When Christmas got a bit weird.

I know you must be thinking that I lost my mind, We just had Christmas last month, so I am either very late or way too early.

But worry not, this is just to give you a chance to prepare for next Christmas and perhaps are Christmases to come. These are actual Christmas greetings and cards used in the Victorian era. It might inspire you to send one of these next Christmas to the ones you love, or perhaps the ones you loath.

Of course it is perfectly normal that a kangaroo paints an ostrich for Christmas.

Who doesn’t remember that classic Christmas carol “Frosty the snowman is just melting away”

I am not sure if this was meant for Christmas or Halloween.

I suppose even scary clowns deserve a Christmas break.

Of course lets not forget the old tradition of the Christmas stabbing.



Christmas Through the Ages

I don’t care if you’re Santa, a queue is a queue. Santa Claus stands in line with other customers for a cup of coffee in New York City in 1975.

We all live in Santa’s submarine Santa Claus at the North Pole. Circa 1987.

Size does matter. A large Christmas tree practically consumes this family’s living room in 1967.

Two men jauntily pose with a Christmas wreath during the holiday season. Perhaps a bit of YMCA, Young Men Christmas Association.

First Lady Nancy Reagan sits on Mr T’s lap and gives him a kiss on the forehead at the White House in 1983.



Merry Christmas

Maybe we should be thinking about the gifts we’ve already received this year, rather than the presents we will be giving or getting this Christmas.
A gift isn’t always something that makes you feel good or happy. Sometimes it’s the opposite that is true, but what makes it a gift is the value it adds to your life.

Even the loss of someone near can be a gift, the physical entity might be gone, but the memories will last a lifetime.

This year reflect on what is really important, family, friendships, and health.
The song of a bird is a gift, it tells you that you can still hear.
The sunrise and sunset are gifts, it indicates you can still see and feel the warmth.
Even pain can be a gift because it tells you, you can still feel.
This year value those who value you and let go of those who don’t.
And above everything else value yourself, because you matter.
I wish you all the best Christmas you ever had.

NewSong – The Christmas Shoes

I know I am going to lose a lot of credibility here, and probably rightfully so. This song has appeared on the worst Christmas songs list for several years in a row. It was also covered by Dutch singer Rene Froger, that alone should be enough for me to hate the song. But I can’t help it by I just do love this song.

“The Christmas Shoes,” which recounts a little boy trying to get enough money to buy shoes for his terminally ill mother. Nothing kills the holiday mood quite like the lyric “Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time.”

The song recounts the events experienced the story teller completing the last of his gift shopping on Christmas Eve. He is waiting in a checkout line but is “not really in the Christmas mood” when he notices a young boy in front of him who wants to buy a pair of shoes for his terminally-ill mother: the boy tells the cashier he wants her to appear beautiful when she meets Jesus. Since he is short on money, the narrator ends up paying for the shoes, which reminds him of the true meaning of Christmas.

Yes, I know it’s bad and a tearjerker but hey I can’t help it.



Christmas During WWII

These are just a few impressions of Christmas during World War II.

The above is a Christmas party in a German hospital (Lazarett) on 20 December 1941. Sisters of the Red Cross wanted to surprise the wounded German soldiers on Christmas Eve and diligently practice their Christmas Carol.

Dutch soldiers during the mobilization celebrated Christmas 1939. By the Christmas tree in the canteen of the army barracks.

Santa Göbbels distributing Christmas gifts to the children at the Friedrichshain Hall.

A watercolour painting of a woman and a girl on a bed leaning against a bed roll. Both are depicted from the front. In front of her are two other women, depicted from behind. There is a glass for everyone. Between them are a pan, a kettle, and a candle in a holder. At the bottom the text: ‘Christmas, Tangerang with a portion of snails and the ‘miracle’…a candle’. Tangerang was a prisoner of war camp in the Dutch East Indies, current Indonesia.

The first lucky men to have their rotation leave timed for Christmas have arrived in England from the Netherlands. Among the group are, left to right: L/Cpl. C.O. Leslie of Toronto; Pte. G. Cameron of Montréal; Sgt. R.A. Magnan of Montréal; C.G. Russell, Toronto.

Franco at the Celebration of Ait-el Kabir.
In the Moorish quarter of the Military House of Generalissimo Franco, the Mohammedan Christmas was celebrated in presence of the wife and daughter of the chief of the State, the Chief of his military house.

British troops celebrate Christmas in the jungles of Burma, 1942.


Same Old Lang Syne

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Dan Fogelberg’s death. I thought it would be appropriate to remember him with one of my favourite Christmas songs.

“Same Old Lang Syne” is a song written and sung by Dan Fogelberg released as a single in 1980.

