Tag Archives: christmas

10 more interesting Christmas facts

11. Historians have traced some of the current traditions surrounding Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, back to ancient Celtic roots. Father Christmas’s elves are the modernization of the “Nature folk” of the Pagan religions; his reindeer are associated with the “Horned God,” which was one of the Pagan deities.

12. Frankincense is a sweet smelling gum resin derived from certain Boswellia trees which, at the time of Christ, grew in Arabia, India, and Ethiopia. Tradition says that it was presented to the Christ Child by Balthasar, the black king from Ethiopia or Saba. The frankincense trade was at its height during the days of the Roman Empire. At that time this resin was considered as valuable as gems or precious metals. The Romans burned frankincense on their altars and at cremations.

13. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.

14. Animal Crackers are not really crackers, but cookies that were imported to the United States from England in the late 1800s. Barnum’s circus-like boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree.

15. Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the Earth.

16. Frustrated at the lack of interest in his new toy invention, Charles Pajeau hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with “Tinker Toys” in a display window at a Chicago department store during the Christmas season in 1914. This publicity stunt made the construction toy an instant hit. A year later, over a million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold.

17. “Hot cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. “Hot cockles” was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

18. In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Festivities were banned by Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry, on what was supposed to be a holy day, to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660.

19. A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

20. George Washington spent Christmas night 1776 crossing the Delaware River in dreadful conditions. Christmas 1777 fared little better – at Valley Forge, Washington and his men had a miserable Christmas dinner of Fowl cooked in a broth of Turnips, cabbage and potatoes.

[Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 interesting Christmas facts

1. Christmas was once a moveable feast celebrated at many different times during the year. The choice of December 25 was made by Pope Julius I, in the 4th century A.D., because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun. The intent was to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one.

2. Christmas Day in the Ukraine can be celebrated on either December 25, in faithful alliance with the Roman Catholic Gregorian calendar, or on January 7, which is the Orthodox or Eastern Rite (Julian calendar), the church holy day.

3. During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, the log burned was called the “Yule log.” Sometimes a piece of the Yule log would be kept to kindle the fire the following winter, to ensure that the good luck carried on from year to year. The Yule log custom was handed down from the Druids.

4. At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored.” This meant the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.

5. After A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original. Before settling on the name of Tiny Tim for his character, three other alliterative names were considered by Charles Dickens. They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam. And Dickens’ initial choice for Scrooge’s statement “Bah Humbug” was “Bah Christmas.”

6. During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made. Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorated the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn’t until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.

7. Christmas caroling began as an old English custom called Wassailing. “Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill” – to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

8. Mistletoe, a traditional Christmas symbol, was once revered by the early Britons. It was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.

9. Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company. More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.

10. Greeks do not use Christmas trees or give presents at Christmas. In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzari (gremlin-like spirits) sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. According to the legend, to get rid of them, you should burn either salt or an old shoe. Apparently the stench of the burning shoe (or salt) drives off the creatures. Other effective methods include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney. A priest may throw a little cross into the village water to keep kallikantzari hiding in dark, dusty corners, he goes from house to house sprinkling holy water.

[ed. – Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Eggnog has a rather rich history

  • Eggnog can trace its roots back as far as the 14th century, when medieval Englishmen enjoyed a hot cocktail known as posset. Posset did not contain eggs — the Oxford English Dictionary describes it as “a drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or the like, often sweetened and spiced’ – The first “eggnog” was likely a mixture of Spanish “Sherry” and milk.
  • In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy; dairy products and eggs were rarely consumed by the lower classes due to their high cost and the lack of refrigeration.
  • As a rich, spicy, and alcoholic drink, eggnog soon became a popular wintertime drink throughout Colonial America. However, since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Caribbean was substitute – and Americans came to know the drink strictly as a rum mixture.
  • When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually boubon, as a substitute.
  • In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog”, which corrupted to egg’n’grog and soon to eggnog.
  • An alternative theory on the origin of the name eggnog is that the “nog” of eggnog comes from the word “noggin”. A noggin was a small, wooden, carved mug. It was used to serve drinks at table in taverns. Hence, an egg drink in a noggin could become eggnog.
  • Eggnog, in the 1800s was nearly always made in large quantities and nearly always used as a social drink. It was commonly served at holiday parties and it was noted by an English visitor in 1866, “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nogg for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging…It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended.”
  • In the 1820’s author Pierce Egan wrote a book called “Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom”. To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called “Tom and Jerry”. It added 1/2 oz of brandy to the basic recipe (fortifying it considerably and adding further to its popularity).
  • The United States first President George Washington was quite a fan of eggnog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry. It was reputed to be a stiff drink that only the most courageous were willing to try.
  • An 1879 collection of recipes from Virginia housewives features a recipe that calls for 12 eggs, eight wine-glassfuls of brandy, and four wine-glassfuls of wine. Another recipe calls for three dozen eggs, half a gallon of domestic brandy, and another half-pint of French brandy.
  • It’s hard to top the devotion shared by a Virginia father and son in the late 19th century. In 1900, Good Housekeeping ran a story about the Christmas-morning eggnog traditions of Virginia, and it included this anecdote:  “So religiously is this custom of the eggnog drinking observed that Judge Garnett of Mathews County tells a story of rushing in on Christmas morning to warn his father that the house was on fire. The old gentleman first led his son to the breakfast table and ladled out his glass of eggnog, drank one with him, then went to care for the burning building.”
  • Today, if you pick up a carton of commercial eggnog at the supermarket, you’re probably getting much more nog than egg. FDA regulations only require that 1.0 percent of a product’s final weight be made up of egg yolk solids for it to bear the eggnog name. For “eggnog flavored milk,” the bar is even lower; in addition to requiring less butterfat in the recipe, this label only requires 0.5 percent egg yolk solids in the carton.
  • A relatively small four-ounce cup of store-bought eggnog boasts a whopping 170 calories (half of them from fat), nearly 10 grams of fat, and over 70 mg of cholesterol. (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s around a quarter of your recommended daily intake of cholesterol.)
  • Our own By George Journal’s recipe for traditional egg-and-cream eggnog is here:  EGGNOG 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

