Archive for November, 2008

Macy’s Christmas Displays: a PT Barnum Invention

You know Barnum, from Barnum and Bailey? The PT Barnum?

Well, it’s thanks to him that we get to enjoyed Macy’s extraordinary Christmas window displays.

PT Barnum and Rh Macy were friends in the 1860s and it was Barnum who suggested that Macy for this incredible collection of mechanical toys in the windows of his shop around Christmastime.

And so started tradition that continues all the way up to two days Christmas displays filled with amazing high-tech elements

This year’s theme is the making of Christmas magic.

The six large windows which face Broadway will show all the tender loving care that goes into making the magic of Christmas. The Christmas lights, the ornaments, the snow in tinsel…

No sales products will be shown in these displays; those are reserved for the smaller windows at the other sides of the building.

Planning for the Christmas windows starts shortly after Christmas and goes on all through the year.

The display started to be more exuberant when the tradition of this Thanksgiving day parade started in 1924. The over-the-top window displays were a great way to draw in the enormous amount of people that were coming by.

Santa Claus Makes Secret Visit To Elementary School

Our investigative reporters have it that Santa Claus took out some time from his gift wrapping schedule to make a special visit to a school in Tampa yesterday morning.

Always a special occasion the local police had been alerted and to There was fire crews escorted Santa through the city to the DeSoto Elementary School.

Santa Claus handed out several small gifts and read Christmas stories to the children.

Diane Miller of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the visit had been organized by Sincerely Santa.

Sincerely standbys and organization that works to identify schools where there are a lot of children from poorer families.

They been providing children toys and clothes turned the Christmas season for 20 years.

Caroling Girl Scouts Banned For Being “Health and Safety Risk”

For more than a decade to the group of little girls in the UK has been singing for pensioners at the special late-night Christmas shopping event.

Not this year…

This year Carol singing brownies from the Girl Guiding UK West Herts division have been banned for being a “health and safety risk”…

“It’s such a shame because the girls enjoy the singing and the elderly people like seeing them.
“It’s a long tradition and has always been a good opportunity for the girls to give some service to the community.”

We weren’t even told that we couldn’t attend. I went to ask what date it was and that’s when I found out.”
— Gill Oxtoby, Division commissioner

The shopping center’s management says that the new Christmas tree position outside surrounded by a number of trade stalls means there is no place for the group of hundred singing girls.

After consideration the management is willing to accept no more than 20 girls, something the leaders of Girl Guiding UK West Herts division find unfair to the others.

Christmas: Andy Parks DOES Keep It All The Year!

Andy Parks, from the UK, was bored to death when in the summer of 1994 he found that hanging up Christmas decorations stopped him from feeling bored.

Since then he’s been celebrating Christmas every single day for the last 40 years.

That includes enjoying a full festive dinner, all trimmings included, and watching the Queen’s speech — everyday.

In that time he has eaten 117,600 sprouts and 94,080 mince pies.

“I’ve opened 204,400 crackers.

I’ve been through 37 electric ovens and worn out 23 video recorders by watching the Queen’s Speech every day.

I’ve also sent myself 235,206 Christmas cards. But these days the postage is so dear I’m having to deliver them myself.

The credit crunch is getting to me big time and I may have to cut out the champagne and start singing for my Christmas dinner.

The lunch with all the trimmings and alcohol is costing in excess of £150 ($230) a week, but I’m fighting hard not to let the financial crisis ruin the celebrations.

People do think I’m crackers, but I enjoy treating myself and I’m the only one in the world who does it.

Others have tried to copy me, but they can’t last.

When people come to my house it turns a sad face into a smiling one, and the happiness stays with them.”
— Andy Parks aka Mr. Christms

Other ways in which Andy tries to maintain his Christmas routine during this recession is by cutting the 14 pound turkey down to a 9 pound turkey, and by going from two trees to just one.

At the same time he’s trying to save the money needed to pay for a Christmas themed funeral. As part of that ritual he would be buried in a coffin filled with brussels sprouts…

A Child’s Birthday Wish Becomes A Christmas Tradition

In 1995 new baby was born into the Dom family.

