifts seems to have started with the gifts that the wise men (the Magi) brought to Jesus. As recounted in the Bible's book of Matthew, "On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

Christmas was largely a non-event in America until the 1860s. 1867 was the first year that Macy's department store in New York City remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve. 1874 was the year of the first window displays with a Christmas theme at Macy's. It has snowballed from there.

December 12th is Poinsettia Day, to honor Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the U.S. diplomat (the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico) who introduced the Central American plant to America. Poinsettias were attached to Christmas starting in 1828.

Pointsetta Are poinsettias poisonous? No. There was a commercial in Ohio a number of years ago to prove this point; as crazy as it may sound, the florists ran a commercial of a man eating a poinsettia to prove the point. The sap from the plant can be mildly to very irritating to mucus membranes and should be kept from children and animals.

Q: What do you call children who are afraid of Santa Claus?
A: Claustrophobic!

Traveling during the Holidays? Learn some quick tips to make your travel safer and less stressful. Read, Don't Stress Holiday Travel.

Follow this link to 10 Classic Christmas Flicks. Get into the holiday spirit with these festive flicks.

Christmas music plays a big part in celebrating the holidays. Here is a list of the most popular songs that are played continuously during the Christmas Season. Since there are not that many, it is estimated that you could hear each song anywhere from 500 to 700 times over the course of the few weeks leading up to Christmas.

  • Away In A Manger
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Deck The Halls
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • Jingle Bells
  • Joy To The World
  • Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas
  • It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • O Holy Night
  • O, Little Town of Bethlehem
  • O Tannenbaum
  • Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  • Silent Night
  • Silver Bells
  • The Christmas Song
  • The First Noel
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • What Child Is This?
  • White Christmas
  • Winter Wonderland

A heartwarming story called, "The Selfish Giant,"
read by Og Mandino.

Merry Christmas!

Have yourself a "Jazzy Little Christmas" with Dave Koz and friends and Kenny G. Hear many of your favorite Christmas songs and a few new surprises. Excellent additions to your Holiday CD collection.
A Smooth Jazz Christmas - CD - Dave Koz & Friends - Cohesiveness is what separates this all-star Christmas 2001 release from the others. Since 1997, Dave Koz, vocalist Brenda Russell, pianist David Benoit, guitarist Peter White, and trumpeter Rick Braun have hit the road spreading holiday cheer among the smooth-jazz masses and their collaborative ease is obvious throughout these 14 tracks. A Smooth Jazz Christmas
Miracles: The Holiday Album

Faith: A Holiday Album - CD - Kenny G - A thoughtful and moving collection of songs, spirituals, and hymns, with his trademark sound wedded to several ensemble and orchestral arrangements. The G-man stretches out in "Sleigh Ride" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," but these are balanced by more serious pieces such as the lovely, original "Eternal Light ( A Chanukah Song)" and "Ave Maria." After, "The Christmas Song," the record closes with a haunting audio history of America's last century, which runs under a revisited version of "Auld Lang Syne."

Miracles: The Holiday Album - CD - Kenny G - 11 tracks featuring, Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Silent Night, a witty reading of "Greensleeves" wedded to Dave Brubeck's "Take 5," Miracles, Little Drummer Boy, The Chanukah Song, Silver Bells, Away In A Manger and Brahms Lullaby.

Miracles: The Holiday Album
Holiday

Holiday - CD - Russ Freeman - The leader of the Rippingtons performs 11 Christmas songs plus two originals. Features Bob James, John Patitucci and others.

Breath of Heaven - Holiday Collection - CD - Grover Washington Jr - This was one of the last albums that Grover made. 12 tracks including: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song), Away In a Manger, I Wonder As I Wander and more.

Breath of Heaven - Holiday Collection
Christmas Songs by Sinatra

Christmas Songs by Sinatra - CD - Frank Sinatra - Ol' Blue Eyes always put a little something extra into songs that really meant something to him, and the music of the holidays clearly held a special place in his heart. While he recorded many of the titles on this collection before, Sinatra's diehard fans will certainly want to hear these alternate versions of well-known recordings such as "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" and "White Christmas." It's also heartwarming to hear that one-of-a-kind voice matched to the regal backing of "Adeste Fideles" and the crystalline choir that joins him on an impassioned reading of "The Lord's Prayer."