With Eggnog, you know the holiday season is upon us!!

eggnog2

It’s an eggnog bowl! Let the festivities begin!

Here’s a recipe for traditional – real eggs and cream – eggnog.

Enjoy! Cheers!

 

Ingredients

12 eggs, separated
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 cups bourbon
1+ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Directions

  • In a large bowl and using a mixer, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the colour of butter).
  • Very slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy – just a little at a time.
  • When bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you’re making the eggnog).
  • 30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture.
  • Stir in 1+ 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
  • In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture.
  • After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg.
  • Serves: 8

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our elves will be serving Christmas cheer daily through December

Be sure to follow our By George Journal for countless posts celebrating Christmas through the month of December.

The Christmas season is normally a very social time. But perhaps not in 2020. So, this season, let the By George elves provide you with merry sayings and seasonal facts and information to add a little extra cheer in your days.

We encourage you to share the posts widely with your family and friends – please spread the joy through December!

Follow us in social media — on the By George Facebook page and our Twitter @byGeorgeJournal so you can drink in a steady stream of creative yule time content.

And enjoy the By George Virtual Eggnog Bowl which we will refill on a daily basis on the top page of the By George Journal.  

Now, take up a glass and join the party! Cheers

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Tis the Season for an E-book

e-book_5When sending your e-mail well wishes in the weeks leading up to Christmas, why not add an e-book to your merry missive? It is easy and inexpensive to attach a By George publication to your electronic greeting.

We have seven e-book publications available as PDF files and offer on-line payment through PayPal. For as little as a toonie, or as much as your Starbucks’ double-whipped cream specialty coffee, here are the gifts you can pull off the By George e-bookshelf.

ORDER ONLINE: Our E-Bookshelf

Say “Merry Christmas, the best of the season…” with:

A Day in the Life of Man – Sustenance for the Soul is a moving collection of verse, thoughts and quotes to inspire and motivate a person through their day. From dawn to dusk, the reader is encouraged to reflect on their daily activities – and challenged to a reach for a new level of understanding about man and about life.

For that politico friend:

Keep ‘em Laughing – classic political jokes delivered on the campaign trail and atop the soapbox is a wonderful collection of funny guffaws, zingers, “shaggy-dog” stories and sideways jokes by politicians, who are always looking for a few laughs to break the ice on the rubber-chicken circuit. These political jokes are classic. Those in the business of politics will know many of these gems as they are heartily received on the campaign trail and at party functions.

Or our own By George Journal collections make thoughtful reads:

By George Treasury is a collection of the very best articles from By George from its launch in the mid-1990’s to 2008. This compilation offers a potpourri of information on effective communication to help at your workplace and with your social affairs.

By George Treasury II picks up where the first treasury collection ends. This e-book is a compilation of five years from By George Journal postings of 2009 through 2013. Page after page, you will find useful and interesting materials you will want to share at work or with your friends.

Visit Our E-Bookshelf to place your on-line order.

e-book_1

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and the very best

of the season to you and yours!!

.

Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day,

encircling all our limited world like a magic ring,

left nothing out for us to miss or seek;

bound together all our home enjoyments,

affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone

round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture

shining in our bright young eyes, complete.

– Charles Dickens

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Kourambiedes-Greek Christmas Cookies

christmas_14

Here is a wonderful recipe of a cookie that is a favourite in every Greek household at this time of the year (well, at any time of the year!).

Mixing the ingredients

Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and creamy:
3/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat until very fluffy and well blended:
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Gradually add and stir until well blended and smooth:
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup Ground Almonds* see note below (optional)

Instructions

1. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm enough to shape into balls, about 1 hour.

2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease cookie sheets.

3. Pull off pieces of the dough and roll between your palms into generous 1-inch balls. Space about 1 inch apart on the sheets.

4. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are faintly tinged with brown, 14-18 minutes; routate the sheet halfway through baking for even browning. Remove the sheet to a rack and let stand until the cookies firm slightly. Gently transfer to racks to cool completely.

