Happy Holidays from JoshWillTravel!
Here’s my “Internet Holiday Card” to all my online friends:
HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!
HAPPY FESTIVUS, CHRISTMAS, HANNUKAH & KWANZAA HOLIDAYS!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!
HAPPY TRAVELS IN THE NEW YEAR!
It’s Monday, December 19th and we can’t wait for this year to be over…
Cold Rain & Snow = Winter Holiday Travel Delays! Be Careful Out There!
Well, the weather outside is frightful for a lot of people.
Here in Los Angeles it’s really delightful! We are having our West Coast Winter again.
People just have to travel for the holidays. You must know that traveling during the Winter Holidays is a crazy thing to subject yourself to… bad traffic, long lines, weather delays, irritated crowds and overworked staff are guaranteed to be part of the experience. We always advise you plan ahead, use a travel agent and buy travel insurance, especially if you’re flying or cruising during the holiday season.
Out here in California it’s cool and clear with blue skies and sunshine while most of the nation is suffering Arctic cold and blizzard conditions. We had a rainstorm or two come through last week, and it’s definitely “sweater weather” in Southern California with some nighttime temperatures getting into the 40s & 50s! We’ll just say “Sorry” for all you folks shoveling mountains of snow, driving in dangerous conditions, or just freezing your asses off. Stay warm and safe!
We are “home for the holidays” again this year. White Christmas? Green Christmas? Here in Los Angeles you can decide. There was snow on the Grapevine (the top of the 5 freeway north where it crests on the way to Bakersfield) during the storms last week. There’s snow and skiing/snowboarding in the nearby San Gabriel mountains, Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear; or you can have cocktails at the beach or picnic in the park….
or both on the same day.
And currently, as we write this part of the Blog, it is 71 degrees at 2:30pm on Tuesday, December 20 and there’s a puppy asleep in my lap and another asleep in the playpen next to me. They are such sweet little girls! (and at 5pm today in Chicago it’s only 28 degrees)
HAPPY FESTIVUS! December 23rd – “the festival for the rest of us”
A family tradition of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture in 1997 in the episode “The Strike” The holiday celebration includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, the “Airing of Grievances”, “Feats of Strength” and easily explainable events witnessed as “Festivus Miracles!”
“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!”
The English word festive derives from Latin “festivus” an adjective meaning “excellent, jovial and/or lively” which in turn derives from festus “joyous; holiday, feast day”.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS! December 24 & 25
Happy birthday Jesus! December 25 was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. The prominence of Christmas Day celebration increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in the year 800 and then William I (the Conqueror) of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066. In Colonial America, the Pilgrims of New England shared the Protestant’s (Puritan) disapproval of Christmas, and in 1620, they spent their first Christmas Day in the New World working to demonstrate their complete contempt for the holiday. Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659 by the Puritans and the ban wasn’t revoked until 1681. George Washington crossed the Delaware and attacked hungover Hessian (German) mercenaries during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, the day after Christmas. The holiday being much more popular in Germany than in America at the time.
The practice of special decorations at Christmas began in the 15th century: in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be “decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green.” Holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches: its thorns and red berries represent the Crown of Thorns and the blood Jesus shed.
The traditional Christmas colors are red, green, and gold. Red for the blood of Jesus shed at his crucifixion, green for eternal life and the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold for royalty is associated with the three gifts of the Magi.
In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel “A Christmas Carol” credited with reviving the spirit of Christmas, seasonal merriment and emphasizing family, goodwill, compassion and redemption. The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, and “Bah! Humbug!” a statement dismissive of the festive spirit. Also in England in 1843, the concept of sending greetings cards at Christmas was created and the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole.
The Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century in England. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about having a Christmas tree hung with lights, ornaments and surrounded with presents. An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in the United States in 1850 and by the 1870s putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America.
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The Christmas tree is considered by some as “Christianization” of pagan tree worship tradition and ritual of the Winter Solstice. The English language phrase “Christmas tree” was first recorded in 1835. Other traditional decorations include garlands, mistletoe & holly, poinsettia, bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, snowmen and angels.
A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas aka Santa Claus from the Dutch Sinterklaas for Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle; Père Noël, Saint Basil, the Weihnachtsmann, the Christkind, Joulupukki, Babbo Natale and Ded Moroz. The Scandinavian tomte is sometimes depicted as a gnome. Of course, the best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus.
The exchange of gifts is the modern commercial Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving is based in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, the Christian tradition associated with St. Nicholas and the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men.
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Christmas Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce in most Western nations. Retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed for the holiday and almost all industries cease activity (more than any other day of the year).
HAPPY HANNUKAH! December 24-31
Hannukah is the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt (167-165 BC) against the Seleucid Empire. Also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication it is celebrated for eight nights beginning on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (late November to December on the Gregorian calendar).
Hanukkah became more widely celebrated in America in the 1970s, when Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson called for public awareness and observance of the festival and encouraged the lighting of public menorahs. And for secular Jews it became an alternative to Christmas celebrations, a celebration of religious freedom and a symbol of Jewish identity.
The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of the nine-branched Menorah (also called a Chanukiah/Hanukiah). The extra candle is called a shamash (Hebrew for attendant) and is given a distinct location usually above the rest. Light the shamash candle first and then use it to light the others. Three blessings are recited when lighting the candles: On the first night recite all three blessings and on all subsequent nights recite only the first two.
The tradition of lighting one additional candle on each night of the eight night holiday commemorates the miracle declared by Jewish sages: According to the Talmud, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest) was needed for the eternal flame in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. One flask of oil was found, only enough oil to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply.