They named her Kendra Sue.

Unfortunately the celebration of her birth was dampened when they learned that baby Kendra suffered from a very rare heart defect.

Ken Desser finds will be on that couple of months was uncertain…

Visits to specialists at the University of Minnesota followed. Tests, medical procedures, more tests.

Finally as autumn came around an emotional team of doctors told the parents that was nothing more that they could do. They recommended to bring Kendra home and to prepare the best Christmas ever as it would likely be Kendra’s first and last.

In preparation for her coming home the parents talked with their three-year-old son Jacob. They tried as best as possible to explain how serious the situation was and that his sister would most likely die soon.

Did he understand? Comprehend?

When is October 24 birthday, when he would turn four, drew close they asked him what he wanted for his birthday.

“A Christmas tree… for Kendra…”

This year on October 24 the family put up the Christmas tree.

The celebrated Jacobs per se. Then Thanksgiving; being grateful for the time they had together. Then Christmas…

The day started to get longer again this winter passed

Every day was an unknown; they never knew if they would wake up to Kendra’s smile or…

“When I look back on those days I am amazed that we were able to make it through.

I am not sure how we did it.

I guess we did it because there was nothing else we could do”
— Cammie, Kendra’s mother

As she continued to go along and to gain strength Kendra started to undergo many surgeries.

When fall came around again and it was times for Jacobs fifth birthday it only seemed natural to put up another Christmas tree. They kept it up all the way through Kendra second Christmas, something everyone had hoped and prayed for but nobody thought would happen.

Their lives have been filled with unexpected miracles; the first birthday, second Christmas… and now the doctors told of one more possible miracle.

The University of Minnesota have developed a new procedure. It had never been tried before. But if it was successful it could save Kendra’s Life.

The only way to know was to try it….

Building on the faith that had already supported them all this time they decided to go through with it.

The experiment what goes to great success; Kendra has become the first person ever to survive her rare heart condition. Her success is part of ongoing research at the University and she regularly goes back for checkups.

Kendra and Jacob are now teenagers.

This October, as all the passed years, a Christmas tree was erected on Jacob’s birthday.

What was feared to be a one-time gesture has grown into a family’s Christmas tradition.

White Christmas Windows Increase Sales

Although it’s been at least 19 years since there was a White Christmas in Charleston, South Carolina, retailer still go with the “White Christmas” theme.

Storeowners say that it’s symbolic: Winter speaks of the Christmas tradition most people think they remember.

But behind the emotion there is business strategy as well.

Winterized window displays set the tone for shoppers in warmer places.

In a place like Los Angeles it’s only the window displays that will trigger the Christmas spirit. The leaves don’t change, there is no big change in the weather. The only visual clues are the ones provided by retailers.

So, although places will produce and use fake snow.

The stores in the hotter places have to carefully balance their act. These places tend to get visits from snowbirds; people who are there for the warm weather and don’t want to be reminded about winter at all.

Police: Santa Violates City Code – Threatens Fine

The owners of the Daytona Beach store LaBosco has been warned by code enforcement police officers that if they allow Santa Claus to leave the store to walk outside, they will be fined.

The police considers the Santa Claus a form of animated sign solicitation which would be a violation of city code.

“Santa Claus is not an animated figure standing out there on the street. He’s a real person, and he’s communicating and bringing some spirit down here that we need so badly.

They want to take something away from the children. I wonder if the city is going to have a Christmas parade — maybe Santa should not be on the Christmas parade or none of this parade should happen.

It’s ridiculous. Next, they’re going to take away our freedom of speech. It’s unfair and it’s unacceptable.”
— Sheila LaBosco, LaBosco Manager

Latest report have it that police are backing down from their Santa Claus threats.

Free Christmas CD Single




Where would the Joy of Christmas be without Christmas music?

It’s for that very reason that this year we provide an extensive selection of free Christmas music; over 35 tracks, the equivalent to a premium double CD filled with Christmas songs.

But as if that isn’t enough we give away the complete christmas CD single White Christmas/The Christmas Song by Roomful of Blues!

