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December 07, 2009

Abject Surrender

OK, so the blog princess capitulated to the Forces of Evil and bought a pre-lit, fake Christmas tree over the weekend.

*sigh*

I must say that it looks very nice, though it was really a PITA to assemble. And I like the no-needles aspect very much.

But one of the things I look forward to every year is the smell of fresh greenery in the house. On the other hand, I had to concede that I'm not Womyn enough to want to drag a hand cart and a saw through a freezing muddy field and cut down my own this year.

Somehow, that sort of thing just isn't much fun as a solo exploit. Perhaps next year.

In other news, as I was festooning my fake tree with... Festivus festoonments, I pulled together my Christmas CDs and put them out where they will be played more often. I listened to two of my favorites - Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Benedictus from the Christmas Oratorio by Camille Saint Saens.

I can't tell you how much I look forward to hearing it, early Christmas morning. It's the most peaceful sound in the world. I love to sneak out before it's quite light yet, turn the Christmas tree lights on and sit in the gathering half-light with a glass of egg nog.

A little slice of heaven before the present ripping orgy begins.

What kind of Christmas music do you like? What are your favorite Christmas songs/CD's?

Did you know that the best selling record of all time is a Christmas song?

Posted by Cassandra at December 7, 2009 01:20 PM

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Comments

Yup - you've surrendered. YOU HATE CHRISTMAS AND JESUS!

Posted by: I Call BS at December 7, 2009 04:11 PM

It's twue! It's twue!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:24 PM

A pine-scented candle set on a floor heat-register will slowly infuse your house with some ambience without being a fire hazard...

Posted by: ARF at December 7, 2009 04:26 PM

John Rutter’s “The Holly and the Ivy: Carols from Clare College”
http://www.amazon.com/Holly-Ivy-Carols-Clare-College/dp/B0000041VV Nat King COle and Mel TOrmé notwithstanding, it just isn’t Christmas chez I Call BS without it.

Posted by: I Call BS at December 7, 2009 04:29 PM

Good idea :)

I'm also going to go outside and harvest a few lower limbs from the giant pine out there. It was our first Christmas tree after we built the house and needs to be limbed up a bit. I waited to do it b/c I suspected I might not want to put up a real tree this year.

In the mean time, I'll try your candle idea. I'm a candle fiend. I love bayberry candles too - they remind me of being a little girl and watching my Mom decorate the house.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:29 PM

At some point this week I need a run-through of ELP's "Nutrocker".

Posted by: Cousin Dave at December 7, 2009 04:30 PM

OMG - my Dad loves John Rutter. We grew up listening to him.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:30 PM

OTOH, I used to listen to Steppenwolf, Van Morrison, Spirit and vintage Cream while decorating the tree. To this day certain songs on those albums always remind me of Christmas!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:31 PM

Mrs. I Call BS doesn't like it very much, but Phil Spector's "Christmas Album" is another Christmas record on my "desert island" list. http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Gift-You-Phil-Spector/dp/B000003BD7

Posted by: I Call BS at December 7, 2009 04:33 PM

Ingredients:

Whole milk
Lindt "Swiss Bittersweet Fine Dark Chocolate" bar

Directions:

Heat milk in saucepan over medium to high heat (but watch it closely). When milk is "quivering", break chocolate into milk. Stir, stir and stir some more. There will be little shards of chocolate floating around, rather than a uniformly colored liquid (a la Nesquik).

Ladle into mugs, add a dollop of home-made whipped cream (not TOO much sugar).

Be careful drinking it, because it is hot.

This is THE world's best hot chocolate, painstakingly discovered by trial and error chez I Call BS over time. You can thank me later.

Posted by: I Call BS at December 7, 2009 04:40 PM

Yup - you've surrendered. YOU HATE CHRISTMAS AND JESUS!

:-)

Confession time, last year Casa-del-YAG didn't even put up a tree. The LG was 5 months pregnant and we were going to our parent's the entire week of Christmas making the already short Christmas season even shorter.

