On the 2014 Gift Basket Party

Welcome to my 2014 Holiday/Christmas Party for my friends, their guests, and whoever stops by!

In the spirit of the holiday season, this gathering is for everyone: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, and others. I say everyone because I’m a firm believer that the majority of the world is good – and that is in spite of all the crap we get from the news each and every day … so peace and goodwill to the global community of goodness!

My wish is for guests to get a gift and mingle with others – which also means gifts can be traded! Then again, it may be the perfect gift for someone you know.

Plus, there’s more …. Santa will arrive around 3:00 PM Sunday (Eastern US) to allow everyone to state their wishes. He’ll be in the Comments, so reply to him there.

The Comments area will also serve as the Entertainment Stage, so stay tuned.

This is going to be a bit crazy for both readers and hosts, so I request your patience!

Overview

  • Behind each number is a surprise gift.
  • Only one gift per person.
  • Once the number (gift) is taken, it’s no longer available (next note is important)
  • While I hope to strike-through taken numbers, I must sleep and run errands – so I request readers check the comments before taking a number. (See the Update note above the numbers for my strike-through progress.)

Directions

  1. Pick (click) an available number for your surprise gift.
  2. In your comment, type your number (hopefully on its own line so all can see it).
  3. Tell everyone about your gift.
  4. If necessary, bargain a trade with someone else.

Positive cheers to all in the spirit goodness for the season! Have fun!!!!

HolidayGiftBag

UPDATED through David Funk

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DogElf

On Virginia and Santa Claus

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Yes, Virginia, when I was your age, I believed in Santa – then I questioned – and then I did not believe for a long time – but I was older when I realized Santa Claus is real.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to a Christian holiday, but because of Santa, many celebrate Christmas who aren’t Christians.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is important because he is a spirit for all of humanity. He’s not White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian … He may be all of those or whoever someone wants him to be because Santa is for everyone.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to St. Nicholas (a Christian saint), but the gift of giving and kindness is important to not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, and all the religions of all the people throughout the big, wonderful world.

Yes, Virginia, some loudly complain about a war on Christmas, buy they do not give Santa much credit.

Yes, Virginia, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I want to give gifts to my readers and anyone who visits this post because I believe there are so many good people throughout the world – and kindness is something all of us have in common.

Yes, Virginia, I want anyone to take as many gifts under this tree as the they want – as long as they tell me in a comment – and they can return as often as they want for more! Yes Virginia, giving is important.

To my fellow Christian friends, Merry Christmas – and we also know what else we are celebrating – and that is important to us to remember.

To all, may the spirit kindness of the holiday season touch each of you … and thanks for all of your doses of Santa kindness that you deliver to my little corner of the world throughout the year and in the time to come.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!

christmas-tree2
Many of us are grown up now, but Michael Buble shares a Grown Up Christmas List through clips of classic movies about the holidays.

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This Bing Crosby classic song is a wonderful tradition.

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Lights are one of the joys of the season, so here’s a house serving as a background to an acoustic guitar version of The First Noel by Trans Siberian Orchestra

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Several years ago, Lynn (Composer in the Garden) wrote Father Time, and this is a good opportunity to share her spirit of the season.

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To many, handbells are a sound of the season. Here is a fast-paced version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with interesting techniques that our choir is playing Christmas Eve. (Start at 1:15 in the video)

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Here’s some Christmas flavor from a local legend. Like her famous nephew George, the late Rosemary Clooney’s roots are Cincinnati. Her Christmas Mem’ries will rekindle your memories.

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I find Where Are You Christmas? by The Piano Guys to be special music that is fitting for this post.

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… and their Carol of the Bells is outstanding.

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For the dancers in the crowd, a spin around the floor to the Christmas Waltz promises to deliver smiles.

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A post like this must include on piece of humor, thus so cheers to the Star Trek spin on a holiday favorite.

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A Fire for You (John Boswell) delivers beautiful music to for the Winter Solstice and the season.

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The universe is a spectacular place, and its wonders continue to amaze me. Enjoy a trip through the universe through the Hubble telescope accompanied by a piano version of Oh Holy Night.

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Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is not only one of my favorite joys of the season, it is also very calming and accompanied by beautiful images.