The 1996 two-track CD single White Christmas/The Christmas Song was described by one downloader as;

“If you’re putting together a Christmas compilation from the many freebies available here (bless you all), this would have to be the best.

It has a great version of the must-have White Christmas. The slow, falsetto intro works fine for me, then the bluesy swing kicks in, in a different but perfectly natural rendition of a great song.”

So, there you go – our Christmas gift to you!

The Christmas Song by Roomful of Blues

White Christmas by Roomful of Blues

Free Christmas MP3’s (4)



Christmas Is All In The Heart by Steve Clark [My Best Christmas]

Christmas Around The World by Troy Cory [CD2525 An Ol’ Christmas Card]

Merry Christmas To You by Hugo [Merry Christmas To You]

Christmas Long Ago by KTG [Christmas Time is Here]

My Best Christmas by Steve Clark [My Best Christmas]

This Christmas by KTG [Christmas Time is Here]

More free Christmas music to download

Free Christmas MP3’s (3)



White Christmas by The Den [Merry Christmas Volume 1]

The Change (A Kind of a Christmas Carol) by Hal Bynum [The Promise]

We’re Having a Dot Com Christmas by Whistling Elves [We’re Having a Dot Com Christmas]

Christmas All Year Through by Lynn Geyer [Christmas All Year Through]

Treasures of Christmas by Miriam Jarrels Clark [Treasures of Christmas]

Strange Christmas by Big Green [2000 Years To Christmas]

Home For Christmas by UTE [Pink Christmas]

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Instr.) by Glenn Hardy [Solo Piano: Compositions and Improvisations]

I Wish It Was Like Christmas Every Day by Scott Gordon [Merry Christmas]

Always Christmas by Lynette Washington [Long, Long Ago (A Jazz Celebration of Christmas, Chanukah & Kwanza)]

More free Christmas music to download

Free Christmas MP3’s (2)



A Celtic Christmas by Streamline

You’re All I Want For Christmas by The Persuasions [You’re All I Want For Christmas]

White Christmas (Instr.) by Scott Whitney [ChristmAcoustic II]

Cape Breton Christmas Morn by John Gracie [Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas]

Christmas Time Blues by Dell-Vikings [It’s Christmas Time]

Love Came Down at Christmas by Magical Strings [Good People All: A Celtic Yuletide Tradition]

Christmas Day by Oscar Jordan [Mister Bad Luck]

Go Tell It On The Mountain (Instr.) by Spirited Christmas [Spirited Christmas by Jimmy Calire Piano Trio]

Christmas Day Ida Moarning / Un Flambeau / Jeanette, Isabella by John McCutcheon [Winter Solstice]

Perfect Christmas by Arthur [Arthur’s Perfect Christmas]

More free Christmas music to download

Free Christmas MP3’s (1)




The Christmas Song by Roomful of Blues [White Christmas/The Christmas Song]

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Instr.) by Woody Phillips [A Toolbox Christmas]

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by John Davi [Merry Little Christmas]

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Instr.) by Beegie Adair [Quiet Christmas]

White Christmas by Roomful of Blues [White Christmas/The Christmas Song]

Let It Snow/The Last Christmas Medley… by Riders in the Sky [Christmas the Cowboy Way]

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Instr.) by The Den [Merry Christmas Volume 1]

Oh Christmas Tree (Instr.) by James Anthony Walker [Music for a Candlelight Christmas]

Joy To The World (Instr.) by Spirited Christmas [Spirited Christmas by Jimmy Calire Piano Trio]

White Christmas by John Davi [Merry Little Christmas]

More free Christmas music to download

Free Christmas MP3’s to Download

Free music is hard to come by, right? And free legal music even harder.

But as Christmas approaches you want to listen to Christmas music. And again, the same problems present itself; free Christmas music is hard to come by, free legal Christmas MP3’s even harder. The ability to download free christmas songs seems to be the one thing you cannot ask for during Christmas.

Or is it?

Download Free Christmas Music

This year Joy of Christmas presents you with over 35 free Christmas MP3’s. To put that into perspective; that’s equal to a premium double CD of Christmas music.

