Showing posts with label Christmas memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas memories. Show all posts

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas from Review This Reviews

 Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us here at Review This Reviews.

Merry Christmas Greetings


For me, Christmas is a time to be spent with the people you love and a wonderful time to create memories.  Everyone celebrates Christmas differently and has different Christmas traditions, one such tradition is the Christmas Tree.

Some people put the tree up as soon as Halloween is over and others on December 1st, when I was a child it was Christmas Eve in our household.   My brother and I tried to talk my parents into putting it up earlier and one year we thought victory was ours as mum relented and said okay we'll put it up on the Saturday before Christmas.

As it got closer to Christmas we realized that Christmas was on a Sunday which meant the Saturday before Christmas was, in fact, Christmas Eve!  When my daughter was younger we would put our tree up on the 1st Saturday of the school holidays.   This leads us to how you decorate your Christmas tree, there are lots of ideas that can be found on this Christmas Facebook page.   We used to have special ornaments that we put up every year, but some people like to create a new theme every year.

My brother and his family have a tradition of giving their children a present every Christmas Eve which is a pair of pajamas for them to wear that night.   They used to open the presents while still in PJs so it meant all the photos always looked good!

Growing up we would use pillowcases in lieu of stockings and when talking to some other ex-pats from the UK a few years ago we found that we had very similar things placed in our stockings each year!  There would always be an orange, a toffee dime from the Quality Street tin(how strange that this was the one that my parents didn't like from Quality Street - a must-have for any English household over the holiday season at that time!).   There would also be a book and/or a little game to entertain us and a nice outfit to wear.   

After waking our parents up at whatever time in the morning it was that we discovered Santa had been we had to go back to bed and weren't allowed up until 9am, hence the book/game.   Then we had to get dressed (hence the new clothes) and eat breakfast (which was usually porridge that took soooo long to cook!) before we were allowed into the front room to see the Christmas tree and all the gifts.   I can feel the excitement just recalling the moment when we could see the tree on Christmas morning. 

I have spent far more Christmases in the antipodes than I did in the UK so Christmas for me these days is in summer (I do still miss Christmas being in winter though I must admit).   Our family Christmases certainly look different to my childhood Christmases for one thing we usually watch Christmas movies (my daughter used to love Elf, whereas my husband and I are more Die Hard fans) in the lead up to the big day - when I was growing up we didn't watch much television.

Board games were a big part of our Christmases and I know they are for lots of other families as well.   I also come from a family of readers so there were occasions where after Christmas lunch was over we would all be stuck with our noses in books!  If you're after a book to read then be sure to check out our recommendations, and best of all most of these can be downloaded to your Kindle straight away (just in case no one gives you a book this year!)

Some people enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, others build Legos whereas others take walks as a family or for people Downunder it often means being in the pool or playing backyard cricket.   The first Christmas we spent in New Zealand we went down to the beach and tried out fly fishing rods that mum and dad had got, then found a log and tried our version of tossing the caber, I seem to recall a jandal throw as well.   Our very own Christmas games on the beach!

Whatever you're doing and whoever you're spending Christmas with this year make sure you are making some fantastic memories.   Keep safe, have fun and goodwill to you all.




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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fun December Review of a Few Christmas and Santa Memories

A collection of personal Christmas stories....
 

Coal in the Christmas Stocking … and Baseball Cole

Handmade Lump of Coal soap by SEAandCLEAN on Etsy
The old-fashioned custom of children who misbehave finding a lump of coal from 'Santa' in their Christmas Stocking instead of presents has many origins, mostly cultural.

In Italy gifts at Christmas began with the birth of Jesus and is where La Befana (a witch who delivers presents) instead of Santa Claus leaves toys for good children, and coal for bad ones. Today, Italians use a candy, called Carbone Dolce, (dark, rock-like candy that looks just like lumps of coal), as a joke.

In Holland, the coal legend began around the 16th century. Dutch children would put their clogs by the fireplace before stockings were used and got a lump of coal if they were bad and a small toy, cookies or candy if they were good.