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For those wanting to celebrate the sounds of Christmas through voices, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are wonderful together … and yes Virginia, I believe.

On the AFA Holiday Gift Party

Welcome to my Christmas/Holiday Party for my friends, their guests, and whoever stops by the holiday gathering!

I’ve never done a post like this before, but it was fun to put together. Below the image are gifts for many of the faces here and bloggers I visit. These people come not only different parts of the world, but from different cultures and belief systems. They are Christians, Jews, Muslim, Atheists, Agnostics, and others, yet each of them is part of a global community of goodness – so peace and goodwill to all!

The elf below has the gifts. (Quite the helper wouldn’t you say?) There is an order in the listings, but you may have to look around.

If your name isn’t listed, I apologize – so open one of the Grab Bags at the end. Your choice!

Because others want to know what you got, please tell about your gift in the comments. You never know, someone may want to trade with you! After all, I don’t believe there are duplicates.

I encourage everyone to comment about the gift of others. After all, parties involve good conversations.

If you see someone who you know and they haven’t arrived, please notify them to drop by for their present because I didn’t use any ping-back methods as a reminder.

FYI: Different entertainment will appear in the comments throughout the day.

A reminder to stop by for annual Christmas Eve treats of wonder. After all, it will be the one-year anniversary of the 2012 edition that was Freshly Pressed.

Positive cheers to all in the spirit goodness for the season … and thanks for reinforcing my belief system that there are many good people in the world.

Don’t forget to get the T-shirt before you leave. It’s at the end of the post.

DogElf

Thanks to Russell Deasley for this

Al @ A Mixed Bag
Alex @ Things I Love
Alisha @ AbTwixt
Angela @ Mind Margins
Annie @ World According to Cuttlefish
Amy @ Bumble Files
Archon @ Archon’s Den
Audra @ Unfettered BS

Brenda @ Friendly Fairy Tales
BuddhaKat @ BuddhaKat
Bulldog @ The Photographic Journey of the Bulldog

Carrie @ The Write Transition
Catherine @ Always a Redhead
Cathy @ Large Self
Cayman @ Drinks Well with Others
Cindy @ Cindy Knoke Photography
Claudine @ Giovannoni Claudine
Colline @ Colline’s Blog

Debra @ Bagni di Lucca & Beyond
Debra @ Breathe Lighter
Deborah @ Airports Made Simple
Deborah Closet Monster
Don in Mass
D-Fae @ Among the Crystals, Dragons, and Fae

Eleanor @ How and the Hell did I End Up Here?
Elyse @ Fifty-Four and a Half

Fasab @ Fasab
Frank @ Trail Life Hike

Georgette @ Georgette Sullins
GFB at GingerFightBack … with special guest Oily George
Guapo @ Guapola
Gull @ The Magnifique Way

Hansi @ The Blithering Idiot
Hood @ White Lady in the Hood
Hudson @ Hudson Howl

Isadora @ Inside the Mind of Isadora

Jackie @ Breathing to Write
Java Girl @ Java Girl’s Life
Jeff @ Drunken Cyclist
Jim @ The JAR Blog
Jim W @ Still Skeptical After All These Years
Joe H @ London Survival
John in Athens @ The Daily Gaff
John E @ Commentality – Lotsa Comments
John H @ Fiction Favorites
John Phillips @ Is It Possible to See It All
Jules @ McCrabass

Kathy Sister-in-Law
Kathy @ Reinventing in Ecuador
Kayjai @ Kayjai
Kimberly @ Words 4JP

Lame @ Lame Adventures
Laurie @ Pride in Photos Photography
Le Clown @ Clown on Fire
Leo @ Doggy Style
Les @ Best Bathroom Books
Lizzy @ Lizzy Cracked
LouAnn @ On the Homefront
Lynn @ Composer in the Garden

Maddie @ Breezy Books
Madhu @ The Urge to Wander
Marina @ Art Towards a Happy Day
Mark @ Mark Armstrong Illustrations
Melanie @ Our View in Iowa
Mo in Mass
Moe @ Whatever Works
Mouse @ Philosopher Mouse

Nancy @ Conversations in Faith
Nia @ Photography by Nia
Noeleen @ Words Fall From My Eyes

