Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Do we know it's Christmas?

When I woke up today and reread what I posted yesterday, it reminded me of the phenomena that began 30 years ago, 1984, when I was an optimistic, confident 24-year-old young lady, with the world at my doorstep, filled with that "anything was possible" and "can do" vigor.

Granted, I was already married, but without children at the time.  My then husband and I spent our Christmas holidays usually on a bus filled with 15 year-old hockey players going on a trip to Spokane for a tournament.  My husband was a co-coach of a Bantam AA hockey team made up of a crew of dreamers and believers that they could reach for the impossible.  In 1984, we celebrated Christmas per usual, Christmas Eve Mass and then on to Boxing Day, where we had to take down our tree, pack everything up so we could take the road trip.  That was the basis of Christmas:  giving of one's self for others.

That year a phenomena was revealed in Britain that would be remembered every year since at Christmas Time:  Source Wikipedia:

Band Aid is a charity supergroup featuring mainly British and Irish[1] musicians and recording artists.[2][3][4] It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released in the UK four days later.[5][6] The single surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release. Two subsequent re-recordings of the song to raise further money for charity also topped the charts. The original was produced by Midge Ure. The 12" version was mixed by Trevor Horn. In November 2014, a new version of the song was recorded by artists under the name of Band Aid 30.[7]

The opening footage is startling, lest we were to forget the reason this emblem of hope was established.  

How was the idea born?

Bob Geldof was deeply bothered and moved by the flight of starving children Ethiopia.  He decided to leverage his contacts from the UK, Ireland, to raise money to help these unfortunates by creating a unique song, enlisting major the talent of the day, to record a song that all proceeds would directly go towards raising funds. 

The vocalists featured the best British and Irish talent: 

Additional spoken messages on B-side:
  • Phil Collins – drums
  • John Taylor – bass
  • Midge Ure – keyboards and programming
Originally recorded in 1984, its re-release in 1985 after "Live Aid", caused it to soar in popularity.  An emblem of the Holiday Season, it was very successful worldwide, selling over two million copies and raising more than $24,000,000 (US).  It became the benchmark for celebrity musicians inspiring actions of charity.

One of the biggest talent at the time was "WHAM!" fronted by George Michael and Andrew Ridgely had the #1 Hit in 1984 with "Careless Whisper" topping Billboard's Top Song.

Followed by "Wake me up before you go go" became a No# favorite in 1985 in countries like the US, Canada, Australia.  So, it wasn't surprising they'd be one of the first vocal standouts on 

In fact, Wham's "Last Christmas" became the highest-selling single to ever peak at #2 in the UK charts, remaining #2 for five weeks, when "Do They Know It's Christmas" surpassed it.

Joining the chart toppers to lend vocals were from the best names of the 84-85s  like Boy George (Culture Club), Spandau Ballet, and Duran Duran.

Fast forward 30 years and I'm a parent of kids of similar ages to what I was back then. Another "Do they know it's Christmas?" was released 2014/15 thirty years after the original.

It comes as no surprise that UK sensation  One Direction softly vocalizes the first words acapello. They are a favorite of my daughters 21 and 23, not so far off of my own age 30 years earlier. 

Band Aids 30 years lifted off the Billboard charts at No. 1.  (Source:  Billboard )

The Band Aid 30 line-up on the new version of the single, which is raising funds to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa, includes such stars as BonoOne DirectionRita OraEd SheeranSam Smith,Ellie GouldingEmeli SandéColdplay’s Chris Martin, Seal,Sinead O’Connor and Roger Taylor of Queen. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” has now topped the U.K. chart in all four of its incarnations, including the multi-million-selling first version at Christmas 1984 and subsequent anniversary editions in 1989 and 2004.  The 1984 original re-charted yesterday at No. 61.