We believe everyone should be able to join in the true spirit of the Christmas experience. And that experience includes the classic hits of Christmas music. To download? Yes. For free? Yes.

As an Amazon Christmas Affiliate we’re able to provide you free, legal, Christmas MP3’s to download for personal use. Without Amazon Joy of Christmas would not be able to provide this level of service.

Christmas MP3 Download FAQ

• Do I have to buy anything?
– No. Download free Christmas music to your computer and that’s it.

• Are these Christmas songs legal to download?
– Yes. These Amazon hosted MP3’s were uploaded by the artist who has worldwide distribution rights to the song.

• The Download Now button doesn’t seem to work.
– Right-click on the button and choose Save Target As.. or Save Link As…

• The download works but where is my Christmas music?
– It is possible that your software MP3 players open the file right away and starts playing it. If this is the case, right-click on the download button and choose Save Target As.. or Save Link As…

Where are the free Christmas MP3’s?


There are so many Christmas songs in our growing library of free Christmas music that we had to spread them out over several pages.

The songs are listed in no particular order.

Free Christmas MP3’s (1)
Free Christmas MP3’s (2)
Free Christmas MP3’s (3)
Free Christmas MP3’s (4)

U.S. Consumers Expect to Spend 11% Less on Christmas Gifts

Households across the U.S. plan to fork out about $418, on average, for gifts during Christmas season 2008; this figure, according to The Conference Board, is 11.3 percent lower than in 2007.

The Conference Board’s survey of Christmas gift spending found that consumers are in a cost-conscious mood. Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s consumer research center, said, “This is shaping up to be one of the most challenging holiday seasons in years, and it’s going to take more than the usual discounts and incentives from retailers to get consumers to spend more freely.”

By region, the survey found that those in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin intend to spend the most, with an average of $550. The lowest range, with a household average of $330, came from the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Twenty-seven percent of all households plan to spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, down from 33 percent in this category during 2007. Thirty-seven percent plan to spend between $200 and $500, and 35 percent are planning to spend less than $200.

The Conference Board found that 39 percent of all consumers plan to buy Christmas gifts online. Jewelry as a gift category was named by 10.1 percent of consumers who intend to purchase online. The most popular gifts, cited by 37.9 percent of survey respondents, were books, followed by toys/games, apparel, movies/DVDs and music.

4 Christmas Shopping Saving Tips from the Consumer Expert

No need to explain that this Christmas season a shopping environment is different from ever before. The economy is down and so is yours.

Some Christmas buying shopping rules that use to apply don’t this year.

We ask consumer expert Clark Howard to share some of his insight.

“The black Friday deals are extraordinary, they are probably better than January clearance sales, retailers are doing the black Friday sales just to get you in the stores and they actually lose money on those sales.

Lay away is so good at helping people number one -control expense, number two – not pay interest, number three, being able to buy something while it’s on sale – but not pay for it until you have the money.

Gift cards are very dangerous. I’ve never liked gift cards, but this year they will tear your wallet apart. So many restaurants and retailers are going to close and a gift card is only as good as that retailer is.
— Clark Howard, consumer expert

He does warn against the sales just off the Christmas; according to Clark prices won’t go down until mid-January. That is because retailers will try to get the full price for as long as possible. Only when the influx of buyers stops ,which is usually around mid-January, will they start to drop prices.

Wreaths Across America Ceremonies To Honor Veterans

In what is now very much a holiday tradition, the Civil Air Patrol is partnering with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization with a mission to remember, honor and teach about the service and sacrifices of our nation’s veterans.

Veteran memorials and gravesites across the nation will be adorned with remembrance wreaths on December 13 in solemn tributes to the courage and sacrifice of those who have guarded and preserved our nation’s freedom throughout history. CAP units will lead almost half of roughly 350 observances this year and will participate with other color and honor guards in many additional locations. CAP cadets and officers will lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery that morning as well.

Members of the public have sponsored placement of more than 100,000 wreaths on veterans’ graves across the US, an increase of nearly 70,000 wreaths from 2007. These wreaths will be placed in ceremonies at cemeteries in all 50 states.

