Christmas Carol Classics: Frosty the Snowman

“Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.

Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but the children know
How he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in
That Old top hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.

O, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me.

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.

Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in
That Old top hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.

Frosty the snowman
Knew the sun was hot that day,
So he said, “Let’s run
And we’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away.”

Frosty the snowman
Had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye saying,
“Don’t you cry,
I’ll be back again some day.””

Frosty was first recorded by the famous Gene Autry (with the Cass County Boys) in 1950.   The year before Autry recorded Rudolph, which was also a big success.  As a result of the song’s success there were lots of TV shows and books and other materials made.  One of the things that made this song stand out and be so successful was the concept of it.  We’ve all made a snowman that we wished would come to life, or at the very least thought about how cool something like that would be.

While most versions never talk about Christmas, we typically think of it as a Christmas song, probably because of all the magic in it.  After all, how else would a snowman come to life? When it comes to this time of year it does seem like there’s a little extra sparkle in the world, a little extra something showing up in our days that just makes them a little better.  Maybe it’s all the cheer, maybe it’s the goodwill, or maybe it’s just the desire not to get caught doing bad things before Santa makes his famous run.

But the song ends with Frosty saying that he’ll be back again some day.  I love that the song ends this way because it’s a great reminder that as much as life is made up of individual days and moments, there’s a lot more to life than just the individual moments.  Each day is an opportunity to build on what the previous day accomplished or start over because you’ve realized a mistake you were making.  Of course there are special moments that come each year like Christmas and Thanksgiving that are important reminders to celebrate life and gather together.  So whether you’re anticipating the magic to return, leaving the magic behind for the time being or dancing and singing with that magic, find a way to add a little magic to your day.

Christmas Carol Classics: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

This month one of the things we’ll be doing is looking at Christmas songs (we’re looking at some too on one of my other blogs).  Today I thought we’d start with a fun one, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus!”

“I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
She didn’t see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep
She thought that I was tucked up
In my bedroom, fast asleep

Then I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

He saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
I did! I really did see Mommy kissing Santa Claus
And I’m gonna tell my Dad

Then I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night.”

Did you know that this song was first recorded in 1952 by Jimmy Boyd who was 13 at the time?  Even more amazing, it reached #1 in December of that year as well.  One of the most famous recordings was by the Jackson 5 (you can listen to it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PITCmngiMfA ).

The big controversy over this song is whether Santa is dad or if the writer of the song (Tommie Connor) is actually suggesting that the mom in the song is cheating on the dad with Santa.  Since we’re given the perspective of the child who believes in Santa being real, it’s not easy to tell which it is.

Regardless of what you believe or think the writer was getting at, it’s a good reminder that sometimes kids don’t understand things and we have to be careful as the adults to set a good example for them, especially in high pressure situations or in times when they may be extra sensitive (like with Christmas and being on the hunt for the stash or shaking presents under the tree or staying up to listen for reindeer hooves).

But, if like many people believe, the Santa is actually dad in disguise, it’s a good reminder to couples to find time to play and make special moments even if things are hectic and crazy like they are during the holiday season.  Yes, there’s a lot going on and you’ll probably be getting sitters for the parties you have to attend, but one of the best gifts you can give yourselves as a couple is to take a night to be alone (if money’s a problem there’s probably another family you can swap kids with to give them a night off too).  The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and coming together with those you love, so make sure to commit some of your time this month to your partner.

The Mess of Christmas

I’m a bit of a neat freak.  It’s not that I believe everything should be put away at the end of the day or perfectly neat and tidy, but I do like things cleaner and everything always has a particular home it belongs in.  As we head further into the month of December and the holiday parties start happening and we work our way to the actual days of Christmas and Hanukkah I’m thinking about one of the things that makes this time of year special: the mess.

