Christmas Memories

Another scouting Christmas tree idea!

Following on from the Christmas tree festival ideas and the tent-based Christmas tree, I found another effective tree decorating idea.

CHristmas tree with decorations and scout signs

Clare (Scout Leader), Adam (Explorer Leader) and Laura (Beavers Leader) set this up at 5th Littlehampton Sea Scout Group’s hall this year.

Apparently some leaders were very keen to get a tree up, even though it was still November – they suffer the terrible affliction of pre-festivitis!

They normally have a “look what we do” board at the entrance to their Scout Hall, but there was no space for it and a tree, so they combined the two.

I like how simple it is – a few signs that share who the group is, a few decorations and some tinsel and the tree is done!

I think this concept is simple enough to be used by other scout and youth groups, plus many other places. Would you use it to add Christmas cheer to a public place or group?

 

* Photo used with permission of Laura, with thanks!

make gifts from memories

Giving gifts of meaning is always appreciated, and it makes me feel good to do it, too.

A $5 notepad bought because I’d love the picture is a much nicer gift than a $20 impersonal gift voucher in my eyes.

And home-made gifts show love and care as well, so why not make a meaningful gift for someone this Christmas?

Creating memory gifts

I’ve thought of a few ways to collate some memories to share as gifts…

  • frame a collection of old kitchen or workshops gadgets – or a photo of them!  Use a deep frame or a shadow box (best for reducing dust collection!) or skip the glass front and attach items onto the backboard of a frame.  It’s a great use of old things not used much but too treasured to throw away.
  • put a collection of treasured items inside a glass topped table

    Trinkets on display in a coffee table

    Display table {image courtesy of HousingWorksThriftShops (Flick’r)}

  • make a picture out of special cards or tickets – put a few on an interesting background (try scrapbooking paper for inspiration) or overlap a lot of items.
  • put some special photos into ornaments that hang on the Christmas tree
  • laminate a special or funny photo and put it into a clear containers to fill with soap  as a personal addition to a bathroom or kitchen
  • stick photos/collage onto kitchen canisters – it’s a very personalised kitchen, reuses old canisters and displays special memories in a creative way
  • use old mirrors (especially those hand held ones that could be a reminder of a grandmother or childhood) as alternative photo frames
  • make a picture or a collage of old house and car keys – a great  trip down memory lane! Alternatively, make them into a mobile or windchime.

    Display of old keys

    Mount some old keys to remember their secrets! {Image courtesy of TakiSteve (Flick’r)}

  • use an old window frame from a family home to create a shadow box or picture frame so the frame and the contents bring warmth and happiness
  • turn old wooden items into Christmas decorations
  • make a wreath (of Christmas or perhaps to hang outdoors all year round) out of old tools, garden implements or kitchen gadgets
  • make a patchwork quilt or throw rug out of some favourite fabric items like
    • baby clothes and blankets when the youngest child grows out of them
    • old tablecloths, runners and doyleys from your grandparents
    • a few favourite dresses or t-shirts

      colourful patchwork couch

      Is this a colour statement or a collection of memories? {image courtesy of Maleva Apaixonada (flick’r)}

    • tea-towels from various places you’ve visited
  • make a hanging rack by sticking objects on a length of wood – you can use cutlery and kitchen tools bent to shape, handles from various tools, door knobs, Lego or wooden blocks, and all sorts of things
  • use some old lace and some glue to create a lamp cover or even a decorative bowl

    Two bowls made form lace doilys and glue

    Two bowls made from lace and undiluted glue {image courtesy of Christine Majul (Flick’r)}

  • make a snow dome using a laminated photo or some small items, like a toy car, animal or person

Of course, the hard part may be giving up your work when it’s time to hand it over!

Have you ever been given a gift based on memories and treasured items?

 

* All Flick’r images are used under the creative commons licence.

The Magic of Christmas in Central Australia

While Christmas tree festivals may not be well known in much of Australia, guides in Alice Springs ran a community Christmas event between 1996 and 2001.

