The Christmas Creep Free Zone

The Christmas Creep Free Zone

For weeks now we’ve been receiving word – Christmas is out in many stores. Summer arts and craft festivals feature Christmas goodies, artists are recording holiday albums in studios, and later this week the world marks Leon Day – the halfway point to Christmas. Hallmark is releasing their catalog of new Christmas ornaments and the cable shopping channels are gearing up for hours and hours of “Christmas-in-July”. Christmas, it seems, is everywhere. But something is missing. Do you know what it is? It is the absence of complaint. It is the silence of un-merry dissent. It is the non-cry of the unsettled, uncomfortable-with-early Christmas citizen. Welcome to the Christmas Creep-free Zone, friends. Enjoy this while it lasts. Christmas in AmericaRead more

Five Ways to Celebrate Christmas in April

Five Ways to Celebrate Christmas in April

The month of April is the most anti-Christmas month of the year. There is less Christmas cheer now than at any other point on the calendar. We know. We’ve been doing Christmas year round for a quarter of a century now. We know when people are thinking Christmas and it ain’t happening much in April. Traffic to our various Christmas web sites bottoms out in April. Email, forum activity — everything! — just slows to a crawl at this time of the year. That surprises some people. Some think that Christmas is the furthest away in January but we know other wise. For many, Christmas only begins in December — and much the world carries that over into January. AfterRead more

Charles Dickens Day

Charles Dickens Day

Today marks 322 days until Christmas leaving just 45 weeks until the big day. It is also the 204th birthday of Charles Dickens, who was born on this day in 1812. The name of Charles Dickens can hardly be said these days without thinking of Christmas. While his career spanned decades with volumes of legendary written works it is his story of A Christmas Carol that keeps his name on the lips of Christmas lovers everywhere. The young life of Charles Dickens clearly influenced both the story and the message of A Christmas Carol. He lived a tough existence during a time when little thought was given to child labor laws. The poor of Great Britain were a central themeRead more

Candlemas

Candlemas

There are 327 days remaining until Christmas in our countdown but on this day we actually celebrate a day reflective of the fact that Christmas was 40 days ago. This day is known as Candlemas. For many, the thinking of this day as a Christian celebration is natural as many Christian denominations mark this as the day the Christ was presented at the Temple. But it must be remembered that this tradition of Candlemas is not Christian in origin at all — it is Jewish. After all, Christ was a Jew. Joseph was a Jew. Mary was a Jew. At this point in the Christ Child’s life only a few had an idea of his true paternity. Most assumed heRead more

Cary Grant Day

Cary Grant Day

There are 342 days remaining in our countdown to Christmas and today we celebrate the birthday of Cary Grant. On this day in 1904 Archibald Alexander Leach was born in Horfield, Bristol, England. His life travels and work would take him to America and world fame as the debonair leading man, Cary Grant. Grant’s story is interesting. He had a tough childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father and a terribly cruel mother who was mentally ill. She had lost Grant’s older brother to sickness and some believe it spurred her emotional problems. When young Grant was 10 his mother disappeared and he was told by his father that she had gone on a long holiday. Later, he toldRead more

David Bowie Day

David Bowie Day

Today is David Bowie Day in our Countdown to Christmas, there are just 349 days remaining. Bowie passed away today at the age of 69. It is hard not to compare David Bowie to his Christmas duet partner, Bing Crosby today, odd as that is to say. They had nothing and everything in common all at the same time. But today is not unlike the day that Bing died: everyone is talking about him, many quite shocked at his loss, and almost all speaking in admiration for many years of musical contribution and his prodigious talent. It would be hard to just end the comparison there. After all, we see Bowie, as we do everything else, through the lens ofRead more

Elvis Presley Day

Elvis Presley Day

Today marks the 81st birthday of The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. It also marks 352 days until Christmas in our countdown. Elvis needs no introduction or even explanation. He was revolutionary. Today’s youth are now so far distant from classic Christmas artists such as Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Elvis that they may be dismissive of them all as merely crooners long dead. They simply don’t know what ground breaking pioneers they all were in their time and how the public wildly reacted to their work. None of them created a stir more than Elvis. He was a badass of the first order. And, thankfully, in his contributions to Christmas music, ElvisRead more

Three Kings Day

Three Kings Day

All around the world today there are celebrations of what is known as Three Kings Day. It also marks 359 days until Christmas. The legend of the Magi is widely known but the purpose of the wise men and who they were is not entirely understood by most. It is by far one of the most sacred elements of the Christmas story. Secular historians have long tried to explain away the wise men as scientists, mystics or even priests of Zoroastrianism. This is due to the elements of the story that make them a strange fit in the story of Christ. The fact they “came from the East” and “followed a star” is hard for academics to put their armsRead more

New Year, New Countdown

New Year, New Countdown

The art of counting down to Christmas is one that dates back hundreds of years. That is what Advent is all about. But even for those who celebrate Christmas in other ways the countdown to Christmas adds a delicious anticipation that seems to give the season it’s glow. Especially when you countdown down for far out. For us that countdown begins anew on New Year’s Day — a mere 359 days from Christmas 2016. That may seem a mere speck on a distance horizon right now. But it will be here before you know it. In 2016 we resolve to countdown to Christmas in ever new ways. We may not mark every day but we will visit the days toRead more