I don’t know anyone who really enjoys the mess of the mall or the cars on the road, but there is something special about everyone bustling about looking for those special gifts for the people they care about, and being stuck in traffic this year makes me think of holiday road trips in years past to visit family, something that was always favorite part of the season.  Of course there are the messes of baking cookies and other Christmas treats like edible presents for friends, teachers and coworkers, not to mention the mess that’s made each night of Hanukkah or around the tree on Christmas as presents are gifted and unwrapped.

Yes, it’s a lot of work to clean up, yes it’s a lot of work to think of all the presents and recipes and pick up the ingredients and the gifts, but there’s something satisfying in the whole process.  As adults we don’t do the whole “rip the paper off and throw it everywhere in excitement” thing like we did when we were kids and our kids do today, gift giving is a lot more civilized than it used to be.  But I’m reminded this holiday season that the mess is part of the joy and that there’s something satisfying knowing that you made all those cookies and you can see all your efforts around the kitchen, and there’s something satisfying in the scattered paper having seen the smiles and hearing the shrieks of joy when wanted presents were opened.

This holiday season give yourself a break if you’re a bit (or a lot) of a neat freak.  Take time to enjoy the emotion behind the mess and the people you’re celebrating with, I know that the mess will be there for you after the celebration.

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”  Andy Rooney

Candy Craving

Today I thought it would be fun to take a look at a little candy history. There are tons of great facts around the web so you can do your own research on your favorite candy, but here are some fun facts to get you started.

65% of candy bars were introduced more than 50 years ago including candy corn (1880’s), Reese’s peanut butter cups (1922), Milky Way (1923), Heath Bar (1928), Snickers (1930), M&M’s (1941), Mounds (1947), Dum Dums (1924), Life Savers (1912) and more!

Tootsie rolls:
-created in 1896
-named after the creator’s daughter’s nickname: “tootsie”
-Tootsie pops were created in 1931
-it might take 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
-Solders in WW2 had lots of Tootsie rolls in their packs because of their ability to survive lots of challenging weather

Hershey’s
-kisses came around in 1906-7
-kisses were given colorful wrappers in 1962
-chocolate bar started in 1900
-almonds added in 1908 to the candy bar
-miniature bars added in 1939
-the theme park comes around in 1973 and decides to offer nutritional information on the wrappers

Even more candy fun:
-Life Savers started as just peppermint savers
-President Nixon used to eat a Milky Way for breakfast
-Heath Bars were originally offered only by delivery, sold by dairy delivery men
-Snickers were named after the Mars family’s beloved horse
-M&M’s went into space in 1981
-in 1949 Smarties were created, and nicknamed “candy pills”
-the first Valentine’s Day was in 1868, started by Cadbury (not by greeting card companies!)
-yellow Peeps are most popular
-it used to take 27 hours to make a Peep, now it takes 6 minutes
-75% of Americans eat the ears before anything else on their chocolate Easter bunnies
-Christmas, Easter and Halloween are the big candy days, with Christmas being the biggest
-both Sourpatch kids and skittles started outside of the USA and came to the US in the 1980’s.
-the word Pez is actually from the German word for peppermint (Pfefferminz)

What is your favorite candy?

Confidence Building Celebrations

Like much of the world I’m thinking about the Olympics today.  I love how it brings people and countries together regardless of language, location, sex or economic status.  It’s a chance for all kinds of people to show their particular athletic abilities and show off some country pride too.  Events like the Olympics are a chance for the world to put aside differences and disagreements and instead focus on encouraging each other and raising each other up.

Yes, there is a sense of pride for those who win, both the people and their country, but it’s fun to celebrate all winners because regardless of where you and they call home, as they’ve accomplished a feat that most of us couldn’t begin to do whether it be swimming so fast, running so far or hitting a target. Plus you’ve got all of the challenges the athletes have had to overcome and victories they’ve had to achieve in their personal lives to get to this point.

It’s important to share our gifts and talents with the world, and just as important to recognize the good things each of us can do.  It’s such a simple thing to tune in to the Olympics, to cheer at a little league game or celebrate when your kids get a good grade, but it’s so important to not only recognize the good they’ve done, but encourage them to continue doing their best.