Traditionally, fried foods, potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) are eaten to commemorate the importance of oil during the celebration of Hanukkah, gifts are given each night and children are gifted with cash money called Gelt (Yiddish for money). Giving Hannukah Gelt dates back to the East European custom of children gifting their teachers money at this time of year as a token of gratitude.
Dreidel: a small four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, a gambling game played with a dreidel, especially at Hanukkah. The dreidel is a Jewish variant on the teetotum, a gambling toy found in many European cultures. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”) Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht (“nothing”), He stands for halb (“half”), Gimel for gants (“all”), and Shin for shtel ayn (“put in”)
In the United States and Israel it is common to give and/or exchange presents with friends and family. In addition, many families encourage giving tzedakah (charity to those less fortunate) during Hannukah.
In 1951, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion gave Harry Truman a Hanukkah Menorah. In 1979, Jimmy Carter held the first public Hanukkah candle-lighting of the National Menorah on the White House lawn. In 1989, George H.W. Bush displayed a menorah in the White House. In 1993, Bill Clinton invited a group of schoolchildren to the Oval Office for a small ceremony. In 2001, George W. Bush held an official Hanukkah reception at the White House, along with the candle-lighting ceremony, and it has become an annual tradition attended by the United States’ Jewish leaders. In 2008, George Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that menorah for the ceremony, with a grandson of Ben-Gurion and a grandson of Truman lighting the candles.
HAPPY KWANZAA! December 26th – January 1st
Kwanzaa celebrates its 50th year in 2016!
Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate family, culture and heritage, the name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits” and is modeled after the harvest celebrations of Africa. The colors of Kwanzaa reflect the Pan-African movement and people of African descent worldwide: Black for people of color, red for blood that unites people of African ancestry, and green for Africa. 7 Principles and 7 Primary Symbols emphasize a unique set of values and ideals during the 7 days of Kwanzaa which is spelled with 7 letters. The first US postage stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa was issued in 1997. There have been 5 more designs released since.
AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017! December 31st – January 1st
AULD LANG SYNE
First recorded in 1939: Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians performed it every New Year’s Eve for decades until his death in 1977. His version is played immediately following the dropping of the ball in Times Square every year.
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne. CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne. CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne. CHORUS
And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne. CHORUS
“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song traditionally used to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. (Hogmanay, the Scots word for the last day of the year is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year).
Champagne: a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from Champagne and specific pressing regimes unique to the region. The term Champagne is used as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in many countries it’s illegal to label any wine Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region and is produced under the special rules of the Champagne winemaking community (under the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – CIVC).
Me at the beginning of 2016 versus me at the end of 2016:
“The Dude Abides”
To all my Friends and Followers,
The end of 2016 is a welcome relief. It has not been an easy year.
We are still struggling with the tragic loss of our precious little girls in August,
and now we have the new beautiful little girls in our life to love and train.
We are angry, anxious and depressed about the outcome of the 2016 election.
We are worried about the current condition and future direction of our country.
This year was also full of lots of fun, entertainment and good times.
(Read our past Blogs and visit our facebook and Twitter pages to see the fun!)
We hope to expand and increase our “fun tolerance level” in the coming new year.
There’s a secret plan ahead for JoshWillTravel in 2017,
so if you haven’t yet, be sure to “LIKE”, Follow, and stay connected with us.
We wish you and yours a Happy Winter Solstice, a Happy Festivus,
a Happy Christmas-Hannukah-Kwanzaa and a very Happy New Year!
Goodbye 2016, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
What does the FUTURE hold for us in the year 2017?
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Our Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe>
The earliest Latin Christmas hymns appear in 4th-century Rome. Christmas Carols in English first appear in 1426 written by John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty-five “Caroles of Cristemas” probably sung by groups of wassailers going house to house. The songs were originally communal folk songs sung during harvest celebrations as well as Christmas. Carols like “Personent hodie”, “Good King Wenceslas” and “The Holly and the Ivy” date back to the Middle Ages. “Adeste Fideles” (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 13th century. Secular Christmas songs emerged in the late 18th century: “Deck the Halls” dates from 1784 and “Jingle Bells” was copyrighted in 1857.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
~ Buddy the Elf
Musical Merry Christmas Countdown! Playlist 2015
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[thinking Miles is an elf]
Did you have to borrow a reindeer to get down here?
Hey, jackweed, I get more action in a week than you’ve had in your entire life. I’ve got houses in L.A., Paris and Vail. In each one, a 70 inch plasma screen. So I suggest you wipe that stupid smile off your face before I come over there and SMACK it off! You feeling strong, my friend? Call me elf one more time.
[after a pause]
He’s an angry elf.
[Miles promptly attacks him]
Hollywood film studios release their big movies during the holiday season always including new Christmas films, big budget “blockbuster” fantasy movies and megastar powered dramas for consideration for the Academy Awards. And YES, “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon” are Christmas films.
Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?
“It’s A Wonderful Life” 1946
produced & directed by Frank Capra,
based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
Mele Kalikimaka! (written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson)
Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night…
A toast to absent friends and family,
and a toast to the blessed memory of everyone who left us in 2016!
“Another Year Gone!
Say Buh-Bye 2016…
A New Year Ahead!”
WE WISH YOU & EVERYONE YOU KNOW,
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.” ~ T. S. Eliot
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NOTE: The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game will be held this year on Monday, January 2, 2017, the New Year’s Day federal holiday!