But we were only pinko commies for one year.

The only delivery address Santa has for Mini-YAG is *our* house, not Grandma's. So if he wants his presents we'll be home on Christmas, and without a tree, Santa may mistakenly leave the presents in the attic where no one will find them. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 7, 2009 04:51 PM

:)

Here's one I've always loved ever since 4th grade French class:

Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle

Of course we have a Big Band/Swing Christmas CD that I'm sneakingly fond of, too :p Don't have time to look for it but it will really wake up a sleepy after dinner crowd.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:53 PM

Last time the Unit was deployed, I didn't put up any Christmas decorations. I started to, but it made me too sad so I decided to wait until I got to the kids' and just decorate their house.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:54 PM

I love hot chocolate. I don't make it often, but when I can't sleep I like to drink it - makes me blissfully drowsy.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 04:59 PM

Yu-Ain, you are going to love Christmas with little YAG.

Children put the magic back in Christmas.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 05:03 PM

Favorite Christmas music? "Don o'ichUd im Beatbel" or "Of the Matter of Bethlehem". The Boys of the Lough have a good version, as does Aengus. It's an Irish carol.
Rutter's not bad, but I've sung a lot of Rutter over the years and I'm taking a break.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at December 7, 2009 05:21 PM

YAG,
This song really pulled a heart-string after the VES was born.
It still does, ten years later.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at December 7, 2009 05:44 PM

I love hot chocolate. I don't make it often, but when I can't sleep I like to drink it - makes me blissfully drowsy.

For us this is a once-a-year recipe: we do this Christmas morning only, and use whole milk only once a year

Posted by: I Call BS at December 7, 2009 06:16 PM

I hadn't heard the Boys of the Lough. Very nice.

Maggie Sansone has some nice Christmas CDs, too.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 7, 2009 07:44 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Petgi1cxLo

In the notion that children put the magic into Christmas, I remember this song playing when my firstborn was 2 years old helping his mother decorate the tree (Winter's Solstice II CD, I think). When I hear this song, sometimes my heart still turns over, remembering those days.

YAG-hold onto the now. These days will never come again.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 7, 2009 09:18 PM

I grew up with Mom's Andy Williams & John Gary albums, and Daddy's Chet Atkins. Since then, I've added some Glenn Miller, and also Bing, Frank & Nat on CD. I've got some more comtemporary stuff, as well, including a selection of country artists. Thinking about this made me realize I need to convert those albums to mp3!

We've always had a tree, and all growing up, we always had real ones. When we were living in Germany, I always loved going tree shopping. Some of the years when we were in Texas, we didn't have the kind of pine trees I like. More recently, my parents broke down and bought an artificial tree. My sisters wanted the tree put up so early that a real tree just wouldn't last until Christmas without being a fire hazard... When I was in AR, I bought an artificial tree so I could have one up, but still go home for Christmas without worrying about the tree. We don't have the tree up yet this year. We've all just been so busy!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 7, 2009 11:57 PM

I stopped participating in the annual slaughter of trees years ago.
(The fake one at "La Casa de Camo" is fine by me)

This year, I'll be spending my Feliz Navidad flying to Peru...

Posted by: camojack at December 8, 2009 12:37 AM

I have a soft spot in my heart for "Long ago, prophets knew" myself.

But then, I'm a reactionary high church Anglican in a conservative Asian diocese.

Also, while it's not exactly Christmassy, "Let all mortal flesh keep silent". Or is it silence? I can never remember...

Posted by: Gregory at December 8, 2009 05:39 AM

Frequent lurker, very infrequent poster...

I still do the live tree thing - fun part is getting it home from Lowe's. I have a convertible so I just pop the top and put it in the passenger seat while playing "O Christmas Tree" on the stereo! Interesting looks at the traffic light. :-)

As for music, in the car I very much enjoy "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (up-tempo enough to drive to). When at home just enjoying the holidays, it's all old-school retro. Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, and of course, the Ray Coniff Singers!

