Category Archives: Christmas

Link’n’Blogs – 12.22.17: Fall On Your Knees For Christmas Music!


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

For me, it’s O Holy Night, bar none. When “fall on your knees” hits, I am all but ready to do so. Far-and-away, Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song.

What’s yours?

Esquire has assembled 25 potentials… Click the most classic of Christmas trees below and see if their list matches yours.

charlie-brown-tree

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Link’n’Blogs – 12.23.16 – Life Day – Merry Christmas, Star Wars Style


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

If you have an hour and a half to relax and spend with Star Wars characters (and Bea Arthur!) celebrating “Life Day” – a kind of George Lucas Christmas, well, I am here for you!

The Star Wars Holiday Special – Believe It Or Not!

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Link’n’Blogs – 12.16.16 – 12 Days


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

The video below is about all you need today!

12 Days

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Our Own Christmas in Colorado


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This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2013. I was going to update them, but they were primarily perfect the way they are.

Beyond spending time with the kids, The Cinnamon Girl and I look forward to this time of year in part because we are creatures of habit and there are wonderful routines and tropes we anticipate renewing this time of year. They are what makes the Christmas Season feel like Christmas.

One cannot always count on the weather. On December 21, 2015 as I update this post, it’s sunny, so one must generate the Christmas Spirit in other ways.

It isn’t hard to do.

Christmas Things We Enjoy

12. Decorating the House

Right after Thanksgiving, we love to get the Christmas lights and Christmas tree up and running. We did this when Stretch and HJ jr were home for their Thanksgiving Breaks. Our outdoor lights are white icicle and we added a Christmas Fox to our yard this season.

The tree is trimmed. It shines all day. I love this time of year.

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11. Making Christmas Cookies

The kids are older now, so some of the overwhelming excitement about butter, flour and sugar may be a bit lessened, but we spend an evening this week making and decorating our cookies. Everyone gets to do just what they want to, make and decorate for as long as they wish. We put on a movie or Christmas Carols, break out the cookie press and bake. These are times to enjoy!

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10. Listening to Christmas Music

Also immediately after Thanksgiving, I begin listening to Christmas music. I have a playlist ready to roll all year for this event and I even change my running routine (I’ve been listening to audio books for my runs this year) to Christmas classics. The song below is my newest favorite…

9. Christmas Kringle

When I married the Cinnamon Girl and we began to combine Christmas traditions, I can say that the best thing I gained in the bargain was the eating of the Christmas Kringle!  Never heard of it? Here’s what wikipedia has to say: “In the United States, kringles are hand-rolled from Danish pastry dough (wienerbrød dough) that has been rested overnight before shaping, filling, and baking. Thirty-two layers of the flaky dough are layered, then shaped in an oval. After filling with fruit, nut, or other flavor combinations, the pastry is baked and iced.”  Um, yeah. That description doesn’t do the Kringle justice! It’s a delicious (and calorie free!) delight that I wait all year to eat!

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8. Holiday Shopping

Each year, The Cinnamon Girl, the kids and I go out for a meal and shopping for Christmas presents. The day begins with breakfast, brunch or lunch (depending upon the shoppers’ mood!) at the Cheesecake Factory and then we wander the mall while the kids point out things they want from one another  and we do the same for them. It’s a lovely tradition that we’ve been doing for years and it is clear from these young adults that they want nothing about this tradition to change – don’t even mention it!

Once home, the kids retire to their rooms and wrap their gifts and then get them under the tree.

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7. Holiday Calendar

We love to plan the month… and plan the season. We love to work everything in that we want to do. With three teenagers and two households to consider, that gets a bit challenging, but we make it work!

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6. Smelts

My dad was Italian. A little. His mother was Italian. A lot. Italian families celebrate Christmas Eve with the Feast of the Seven Fishes. In our context, this meant only smelts. Smelts need to be cleaned – de-boned and washed. That task has fallen to me for the last decade. It’s a tradition… perhaps not the most joyous one!

In case you don’t know what that is:  from wikipedia: “The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence – in this case, refraining from the consumption of meat or milk products – on Wednesdays, Fridays and (in the Latin Church) Saturdays, as well as during Lent and on the eve of specific holy days. As no meat or butter could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish, typically fried in oil. The meal may include seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional. The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.”

smelts

5. Sponge Bob and the Christmas Moose!

Each year for the last few, Sponge Bob and the Christmas Moose have been a part of our celebrations. They turn up when we least expect them… they scare the animals, they frighten the children, the make us laugh!

They haven’t made their annual appearances yet, but I am sure they are coming…

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4. Christmas Cards

Is it a dying tradition? I don’t know. I certainly hope it’s not. There is much to be said for the act of writing, the act of signing one’s name, the act of putting a stamp on something and putting it in the mail. I love sending cards as much as I love receiving them.

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3. Christmas Eve Celebration

With the extended family on Christmas Eve, we always feel as though we are home.

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2. Cinnamon Girl Makes Christmas Dinner

No matter what she decides to make for us, it’s always delicious. This year, it’s likely to be crab and mashed potatoes with asparagus. She might even make homemade cheddar biscuits to go with along. She’ll give us champagne cocktails. She’ll make it perfect. The Cinnamon Girl is actually the best gift I got this or any year. Period. End of discussion.

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1. Time with the Family

Sous Chef.

Stretch.

HJ jr.

The Cinnamon Girl.

Family makes Christmas. My family makes Christmas great.

