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DECEMBER : Xmas Time


indiana

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3 hours ago, Darcy said:

Gosh, so many different traditions - it makes for fun and fascinating reading.  I am a very infrequent "post-er", but all these wonderful descriptions have inspired me.  Every year, we have "family Christmas lunch".  This does not sound like much, but it requires conducting skills of the likes of the late (great) Sir Charles Mackerras: my mother, five brothers, their spouses, their children, my late father's sister, her partner; that is the minimum number of attendees.  We all live in different parts of England, from the Midlands to the south coast. To an American or an Australian, a road trip of a couple of hours is nothing; a mere walk in the park, a potter across the pastures.  For an English person, coming from a country where no person is, at any point in time, more than 70 miles from the sea, a car journey of more than two hours is a veritable odyssey; a major expedition.  Lewis & Clark (or, for the Australians, Burke & Wills) have nothing on us.  So, it's a major undertaking, for us; but it's the only time of year we all come together, and it's a very joyful and joyous occasion.  When we were growing up, Christmas never began until Christmas Eve; only then did the decorations go up, with all of us children "helping".  I have to say, I find it profoundly depressing to see how early Christmas decorations go up in town/city centres these days; it surely has nothing to do with Christmas, and everything to do with the materialism that now pervades our culture.  Wood fires, carols from King's College Cambridge, brisk walks along the coast (this year, Dorset for the balmy English Channel, then Suffolk for the freezing North Sea); then I am heading down to Australia, as I habitually do every month or so, especially during the English winters - the days are so short, the nights so long, and with Christmas over, it's all too depressing.  Questfan's reference to the Boxing Day Test match at the MCG resonated with me; about 14 years ago, I attended for every day of an Ashes Test match at the MCG (which, to an English person, isn't a cricket ground at all; it's far too big and - horror or horrors - other sports are played in that stadium).  England lost.  Plus ca change.......

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Having once done a 14 hour road trip in one day with me being the only driver, I find it intriguing just how small some other countries are. I agree that decorations go up far too early and take away the meaning and the mystique when we get so blase about them. That family gathering sounds amazing and well worth the effort.

 

Just a bit of trivia for you - Australian Rules Football (which bears some resemblance to Gaelic football) began life as a means to keep Aussie cricketers fit over winter. Hence the shocking reason they are permitted to play on the hallowed cricket ground! I do think some people have forgotten that the MCG actually belongs to cricket. :biggrin:

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It takes 17 hours to drive from St Louis to Denver (we do it once a year to go skiing), and there’s only one state in between. (Granted, Kansas and Colorado are both long states. Long, flat states. Long, flat states with no scenery but grass and cows to speak of .... But I digress. :lol:) I have no idea how long it would take to drive from coast to coast, but it would be a real long time ...

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12 minutes ago, PSW said:

It takes 17 hours to drive from St Louis to Denver (we do it once a year to go skiing), and there’s only one state in between. (Granted, Kansas and Colorado are both long states. Long, flat states. Long, flat states with no scenery but grass and cows to speak of .... But I digress. :lol:) I have no idea how long it would take to drive from coast to coast, but it would be a real long time ...

Try crossing the Nullabor! The name means treeless plain and it is desolate. The only upside is that you can stop along the Great Australian Bight and see the magnificent cliffs. 150kms (90m) of dead straight road at one point. The longest straight stretch in the world as far as I know and sooooo boring to drive. It took us five days to cross from coast to coast when we moved. That was tag team driving and not doing anything much touristy as we had to get to the other end by a certain date. I have also done it twice by bus when I couldn't fly. One day I plan to do it again in a more leisurely style and camp on the Bight.

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17 minutes ago, jfclover said:

I've done so many trips from Denver to St. Louis, I can't count them all.  Yes, it's boring.  Kansas is way too wide.  Last year, I drove Denver to Dayton, Nv., which isn't a pleasure trip either.  Lots of nothing in-between.  :dry:  

 

Ive never had the pleasure of driving Nevada, but my dad claims you could run off the road there and never know it. :lol:

 

As for Kansas... surely you’re intrigued by the many roadside attractions advertised — world’s largest groundhog, world’s largest ball of twine ... 

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6 minutes ago, PSW said:

 

Ive never had the pleasure of driving Nevada, but my dad claims you could run off the road there and never know it. :lol:

 

As for Kansas... surely you’re intrigued by the many roadside attractions advertised — world’s largest groundhog, world’s largest ball of twine ... 

 

But I've never stopped to see any of them.  Not much of a tourist when I'm on a mission to drive across "paradise" in one day.

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1 minute ago, jfclover said:

 

But I've never stopped to see any of them.  Not much of a tourist when I'm on a mission to drive across "paradise" in one day.

 

Does anyone actually stop to see them, I wonder? There are so many little ‘museums’ advertised for a state most people are trying to bolt through as fast as possible ...