The narrator is reunited with an old flame at a grocery store on a snowy Christmas Eve. She does not recognize him at first glance and when the two reach to embrace, she drops her purse causing them to laugh until they cry. They decide to talk over a drink but can’t find an open bar, so they buy a six-pack of beer at a liquor store and drank in her car.[3]

Once an hour, the pair toast innocence, and push through their initial awkwardness to discuss their lives. The lover married an architect, for security instead of love. The narrator, a musician, loves performing for audiences, but hates traveling.[3]

After consuming all of the beer, they exchange their goodbyes and the woman kisses him before he gets out of the car and she drives away. He flashes back to school and the pain of their previous breakup; as he walks home, the falling snow turns into rain.

The melody is based on the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky and ends with “Auld Lang Syne” as a soprano saxophone solo by Michael Brecker.




Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

Since we are currently in Advent time, I reckon it’s safe to start talking about Christmas again.

My all-time favourite Christmas song is Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. my all-time favourite Christmas song. It’s hard to believe that they recorded it 45 years ago. It’s not just a song about the yuletide festivities and presents and the birth of Christ, but it is foremost a song of hope for a peaceful planet.

The duet was one of Crosby’s final recordings before his death in October 1977.

Following the special’s broadcast during the 1977 holiday season, “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” went unavailable for many years. It was eventually released as a single by RCA Records in November 1982 and was a commercial success, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart. It was Crosby’s final popular hit. It became one of the best-selling singles of Bowie’s career, with total estimated sales of over 400,000 in the UK alone. The song has since become a Christmas classic in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and has been referred to by The Washington Post as “one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history.”

“Peace on Earth, can it be? Years from now, perhaps we’ll see. I pray my wish will come true. For my child and your child too.”

He’ll see the day of glory. See the day when men of goodwill
Live in peace, live in peace again.”

David Bowie talks about his six-year-old son. That, of course, is Duncan Jones, director of movies like Moon, Source Code, Warcraft and Mute.




Sinterklaas in World War II

One thing that always surprises me in any war, particularly World War II, is that so many aspects of normal life still happened. The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas (St Nicholas aka Santa Claus) on December 5, but he usually arrives in the country in mid-November.

This is one of the celebrations which continued during World War II. Following are just some impressions.

Mobilized Dutch soldiers were surprised by a visit from Sinterklaas and his servant. The good saint hands out surprise gifts to the soldiers in December 1939.

Commando troops of the Commando-Brabant/Regiment Commando-Brabant during the Second World War. Soldiers of the 8th company during a Sinterklaas celebration in December 1944.

Sinterklaas or collaborator? Visit of Arthur Seyss-Inquart to the Leerdam glass factories, where a large St. Nicholas party was organized for poor Leerdam children. Here Sinterklaas shakes hands with Seyss-Inquart.

Seyss-Inquart was the Reich commissioner for the German-occupied Netherlands. he shared responsibility for the deportation of Dutch Jews and the shooting of hostages.



Christmas in Westerbork

At first glance when you look at the picture it doesn’t appear to be extraordinary. There is an officer clearly giving a speech. There are a few Christmas trees at the back so it appears to be some sort of Christmas do.

The officer is Albert Konrad Gemmeker he was a German SS-Obersturmführer and camp commandant of the Westerbork transit camp.

He was considered the friendly face of Nazi evil. Known as a decent commander, who insisted that he never knew what happened to the Jews in camps such as Auschwitz. Yet during his reign at the Dutch camp, around 80,000 Jewish people were deported to Auschwitz.

On 19 December 1942 Gemmeker threw a Christmas party, or rather a Julfest (Yule feast).

The venue for his party was Westerbork. According to some survivors, a line of shiny new cars had pulled up to the camp, with several high-ranking SS officers and their mistresses or prostitutes, either way not their wives. Officers like Aus der Funten and photographer Breslau, Untersturmführer Hassel, who was there with his wife.

The big hall in Westerbork was filled with SS staff celebrating. What makes it even more disturbing is that their food was cooked and served by some of those 80,000 Gemmeker would later send to Auschwitz, to be murdered.





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Die Hard, Christmas movie? “Yippee-Ki-yay” or “Yippee-Ki-nay?”

Die Hard, a Christmas movie? Yippee-Ki-yay or Yippee-Ki-nay?

Every year around Christmas time there is the question “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” Personally, for me, it is not Christmas until I see Hans Gruber fall off the Nakatomi building.

However, I appreciate that that will not get everyone in a festive mood. So, let us look at what constitutes a Christmas movie. According to sites like the Hollywood reporter and cheatsheet.com a Christmas movie must
• Be set around Christmas
• Have a Christmas setting, things like decorations, a tree etc.
• Christmas music and carols
• Festivities
• A topless woman, oh no wait that is a different list, I should have checked that twice.
Die Hard fulfils all those criteria (including the topless woman).
To compare with a classic Christmas movie like White Christmas?
Die Hard takes place entirely during the Christmas holidays, while only the first and final scenes of White Christmas are set during the holiday season. The entirety of Die Hard is also at a Christmas party, while only the end of its 1950s counterpart is.
Therefore, the only conclusion can be that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. In fact, it is probably the most multicultural Christmas movie of all time. It is set in Los Angeles in a Japanese-owned building, which is taken over by German, French, Chinese, and Italian terrorists.