Mixing Holiday Traditions With Science

Putting up the Christmas tree is one of my beloved holiday traditions. For many years, I went to a tree farm a couple of weeks before Christmas. We’d cut down a tree, bring it home, and decorate it. I wasn’t mixing holiday traditions with science back then. But the science of Christmas trees is fascinating.  The Traditions The Romans decorated their temples with fir trees for the festival of Saturnalia. Christians used fir trees as a sign of everlasting life with God. Many people credit the Germans with bringing the Christmas tree into their homes.  Records show that Martin Luther, a 16th century preacher, was one of the first to bring a Christmas tree into his house and put lights on it. Read more about the first Christmas trees. Oh Christmas Tree When shopping for a Christmas tree, we want the right shape, the right height, and color. We want the tree to hold on to its needles as long as possible. And we want the tree to look fresh for weeks. These are the traits Christmas tree growers want to foster in their trees. Fraser and noble firs are the most popular species for Christmas trees. Christmas trees are […]

Do You Know Rudolph Like I Know Rudolph?

Welcome to the second installment of holiday fun and an interview with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Do You Know Rudolph Like I Know Rudolph?  Rudolf’s Birth In 1939, the Montgomery Ward Company asked their ad man to create a story for a Christmas promotion. The ad man, Robert L. May, wrote catalog copy for the company, but he had a way with limericks and parodies May’s life situation depressed him. He was heavily in debt trying to pay for his dying wife’s medical care.  And his failure to be the novelist he dreamed of haunted him. But May believed in his story. He had a friend illustrate his manuscript. Together, he and his friend convinced his boss to publish the story.  Rudolph’s Q&A 1. Who is your role model? Santa Claus. He’s always jolly and kind. Unlike certain reindeer. Not that I hold a grudge. 2. Who knows you the best? Santa Claus. He knows when I am sleeping. And he knows when I’m awake. He knows when I am bad or good.  3. What would your friends say about you? They used to laugh and call me names. Now they say I’ll go down in history. 4. What is […]

A Merry Christmas Wish and Music

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this, the twenty-fourth of December. Tomorrow is Christmas. A religious holiday for some. A pagan holiday for some. Part of a week or two or a month of holidays for some. And just another day for some.  Whether or not you celebrate a December holiday, my Merry Christmas wish is that you find a bit of charity, peace, and love on this day and each day for the rest of your life. In that spirit, here are a few of my favorite versions of Christmas carols.  Deck the Halls Pentatonix I love a cappella music so it’s no wonder I’m a fan of Pentatonix. “Deck the Halls“ (originally titled “Deck the Hall“) is a traditional Christmas carol. The melody is Welsh, dating back to the sixteenth century,[1] and belongs to a winter carol, “Nos Galan“, while the English lyrics, written by the Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant, date to 1862. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deck_the_Halls Carol of the Bells (for 12 Cellos) Piano Guys This version is a clever use of technology to create a beautiful version of this old carol.   “Carol of the Bells“ is a popular Christmas carol, with music by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914[1] and lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky. The song is based on the Ukrainian […]