Worcester Wreath Co. donated more than 17,000 wreaths for the remembrances, 10,000 of which will be placed at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America began in 2006 as an offshoot of the Arlington National Cemetery wreath project, which was started in 1992 with the annual placement of wreaths donated by Worcester Wreath Co. Wreaths Across America ceremonies were conducted largely by CAP wings and squadrons with the help of veterans’ organizations; private citizens; the Maine State Society of Washington, DC, which annually assists with the laying of wreaths at Arlington; and the Patriot Guard Riders.

In its first year, Wreaths Across America wreath-laying ceremonies were held at more than 240 national and state veterans’ cemeteries across the country and in Puerto Rico.

Tobin Slaven, Wreaths Across America spokesperson, applauded the relationship between Worcester Wreath and CAP. “It really has been phenomenal. Civil Air Patrol has been a driving force behind Wreaths Across America’s growth over the last several years,” Slaven said.

Barbie in a Christmas Carol

Barbie’s latest movie “Barbie in a Christmas Carol” (2008) is an absolute hit. It’s awesome and as long as you have children, grandchildren or stay young at heart, Barbie in a Christmas Carol is one movie you can add to your yearly must-watch Christmas movies collection.

Oh, and mind you; I’m not alone in my critique and opinion either! I just finished watching the new DVD with my 10 year old daughter and the movie had her oooh-ing and aaah-ing but also at times dancing around.

Anyone familiar with Charles DickensA Christmas Carol knows the story and will easily recognize it in Mattel’s rendition.

Barbie stars as Eden Starling, a true Ebenezer Scrooge if ever there was one!

Watch the Barbie in a Christmas Carol DVD trailer preview to get a glimpse of what’ll happen (no spoilers!):

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

The movie stays true to story and thus provides insight, some laughs and really good Christmas cheer. This was the first Christmas movie my daughter and I watched this season (well, no, we watched and old VHS recording of Garfield’s Christmas Special last week but this was the first Christmas movie) and we ended the movie in a real feeling of Christmas spirit.

The artwork is as we’re used from Barbie movies: fabulous. Check out this scene where the ghost of Christmas past brings Eden Starling (played by Barbie) back to a Christmas kept bleak by her aunt but so enriched by her friend’s family.

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As you see, the ghost of Christmas past is a cute fairy. The ghost of Christmas present is a jolly lady, very hearty and kind. The ghost of Christmas future is very well done; Mattel hints at her being dreary but within seconds she takes off her cap and looks like a regular lady … albeit one who seems sad that she has to bring a bad message. Really nothing scary here and you can absolutely watch this with young children.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Barbie herself certainly has her own ideas about this movie and the clothes she’s wearing in it. We were able to catch an interview with Barbie about her starring role in A Christmas Carol.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Apart from full-price new ones, sharply discounted versions are already available on Amazon.com — as always including Amazon’s regular consumer protection in place.

Barbie A Christmas Carol Wallpaper

A little Christmas gift for those with the movie of for those who don’t have it (yet?): free Barbie
wallpaper with scenes from Barbie’s A Christmas Carol. Want to make your own Barbie custom T-shirts for Christmas? You can
do that too, and all online for your convenience.

Click on the image for the large desktop background version.

Christmas Music – Free MP3 “download”

Free MP3 Christmas songs are a big hit right now.

Well, right now — they’ve always been.

Ever since we started listing our collection of legal MP3 free Christmas downloads in 2005 it’s been the most popular page on the site, year after year.

In that time the landscape has changed a lot though. It used to be quite difficult to get some really nice legal Christmas music for free back then. And let’s face it, although we’re talking recession now, us folks have always needed to watch the penny, right? Even if you don’t have to; investing a couple of hundred dollars in a Christmas music collection you’re obviously using just once a year is… well, needed but a painful expense, right? Right.

Nowadays things are different though. You have our non-stop Christmas stations, radio stations that switch to Christmas mucis… and Internet radio.

Also, going back as far as 2005, we listed Internet “radio” stations streaming free Christmas music.