Other countries have their own legends or stories to tell.

Interesting to note that in Scotland and Northern England it is considered lucky to receive a lump of coal as a gift on New Year's Day. It's part of their 'First-Footer' celebration and represents warmth for the year to come.

Being a baseball fan (and the baseball fan contributor here on Review This!), I tend to relate 'everything' to baseball.  A December 2014 headline in MLB news is what brought this whole story about.  It stated “Which Club will get Cole in its Stocking?”  The story goes on to state that there are a number of 'Cole diggers' (baseball teams) vying for  the acquisition of the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels.  We didn't  know for awhile which team ended up with Cole as their new pitcher, but the Boston Red Sox seemed the most interested at that moment. (Red Sox ~ Stockings ~ Hmmm!)

*Editor's Note: Cole Hamels actually ended up with the Texas Rangers in 2014.  Today he is pitching for the Atlanta Braves.

 
Christmas stocking Coal or Baseball pitcher Cole.  The stocking lump-of-coal seems appropriate for this time of year. Baseball is appropriate ANY time of year (to me, the baseball nut). :-)



Santa, I Can Explain...

eBay Cross Stitch Pattern
I sell craft supplies and patterns on eBay and it is always delightful to receive a note from a customer about a particular item.

I sold this cross stitch pattern shown in the photo of a cat sitting next to a tree ornament lying on the floor and the words “Santa, I can explain!” 

The buyer sent a note saying she couldn't wait to cross stitch this design as her cat takes all the stuff off the tree and hides it.  Then takes the branches and gets rid of them.  So this picture is for her cat. :-).

Personalized stories like this make my eBay selling most enjoyable and gives me such a nice feeling that something I've listed is exactly what someone wanted or fits a situation perfectly.



Handmade by Santa?

Handmade Christmas Coasters Available on Etsy

Since early childhood, we've known that Santa, with the help of his elves, makes all the Christmas toys for good little girls and boys. As we grow up, we begin to doubt that Santa Claus actually made everything by hand.

I confess I had some doubts myself, until last month when someone bought a batch of yarn I had for sale in my eBay store.  You see, the shipping address for the yarn purchase was – wait for it – NORTH POLE, AK.

I'm now totally convinced that 'Santa's Workshop' actually exists.  




Santa Humpty Dumpty

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 


(c) A collection of stories originally written by me (Wednesday Elf) on a former online site.


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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Photography Tips for the Holiday

Christmas at Missouri Botanical Garden

Everybody enjoys looking at photographs from the holiday season.  It is the time we gather with friends and families, decorate for the occasion and celebrate the birth of our Savior.  What a great time to document these wonderful memories with photos.  Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Before the season is upon us check out your camera.  Make sure it is in good working order and that all your lenses are clean.
  • Make sure your batteries are charged and recharge them after each use.
  • You may want to consider purchasing an extra memory card to use for your holiday photos.
  • Make a list of things you want to photograph during this Christmas season.
  • Every year I try to photograph something different for the holiday.  This year I plan to go to my church after the decorations are up and take some photographs of the nave.  I'm thinking they may make a nice card for the following year. What can you try new this year?

 

Special Events


Special events are always a great time to take photos.  In the photo at the top of this article I photographed a tree at Missouri Botanical Gardens.  Since the photo was taken in the evening I used a tripod and a remote shutter release.  If you don't have those items available to use try to find somewhere to stabilize you camera.  A post, the top of your car, a bench and other stationary items will help you to avoid camera shake and capture some beautiful evening shots.


Try a Photo Walk


A photo walk through a decorated area is a great way to capture some street shots and decorations.  In the photos below I walked through historic Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri. This historic town on the banks of the Missouri river served as the first capitol of the state.

Below are a couple of the photos I shot.