Merry Christmas, all.

Posted by: kzintis at December 8, 2009 08:42 AM

Merry Christmas! :)

Camo - I'm jealous! I was supposed to be sailing in Barbados for Christmas but that fell through. Can't wait to hear about your trip!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 09:00 AM

Don, that was beautiful. Thank you.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 09:02 AM

We surrendered to the Dark Side a long time ago. We have a tree skirt that I made years ago when it was less costly to buy a real tree (I love the smell of Douglas Fir), but now it is a decorative note rather than a practical one.

Christmas is not a good time of year for me, but I still love the promise and hope of the season, and the spirit of the season takes hold with the story in Luke. We read that every Christmas Eve, along with 'The Fourth Wise Man'. Music always includes 'Messiah,' and Maggie Sansone's Christmas CDs are favorites, along with 'Silent Night.' That is such a plaintive melody...along with Handel's 'Largo.'

Josh Groban is a must. I tend more toward classical than modern or rock, but I do love 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.' That just makes me smile. A lot.

I love the French creches. At the Carmel Mission, there is a lovely one of the village of Bethlehem.

Posted by: Cricket at December 8, 2009 09:19 AM

I like Sansone's Sounds of the Season I CD. That's been a staple around here forever.

I hope this year will be better for you, Cricket. I know that Jonathan is smiling down upon you all.

God bless you, my dear friend.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 09:47 AM

My Christmas Favorites include:
A Christmas Celebration by Celtic Woman
The Manheim Steamroller Christmas Albums
And Winter Came by Enya
Christmas Selections by St Michael's Choir School

Here in Vermont we are deploying 1500 Guardsmen by New Years. I pray to God that I do not have to execute my duties as a Casualty Notification/
Casualty Assistance Officer.

May your Unit return home safe and whole, and hopefully this is the last Christmas you will be separated.

Posted by: MasterDiver at December 8, 2009 01:15 PM

Wish them well for us all. I hope you don't have to perform that particular task, either...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 8, 2009 01:59 PM

Having been there, done that, I heartily concur.

re: separation. I have my hopes up. He emailed me to set a retirement date.

I am still afraid to believe it, but 30 years is enough :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 02:19 PM

I come from a family of singers. None of us are any good, but we're loud. It's probably fortunate that there are no recordings of my favorite Christmas music because I'm sure the memories sound better in my head.

My preference is still for live music and it would just make my Christmas perfect were a group of carolers to stroll down my street.

Posted by: Donna B. at December 8, 2009 04:18 PM

I think that's one of the things I miss most about getting older: singing.

When I was younger I was always singing. I was in choir at church, I took my guitar to parties and other outings, I was in a combo in high school and my best friend and I wrote music and sang together all the time.

I really, really miss that a lot.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 05:22 PM

Thanks everyone. Mini-YAG is at that age where he's really starting to interacting with people and babble. No real words just yet, just 'bababababababa'.

But right now, I'm not sure which will be more fun watching at Christmas, him or the great/grandparents?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 8, 2009 05:44 PM

I vote for both, YAG. And I wish you and your Mrs. joy.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 05:58 PM

Cassandra, thank you. For all you Bing Crosby fans...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2-XXzYU77E&feature=related

I am asking the Almighty to keep our service men and women safe, especially certain family members and Units of friends and friends. Even those impaired by 27" zippers. :)

Posted by: Cricket at December 8, 2009 06:03 PM

My niece will be 16 months before Christmas gets here. This one will be a lot more fun than last year, where she is concerned. My brother brought her by the house after Daddy had put up the outside lights. She spotted them before she even got out of the car, and she loves them. Christmas Eve & Christmas Day should be fun...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 8, 2009 06:03 PM

At 16 months they just want to play with the box. At 9 months mini-YAG says "Forget the box, I want the wrapping paper!"