One of the founders of this event, Karen Byrne, was kind enough to share the following article and photos…

The Magic of Christmas building in Alice Springs

How it began

Written by Margaret Rudwick for Guiding in Australia, March 1997.

Karen Byrne and Sue Ride sat relaxing outside a local church one afternoon, guarding the white balloons they had just blown up, each with a paper dove attached, ready for the annual Peace Day service.

It occurred to them that there were a number of community–wide activities run each year by local organisations, but Guides in Alice Springs did not have one. And so a crazy idea occurred to them – why not do something special for the people of Alice Springs, and in doing so, put Guiding on the annual calendar?

“Crazy,“ says Sue “because we should have known what we were letting ourselves in for!”

“I’d always had an idea we could do something at the Guide Hall for families, something affordable,” says Karen, “and as no–one else in town had a major Christmas activity it seemed just the thing to do.”

And so the Magic of Christmas was born.

Planning the Magic of Christmas

Plans were made, and not on a small scale!

The whole of the Guide Hall was to be decorated, a dozen or so distinct displays set up, and local families encouraged to come and share together the Magic of Christmas.

Local suppliers were generous with their donations and not one knock–back was received in a whole day of canvassing the town, although there was some confusion over the collectors’ enthusiasm for “rubbish” in the form of polystyrene sheets & boxes!

The Trefoil Guild donated $500 which was the only cash received and enabled the purchase of the crepe paper (yes, we used a lot of crepe paper!) The Support Group provided the bags of sweets for Father Christmas to give out. Members of both these groups gave of their time and skills throughout the opening hours, adding to the Magic for all the visitors.

About two weeks before opening day, the real work started.
The Magic of Christmas door, complete with gingerbread man

The making of the Magic of Christmas

All four interior walls of the hall were to be lined with red, white and green crepe paper – this had to be double thickness to hide the murals on the walls. Now the hall is quiet a reasonable size so this is no mean feat! Although a large quantity had been special ordered there never seemed to be enough so Sue’s mother, Joan Higgins, was kept busy scouring the town for more. One of the complicating things was that different brands came in different shades so acquiring just what  was wanted was really difficult.

“Kilometres of crepe paper,” groans Joan.

“Have you ever covered a hall in crepe paper?” asks Karen. “You get it up nice and firmly, and then you go home for the night.”

“But, horror of horrors,” Sue adds, “when you walk in next morning all the even, straight paper you left the night before has sagged and gone all crinkly overnight. It took us a while to realise it was just the unseasonable humidity. By mid morning, it would be dried out and look fine again.”

“Even though it happened each night we still worried about it each morning,” says Karen.

Once the crepe paper was up – and there are stories of ladders, and chairs on tables and other indescribable ways of doing the job – the setting up of displays could start.

A false front made the hall look like a little red Christmas house complete with a letter box for posting letters to Father Christmas – all of which were answered. Inside, the focal point was to be Father Christmas at the far end.

Christmas displays

From the entrance and down each side were almost a dozen separate themes including:

  • A two meter high advent calendar. One visitor each day was lucky enough to open a window on it which revealed a different Christmas scene;
  • A trading table which sold small Christmas items suitable as children’s gifts to family and friends.
  • Stained glass window – all the windows were transformed into the Three Wise Men, Candles or Bells created with cellophane and black cardboard.
  • An Australian Christmas theme, complete with native tree, a swag, native birds, all under the Southern Cross.
  • A Guide corner where there was a large red Christmas tree on which there was a photo of every single guide and leader in Alice Springs. Every girl bringing her family could point out her photo and those of her friends. Christmas tree made of a collage of photos
  • A section showing Christmas traditions from overseas countries including England, Scotland, Mexico, Italy and France.
  • A snow scene with a snowman and a beautiful free standing reindeer.
  • A traditional tree with 24 gifts in a sleigh beside it. One lucky child each day was able to open one of these.
  • A teddy bear’s corner with a small competition.