5. Sift over the cookies until evenly coated: 1/3 cup powdered sugar

6. If desired, 1 cup ground almonds may be added to this recipe. If you do add the ground almonds, stir in after you have added the vanilla or almond extract, then continue with recipe.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen (1 1/4 inch) cookies.

 

10 Great Christmas Toasts

champagne-glass-mdHere are ten of our favourite Christmas toasts. We trust your gatherings with Family and friends are wonderful through this holiday… Cheers!  

  • May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
  • May peace, love and prosperity follow you always.
  • May the Blessings of Christmas be with you today and always.
  • May the closeness of friends, the comfort of home, and the unity of our nation, renew your spirits this holiday season
  • May the Good Lord fulfill you with His promises and bestow on you His many blessings
  • May the Holiday Season bring only happiness and joy to you and your loved ones.
  • May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you now and throughout the new year.
  • May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you throughout the coming year.
  • May you have the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of His love at Christmas and always
  • Merry Christmas May God bless you richly throughout this holiday season.

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

3 Tips on being a Good Conversationalist

This is the season of Christmas socials, year-end parties, and gatherings of colleagues, friends and family. Like no other time of year, we enjoy cocktails, plenty of delicious foods, and endless conversations.

So, By George Journal asks, ‘What makes a good conversationalist?’  Here are three pointers to be that ‘gracious host’ or that ‘guest you must remember to invite again next year.’

#1.  A good conversationalist is a great listener. When people engage in conversation, most feel that what they have to say is important. Nothing signals more to a person that you are interested in them than to give undivided attention to what they are saying. Listen intently, ask questions and provide comments; don’t mindlessly nod and continually glance over the person’s shoulder to see what is happening across the room.

#2.  What you say will not likely be remembered,  but how you make people feel will not be forgottened. It’s most important to smile when you greet and depart an individual or group. Make and keep eye contact with those you are speaking with. Use appropriate body language and facial gestures to demonstrate your engagement and enjoyment in the conversation(s).

#3.  Be ever-ready to share a great story or series of anecdotes. Enliven conversations with personal observations, remarkable sayings, and a provocative question or two.  Through the next few days, By George Journal will provided a series of conversation-starters. Here are our five favourite from the “Over the Eggnog Bowl” posts for your holiday exchanges.

  1. Is Santa coming to your family this Christmas? You do believe in Santa, right!?
  2. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  3. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  4. Joy is found with simple awareness.  What does your joy look like today?
  5. It used to be that at a party one should never discuss religion, sex and politics. Does this still stand? Are there other subjects that need to be added to this list of avoidable conversations?

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

A Traditional Eggnog Recipe

It’s eggnog season!

Here’s a recipe for traditional – real eggs and cream – eggnog. It’s from the authority website of eggnog – called (what else but) http://www.eggnogrecipe.net/

Enjoy! Cheers!

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Ingredients
12 eggs, separated
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 cups bourbon
1+ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Directions

  • In a large bowl and using a mixer, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the colour of butter).
  • Very slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy – just a little at a time.
  • When bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you’re making the eggnog).
  • 30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture.
  • Stir in 1+ 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
  • In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture.
  • After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg.
  • Serves: 8

Here’s one of our favourite websites to get that special, traditional Christmas recipe.

 

 

Eggnog!

It’s eggnog season – everyone into the bowl!

 

Our elves love this traditional Christmas drink. Tis the season and eggnog is the seasonal refreshment. Over the years, By George Journal has shared a few interesting egg-noggy posts. So, to whet your whistle for your holiday socials, take out a punch glass and dip into these past posts!

 

The real-eggs-and-real-cream eggnog recipe

 

Eggnog’s rather rich history  (Did you know that in Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog”, which corrupted to egg’n’grog and soon to eggnog?)

 

Three pointers to being the season’s great conversationalist – including our five favourite questions to ask over the eggnog bowl.

 

Cheers!!

 

A Christmas Story: The Gifts

christmas presents

A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist.

Just to see what would happen, on Christmas Eve the twins’ father loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist’s room he loaded with horse manure.

Christmas morning the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly.

“Why are you crying?” the father asked.

“Because my friends will be jealous, I’ll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I’ll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken.” answered the pessimist twin.

Passing the optimist twin’s room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. “What are you so happy about?” he asked.

To which his optimist twin replied, “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

 

(ed. – This is a favourite story of ours, posted a few times in earlier Decembers in the By George Journal.)

Tis the Season of Giving

       

We are taken with our boys’ Christmas spirit this year.  Our youngest, David, is seeking out every Salvation Army kettle drum to give to those in need. We all are constantly emptying our pockets so David can go to the SA volunteer and say “Merry Christmas.”  Our fiddler, Alexander, has played a number of times for charities and community recitals, including a Traditional Christmas Dinner for the seniors of Pelham.

 

http://www.wellandtribune.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2893204

 

It’s harm-warming to know the spirit of giving is alive and well with the next generation.