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 8, 2009 06:14 PM

Last night after reading your comment about Christmas, I went through some old photos.

I was thinking about Christmases past.

I found some funny photos. One of me, all dressed up and in labor with my first. For some reason I'll never understand I showered and got all dressed up before going to the hospital :p

And I found one of me, holding him at 2 months old. We had bought a Santa suit for him. He was so chubby that we literally had to stuff him into the outfit. In the photo he is sitting in my lap looking really disgusted.

Good memories. Thanks.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 06:18 PM

=8^}

Nothing will put a smile on your face faster than looking at the pictures of the babies. Particularly when they are grown and gone.

Posted by: bthun at December 8, 2009 06:39 PM

O.C. likes to throw things. Balls seem to be her favorite toy at the moment. She's a big girl, already wearing 3T (my brother is about 6'2" or so). We jokingly referred to her "Michelin Man" arms, but she's been losing those since she started walking several months ago.

I have one of those "O-ball" things - the "hollow" ball with all the holes in it. My mom stuffed a jingle bell through one of the holes. O.C. was thrilled with the noise it made. She's pretty good at catching that ball, too, and throws it right back at you. And, she LOVES chocolate. Gave her a taste of the chocolate Dream Whip pie I'd made at Thanksgiving. I then started up the stairs, and she went to follow...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 8, 2009 08:13 PM

Camo - I'm jealous! I was supposed to be sailing in Barbados for Christmas but that fell through. Can't wait to hear about your trip!
Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 09:00 AM

You know me - the "travel bug" bit me (hard!) quite some time ago. Sorry to hear that your sailing trip to Barbados fell through, though...I've only passed through the airport there, which doesn't really count.

re: separation. I have my hopes up. He emailed me to set a retirement date.
I am still afraid to believe it, but 30 years is enough :)
Posted by: Cassandra at December 8, 2009 02:19 PM

30 years is enough, maximum pension an' all, and I know that's not the biggest priority in any case. May those hopes of yours not be for naught; may your husband return to your loving arms safely, ASAP...

Posted by: camojack at December 9, 2009 12:29 AM

I am still afraid to believe it, but 30 years is enough :)

I promise not to tell him that an opening for another academics instructor over here was just approved...

Posted by: BillT at December 9, 2009 06:05 AM

Y-AG, we gave our kids empty boxes or, at age 1, a box of Kleenex. They could rip them all out.

However, the Youngest CLU has turned 9. This year, he gets a wicked kewl Darda. The Engineer and I loathe battery powered toys because of the huge annoyance factor with noise, lights and motion. Puzzles, games, anything that stimulates their thinking also involves you, but the payoff is so huge. Legos are a great investment, until you step on one barefoot.

On the otter heiny, I got a huge kick out of the 'Whack-a-Mole' I got our special lad one year for his birthday.

Heh. Have fun! Hold on to every minute and enjoy it.

Posted by: Cricket at December 9, 2009 10:13 AM

I don't observe Christmas, but a member of my tribe helped make it memorable for a lot of folks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Berlin

Posted by: Sadie at December 9, 2009 01:50 PM

OK, so the blog princess capitulated to the Forces of Evil and bought a pre-lit, fake Christmas tree over the weekend.

Welcome to the dark side, sister. :)

(My wife and I have had an artificial tree for the almost 25 years we've been married, and we bought one of the pre-lit ones two years ago after Christmas).

But one of the things I look forward to every year is the smell of fresh greenery in the house.

Go down to your local auto parts store and buy one of those tree shaped pine air fresheners. Hand it inside the branches of your tree. Voila! Instant ambiance!

What kind of Christmas music do you like? What are your favorite Christmas songs/CD's?

Monks chanting. A capella christmas hymns in 4 part. They have to mention Jesus somewhere in them, though. :)

And in honor of Tiger Woods, his wife ought to perform her rendition of "Nutcracker". ;)


Posted by: Tony at December 10, 2009 02:20 PM

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