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And There Came Christmas Lists Part Four – Christmas Songs

We’re knee deep in Advent and looking forward to Christmas.  HJ jr has a few more days of class before his penultimate (I love that word!) semester of high school ends, Stretch is taking his first semester of college exams, Sous Chef is wrapping up the first semester of her junior year and The Cinnamon Girl is completing administration of exams both in her in-person, traditional classes and in the two online classes she teaches. And me? I am anticipating a bit of down time from the new job and blogging about CHRISTMAS! Presented today, an AND THERE CAME A DAY Christmas List!

PART FOUR: Christmas Songs I Love

These are presented in the order of my liking!

5.  Do You Hear What I Hear?

Simple story, well told. I love the movement. I love  the key change. I love Johnny Mathis’ version but I couldn’t track down a link.  Perry Como is pretty solid, too!

4.  I Saw Three Ships

Another very direct narrative and a song that, when I was a child, suggested to Colorado born-and-bred land-locked me something of the magic of Christmas… What was in the ships, indeed? I never knew then, I am not sure I understand now, but Sting’s recording is on my playlist.

3.  O Little Town of Bethlehem 

The swelling chorus. The reflective verses. The hope expressed. It’s a lovely song of the birth of Christ. Sarah McLachlan’s haunting voice is so good here.

2.  2 Days of Christmas (Straight No Chaser)

Fun, just fun. This is always the first carol I think of at Christmas time, and always this version.

1.  O Holy Night

Without a doubt, this is my favorite Christmas carol of all time. I am often moved to tears when I hear it done well. Neil Diamond does it very, very well.

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And There Came Christmas Lists Part Three – Christmas Traditions

We’re knee deep in Advent and looking forward to Christmas.  HJ jr has a few more days of class before his penultimate (I love that word!) semester of high school ends, Stretch is taking his first semester of college exams, Sous Chef is wrapping up the first semester of her junior year and The Cinnamon Girl is completing administration of exams both in her in-person, traditional classes and in the two online classes she teaches. And me? I am anticipating a bit of down time from the new job and blogging about CHRISTMAS! Presented today, an AND THERE CAME A DAY Christmas List!

PART THREE: Christmas Traditions I Love

These are presented in the order of my liking!

5.  Decorating the House

Generally, we look to decorate the house on the day after Thanksgiving and this year was no exception. We love to have the lights on and the decorations up for some of Advent and all of the Christmas season. The kids still enjoy helping, too!

Christmas Decorating

Rocking around the Christmas tree.

 

4.  The Christmas Poker Party

When I turned a certain age a few years back, we celebrated with a Poker Party right after school got out from the first semester. We have continued this tradition and it’s become a favorite of ours.  The Cinnamon Girl makes amazing food and throws an incredible party each year.

The sweets we made for the Poker Party this year. One of these three, we purchased. Can you tell which?

The sweets we made for the Poker Party this year. One of these three, we purchased. Can you tell which?

3.  Writing Christmas Cards

Though the kids may not always like the photos we choose to put on the card, we have done a photo card each year we’ve been married. In some years, we send just the card, in others, we write a Christmas Letter. I want to keep this snail mail tradition of Christmas cards alive! Who’s with me?

Not the kids' favorite photo, but we love it!

Not the kids’ favorite photo, but we love it!

2.  Making Christmas Cookies watching Love Actually 

I’ve mentioned Love Actually before in my Christmas lists. There is nothing better than putting on the movie and making the cookies. Everyone gets to participate to the level they wish… if you want to make a bunch, you can. If you want to make just a few, you can. If you want to make irreverent Christmas cookies… well, you can!

I feel it in my fingers...

I feel it in my fingers…

1.  Christmas Shopping with the Kids

For years, we’ve taken the kids to Park Meadows Mall, started our outing with brunch at the Cheesecake Factory and then wandered the stores while the kids (and we!) point out gifts to each other that we like then try to find ways to disengage from one another so we can go back and purchase the desired presents. It’s always a wonderful day!

The menu is something of a novella.

The menu is something of a novella.

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And There Came Christmas Lists Part Two – Christmas Movies

We’re knee deep in Advent and looking forward to Christmas.  HJ jr has a few more days of class before his penultimate (I love that word!) semester of high school ends, Stretch is taking his first semester of college exams, Sous Chef is wrapping up the first semester of her junior year and The Cinnamon Girl is completing administration of exams both in her in-person, traditional classes and in the two online classes she teaches. And me? I am anticipating a bit of down time from the new job and blogging about CHRISTMAS! Presented today, an AND THERE CAME A DAY Christmas List!

PART TWO: Christmas Movies I Love

These are presented in the order of my liking!

5.  Die Hard

Is there any better way to get in the Christmas spirit? Give me one part Bruce Willis, one part Alan Rickman and many parts some creepy re-arrangements of Christmas songs in minor keys… Merry Christmas, everyone, and Yipee Ki Yay!

4.  The Lion in Winter

This is the best movie on the list, without question. Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn (along with a young Anthony Hopkins) make YOUR most awkward Christmas gathering seem Norman Rockwellian in comparison!

3.  Iron Man 3

A Christmas movie? Absolutely! The entire film takes place during the Christmas season, gifts are given and there are a lot of bright lights… and explosions!

2.  It’s A Wonderful Life

This is the gold standard of holiday movies and darned if it doesn’t hold up very, very well on repeated viewings. But go black and white! They’ve buried all the colorized versions of this, haven’t they? Jimmy Stewart is at his best here. Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls and the rest of the world.

1.  Love Actually

Without a question, this is my favorite Christmas movie of all time and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas in our household without all of us making cookies, viewing the film and the kids watching me cry at various parts of the movie. Love actually is all around us, at Christmas time and always. This is the movie by which every ensemble romantic comedy should be judged and the movie every ensemble romantic comedy wants to be. But there’s only one Love Actually. If you have the Blu Ray, don’t skip the extended scenes. They are really wonderful!

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