Devonshire tea and coffee was supplied by the trefoil Guild, and they also ran a small raffle. There were treats for the children there, too.

There was a children’s play area with games, a video and a train set for the young ones who did not need (want!) to spend so much time looking at the details.  In fact, not a part of the Guide Hall was left undecorated – streamers, snowflakes and stars covered the ceiling and angles, and novelty trees, lanterns and candles added to the magic in corners and on the floor. Glitter covered the carpet.

Sue and Karen are adamant it was well worth it. “Our families didn’t see us at home very much for a couple of weeks,” says Karen, “but they came along and helped us!”

“And help us they did – we would never have done it without their fantastic support,” adds Sue. “And not just by helping us to put up the displays either. Karen’s husband ,Greg, had to manage without his hat and my husband, Graham, lost his boots to the swagman! Whilst Karen’s children Raymond and Rene talk of leaving town at Christmas time, we suspect they will be there again offering their tired mum a coffee in bed, or waiting tea until everyone is home at 10pm.”

“Home“ says Karen wryly “was where they went to escape the crepe paper, and the monotonous diet of cold coffee and guide biscuits!”

collage of cardboard Christmas trees made by guides

Magic of Christmas outcomes

Over 1,000 families visited the hall in the time it was open and entry was free.

And was it worth it?

“Just to see the children’s faces made it  worthwhile” said Karen.

Father Christmas was always there no matter what time a family dropped in. If he wasn’t sitting in his chair he would always appear within a few minutes of someone’s arrival and he had a bag of lollies for all his young visitors.

Each child had their photo taken with Santa, with the photo being available for sale next day, and although there was no obligation to buy, most people did come back a purchase a copy.

Planning is already well in hand for next Christmas. Bigger and better things are planned and there will be many changes, including more activities and visitor involvement, and some moving displays.

Families will be charged a gold coin donation to enter, not to make a profit, but to improve the displays for the following year. School groups will be admitted free during the day.

But crepe paper will be out – paint is in next time!

“What we set out to do was make a Christmas spectacle on a shoestring – to do something anyone, anywhere could do. All you need is unlimited imagination,”  says Sue.

“If two housewives in Alice can make the Magic of Christmas, then so can anyone else in any other small town in Australia,” says Karen.

Nativity scene in Alice Springs


Karen further told me “We had so much fun doing it and seeing the faces of the kids was great!

“For me personally, I loved the fact there was somewhere Mums could take their kids on a hot day and not have to say no all the time. The relaxation on their faces was obvious – it was too demoralising visiting the air conditioned shops every day when on a tight budget so they appreciated the Magic of Christmas. Many returned several times!”

SO maybe there is a challenge to us all – set up our own tree festivals or complete Christmas displays like the Magic of Christmas!

Choosing a building block advent calendar?

Wanting something of more value and fewer calories than a chocolate advent calendar for your kids this year?

There are many options, but a popular choice is an advent calendar where the daily surprise is a toy, namely some construction pieces like Lego. Compared to a chocolate calendar, Lego advent calendars are very expensive and harder to justify although I think the value is there.

So maybe you’ve thought of getting a non Lego building block calendar instead…

A Block Tech Christmas advent calendar

I wasn’t really planning to try something different, but the Block Tech calendar cost me $10 at Kmart, and I’ve taken a sneak peek (for days 1, 2 and 3) to see how it compares to the Lego advent calendars.

box for the Block Tech Advent Calendar (decorations)

It wasn’t quite as I expected, but the key points I noted were:

  • Block Tech has no fold out scene to lay pieces on – but to be fair, it is not meant to be a set to create a story but decorations for a Christmas tree (not that I read that on the box before I started opening flaps, oops!) It does however include some string within the box to help you hang the created pieces as decorations
  • it was harder to open the flaps then for the Lego boxes, and more likely to end up with torn flaps.
  • day one flap open on teh Block Tech advent calendar

