Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Happy and Safe Holiday Season

(Crossposted to Alchemical Thoughts)

Soon, I will be taking some time to rest and spend with family. We celebrate Christmas, but people at this time are also celebrating other holidays such as Hannukah and Kwanzaa. So, whichever holiday you are moved to celebrate, may it be a safe and happy one. To give readers a small gift before the holiday, here are a few links and items that may be of interest.

Readers can look over my post last year for the holidays. At the rate this is going, I may make a holidays post an annual tradition. Last year, I offered the legalistic holiday greeting, which I am sure you may want to use for those situations when you just want to cover all the bases. Here it is again:

From Your Lawyer Friends:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

I think that should about cover it. Moving right along, the Census Bureau always comes through with one of their Facts for Features releases. Here is the one for the Holiday Season. Among some of the interesting facts:

  • $485 million
    The amount of money the nation’s Christmas tree farmers received from tree sales in 2005. Oregon was the top state in tree sales ($126 million), followed by North Carolina, Washington and Michigan. (Source: USDA Economic Research Service at <>)
  • $3.2 billion
    Total value of shipments for dolls, toys and games by manufacturers in 2004.

While talking about toys, Radar Magazine has a feature for the 10 Most Dangerous Toys of all Time. For some, this may be a ride down memory lane. I had no idea at one point you could buy a small atomic energy lab; it's number 2 on their list. A hat tip to Stephen's Lighthouse.

In our home, we will be tracking Santa on Christmas Eve. You can keep track of the jolly man with NORAD's Santa Tracker. I wrote a note about it in my post last year. We will also be baking cookies for Santa, and we will make sure he has a good bottle of Coke to wash those cookies down. We figure the man wants a cold non-alcoholic beverage since he is driving, and he may want some variety from the usual milk. The reindeer will get carrots as well.

We have managed to put our tree up this week, a bit on the late side, but it has been a busy month in our neck of the woods. Unlike last year, the cats, who are no longer kittens, seem a bit more mellow about the tree. At this point, they have only knocked it over twice, which is definite improvement. However, the decorations are not faring as well, and the tree looks different pretty much by the hour as we put things back on it. We hope to spend Christmas Day at home, and the day after we'll be heading out of town to Fort Worth to see family. The university closes next week, so might as well take some of that time and travel a little. The better half actually managed to get some time off, so woo hoo. Actually, today is the last day we are open prior to the holiday. We will open again on January 2nd, 2007.

For more holiday season humor, please take a look at the collection of links compiled by The Laughing Librarian. Among other things, the Laughing Librarian points to a letter pointing out the real reason for Christmas (not for those who may offend easily, but a favorite of mine), you can pimp my nutcracker, and you can take the Christmas Carol quiz.

And while on the topic of quizzes, Whitney Matheson at Pop Candy blog points to a holiday movie trivia quiz. She claims it is quite hard, but I only missed 3 out of 10, which is not bad considering there were a couple of movies I have not seen. However, given some of these movies are perennial classics or part of pop culture, you either know an answer or can guess the answer. At any rate, I was never much of a holiday movie fan. In fact, I can't really stand too many holiday movies. My idea of a fun Christmas movie is this one, and only for the opening scene, which is how I think Santa should handle a few snotty families who obsess over the perfect Christmas while actually hating each other. It's the kind of film you don't want to laugh, but you do anyhow. There are a couple other holiday movies I like, but they are far and in between, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Polar Express.

Of course, this blog belongs to a librarian, so I would be neglecting my vocation if I did not provide some reading suggestions. Here are then some book lists to give you some ideas of what to read during the holidays:

Here is a collection of winter holiday websites from the Springfield public library. A good number of links to explore.

If there are questions about how to behave or manners, Emily Post may have some answers here on topics like re-gifting. If you have more spiritual/religious questions in terms of etiquette, you can visit Beliefnet here (the link is to their holidays section, which covers various holidays. However, the main site is a good resource for learning about other's beliefs). Here is another interesting little article on "Celebrating the holidays in an interfaith family," out of Baby Center, a parenting site. A good book on the topic of interfaith etiquette is How to Be a Perfect Stranger.

If you would like some art, there is an online exhibit on "The Christmas Story" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

Take a look at the origins of winter solstice celebrations from ancient times to today at Candlegrove's website. Online since 1995, this site has become a very good resource on the traditions of the winter holiday celebrations.

And what is a holiday season without some fun and romp in bed (or any other part of the house)? This is the part of this holiday post where I give the warning that the next link contains adult content. If you are not into that or you offend easily, or you happen to be a minor, please do not click on the link. You won't be hurting my feelings, that is perfectly cool if you prefer not to. On the other hand, if you are like me (a regular heathen who likes his fun), and you want to consider some options for some sexy play, here is a link to a Sexy Holiday Guide, from Fleshbot. The post provides a list of various sexy gift guide ideas with a a brief pro/con review. I am sure even Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be having some fun after he is done with his sleigh run.

So, this post got a bit longer than I thought, but I found a lot of interesting things that I hope readers may find interesting. Have a safe and happy holiday. Feliz Navidad to our Spanish speaking friends who celebrate Christmas. I will see you next year. Best, and keep on blogging.

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