Similarly to WHAM in 1984/85, One Direction is certainly a chart topper, and adored by Millinneal girls and minus.  Billboard recognized them as the "Artist of the Year" for 2014, when the 30 years later tribute was launched, they represent the first lyrics and melody, while girls swoon over Harry.  (Source:  Billboard )

Wise anthem for the Millennial generation:

Today Millinneal Ed Sheeran sings for his generation topping the charts in 2015.    (Source: Billboard):

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England in 1991, Sheeran released his first EP, The Orange Room, while still at school, and his first two albums, his self-titled debut and Want Some, by the age of 16. After moving to London to gain more live experience, his performance of the self-penned "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" on YouTube channel gained half a million viewers and attracted the attention of actor/R&B star Jamie Foxx, who invited him to appear on his Los Angeles Sirius radio show.

His new record debuted at number one on both the U.S. and U.K. charts, reached gold or platinum status in 15 countries, and the singles for "Sing" and "Thinking Out Loud" both topped the British charts.

 I hope you enjoy the music and videos selected to emphasize how impactful charity can be, whether famous or not.  Enjoy the spirit it brings.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Honey Do Christmas

"Joyful" by Jill Ankrom 

Life is awesome!  I have today (Saturday), tomorrow (Sunday), and the day after (Monday) off .... life is good.

I had a little sleep in, which I had planned to be oh, about noon, because I can.  Instead, my dog Buddy decided it was way past my up-time.  Which made me realize, I had Christmas to do.

Click the links as you read along to this blog so that you can enjoy along with me:

The one, the only, Nat King Cole, 1950

Not surprising, I put my collection of iTunes music on, with Canadian Johnny Reid, the first to burst forth, singing:  "Angels we have Heard on High".  Gloria, indeed.  Then the masterful Michael Blube, another Canadian, melodic genius singing about good cheer.

Okay, I'm all set.  My to do list floating in my head.  What about that part about writing it all down lest we forget?  Well, I've been anxiously anticipating this weekend off all week.  The whiners, the complainers, the demanders, fading with each strum of a guitar.  

The main thing I have to do this weekend is a Gingerbread House to represent my team at work, to be unveiled at our team celebration on Thursday.  There goes Bob Dylan with "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (I've never thought he had much of a voice, but I guess the raspy wordsmith is a bit of a legend.) 

  I picked up the "some assembly required" Gingerbread House along with adornments on Wednesday.  Last year, my house, was chosen as the winner for our floor, to go on to challenge the building, then off to our downtown tower.  Unfortunately, the spirit of Christmas can sometimes flutter in competative spirit.  It got disqualified by the rules, 100% edible products only .... when the soldier wrapped with tinfoil became the culprit in what I dubbed "Tinselgate".  Even three team fellows offered to eat them to demonstrate they were, in fact, edible.   Well, not this year.  Everything is 100% edible as the label states.  Even though as most of it is 85% sugar, makes that debatable.

Gingerbread House to represent my team at work, to be unveiled at our team celebration on Thursday.  There goes Bob Dylan with "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (I've never thought he had much of a voice, but I guess the raspy wordsmith is a bit of a legend.) 

  I picked up the "some assembly required" Gingerbread House along with adornments on Wednesday.  Last year, my house, was chosen as the winner for our floor, to go on to challenge the building, then off to our downtown tower.  Unfortunately, the spirit of Christmas can sometimes flutter in competitive spirit.  It got disqualified by the rules, 100% edible products only .... when the soldier wrapped with tinfoil became the culprit in what I dubbed "Tinselgate".  Even three team fellows offered to eat them to demonstrate they were, in fact, edible.   Well, not this year.  Everything is 100% edible as the label states.  Even though most of it is 85% sugar making that debatable.

My husband just walked into the kitchen where my armor of Christmas music is playing, when the Chipmunks holiday song just happened to play.  Reinforcing in his mind that I'm a corny Christmas sucker, who loves to get in the mood of giving.  I may not have the money to dole out randomly, but more enough spirit and giving than most.