  • unlike Lego’s advent calendars, there were no instructions on the flaps – but I eventually figured out that if you open the box, there are instructions on a separate sheet of paper (handy to keep and use to make decorations again next year)
  • The instruction sheet is colourful, organised and easy to follow.
  • there were fewer pieces each day (compared to the average number of Lego advent calendar pieces)
  • PIeces from days one and two of teh Block Tech Advent Calendar

  • once made, the pieces don’t look as solid or rigid as Lego nor as tightly fitted
  • Block Tech advent calendar decorations for days one to three

  • it is completely compatible with Lego – I have seen some nasty plastic blocks sets that claim to be compatible but really weren’t – these truly click in place with Lego so can be part of the general Lego collection after Christmas
  • Block Tech Christmas pieces on a Lego plate

    Three Block Tech decorations on a pink Lego plate

 
Of course, my children haven’t seen this advent calendar yet so I can’t give you their opinions…

So which one to get this Christmas?

I don’t think there is a simple answer to that question, sorry!

Lego is definitely better quality and a higher price.

Block Tech is a little different as it provides Christmas decorations so each day something new can be added to the Christmas tree (whether the main tree or a special tree just for these decorations).

There is only one Block Tech version, whereas Lego has three versions (City, Friends and Star Wars) so depending on how many sets you want for your children this could be a deciding factor.

Lego has a greater resale value – that is, Lego stays good for a long time and can be sold down the track if you want to reduce the toys in the house.

Personally, I have to say that the Lego advent calendars are the better value but the novelty of making decorations is where Block Tech stands out for me.

And then there’s the Graifx Block Tech advent calendar that is based on a story set – it is nearly twice the price of a Lego advent calendar!

Which one better suits your needs?

 

Festival of Christmas tree decoration ideas!

Recently I have seen a group of scouting leaders share ideas for decorating their community Christmas trees this year.

And as some of them have elaborate ideas, it’s no wonder they are talking about it in October!

Christmas tree festival photos

Christmas tree festival guidelines

While it can vary from community to community, most places have guidelines as to what can and cannot be used in the tree festival. For instance, some place provide the trees so all are equal in size and structure while others allow different interpretations of ‘Christmas tree’ although possibly with size restrictions.

So if you are trying out a Christmas tree festival idea, make sure it fits into the guidelines and theme of your festival.

Scout Christmas tree ideas

All of the following wonderful ideas have been suggested and used by scouting and guiding groups in the UK. Some may be specific to such youth groups, but many of these ideas could be used for a childcare centre, kinder, school or sporting club just as easily, or with a few tweaks.
And many of these ideas can be combined for a more colourful result!

Decorations to hang on the tree

  • thread some cotton through some badges and hang them on the tree. Just use group and district badges, badges to suit a theme (eg red and green badges) or try Christmas theme badges (Scouts Australia produces a Christmas badge each year). Brighten things up further by winding some fairy lights (battery operated are easy for a display like this) around the branches and badges.
  • get the kids to make Christmas stars, using group colours as the backgrounds
  • Scout badges and photo stars hanging on a Christmas tree

  • hang ribbons on the tree to reflect your group colours – add your group scarf to complete the scene, maybe as a tree skirt hanging from the lowest branches. Add more of a scouting feel by knotting some of the ribbons 🙂
  • print out your group or scout/guide logos, get kids to colour them in and decorate them, laminate the drawings and hang them as ornaments.
  • use cardboard rings (like cut up paper towel rolls) to make the fleur de lys and let kids decorate them. They could be colour coded by section (eg Joeys use brown, cubs use yellow, scouts green and so on) or all be based on group colours.
  • make decorations out of paracord! Try a candycane or a Christmas tree
  • make some mini scout scarves and hang them alongside other decorations
  • get some cheap Christmas balls and paint the Fleur de lys or other scouting/guiding images on them.
  • Christmas baubles decorated with the Australian scout symbol (stylised fleur-de-lys)

