Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas.  All else is outward display--so much tinsel and decorations.

~Author unknown

May you experience the joys and true gifts of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Good King Wenceslas


This is one of my favorite Christmas carols...not just because of the tune itself, but that it's based on an actual historical figure.

The Reverend John Mason Neale, who published the English lyrics to "Good King Wenceslas" in Carols for Christmas-tide (1854), was looking for a good role model for children.  The generous Wenceslas fit the description nicely.  Neale's fanciful lyrics, which drew scorn from his critics, were based on the story of the nobleman Wenceslas (c. 907-929), Duke of Bohemia, a kind and good man who was raised by his devoted grandmother.  Wenceslas became king, and during his brief reign he converted his country to Christianity and provided his people with a period of great peace and serenity.  It was his decree that Christmas should be celebrated in every cottage and church throughout the land. 

Wenceslas was known to be a just and merciful king with considerable compassion for the poor and sick.  Unfortunately for his people, Wenceslas was murdered in 929 by a younger brother who conspired against him with other family members and the pagan nobility.

The music for "Good King Wenceslas" comes from an anonymous thirteenth-century Swedish spring carol titled "Tempest Adest Floridum," part of the 1582 carol book publication Piae Cantiones.  "Good King Wenceslas," despite its confounding lyrics, has become a Christmas favorite for children and adults alike. (from Christmas Favorites by Sourcebooks, Inc.)


Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing


Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Books Read


The Christmas List--Richard Paul Evans

I really enjoyed this book.  Evans' The Christmas Box is one of my favorite Christmas books so I knew I would probably be happy with this one...and I was.  This book has a slight twist on the Dickens A Christmas Carol story, with a man having a change of heart and seeking redemption.  If you had a chance to right wrongs of the past, who would make it on your list?  "List" makes you think about the way you should treat people, not just at Christmas, but all the time.  Of course, it had me in tears near the end because that is just how these stories are.  But it's a redemptive story and a perfect read for Christmastime.


Matchless--Gregory Maguire

I always loved Hans Christian Anderson's Little Match Girl, even though it is a very heartbreaking story...some feel it's not a good story for reading around the holidays.  They may be right, but I still think it's a good story.  Maguire has taken this traditional story and incorporated it within another story.  Now it's a story of hope and, in a way, the power of the afterlife to aid those in the real world.  It's a very short book with wonderful black and white illustrations and within its pages are the true messages of Christmas...family, hope, and love.



Happy Christmas Reading!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Poem (1)

Getting Ready for Christmas

When snow on the frozen meadow is lying,
When trees are bare, the sky overcast...
When the wind in the chimney is crying, crying,
It is then I remember the past.

Then too, we were getting ready for Christmas,
Hearing the Story, tying a bow.
Our stockings were hung on the mantelpiece -
Three stockings in a row.
I longed to be tall.  My arms could not reach
Above the first bough of the glittering tree;
Longed to be grown as those who seemed
Ten feet above me.

The wish has come true.
I am hanging the garlands
That link the chain of our lives.
The bells are ringing - the old year is dying;
The yule log is burning, the stockings are hung,
(Three stockings in a row)
And the wind in the chimney is crying.

by May Harris Gray
from Celebrating the Master's Christmas: 100 Years of Joyous Christmas Memories






Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Winner!


Announcing...the winner of The Christmas Box Collection...

Marjorie (entry #20)

Congratulations Marjorie! I have sent you an email requesting your mailing address.  Please email it to me within 24 hours or I will have to pick a new winner.

*Winner was chosen using random.org




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa Time!

The kiddos...Gabe and Reece...visiting with Santa 2009.  Not exactly sure what Santa is doing in this one...LOL! I promise...they were well-behaved!









Friday, December 11, 2009

Announcing: The Christmas Spirit Giveaway



Update:  I forgot to stipulate in the rules that this giveaway is for U.S. only.  If you are not in the U.S. and have already entered, I will give you a pass, but as of today (12/11), the giveaway is only open to U.S. residents...my finances are still not in the position to mail internationally...sorry all!

This giveaway is in honor of my new Christmas blog and to help spread the Christmas spirit (and the word about my blog)! I just wish I could afford to giveaway a big bundle of goodies like other blogs are doing, but alas...  I decided to giveaway a copy of one of my most favorite Christmas books (and really, one of my favorites in general).  Even better that this copy is a bonus.  It is The Christmas Box Collection by Richard Paul Evans which not only contains The Christmas Box, but also Timepiece and The Letter (the Christmas Box Trilogy).  It is a gently used copy and it's mass market, but it is still a beautiful little book.


Synopsis of each book:


The Christmas Box-Richard, a busy and preoccupied father, discovers a Christmas box full of love letters from an old woman to her dead daughter and, with the help of an angel, begins to learn the true meaning of Christmas.

Timepiece-"Of all, clockmakers and morticians should bear the keenest sense of priority-their lives daily spent in observance of the unflagging procession of time... and the end thereof."


-DAVID PARKIN'S DIARY. JANUARY 3, 1901

So begins Timepiece, the unforgettable story of hope and the source of the wisdom MaryAnne Parkin shared with Richard in The Christmas Box. With the help of David Parkin's diary, Richard discovers the mystery of the timepiece and the significance of MaryAnne's request.


Nineteen years previous, only eleven days before her death, MaryAnne Parkin had bequeathed a beautiful rose-gold timepiece to my keeping.

"The day before you give Jenna away," she had said, her voice trembling as she handed me the heirloom, "give this to her for the gift."

I was puzzled by her choice of words.

"Her wedding gift?" I asked.

She looked at me sadly, then forced a fragile smile.

"You will know what I mean."


