Five Things to Consider Before You Build That Mega Christmas Light Display

Five Things to Consider Before You Build That Mega Christmas Light Display

Ron Behringer thinks back to his epic Christmas displays of the late 1990s with great fondness. “It was a new age for Christmas lighting,” he says. “Computer technology was really cutting edge. It was expensive but it was so exciting. It took it all to a new level and I was all in.” Once upon a time Behringer lit up his home – and his neighborhood – with more than half a million lights. His synchronized display drew thousands of people, was featured on television news and was the envy of nearly every other Christmas fanatic in Arizona. Those were the good old days, it turns out. These days Ron is back to stringing a single modest strand of lightsRead more

The Christmas Movie They Will Never Make

The Christmas Movie They Will Never Make

The world was underwhelmed with Mariah Carey’s breathless announcement this week that she is turning her 1994 Christmas tune – All I Want for Christmas Is You – into the next animated Christmas movie. This clearly isn’t the Christmas movie we are waiting for. What we’re waiting for is the Christmas movie they will never make. The reason the world is underwhelmed is because we’ve seen this before. White Christmas the movie wouldn’t be anything without White Christmas the song. Grinch the movie is not the classic that Grinch the TV show proved itself to be. (Oh, and they’re making it again as an animated feature with the deep-throated Benedict Cumberbatch as you-know-who but they pushed the project back aRead more

Understand Easter to Understand Christmas

Understand Easter to Understand Christmas

In a world growing more secular by the day there seems to be a serious decline in the understanding of what makes Easter so significant. A quick Google search about the “facts” of Easter reveals stunning statistics on how many chocolate eggs are consumed, how much fake grass is purchased and how many dollars are spent on baskets and bunnies. But hiding behind the commercialized accounting of Easter are real disturbing numbers about Easter itself. A 2014 survey by the Bible Society reveals that only one in four school-aged children can explain Easter. In fact, 71 percent of parents with children ages 2-16 did not even think their children had ever read, seen or heard the story of Easter. PerhapsRead more

Celebrating Christmas Year Round

Celebrating Christmas Year Round

For some people the Christmas tree never comes down. Their reasons vary. And others just think it is weird. “Right around this time of year you start hearing the uncomfortable comments,” Mitzi Unger, 64, said from her Louisiana home. She has kept her tree up and decorated in various themes since 2011. “When my husband was sick and then later died in December of 2011 we had the tree up for him,” she explains. “He loved it, it made him happy. He requested Christmas trees at his funeral and people made it happen. It was a wonderful and different kind of thing. It made for a happier goodbye. I keep it up for him because it’s a happy thing forRead more

My Private Christmas

My Private Christmas

The presents are all unwrapped. Santa’s stockings are emptied. Signs of yet another great Christmas celebration are everywhere. And my husband and children are asleep. The lights on the tree still shine and this is my time for my private Christmas. It is private because most don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it at first. Like everyone else I grew up with the traditions of Christmas. The mistletoe, the concerts, the decorations, the bustle of gifting and fixing foods and enjoying gatherings. Those things are still a part of it. But Christmas isn’t Christmas for me until my private Christmas. I credit three very separate and different events for teaching this to me over the years. The first happened whenRead more

Five Reasons NOT to take Down Your Christmas Tree Yet

Five Reasons NOT to take Down Your Christmas Tree Yet

We live on a busy Main Street in our little town. We have a large picture window at the front of our house. Each Thanksgiving weekend we look forward to the beacon of light our Christmas tree becomes along our bustling street. But as the week of Christmas passes and New Year’s brings the month of January our Christmas tree quickly falls out of fashion. One year we left the tree up so long in such a visible place the neighbors began to ask out of concern if we were not well. Nothing was wrong, of course. We just love our tree. America is known worldwide for a robust celebration of Christmas. It is also noted for being the firstRead more

What You Don’t Know About Being Santa

What You Don’t Know About Being Santa

St. Nicholas Day comes and goes every December 6th with little notice. It is a shame that the Christmas season does not do more to honor the man who is the basis for Santa Claus. Once upon a time St. Nicholas was one of the most famous and revered people in the world. He did not become that way because he wildly gave gifts or bestowed upon people their every desire. Nicholas was far removed from the modern image of Santa, a character so abused by marketers and Hollywood he actually numbers as many enemies as friends. St. Nicholas was never a man who sought out the spotlight or wanted the attention. What makes that such a sad statement isRead more

Beautiful Messaging of Christmas Commercials

Beautiful Messaging of Christmas Commercials

What makes Christmas commercials so different than other commercials we see on television? It is like the fact they tell stories that inspire and leave the selling to mere suggestion. Once upon a time American marketers were great storytellers. The commercials of Christmas past brought us things like the Coke truck and images of snowy Americana. Those traditions have been revived and are celebrated internationally now. Case in point is this great ad, shot entirely in English, from Poland, which tells the story of one devoted grandfather learning English to spread a message of love in a funny and touching story beautifully shot: This commercial showcases the best of Christmas values. Show does this one: Some commercials are so wellRead more

The Story of O Holy Night

The Story of O Holy Night

O Holy Night is like the national anthem of Christmas songs. Hauntingly beautiful but so difficult to sing it is often presented a cringe-worthy performances by even the best of singers (Celine Dion is perhaps the best example of one who over-sings the song). Here is a new version, shown as much of the great music of today is as a tale beyond the music, from Gentri: O Holy Night is a Christmas song of French origin. In 1847, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was the commissioner of wines in a small French town. Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked the man when his parish priest asked him to pen a poem for Christmas mass.Read more

Tale of a Presidential Christmas Tree

Tale of a Presidential Christmas Tree

Christmas in 1902 was celebrated much as it is today. But the centerpiece of it all was the Christmas tree. Christmas trees were not always part of the American Christmas tradition. Christmas in America is well documented for decades before the American Revolution but Christmas trees did not enjoy wide spread popularity until well after the Civil War. Like many popular icons of the 19th century Christmas the tree was made popular by British Royals, who publicized their use of a Christmas tree indoors. German immigrants to the US brought their Christmas tree traditions with them but once magazines published the royal trend in holiday celebration it took off in American culture. With the advent of electricity and thus theRead more