  • make it a celebration of the last year by hanging pictures (photos or hand drawn pictures) of group events as decorations. The pictures could be stuck on circles of coloured paper and laminated, attached to small stockings, glued onto Christmas balls or made into paper chains.
  • get kids to make gingerbread or salt dough ornaments and decorate them to hang on the tree. Maybe have gingerbread people decorated to look like cubs/scouts/guides. The decorations can then be given as gifts to a group of people (nursing home residents, the volunteers running the festival, etc) – and if the gingerbread was presented in bags on the tree, they would be tasty gifts, too!
  • if you have the resources, cut out decorations from wood – simple shapes with a jigsaw or more elaborate designs with a laser cutter. Kids can paint of add glitter for a colourful decoration. Of course, a similar thing can be done with thick cardboard if you don’t have the resources or want the kids to make them by hand. collage of child-made Christmas decorations
    Be creative – the cut outs could be Christmas themed or scouting themed (a tent, campfire, rolled sleeping bag, backpack, etc)
  • use toothpicks and string or icy pole sticks and glue to make stars to decorate and hang
  • Christmas star made from icy-pole sticks

  • make a garland from woggles! Especially if you use some colourful ones, this is an easy way to make the tree cheery and scouty!
  • paint or add pictures to one side of a disc (CD or DVD) for colour and sparkle. The Love Santa bauble templates could be used for this!
  • turn a gumnut or acorn into Santa!
  • get kids to make pompoms (with glittery wool is awesome!) and hang them as a garland or stick them over a Christmas ball (or any other ball really!)
  • make an icy pole stick campfire
  • tie ribbons onto cinnamon sticks (for a nice smell) or sticks the kids find for simple, pretty decorations
  • ask the children to design new badges and hang their designs as decorations
  • turn it into a communitree by decoupaging pictures of the group scouting in the community
  • get the kids to make jar lid decorations
  • hang a photo of each group member, in uniform, on the tree. Stuck on cardboard of suitable colours, in a circle, star or other shape, these are personal and create interest. Or stick the photos on some decorations instead – think of lots of Santas hanging from your tree, each one with a different smiling face!
  • make Christmas bells out of coffee pods (saves them going to landfill, too!) You can stick photos of the kids on them, too.
  • Coffee pods recycled as Christmas bells

  • Spray some small pine cones or gumnut bunches with coloured paint to match your group colours. Hang on the tree with pompoms in matching colours and a fleur-de-lys on top of the tree

Note the ideas above were inspired by scout leaders in the UK (thank you to 1st Facebook Scout Group) but were written by me and adjusted at my discretion, so I take full responsibility for them :).

Christmas tree festival

Have you ever heard  of a Christmas tree festival?

What is a Christmas tree festival?

Christmas tree festival photos

Apparently fairly common in England, and perhaps all of the UK, I have first heard about these in the 2016 Christmas season.

Luckily, Ellie T of Bicestor, Oxfordshire, was kind enough to explain them to me and share some photos of the festival she was involved in with her scout group.

Basically the local community come together to make a gallery of decorated Christmas trees. Usually in a church, local businesses, clubs scout groups, guide groups, schools and the like each pay for a tree and then decorate it however they wish. People then pay a donation to come and visit the gallery of trees, and all proceeds are directed by the involved church.

Ellie told me “they seem to be quite popular at the moment. We had to pay £19 for the tree and then decorate it. We can make a further donation to keep the tree or the church sell it to make a few more pennies. There were 80 trees in total for 2016 at St Edburg’s Church.

“The church also has a baptismal tree with a note of all the baptisms this year and a memory tree. They provide gift tags and you can write a message for a loved one no longer with us.”

Decroations made by scouts for their Christmas tree festival. I think it is a lovely idea. It would probably take a bit of effort to get one started in Australia as people don’t know about them – maybe they could be near some of the popular Christmas light displays!

Ellie also mentioned that she “came across a small chapel which was decorated with wreaths rather than trees! There were 80 of them also!”