The Letter-The Letter, the final episode of Richard Paul Evans's Christmas Box trilogy (The Christmas Box, Timepiece), begins in the winter of 1933. A bent and bereft hag is spotted crouching over the snowy grave of Andrea Parkin, David Parkin's three-year-old daughter who died twenty years prior. When the night watchman approaches the figure and tells her the cemetery is closed, she mysteriously disappears, leaving behind one red rose and a letter. When the child's mother comes to pay respect the following day, she finds the letter and its shocking news. Could David's mother be alive? The search for the answer sends David on a cross-country journey and into the arms of another woman. But the knowledge he gains gives him the strength to make the ultimate sacrifice for his loved ones.

The Rules for Entry:

  • You must do this one thing to enter...leave a comment with your favorite Christmas story or book plus your email address.
  • +2 for those of you who are already followers
  • +1 for NEW followers
  • +1 for following me on Twitter @truebookaddict
  • +1 get the word out (blog or blog sidebar, tweet, Facebook...1 point for each if you leave a link)
  • +5 for every person you tell that follows and enters (they have to mention your name or blog name) and the people you refer will get +5 as well!  *Help me get the word out about this blog...Thanks!!!*
This giveaway will end on December 17th at 12:00 am CT (so I can get it in the mail by Friday or Saturday!)

I will announce the winner here and email them.  Winner must respond within 24 hours (sorry about the short time, but holiday mailing schedules, you know!)

Good luck!!!

And may you always keep the Christmas Spirit!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More Christmas Movies!



Here are two more Christmas movies I watched this past weekend.



12 Men of Christmas (Lifetime)

This was a clever little movie...largely due to the sparkly presence of Kristin Chenoweth.  It is pretty much the traditional Christmas set-up...the fish out of water story and all.  But the setting is beautiful and the other scenery...twelve hunky men (give or take)...isn't bad either! And add to the mix a little blast from the past.  Remember Anna Chlumsky of My Girl fame?  Well, she's all grown up and she is a gorgeous girl.  She plays Chenoweth's assistant in Montana.

About the movie:
It's anything BUT a Merry Christmas for die-hard New Yorker and publicist E.J. Baxter when she loses both her high-powered Manhattan job and her lawyer-fiance on the same night at her office Christmas party. E.J. winds up taking a job and moving to the opposite end of the earth - Kalispell, Montana. To help the local search-and-rescue station raise desperately needed funds, a la "Calendar Girls," she tries to convince the male rescue workers to pose for a naked calendar and along the way discovers what really matters to her and wins the heart of one of the pin-ups! Based on the book "Decent Exposure" by Philippa Ashley. Starring Kristin Cheonweth.

Encore airings of the Lifetime Channel's 12 Men of Christmas:

Tonight at 9 pm ET
12/24 at 9 pm ET


Mrs. Miracle (Hallmark Channel)

Based on the novel of the same name by Debbie Macomber, Mrs. Miracle is a heart-warming story based on the premise of Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee.  A family is in trouble and a mysterious nanny comes along to make things right.  I happen to like this type of set up and I especially enjoyed this movie because of Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond).  She is a warm, grandmotherly type that comes to this family and helps them to heal...and in doing so, it also helps another character to heal as well. 

About the movie:
Losing a spouse is always hard, and for Seth Webster (James Van Der Beek), playing single dad to two rambunctious six-year-olds doesn’t make it any easier. With the holidays approaching, finding a housekeeper has proven to be near-impossible, until Mrs. Emily Merkle (Doris Roberts) shows up at the Websters’ door, ready to turn their lives around. No sooner has “Mrs. Miracle,” as Seth’s boys call her, straightened up the house, than Seth meets Reba Maxwell (Erin Karpluk), best friend to the Webster kids’ first-grade teacher. After just one date, Seth and Reba find they have a lot in common. Since the death of his music-loving wife, Seth has been unable to play a single chord on the piano, and, in the name of her career, Reba, once an avid actress, has avoided the theater. With a Christmas pageant to prepare for and a fresh romance on the horizon, Mrs. Miracle definitely has her work cut out for her and proves to be more than just a normal nanny.

Encore airings of the Hallmark Channel's Mrs. Miracle:

12/11 at 8 pm ET
12/12 at 2 pm ET

Happy Christmas viewing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas movie: The National Tree


I watched The National Tree last Saturday night on the Hallmark Channel.  It was a great movie for Christmas, but also for life.  While watching, I found lessons of environmental responsibility (not preachy though), Christmas spirit, and coming of age.  And it was quite interesting because I did not know that an Evergreen tree of this size could actually be replanted! In all, I really enjoyed the movie and Andrew McCarthy being in it was all the better.

Synopsis:

In its search for a new national Christmas tree, the United States enlists the Box of Toys organization to help run a nationwide contest. The winning tree belongs to 17-year-old video blogger Rock Burdock (Evan Williams), whose father, Corey (Andrew McCarthy), planted the Sitka Spruce for him the day he was born. One week before Thanksgiving, Corey and Rock, accompanied by marketing rep Faith Russell (Kari Matchett), embark on a drive across the country to bring the tree to Washington, D.C., where it will be planted across from the White House and lit by the President and the First Family.


Rock dreads spending days on end with a dad who doesn’t understand him, but Corey hopes the trip will allow for some father-son bonding, however belated it may be. As the Burdocks make their way across the country, their tree garners more and more fans, as do each of them. However, with the increased media attention, the tree’s significance begins to be more about its marketability than its sentimental value as a national symbol, and it’s up to Rock and Corey to decide – as a family – which is more important. (from the Hallmark Channel website)
 
Encore of The National Tree airs again on the Hallmark Channel tonight at 8pm ET.
Also:
12/5 2pm ET
 
For a great season-long schedule of all Christmas television programming, visit It's a Wonderful Movie.
 
Happy Christmas Viewing!