White Christmas - CD - Bing Crosby - Try to forget the fact that Bing Crosby probably never had to record another song in his life after he immortalized "White Christmas." If you can do that, you'll find plenty more to like in this crooning Christmas collection. There's the Romantic Bing, charming the tinsel right off the tree with "The Christmas Song," and that cure for cabin fever, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" There's the Reverent Bing, solemnly singing "Adeste Fideles" and more.

White Christmas
Where did Santa Claus come from? Click here for the answer.

Is the "Grinch" really stealing Christmas? Santa is appalled! Click here for the answer.

Here's a little Holiday Humor:

  • Question:  What do you call a cat on the beach at Christmastime?
    • Answer:  Sandy Claus!
  • Question:  Why was Santa's little helper depressed?
    • Answer:  Because he had low elf esteem.
  • Question:  What do reindeer say before telling you a joke?
    • Answer:  This one will sleigh you!
  • Question:  What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
    • Answer:  Frostbite.
  • Question:  Where do snowmen keep their money?
    • Answer:  In a snowbank!
  • Question:  What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
    • Answer:  Claustrophobic.
  • Question:  What does Santa's elves learn in school?
    • Answer:  The Elf-abet!
  • Question:  Why couldn't the butterfly go to the Chistmas ball?
    • Answer:  It was a moth ball!
  • Question:  What do monkeys sing at Christmas?
    • Answer:  Jungle Bells, Jungle bells!
  • Question:  What do the reindeer sing to Santa Claus on his birthday?
    • Answer:  Freeze a jolly good fellow!
  • Question:  What game do reindeer play in their stalls?
    • Answer:  Stable-tennis!
  • Question:  What's Scrooge's favorite Christmas game?
    • Answer:  Mean-opoly.
  • Question:  What do you get if you cross Santa Claus with a detective?
    • Answer:  Santa Clues!
  • Question:  What's a hairdressers's favorite Christmas song?
    • Answer:  Oh, comb all ye faithful.
  • Question:  What do snowmen wear on their heads?
    • Answer:  Ice caps.
  • Question:  Why couldn't the skeleton go to the Christmas Party?
    • Answer:  He had no body to go with.
  • Question:  What do you have in December that you don't have in any other month?
    • Answer:  The letter "D".
  • Question:  What did the ghosts say to Santa Claus?
    • Answer:  We'll have a boo Christmas without you.
  • Question:  How did Scrooge win the football game?
    • Answer:  The ghost of Christmas passed.
  • Question:  What do Christmas trees and bad knitters have in common?
    • Answer:  They both drop their needles.
This guy goes into his dentist's office because his mouth hurts.

After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?"

"Well..." says the man, "the only thing I can think of is this: My wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it - Hollandaise sauce, she called it - and Doctor, I'm talkin' DELICIOUS! I've never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I've been putting it on everything... meat, fish, toast, vegetables, you name it!"

"That's probably it," replied the dentist "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as thought I'll have to install a new plate, but this time it'll be made out of chrome."

"Why chrome?" the man asked.

"Well, everyone knows that there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

Wierd Christmas

Send someone you love a FREE e-Christmas card. . .

It is my hope that you have a happy and safe holiday - Larry James

Got the "holiday blues?" Read:  Rx for the "holiday blues".

Read Larry's article, "A Gift of the Heart."

Need someone to talk with because of the "holiday blues?" Phone a friend.

A snowball LOVE Heart

White Christmas White Christmas - VIDEO - This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin's perennial, Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn't have much of a story, but what it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score. Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who hook up, romantically and professionally, with a "sister" act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include, "White Christmas." Also available on DVD

Follow the links at the bottom right of each page to complete our Christmas tour.

The Christmas & Holiday Book Shelf - Featuring a listing of nearly 10,600 books about Christmas.
Visit Larry's Book Store for a large selection of "relationship" books, music and more.

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