Christmas shop fun!

Following on from my post last week about the golliwog Christmas tree, I thought I’d share some photos and comments from a recent visit to a Christmas shop in Melbourne as they start gearing up for the 2017 Christmas period.

Santa was there with his naughty and nice list

A model Santa holding a list of children's names

A Christmas train for Santa around the top of a Christmas tree made me smile…

A Christmas train running around the top of a Christmas tree

And I loved seeing some Aussie Christmas items, too…

A kangaroo and two koalas holding Santa sacks of toys

Santa was also there with Mrs Claus and some reindeer…

Santa, Mrs Claus and reindeer photos in a collage

What do you most enjoy seeing at Christmas shops or Christmas displays in general shops?

A golliwog Christmas tree

A week or so ago, I was surprised to see a Christmas tree decorated with golliwogs.

A Christmas tree decorated with golliwogs in 2017

A Christmas tree decorated with golliwogs in 2017

It was different to see soft toys as the key decoration of a Christmas tree, but it still was colourful and cheery. And all the children I was with enjoyed looking at it.

However, it was the use of golliwogs that really surprised me.

For one thing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many golliwogs in one place – they are certainly not a common toy these days.

But mostly it was a surprise because so many people see that as racist and denigrating certain people. I certainly wouldn’t want to offend someone with my Christmas tree decorating (they don’t have to like what I do, but I wouldn’t want to actually upset anyone) and I wondered if it was particularly wise for a Christmas shop to have this display.

What do you think – are you offended by the use of golliwogs on a Christmas tree?

Thinking about golliwogs

I grew up with golliwogs being a soft toy like any other – yes it was black but I didn’t see it at any different to a rag doll or teddy bear. And I never heard anyone use them or speak of them in anyway that was racist. So in that sense they are innocuous toys to me, and I actually like that there were some toys with coloured skin rather than all being white.

However, I can see that they have been used inappropriately and appear as an unkind caricature of black people. Things like Nazis banning them as ‘German children should only see Aryan appearances as desirable’, and Enid Blyton’s books showing golliwogs as car thieves and villains. And people being called ‘golliwog’ in offensive and derogatory ways is not acceptable.

I would never give one to a child or praise them now.

Interestingly, the name golliwog came from a book by Florence Upton where the character was called golliwog (and was drawn like the toys appeared). Golliwog was based on a blackface minstrel, which is often classed a racist tradition itself. He was called ‘a horrid sight’ at first but given a nice character, and later described with a ‘kind face’.

One toy manufacturer has given a history of golliwogs (or golly dolls as they call them) originating in Egypt as ghuliwogs that acknowledged Egyptian labourers for the British army at the end of the 19th century. The name is a combination of WOGS (working on government service) and Ghoul (Arabic for desert ghost).

Florence used an old black doll as a model but said “without intention of naming him, without the idea of a name passing through my mind, I called him ‘Golliwogg’.”

Having become less and less popular in the 1970s and 80s, golliwogs somewhat disappeared but have reappeared in the last few years. I personally don’t see why they should be back – yes, there is some nostalgic attachment for some people, but they are associated with racism. I agree with having more toys showing diversity, but that can be done without using dolls with clown mouths, servant costumes and racist connotations.

In the words of Suzanne Moore, “This is exactly how these wretched things ended up back in the shops. Two things have been going on: the ongoing lie that political correctness (basically, manners) has gone so mad that an open display of racism brands itself somehow as an exercise of freedom. Such people always hark back to a time of “innocence”. That innocence is now called white privilege.

The other is the lie that we live in a “post-racist” society. This is a view that is often expressed in Australia, where golliwogs are extremely popular. Yet if you go to any of the Australian websites selling them, you will see the vendors go with the word “gollies”, leaving out the obviously offensive bit.”

Merry Christmas!

It is now Christmas Day and we wish you a wonderful day filled with love, laughter and friendship.