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21 minutes ago, PSW said:

 

Does anyone actually stop to see them, I wonder? There are so many little ‘museums’ advertised for a state most people are trying to bolt through as fast as possible ...

 

 Who knows?  I remember when I was a kid seeing signs for Pete's Cafe like every mile for a lot of miles.  Maybe that was Missouri. :think:  I'm not sure, but I've never been to Pete's Cafe either.

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I remember, as a child driving from North Carolina to Colorado, driving across Kansas and seeing the tall wheat fields, then not much of anything when we crossed into Colorado until the Rockies appeared on the horizon and got bigger and bigger as we made our way to Colorado Springs.  Yep, flat and desolate until you reach the mountains.  :wink:

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Can you even imagine what it was like for those people crossing that area by wagon train, getting 15 miles a day if they were lucky? Nothing but flat forever, and even when the mountains appeared it would seem like they were never getting any closer ... And you never know when a storm (hail, straight line winds, tornado) will swoop down on you — in that area, they’re strong and fast and fairly frequent  ... 

 

They were hardy people, for sure ...

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Here in UK, Christmas tends to go on forever!. It starts ridiculously early, generally  the first signs start in late September! Shops are already displaying Christmas stuff. It seems to get earlier every year. I absolutely love Christmas, just like I did as a child, I'm 64 now. 

My family live very close by, so not much travelling for us. I've 'done' Christmas Day for the past 44 yrs, so have decided to hand the reins over to my daughter this year. She made me laugh when I suggested it. "Oh yes, you've earned a rest, having  hosted it for so many years, come to us and I'll do it" "Oh thats lovely " I said. " Could you buy the turkey, and cook it , and slice it, and bring it all ready to serve, please?" she said......" Oh and could you cook the 'swede and carrot' and bring it?".....

We have the traditional tree, lots of coloured lights and baubles. I love the sentimental baubles and ornaments. I especially like 'retro' decorations, from the 1950s, I've collected loads form car boot sales and charity shops. I still have the same fairy sitting on the top of the tree that I've had since I was a child. She sits there looking beautiful and majestic still, after all those years. Christmas for me means being surrounded by those I love and remembering those I have loved and lost. We always go to Midnight Mass, although these days, I find it more difficult to stay awake through it!  We have mince pies, sausage rolls, Stollen , and Christmas cake and oodles of nuts!  We went to a Carol Service yesterday evening, in a 16th century church in  a tiny, picturesque village where the little old houses that line the street all have lighted trees in their windows and wreaths on their doors.  The whole church was lighted with candles only, and the walls were covered in holly and ivy. The carols were wonderful, until someone fell off their chair in spectacular fashion, in the middle of Away In a Manger......Merry Christmas to all my new buddies on here. I look forward to getting to know you all in 2018. 

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On 12/21/2017 at 6:02 PM, Oldefan said:

Jojay, how tall is your tree.  It looks big to me!

 

It's 7'- 1/2" tall with over 300 ornaments!   Collections of Nativities,Angels,Bells,Toys,Reindeers and more.  There are many old family pieces,from Christmas as a child, pieces my girls made,hubby's childhood to special Snowbaby ornaments.  Every year I add a Hallmark rockinghorse.  I have another tree upstairs and it's not quite as loaded, but on its way.

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On 12/22/2017 at 7:36 AM, PSW said:

Can you even imagine what it was like for those people crossing that area by wagon train, getting 15 miles a day if they were lucky? Nothing but flat forever, and even when the mountains appeared it would seem like they were never getting any closer ... And you never know when a storm (hail, straight line winds, tornado) will swoop down on you — in that area, they’re strong and fast and fairly frequent  ... 

 

They were hardy people, for sure ...

We were in Nevada in June and stopped at the Donner Pass to visit the museum.  All the way there I couldn't stop thinking about how brave people were back then - traveling with their families through nothingness for mile after mile with the hope of a new life at the end of their journey.  And the poor Donner party - non-stop snow for months.  I can't even imagine the desperation.  

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I went to the Nutcracker last night with my sister and her two daughters, and my best friend w her daughter and exchange student.  It was fun, and we were home by 10:30. (Yay for two hour shows!)  I know nothing of ballet (or dance in general), but I always enjoy this one. It could count as a tradition, but more of a tradition of days gone by -- I used to go with my best friend and her daughter every year, but eventually ... you know ... you've seen the Nutcracker a billion times. :lol:  So we only go nowadays when the Moscow Ballet is in town, because their version of the Arabian dance is so amazing -- it's incredible to think that people can actually do some of those moves.  I include the link for that dance below.  These are not (of course) the dancers we saw -- and I must say that last night's was not their best version -- but I have seen dancers do pretty much this very version ...  

 

 

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