This week I encourage you to step up in your regular life and recognize the people around you and the gifts they have.  Celebrate with them their accomplishments.  It may be challenging for you to do if you’re losing out on a position you were hoping to get that they got, or when they got a house when you’ve lost out on several, or got pregnant when you’ve been trying so hard.  Sometimes we have to wait (patiently) for our chance to celebrate, other times we’re the first ones celebrating.  What will you celebrate this week?

“What a gift it is when we can inspire others to have courage and to hope, when we can raise another’s confidence, when we can instill in them life and energy and vigor. How important it is for us to express care for one another regularly and explicitly, to commend and cherish one another, to work actively to build up [each other] by our words and actions, and not to undermine its health by bitterness and complaining.”  Br. David Vryhof

What are You Smiling About?

Do you know what a gift it is to smile? Some people live in such pain and poverty that a smile is the furthest thing from their minds. They’re too concerned about getting their next meal, living until tomorrow and not getting beat up by those who hold them captive in one way or another. There are also the people who have no teeth or bad teeth and are ashamed of it so they don’t smile. Plus there are the people who are so overwhelmed by the stuff going on in their lives that they just can’t find anything to smile about (most of us can identify with this one!).

I had some time between appointments this weekend so I stopped at a coffee shop to get some work done because it was smarter than going home and back out again. I enjoy going to this particular coffee shop because they always decorate for seasons and holidays. For the spring season they’ve got paper flowers and streamers hanging from the ceiling. This isn’t a large expense, there are any number of catalogues and online stores who sell these products, they probably spent a maximum of $30 on them. But by doing so not only did they brighten my day, they made me smile. They don’t have to do this, just like no one has to hang lights for Christmas, but by doing so they bring some cheer to the world.

Has something or someone made you smile lately? If so make it a point to pass the cheer along. Maybe you’ll post something positive on their social media, maybe you’ll volunteer to get the treats for your next girls/guys night, maybe you’ll choose to Shop Small to help a small business owner breathe a little easier this month, maybe you’ll donate to a charity that brings smiles (literally or generally) to other people, or maybe you’ll just share a smile with someone you pass at the store, in the halls at work or just going about your day. What has made you smile lately?

Celebrating Easter

How many have you been to this year?  Come on, you know what I’m talking about! Easter egg hunts!  There are those that your kids do at home plus the dozens around the town and at different churches.   Recently I was driving past one and it had to be the craziest thing I’ve seen.  Rather than doing an actual hunt they were using a football field and had just strewn eggs everywhere.  So it was more like an Easter egg race than a hunt.  If nothing else it certainly was different from the usual for the kids.

But it got me thinking about the joy that Easter is all about.  If you can remember being a kid and anticipating the egg hunt, as well as things like Christmas morning, Halloween or your birthday parties or the day before a big vacation, it’s one of those big days that was super exciting every year.  I can remember being excited to see my Easter basket and play with the eggs for weeks after.  As adults we don’t always get as excited as the kids do.  We’ve got lots to deal with like the logistics of filling all those eggs.

But Easter maybe more than any other holiday is one that’s about joy.  It doesn’t have the pressures of Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but it is a chance for family to gather together and celebrate.  Whether you’re celebrating spring’s arrival or the religious reasons behind Easter, it’s a reminder to celebrate life. It’s a reminder that winter is ending and it’s time to start living again.  It’s time to open up the eggs that life gives us and find the treats and surprises inside.  It’s time to put a little spring in your step and work on forgiveness with family and friends.  Even if you have to do a little work to find them, life does have blessings for you.  Find something each day this weekend to celebrate, even if it’s something as small as a newly grown flower, or the joy of watching your kids race for the eggs.