If you’re in a heat wave like us, remember to drink plenty of water and stay cool.

Merry Christmas Australia!

 

two young girls in front of a Christmas tree

Enjoy your Christmas with the excitement of a child 🙂

Fourth day of December and advents

Sunday evening and we’re onto the fourth day of advent calendars.

Have you missed any days yet?

So my son was very pleased to find that he did get another instrument in the fourth advent calendar flap tonight! The trumpet came with another fire fighter so I suspect we have a fire brigade band performing in Lego City this year.

Lego fire fighter with a trumpet

A second fire-fighter musician for Lego City

And my daughter was happy upon discovering a campfire and plant in the Lego Friends advent calendar. I can’t say I understand why there are flowers to the side of a fire but maybe it will become clearer as we move through the calendar.

Lego figure of Emma beside a fire and flowers

Emma enjoying the fire and pretty flowers…

If you missed it, you can read our review of day three as well.

How early should Christmas start?

A white Christmas tree with coloured baubles

A pretty Christmas tree display in a shop (taken during November!)

It’s now December and a lot more Christmas is around us.

For example, as of yesterday classrooms at our local school are decorated with tinsel and trees and Christmas parties are in full swing.

Obviously though, Christmas items have been on sale for a while now, along with decorated shops and Christmas centric advertising campaigns. And some will say it all started too early.

I’m ok with Christmas things around in October (on a small scale) and November, although I do find hot cross buns on sale in December a bit much in preparation for Easter!

Has Christmas got earlier?

But did you know that Christmas promotions stated in early spring (that is, during September) back in 1912 and even in August 1914? And complaints about Christmas starting ‘too early’ and ‘earlier every year’ were made in 1954 Britain and 1968 USA. So it’s not really a recent thing that Christmas is getting so early!

Ads for Christmas were published in November 1885, and retailers started with Christmas ‘events’ as early as November in 1888 and 1893.

 

Why have Christmas so early?

Well, it obviously works for retailers to promote Christmas earlier, or they’d have stopped it long ago.

Earlier promotion and reminders of Christmas encourages some people to shop earlier which means

  • less fluster and rush later on for those people
  • being able to spread the expenses of Christmas over a longer period
  • having more time to think of specifics gifts and finding it
  • spreading out the number of shoppers which is good for retailers as there are fewer crowds, less staff needs, reduced risks of stock run outs, and income is more spread out

I found it fascinating to learn that an American social reformer by the name of Florence Kelley strongly supported early Christmas shopping promotions to stop “the inhumane nature of the eleventh hour rush”. She felt that the shopping frenzy in December was “a bitter inversion of the order of holiday cheer”, and I must say I agree! From her essay in 1903, a huge campaign was waged to bring shopping forward as part of Kelley’s fight against child labour and abuse of overtime.

12 month calendar

When should Christmas displays start?

Some people like Christmas advertising to start well before December as it

  • inspires them to start Christmas shopping (to reduce the last minute stress and financial burden)
  • makes them feel good and builds the Christmas spirit
  • can give some good ideas, with time to implement them
  • is a reminder of better weather and holidays ahead.

So how do you feel about Christmas being presented to us from September? Would you prefer it started in November or December?

Enjoying Christmas music

Christmas holly on top of musical notesWhat sort of Christmas music do you like?

I think of three, or maybe four, categories of Christmas music…

Rocking Christmas songs

A few days ago, Pitchfork put out a list of their top 50 Christmas songs ever which is really interesting as they give stories and information about the songs, too. There are certainly songs on there I don’t know so I may have to start checking out rock Christmas songs this year!

Santa hat on a muscial note Who knew Sufjan Stevens has released more than 100 Christmas songs since 2001, for instance?

Or that Frank Sinatra sang three different versions of “have yourself a Merry little Christmas“?

Or that Chuck Berry also sang a Rudolph song written by Johnny Marks (who wrote the original Rudolph the red nosed reindeer)? It was called Run Rudolph Run.

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