Ode to Joy to the World

Ode to Joy to the World

Tis the season for new Christmas videos and the Piano Guys just released their newest Christmas tune titled Ode to Joy to the World. Yes, it’s a mash-up as only the Piano Guys do it and it’s a great, if not joyful, set-up to the season ahead. Take a look and a listen: Joy to the World is actually a hymn, written by one of the most prolific hymn writers in history, Isaac Watts. As a child, Watts showed remarkable propensity for rhyme, much to his father’s chagrin. After the family prayer time, one day, the sober minded elder WattsRead more

The Thanksgiving History You Never Hear

The Thanksgiving History You Never Hear

Modern media is flooded each Thanksgiving with tales of the myths and distortions of America’s most widely celebrated holiday. That is the most amazing thing about Thanksgiving. It is full of ironies and falsehoods and ignored facts. On one extreme you have those who cling to the Charlie Brown version of Thanksgiving. This is what most of us were taught in grade school – that the pilgrims walked off the Mayflower, made nice with the Indians and enjoyed a festive meal. On the other extreme you have those who say the Thanksgiving at Plymouth of 1621 never happened at allRead more

Josiah, His Turkeys and His Sweetheart

Josiah, His Turkeys and His Sweetheart

(Editor’s Note: This Thanksgiving story was published sometime in the early 19th century. Like A Visit from St. Nicholas it was published as a tradition year after year in many newspapers. We found it in the Boston Traveler from 1836, though we noted it dating back as far as 1824 in another newspaper. This is a delightful look an old American Thanksgiving traditions – as well as a great story of love.) Have you ever been in Windsor, Vermont? If so, you have heard of Josiah Baker. Indeed, you have heard of him even tho you have not been inRead more

A Christmas Story of 1887

A Christmas Story of 1887

Editor’s Note: This Christmas story originally appeared in a Columbus, Ohio newspaper on December 24th, 1887. It was subtitled ‘As Compared to the Ordinary Christmas Day’. It is shared here in its complete form, with punctuation, spelling and vocabulary exactly as it was printed in the original. Such humorous stories were very common in local newspapers of the era. What was funny then is just as funny now. For more about Christmas of the 19th century, take a listen to the latest episode of the Merry Podcast. It was the 24th of December; from a force of circumstances that renderRead more

Loving Both Thanksgiving and Christmas

Loving Both Thanksgiving and Christmas

Thanksgiving and Christmas are seemingly at odds with each other these days. The politically correct thing seems to be “honoring Thanksgiving” by not doing Christmas too early. We must avoid the nefarious thing called “Christmas Creep“. Target made a splash in the news by announcing they were not going to “give in to Christmas Creep” by eschewing Thanksgiving. (Although they still have aisle after aisle of Christmas stuff you can buy while you notice their Thanksgiving signs and listen to their moralizing politics). Other retailers are getting in the act, too. Plenty have made it widely known that this yearRead more

Calling Santa for Free

Calling Santa for Free

Can you imagine the kinds of messages Santa must get? Calling Santa is easy — and now free. In a new video released today by the North Pole Santa shares a few of the messages he receives on his toll free number. They are, to say the least, adorable: Most published phone numbers you see for Santa are not toll free. In fact, most calls to Santa not only require you to pay the long distance or cell charges — they have their hand out in selling something else. Not this one. Maybe that’s because it comes from the realRead more

The Perfect Halloween Mood Setter

The Perfect Halloween Mood Setter

Bach’s Toccata in D Minor might not be known by name for those who don’t follow classical music but it’s signature sound is recognizable by millions as being associated with suspense, terror and especially Halloween. Here it is in spooky splendor as presented by the great Richard Elliott, famed organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is the perfect mood setter as we head into Halloween: Many think this was written specifically for the organ but experts say it was intended instead for the violin. However, a history of use in 20th century film and on stage for various scenesRead more

The Christmas Beat Goes on for Pentatonix

The Christmas Beat Goes on for Pentatonix

Every third week of October for the past several years Pentatonix has debuted a new Christmas single. This year is no different. But this Christmas single features just four singers — an odd thing for a group whose name is based on “five”. The song is a traditional Christmas carol — Away in a Manger — performed respectfully in Pentatonix’ untraditional style. And yes, it’s great: But there is more than a new Christmas song to announce to America’s biggest selling Christmas group of the past five years. First, there’s the new NBC Christmas television special scheduled for Monday, NovemberRead more

Christmas Stamps to Feature Famous Carols

Christmas Stamps to Feature Famous Carols

The United States Post Office will officially distribute new Christmas stamps for 2017 on October 5th. Christmas card exchange fans will be pleased with the festive theme celebrating famous Christmas carols in this year’s design. “Jingle Bells”, perhaps the mostly widely heard, sung and known Christmas carol is an all-American creation dating back to the 1850s. Lyrics featured on the stamp honoring this song are “One Horse Open Sleigh”. Interestingly enough, though commonly associated with Christmas the song never once mentions Christmas in its lyrics. It does set itself aside as an American classic by really being a song aboutRead more

Dickens Preview Surprises Little

Dickens Preview Surprises Little

Dickens might be sick. The long awaited first preview of the Charles Dickens biopic awkwardly titled The Man Who Invented Christmas is here and it is as horrid as we feared. The movie hits theaters on November 22nd and it is billed as the big Christmas movie release of 2017. The movie casts Christopher Plummer as Scrooge and features every computer animated/generated special effect to give you the feel of Victorian-era England. Dan Stevens stars as the great Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol and a long time legend of Christmas. This movie purports to tell the story ofRead more