Thankful for Holidays

This week I’ll be sharing Irish blessings and sayings in honor of St. Patrick’s Day as part of our inspiration and lessons. As we head to yet another holiday I’m reminded of some of the miserable people of the world who think there are entirely too many holidays and too much commercialism of life. Yes, there are tons of holidays, both large and small, you could celebrate on a daily, monthly and yearly basis (this website shares tons), but as I got to thinking about yet another holiday this week I thought about the ‘why’ of having so many holidays.

Why have so many holidays anyway? A holiday is simply a reason to celebrate something. Given the number of miserable and unhappy people in the world I’d say that’s something we all need more of. But just because there’s a holiday, it doesn’t mean you have to spend money on the tchotchkes and trappings that make that holiday trendy. While we all have our lives to celebrate and be thankful for each day, often that’s not enough to make us feel thankful or alive, even though life is a really great gift in and of itself.  If there’s something specific to celebrate it makes it easier for us to celebrate and be thankful for.

So what are you celebrating today? Are you celebrating the luck that’s been in your life of late? Are you celebrating the relationship that’s finally blossoming? Are you celebrating another day to drink with friends and celebrate your heritage? Are you celebrating the coworker who came through with the project? What are you celebrating today?

“May you have length with your days,
and strength with your step,
and may each season have a reason
to celebrate your faith in mankind!”

Irish proverb

Day of Discovery

Today in the USA is the day that we remember the adventures of Christopher Columbus. There are many things that we could talk about with regards to him, and there has been some criticism about him in recent years, as there are of other early explorers. But today I don’t want to talk about his failures or mistakes but rather his sense of adventure, his bravery and his passion for discovery.

Today’s technology makes many things a lot less scary or intimidating because we can learn so much before we ever embark on the adventure. That doesn’t mean the adventure is any less exciting, it means we’re better prepared to succeed rather than fail, and we’re better prepared to take advantage of the things we could explore instead of being forced to come back and try it again at some other point in time.

“Going where no man has gone before” isn’t a statement we can really use these days but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do it bigger or better than has been done before. Today we can learn things that weren’t possible because we can take the discovery to the next level, adding on what has been learned in previous explorations.

But Columbus and his crew were going where no man had gone before and didn’t have anything close to the technology we do today. So what can we really learn from him? That we’re limited only by the limitations we give ourselves. The world is open to all the adventures you want to have and discoveries you want to pursue. It’s just a question of whether or not you’ll go for it or let someone else have the fun, adventures and thrill of discovery.

The Reason for Health

Health is something we often consider a topic of very serious nature. It’s not a topic we really associate with laughs and play, but a big part of health is exactly that: having fun. As this month is heading to a very rapid close, I want to make sure we take time to talk about how health is more than just being sick or well, it’s about the reason we want to be well, so that we can enjoy every moment that life brings us. Yes, life includes hard work, it’s not all sunshine and roses, we have to work hard to stay well, to make the money to live and make tough decisions on things that are positive for our lives and those that are not. But what’s really the point of all the hard work if there’s no reward?

You may have heard about the restaurants that believe that food is about more than just the calories to nourish our bodies, so they’ve turned food into an art form that looks as good as it tastes and have transformed food and eating into a very pleasurable experience. No, there isn’t a reason that it has to be done this way, but when you see beyond the simple nature of food from sustenance to something that can define and inspire a culture, it becomes more than just a chore and another thing on the daily to-do list, it’s an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy life.

I believe that life has enough stressors and ups and downs in it, and we don’t need to add any more serious things to the list. Instead, I choose to see health as an opportunity to enjoy more of life. There’s a country song on the radio now by Frankie Ballard with the lyrics “I wanna sit out on the porch, Telling stories ’bout my glory days when I’m pushing eighty.  How am I ever gonna get to be old and wise, If I ain’t ever young and crazy?” which really is the truth for many aspects of life, including health. It’s not always easy doing the right thing when it comes to health, but the rewards are almost always greater than the costs or work.

So what fun are you going to have this weekend?