Best Christmas Albums

  1. Bruce Cockburn‘s Christmas.  This is the perfect album for Christmas time balancing traditional songs in Bruce’s own arrangements with very interesting songs including Iesus Ahatonnia which is The Huron Carol done in as close to the aboriginal lyrics as possible and the ancient Riu Riu Chiu from Spain.
  2. Little Girl Blue by Nina Simone just for the title track which is a heart rending lyric sung in a contrasting melody to the Good King Wenceslas piano part.
  3. A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio which is a wonderful blend of jazz and Christmas favourites.
  4. Fairytale of New York by the Pogues is an unusual tune that really gets under your skin.

Please comment with your own favourites so I can expand my collection!

Season’s Wishes

I’m not a fan of those year end messages people send cataloguing a grocery list of everything they’ve done over the year but I still feel a definite need to sermonize so I wrote up the following:

Our wish is that you join with us in having a truly relaxed and blessed Christmas and New Year holiday.  We all know that a Christmas that is too much about the gifts is not enjoyable.  Nor healthy, wealthy or wise.  So from our family to yours we hope that your joy is all about what you do together and in what you discover about yourselves as opposed to a ledger sheet balancing the Christmas debts.
While it is better to give than to receive, it’s even better to enjoy one another.  Share a meal, laughter, games!  Perhaps sledding or skiing.  Watch any Christmas special (Alastair Sim’s Christmas Carol would be my choice).
Enjoy the season and each other!

All the best,

Terry and Family

Merry Christmas

The day started off right for me sitting in the pews of the Church of Our Lady for midnight mass with my two boys. The girls were up in the choir loft singing their hearts out and competing joyously with the organ, a mini orchestra and other choir members!
Merry Christmas to all who hold this day dear and all the happiness of the season for those who don’t.

The Holiday Malaise

A nice long holiday is always a welcome thing, right?  Well that’s not always true.  Full freedom can lead to sloth, rocking of the ‘family emotion’ boat and scary dreams.

A case in point.  This morning I dreamt I was back at the first day of the fourth year of high school, or Grade 12.   I had no idea where I was supposed to go and the office wouldn’t help me.  So I was wandering the stairs and halls of the old Bishop MacDonell High.  Crazy.  In playing such a non-adult but almost adult role in my dream I retained my current adult knowledge.  I imagined myself arriving in a computer class and knowing far more than the teacher.  Or English.  Or almost anything.  All that experience in a 16 year old head was scary in itself.  I remember wondering what teachers and other students thought of my beard.  It was unsettling enough to wake me up in a sweat, get dressed and crawl down to the basement computer on this furiously frigid morning which is only now beginning to show some sign of light.

So what’s the cure for this malaise?  Doing something would be my answer.  I already feel better after having commented on an excellent CBC podcast by Jesse Brown I heard this past week, read my mail and written this blog entry.  Last night I absented myself from the family and went to my room to do some reading and writing (book two of Menc) and that helped too.  The cold weather and concerns over Christmas has us largely in each other’s faces and we all need a break.  Today I will accomplish a lot, including the washroom shelves Karen wants installed.  Maybe, some cross country skiing will happen with all the snow we’ve got!  All part of a general cure.

Alternative Christmas Gifts

If you feel like you have everything you need and want to give a gift that lends itself more to the spirit of Christmas then you’re in the same Ark as I am. But what to buy… what to buy. There are plenty of charities out there who want your money but who will actually do as they advertise with it? Is there some ridiculous cut for administration that you are paying somewhere along the way?

We’ve been talking about buying a goat for a 3rd World Family and this site is helping me and my family make our decision. It’s based in the UK but I imagine it applies to my giving too. Of course goat buying isn’t completely controversy-free… will the goats eat everything in sight and promote desertification in susceptible parts of the world? That may be an exaggeration but it is something to think about.

These profiles help you compare the various options (including an amount specified for what percentage of your money actually goes to charity:
World Vision
Save the Children

In terms of cost this WorldVision site (Canadian) has a goat for $100 whereas Oxfam Canada has one for $58.

I’m going to have to do some more research!