Why am I so caught up in the holiday spirit?  Well, definitely because of my "Honey Do" list, which happens to be minus the Christmas shopping -- I finished that a couple of weeks ago.  I'm intent to put a dent in the wrapping this weekend, to avoid the glasses of wine to keep me awake and pushing on to wrapping the heap of Christmas bootie for others to happily unwrap.

The funner side of Christmas with this Kelly Clarkson melody: "4 carats"

I've had to adapt my expectations.  I no longer have wide-eyed children at home, giddy with excitement decorating the Christmas tree's meaning:  Santa is on track.  Yet traditions evolve, instead of making lopsided Gingerbread houses, one each, for their own creativity to unfold, I am making one for my work team.  

The Christmas music is playing .... a tradition that I will keep on for all the years I'm allowed to be around to enjoy it, even if the songs change with the times.  The classics like "White Christmas" by Bing Cosby, will never dim or cease to lift the harmony of spirits in good cheer.

My husband will continue to lift his eyebrows at the choice of music, when he'd choose "Thunder" by ACDC instead.  He never complains.  Content in the air of preparation one associates with happy memories, from childhood to parenthood to husbandhood to blending familydom to empty nest dom. 

Our adult children, aged 24 to 27, will be coming over tomorrow to join in the festivities to celebrate his birthday.  I don't know if he expects anything except his daughter's visit.  My youngest is off in Vancouver creating her future, yet a bit despondent I'd guess because I had always created the Christmas atmosphere.  Not about the gifts, about the spirit, the anticipation, the decorating, and whatever inspiration popped out.  My elder daughter is off to Los Angelos this weekend, the city of Angels.  Yes, the holidays' spirit reaches everyone in a unique way.  

Masterful talented duo Mary J. Blige with Andrea Bocelli

The kids and their fiance will be charged with putting up the tree, decorating it, while I will reward them with dinner.  The hubby may even get into the act, who knows.  The peaceful contentment of our lives does not force him to do anything he doesn't want to.  However, he is the man of the house and hides his enjoyment of being in the thick of things.  Doling out jokes at my son, who flourishes in the attention that is not harsh or sarcastic like his father tends to do.  The epitamy of stepparrentdom can be enjoyable.  Our daughter is the first one in line to absorb our traditions of decorating and embracing Christmas.

I'm excited for Christmas this year.  Hell, (I mean heck) I am every year.  Yet, as your children age and grow with character you are so proud of, instilled in family values that they instinctively know they own.  They move on to relationships (one engaged), journeys (one in LA), adventures (one in Vancouver) and peaceful safety of what home means (one who stays close to home).

Yes, I would like more money, who wouldn't?  But one knows that being content with what you have is the most wise definition we can exude.  Regardless of religion, this is a time of reflection.  Our values.  Rejoicing in peace, family and loved ones is what it should be about.

So, it's time to lift my fingers from the magnetic keyboard that exhausts my brain from stress and levels into enjoyment of what my weekend has in store.  I just may get one or two presents wrapped without the aid of wine, and a good night sleep instead.

Peace, harmony, love and the spirit of the Holidays are yours to be inspired by.

Shaken' Stevens "Echoes of Merry Christmas"

Music source:   The UK's Telegraph  asking what are the all time favorite Christmas songs of all time with my top favorites:

The self-described "Queen of Christmas" Mariah Carey

Can you even remember this one?  If not, you're too young and I'll have one for you in a minute:

The first real HIPSTERS: WHAM!

A timeless classic by Bing Crosby: White Christmas

What newcomers will bring forward this season's good tidings:

Justin Bieber's take on Christmas with "Mistletoe" came out in 2011.

"Mistletoe" by Justin Bieber came out in 2011.

This just came out this year (music only) "Home this Christmas"

Monday, December 7, 2015

BLING it on ....

Diamonds are a girls best friend.