Click Here for Zazzle products from these photos

 

Group  Photos


Group photos are a great way to preserve the memories of the people that attended the gatherings during the holidays.  Although candid shots can be fun, a planned group shot is a great way to include everyone.  Take the time to check the background in your photo.  You wouldn't want to end up with a candle sticking out of someones head.
Also make sure to check your lighting.  I prefer natural lighting, rather than flash, so in these photos I used a lens with a lowlight capability and a 1.8 aperture on the camera.  If I end up with a yellow tone, I can always adjust it in post processing with a slight slide of the tint or exposure slide.

For both the lighting and the background you may have to move your group to a better location in the room.  The first photo below is of my sister and her family.  Although the tree is in the background, I zoomed in on the people.  I see too many photos where someone has tried to get the whole tree in with the people.  That is usually not a good combination so my motto is decide what your focus is (the people or the tree) and set up your shot accordingly.

The second shot below is a group of high school friends of my husbands (he is in red sweater).  These guys have known each other for over 55 years and I wanted to capture them all in the photo.  They were somewhat patient with me as I moved them around to make sure everyone was seen in the photo.


 

Special Moments


Be sure to have your camera ready for those special moments.  Here is my husband with our oldest granddaughter, Rachel.  In these shots the background are not always perfect but I zoom in on the faces and capture the moment.

 

 

Kids and the Tree


Kids under the tree is always a good shot for Christmas.  Remember to take some shots before the presents are unwrapped.  In these photos you see our youngest granddaughters.


 

Zoom in on the Ornaments and Decoration


Along with the photos of family, friends and events, I like to take some artsy photos.  Christmas decorations and ornaments are always good subjects.  I like to use a little Bokeh ( a term that refers to keeping what is important in focus and blurring the rest).  In the first photo I was sitting on the sofa right in front of the candle in the foreground.  I set my aperture to 1.8 and zoomed in on the candle.  I was hand holding the camera so I steadied it on my knee.  I got the effect I wanted with the candle in focus and the fireplace blurred.   The second photo used the same principal but was taken of an ornament on the tree during the daytime.



Another fun Christmas shot is to take a photo and then edit out all of the color except the red.  I did that in the photo below of our Christmas tree and fireplace.




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Monday, September 21, 2015

The Great Christmas Countdown Is ON!

If you are a parent, grand parent or even an only Child, this time of year brings with it countdowns in all manner of speaking.

Everywhere we go, we are bombarded by the signs of the season,  Buy this, save now, Best Deals right here and the shopping mantras seem to be everywhere.

When I was young, (just a few short years ago), we marked the countdown to Christmas with an Advent Calendar, or an Advent Wreath.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com


Advent Calendars marked down the days in December, from 1 to 24, with a token candy or treat in each of the little packages associated with the day.  For us kids, this was a countdown to all the good things that would be in the house over the holiday season.

You can make your own Advent Calendars, or there are ones that are pre-made just for your little ones.  If they love Lego, there are several different sets that can be purchased and by the time Christmas Eve comes, they have put together a special Lego Treat.
Lego Advent Calendar

The Advent Wreath was more religious in nature. Each Sunday after mass, when the family was together for Sunday Lunch, we would read a passage from the Bible and light one candle the first weekend.    Two candles, were lit for the next weekend and then three and four.  Finally, Christmas arrives and the candle in the middle is lit with all 4 candles around lit as well.  The significance was the brightness of the light on Christmas morning: The coming of the Saviour, the Infant Child Jesus.

Once everyone was awake and had their cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or drink of choice, the opening of the presents would begin....

The expectations of the last month or six weeks was not a done deal.  It's amazing to me that so much thought and excitement is unwrapped in less than 1/100 of the time it took to get ready for the event.
In any case, the pictures taken at the undoing last a long time and memories are made in the time we get to spend together.


Photo credit:liebesbotschaft-international.blogspot.de






 Hope you have the time to sit back, enjoy the sights and the sounds of the season, and that you take lots of pictures to enjoy the memories for many years to come. Happy Holidays Everyone.


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