These days you can even get custom stations. For example, head on over to Last.fm’s Christmas music stream for hour upon hour of free Christmas music.

Of course these stations never play the music in the order you prefer. There’s no way to rewind and listen to a track again or simply start listening to your favorite Christmas tune right away.

Or is there?

Here’s a frugal Christmastip: switch on a streaming Christmas music station and use software to record the music stream.

A 100% free solution is Screamer Radio which plays and records MP3 stations. In-between, if you go with their paid version, is StationRipper. We prefer Audio Radio Recorder from Blaze Audio. It’s usually around 80-100 bucks (get a price on Amazon.com) but we use it not only to record Christmas MP3’s but year round.

As long as it’s for noncommercial reasons, recording streaming Christmas MP3’s is legal. They’re free MP3 Christmas download streams, unprotected against copying. As you don’t attempt to “circumvent copy protection systems” section 1008 applies: “No action may be brought […] based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.”

Marines Helping Santa

It is customary to see the tall white boxes with a picture of Santa Claus on it during the holiday season. And this year is no exception.

The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign officially kicked off Oct. 15. And the program is anticipating giving away more toys than in 2007.

Guy White, past coordinator of the Toys for Tots program and Ocala West Marine Corps League member, said they are hoping to help 11,000 children this year. Last year, the group gave toys to 9,948 children in the county, which amounted to about 28,000 toys.

Organizations like the Salvation Army, Sheltering Arms, Interfaith Emergency Services, and Ocala Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Center put in requests to Toys for Tots for the needy children affiliated with their programs. Individuals cannot make requests for the toys.

Jim McCarthy, Ocala West Marine Corps member, said each child gets a toy, some stocking stuffers depending on their age and a stuffed animal. “They’re getting a variety” of toys, he said.

The Marine Corps Reserve has distributed about 130 collection boxes throughout Marion County at businesses, organizations and government agencies. Businesses like Toys R Us, Palm Chevrolet and CCS Mechanical are big contributors to the Toys for Tots campaign.

In addition, Dr. Debra Allen starts buying toys for the program in late December for the next year’s drive. White said the Morriston doctor has a room in her house filled with toys for the Marines. On Friday, he picked up the first of approximately three truckloads of toys from her, which included an assortment of items like board games and books. Last year, she donated about $2,000 worth of toys for .

Donated Christmas Lights “Too Dangerous”

The English town of West by Fleet has bitten without Christmas light since 2002. But this year’s things would be different. The walking borrow counsel last week pulled down that it has spare Christmas lights that it wants to donate.

But close inspection shows that the Christmas lights are “too dangerous” to install. The town’s business Association can have them, but would have to pay for their “repair”.

We do have some Christmas lights, which are surplus to our requirements.

“We would be very happy to donate them to the West Byfleet Business Association at no cost, provided it can ensure that they meet safety standards.

The town businessman has now taken it upon themselves to light up the city themselves. They have received what they call an acceptable quote from a contractor that wants to sell the lights and install them.

The Christmas lights will cost a little over US$2000. Installing them will be whopping $5000.

The lights should last for seven or eight years so they will get a good run. Hopefully, from now on we can build on the lights we have, year on year.

We are looking for people or businesses to sponsor the lights. There are three or four in the pipeline so hopefully people will come forward. All the local council representatives have been very good, which is positive. We are grateful for the support they have given us.

If all goes to plan, we could see the lights up by the start of next month so now we are just waiting to see. It will be a boost for the businesses in the village to have the lights.

Dewey the Library Cat – Perfect Christmas Book Gift

Dewey is a special cat; you could almost say a miracle cat.

Librarians one morning found him in the returned book chute, almost frozen stiff.

They brought him in and gently defrosted him.

Grateful for his life Dewey didn’t want to leave the library. And, as it turned out he didn’t have to either.

The head librarian lobbied for and finally received permission to keep Dewey in the library.

He became a fixture. He would attend the weekly meetings and in the morning he would greet early visitors right at the front door.

Some people became so and there was him they wanted to check them out, just like a book!

“Dewey never left the library. He was a come-visit-me cat.

I always knew he could be famous. I knew he was special.