Ok fellas, soon it will be Christmas and are you going to be one of those sheepish men out on its eve, madly swirling around the cosmetic counters, prey to the stylish babes who are ready to squirt perfume on you, shellshock you with all the choices, then twirl some ribbon around your gift? ... then voila!  You're good to go for another year.

Allow me to be bold for the babe in your life and give you a big hint:  ladies love bling.   Now, not many, and not even a few could afford this diamond but in her eyes, any bling says to her, from you, that you GET her.  Well, you've got her and likely a diamond is nestled on her finger with the band that signifies LIFE together, forever.

Before you start groaning.  Don't be so stubborn.  You have almost 20 whole days to startle your lady with something that reflects the sparkles in her eyes when you buy her something that shines, saying:  "I love you" every time she wears her new gift.  Right?

Don't start sweating and start running away.  I'm not going to drill you on whether your last minute purchase is really about the beautiful hotness convincing you that this is the perfume that your lady would love.  Just remember, she'll love it because it is from YOU, her man, her main squeeze, the hunkster husband.  A perfume ensemble is going to set you forward $150-$200.

You probably grumble that she has wayyyyy to many purses, you couldn't possible choose one that she would adore.  Think again.   How could she possible think anything but love (especially if you know the "IN" names in bags these days):

Voeevodd Reg.$277 Sale $80.88 (71% off)

Deck her out in style with a complete ensemble that will warm her up in more ways than one.  This can be found with the right name on it:  COACH.  The latest "shearling look" will communicate to the world that lady is in touch with the latest trends.

IF you do consider
going with COACH crossover, these boots are so adorable when enhanced by the "shearling" cuff.

Before you have a heart attack when Tiffany comes up, remember, there's a staple necklace, that anyone would adore, at around $392. Cdn, it won't set you back as much as you think.

If on the day of Christmas you want her to sing: "my true love gave to me" think this amazing set of tanzanite which is the NEW diamond every gal should have in a collection:

The Seleste Collection will set you back more than a pretty penny.  The pendant is $5,500, the earrings $8,800 and the ring $4,100.  

For almost $20,000 it SHOULD be a gal's dream come true.

Now that you've had a mild stroke and the sweat is pooling off your brow, it is time to settle down and consider some lovely fashion jewellery that can cause a stir with your good taste.

I found a great location in a Farmer's Market locally that was selling genuine Blue Topaz pendants. Forget about hinting at Tiffany's first.   There are plenty of reputable jewellers like People's Jewellers in Canada who had this moderately priced at  $229.  Not really my style, but I wouldn't complain ... if there were matching earrings.  Just kidding ...... um sort of.

Their enticing words

Offer her your heart and say, "I love you." A gracefully looping 10K white gold ribbon gently suspends the heart-shaped 12.0mm blue topaz featured in this charming pendant. The soft and serene blue hues sparkle beautifully with six brilliant diamond accents. Delicately suspended, the pendant rests on a rope chain 17.0 inches in length with a spring-ring clasp. Make her December birthday unforgettable with the gift of blue topaz birthstone jewellery.

There are lots of pretty and funky jewellery around 
to suit versatile tastes.  

Some fellows may have a greater
challenge to impress with 
those having ladies that don't
usually wear jewellery.  I'd
suggest a dainty gold one in
that case.

You can't go wrong with an extra long one either.  They're popular with the young or older set, adding charm to a casual ensemble or a business blouse.

Not everyone inherits their grandmother's pearls, so you could start your own heritage.

Well, that should kick start things for you.  There is plenty of time still to buy online and most places will ship for free.  If not, there are enough choices out there that you can bypass the ones that don't.  Don't underestimate sites like to have everything that you can dream up all in the same place.  Think of a bestselling book -- or even an adult coloring book.    You could always ask if they provide gift wrapping and you'd have it made .... long before Christmas Eve with all the other schmucks who haven't realized that online shopping is a time saver with a lot of ideas, even if they're not diamonds, at your fingertips.  Just DON'T fall for buying her a gadget -- that is what YOU like.