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!

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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

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 167

Celebrating the End of the World as if it is just another day … and before anyone says, “Oh crap – why didn’t I listen?”

On Politics
I’ve got the feeling that we will see the nomination of the first female for Secretary of Defense.

On the fiscal cliff: I really believe that if it was only up to Speaker Boehner (R-OH), he would reach a deal. Although I’m not convinced that Democrats get it, it is obvious that many Republican don’t – so in response, it may be time to consider selling all mutual funds with stocks.

In my opinion, passing an assault weapons ban would be slam-dunk for pragmatist of both sides of the aisle. Maybe I’ve given one reason why it won’t happen.

Hello? Is anyone home?

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
New desk chair is a boring dream come true
Mercury’s winter proves planet could support intergalactic space prison
Half-asleep man pauses 20 seconds between socks
Kim Jong-Un’s wife escapes North Korea in long-range missile
Relaxation tape can’t play any louder
Dream of walking around with no pants in supermarket finally comes true

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
In light of the recent Connecticut shootings, here a collection of moments to restore faith in humanity

Interestingly, after last year’s unusual physical snafu, the Cincinnati-Xavier annual college basketball rivalry game was the feature sports article in Wednesday’s USA Today. ESPN also rolled into town to broadcast the game between the two schools separated by 3.5 miles – thus the hype was high – and all the nation got was what Cincinnatians expected – a hard-fought rivalry game that included good sportsmanship.

Don’t forget Friday’s the End-of-the World Party at Aqua Tom’s. Tell him I sent you.

In lieu of Monday Morning Entertainment, my Christmas Eve party will start around 8 pm on Sunday, 23 Dec, a special start for the Aussies; plus allowing early morning visits from Europe and the Mediterranean region.

I will have a Saturday post, but instead of a cartoon classic, it will be one of historical significance.

Here’s an interesting audio version (and not easy) of a handbell arrangement of a well-known Christmas song that we’re playing. (The angels, Hark and Harold)

To send you into the weekend, enjoy handbell video below is another one we’re playing for the season: Gloria Hodie (Glory Today). Many techniques going on in this one.

Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch – and hope to see you at the party!

On the Holiday Shopping Season 2012

I grew up with a commercial like that one. For me, the official start of the holiday season was seeing Santa on a Norelco. Fortunately, the glories of YouTube now allows me to relive that tradition!

Hope everyone had a bountiful Thanksgiving. For my international audience, that means we ate enough to cover your share as well.

For some, Thanksgiving also means Black Friday, thus the race to the stores for holiday shopping. Interestingly, give thanks for what you have on one day, and less than 24 hours later – race, push, and do what you must to get more. Ah yes – very American. However, I stay away from a major shopping area on this days!

The holiday season brings a certain level of craziness. No matter what one says after the previous year, events as the shopping rush, holiday parties, musical events, visiting lights, baking, and whatever sends many into a frenzy.

For me, this song captures the mood – both the festiveness and the frenzy of the season. Ladies and Gentleman, another A Frank Angle holiday tradition, the fast-paced Wizards in Winter by the outstanding Raleigh Ringers. The ringers on the left side wearing me out just watching them. Enjoy!

On a Time for Gifts

Christmas Eve is here. Later tonight, I look forward to the customary drive to church where I see empty parking lots and festivities in the homes along the way.

My readers have given me gifts of visits, likes, and comments. You are a very  gracious lot. Interestingly, this is post #800, which has generated almost 54,000 visits, and over well 3,000 comments from visitors (not counting my responses).

This past week’s posts took us on a music journey through the vast world of humanity. Given the comments, you appreciated the surprises along the way.

Under the Christmas tree you will like a variety of gifts. Pick as many as you like, but I insist you take at least one … and I hope you tell me the gift(s) you selected. (I’m very interested to see what John takes.) I’ve also added some blog references for fun – but I can’t mention everyone!

Merry Christmas!

The handbell lovers have two choices. Tonight, our choir is joining forces with the vocal choir for this combined Noel Festival. (No YouTube, but a high quality recording without the bells.) Meesh, I believe this is a French carol.

We are also playing this version of Silent Night to accompany the congregation with candle light. Kay, you enjoy calm & beauty through music.

On the Time post I featured Lynn Purse, so here is another one of your compositions – Father Christmas.

Here’s a treat from Australia of a fabulous light show at St. Mary’s Cathedral … and it is very fitting for the day.  (thanks Mags)

Since Carol of the Bells is a holiday favorite, this is done by a very good handbell choir. (Rita, extra handbell music to widen your choice.)

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Santa’s Six White Boomers, here ya go .. Ah those crazy Aussies. Wonder if Les will enjoy this?

Need a nostalgic trip? This video has clips of holiday movies and music to the Christmas Waltz. I know that Nonnie loves movies, and this is perfect for Beagz’ Belle.

Here’s a music scenic trip for the season. Photographers as Robin, Joe,  and Otto will enjoy this

Need to laugh? El Guapo and Hansi will love this, but who may have to fight Eleanor.