Patti @ Learn Something Everyday

Rachael @ Yo-Yo Dyne
Raye @ Jots from a Small Apartment
Rebecca @ Clanmother
Renee @ Renee Johnson Writes
Resa @ Graffiti Lux and Murals
Rich @ Brainsnorts
RightAngle
Robin @ Breezes at Dawn
Robert @ Yelling Quietly
RoSy @ Sharing Me Myself and I

Shimon @ The Human Picture
Snoring Dog @ Snoring Dog Studios
Spiced Charlie @ Hotly Spiced
Sue @ Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
Sun @ Simply Charming
Suzanne @ A Window in the Woods
Sylvia @ A Day in Paradise

TBM @ 50-Year Project
Tim: Mr. Marching Band
Tom M @ Within the Spheres

Val @ Tilted Tiara
Vanessa @ Vanessa Chapman
Vivika @ My Guilty Pleasures
Victoria @ Vix Views

Weebs @ Madame Weebles
Wine Wankers @ The Wine Wankers

Grab Bag 1
Grab Bag 2
Grab Bag 3
Grab Bag 4
Grab Bag 5
Grab Bag 6
Grab Bag 7
Grab Bag 8
Grab Bag 9
Grab Bag 10
Grab Bag 11
Grab Bag 12
Grab Bag 13
Grab Bag 14
Grab Bag 15

Thanks for attending. For those who don’t understand the T-shirt reference, click here.

Courtesy of Victoria @ Vic Views

Courtesy of Victoria @ VixViews

On Gifts 2012

interfaithlogoYes, I believe in Santa Claus, and the reason is simple – Santa Claus is a spirit of giving and kindness that transcends all cultures.

This post is for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, Atheists, agnostics, and all other belief systems because this my way of saying thank you with hopes that it brings a smile and warms your heart.

To me, there is no other day like Christmas Eve as it brings a sense of calmness. I smile when driving by closed stores with empty parking lots. Traffic is light as we pass houses with outdoor holiday lights. Listening to calm, classic music of the season adds to the sense of calmness.

In the spirit of Santa Claus, here are my gifts to you – my visitors – for I owe you for the many joys you’ve given me here and throughout WordPress.  So, go under the tree, not only take your pick, but you also get as many as you like. In addition, you can make more than one trip and invite your friends. The only condition is that everyone tells me your gifts of choice. Afterwards, head to the buffet and bar for bountiful treats! … and feel free to mingle with the good people here.

Whether Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, cheers and thanks to all!

christmas-tree2

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Enjoy the trailer to the classic movie, Holiday Inn

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Smile with Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy on a Glass Harp

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Laugh and sing with the Aussies to Six White Boomers

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Dance to the Christmas Waltz as it provides great background for classic holiday movie scenes

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Tap along with rousing bells of a large choir playing vigorous, joyous holiday song

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Be awed by the universe through the Hubble Telescope and Oh Holy Night

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Observe the beauty Aurora Borealis to one of my favorite Mannheim Steamroller tunes: Silent Night

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Take in the joys of George Winston’s piano and to images of snow

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Marvel at one playing all the cello parts

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Laugh with Bob Hope as he entertains troops in Vietnam (1966)

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Be in awe of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with this Nigerian carol

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Wonder about the naughty Santa

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

On the Last Shopping Week

I imagine the major shopping areas were crazy this week – but I wouldn’t know because I stayed away from them!

We had a good weekend and hope yours was productive and fun. Friday started with a flurry as we went to our friend’s home for a holiday party. He’s the one whose wife passed away a year ago – and I must say – he not only did great, but his home was alive with friends and neighbors!

We also had some time to be at our dance studio, plus went to the annual ballroom dance holiday ball in the ballroom at historical Cincinnati Music Hall (past post).

If this week goes as planned, I’ll post everyday. Plus, I have to prepare for my holiday party on Christmas Eve. Of course, everyone is invited, so bring a friend! It will start early with hopes that the Aussies will attend.

Some of you may be looking for holiday gift ideas. Besides The Onion’s wonderful collection for kids, the home, and the one who has everything, this video will give you even more ideas. Enjoy … and have a wonderful week.