Dewey always surprised me. I’ve learned that his magic was going to go on, and it did. Dewey always took care of me, and he still is.

Dewey’s eyes were very, very special. They said volumes.”
— author Vicki Myron

As it goes, people talk. And those people talk to other people. Pretty soon became a local celebrity, then the statement celebrity… then national television arrived… and finally even a Japanese movie company. He even starred on calendars.

But all good things must end. Especially when you’re suffering from bad health…

The book starts with the defrosting of the cat, the warming of our hearts. It ends with a Kleenex box of tears and to look in the rearview mirror of what small-town America used to be.

Dewey the library cat is an absolute must as a Christmas gift. It’s the perfect book for animal offers, a thoughtful gift for readers. It’s worth every word, every read, every time: this is one book you’ll want to read again.

Study Show Christmas Shopping Health Risk

A British health study decided to crack the limelight by hooking into the Christmas season. Yes, Christmas shopping may be bad for your health!

Bad for my health, you ask.

Yes, bad for your health.

The crowded malls. Crowded malls means long lineups. If there are a lot of people at the mall they had to get there somewhere so; a lot of traffic, difficulty finding parking.

And it gets “worse”! There is a continuous Christmas music playing in the background.

Altogether a cold tribute to rising blood pressure, pounding hearts. And those mounting stress levels in turn can lead to headaches, panic attacks and even stroke and heart disease!

The “study” found that no less than 50% of shoppers are overwhelmed and stressed out during the Christmas season.

What is the most popular christmas gift this year?

If you’re wondering what to buy for your adulterer son this year, worry no more. You can always go with what is certain to be a big hit.

The US national retail Federation has released a list listing the most wished for Christmas gifts of 2008.

For girls the first four places are taken by dolls.

At number one there’s the evergreen yet ever popular Barbie, closely followed at number two by Hannah Montana.

Dolls in general take-up third-place with the Bratz dolls in particular on four.

For boys the list looks like video games followed by Lego, cars, and transformers.

Popular with both boys and girls is the Nintendo Wii.

And popular with parents this year? The expected hefty discounts at most toy stores, says the national retail Federation.

Novelty Christmas Gifts on the Cheap

A “serious problem” with Christmas gifts is that even we have it all or we’ve seen it all.

Did really nice unique gift that you both for uncle Harry? Forget it, he saw it at Wal-Mart. He knows the full price and he knows when it came on discount…

The problem is even worse in small or smaller towns: everybody knows every store. In such a place even the specialty items are common goods.

Of course there is always making your own gifts. And yes, I recognize that there too a certain level of cliché arises. But there might be a twist, that might be different angle on this. The combination of novelty Christmas gift and do it yourself.

The idea is to go to thrift stores, Goodwill centers, secondhand stores. Look around for genuine articles. You want to go for that think it’s look and feel. With a little bit of luck they’ll even have Christmas items! But if not, no problem either. A wonderful, aged frame, for example, is just as good. Again, it’s that authentic look that you want to go for.

Now when you come home with it here is where you add your own personal touch. Load up that digital photo of uncle Harry, age it, of course using free tools such as Picasa (available as a free download in Google’s pack), insert it in the frame and add a handwritten message.

Now this novelty Christmas gift focuses on a frame. That so many think this items can be repurposed as novelty Christmas gifts. Christmas time is the perfect time to give those Dickian feeling vintage items.

Come on, try it! Get into one of those stores and look around with different eyes.

Trees for Troops

Thursday members of the Christmas spirit foundation, Indiana tree farmers and FedEx volunteers will work together for the trees for troops program.

The volunteers will collect and prepare hundreds of donated Christmas trees. They’ll load them onto FedEx trucks for transport to the FedEx express hub in Indianapolis.

From there they will be shipped to the Navy’s fifth Fleet in Bahrain while the second batch will be delivered to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

The trees for troops program is part of FedEx special delivery and is a nationwide program that provides transportation as well as logistical assistance for community and nonprofit organizations.

This year FedEx and its volunteers will deliver over 16,000 trees to more than 45 military US bases around the world.