Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Some Thoughts on Christmas


Do you enjoy the secular songs of Christmas in addition to the sacred? I do. I really do. They are not as significant, but they have their place. Every year during carol time at church, a child inevitably requests "Jingle Bells" and the congregation sings it with gusto: in a one horse open sleigh... Hey ♪

Today I thought I'd discuss a little point I've been hearing all over Blogdom and which I myself have been heard to lament: Christmas is soooo commercialized. It's toooo commercialized. It's this; it's that. It's a hustle-bustle nightmare. 

After hearing a recent interview on a morning news program where Matt Lauer suggested that Sarah Palin decried the commercialization of Christmas. She responded with this: "I love the commercialization of Christmas because it spreads the cheer of Christmas...We need to protect the heart of Christmas."
Whoahhhh...what was she talking about? I nearly fell off my sofa. It would have been a short fall as that old sofa is closer to the ground than it has ever been before, but I digress.

I began to ponder — you know how much I love that — I did some research — the kind easily accomplished with a bit of Googling. What did I learn? That Christmas determines whether most businesses are going to operate in the red or the black for the entire year. 

Wow! I know that the Bible teaches us that God is the glue that holds this entire world together (Colossians 1:17), but I had no idea that He was holding the economics of the world together, too. Incredible!

So, when I am tempted to begin my yearly moan, I am going to stop and remember that it's the most wonderful time of the year. As Christians, we get to spread the cheer not always bemoan the commercialization of Christmas. I'm going to allow myself to feel a little of the excitement. I don't think it will kill me.  


~my favorite and celebrating 30 years this year~

Oh, by the way, do you enjoy secular Christmas movies? I sure do. And until a Mel Gibson makes a Nativity movie on the same level as The Passion of the Christ, I vastly prefer them. Does anyone know of a great sacred Christmas movie? Fill me in! 


Emmet Otter 
When the River Meets the Sea

(From another sweet little Christmas movie.)

Now for the big questions of the day! Favorite secular Christmas song? Favorite sacred? Favorite Christmas movie?

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54 comments:

  1. Thought provoking, Vee. I like Christmas shopping, but only when it involves being in a real downtown with the treat of a cup of tea somewhere in the middle of the whole thing. In truth, I shop for Christmas through the year, so that when I go out at this time of year it is all about the pleasure of the season.
    Favourite secular song? Raffi's Version of Petit Papa Noel - I sang it to my children and now sing it to the grandchildren
    Favourite sacred? Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel
    Favourite Christmas Movie? That's a hard one......perhaps One Magic Christmas as it brings up lovely memories of taking my now-grown son to his first Christmas movie in 1985

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  2. Yes, yes, yes! Christmas is about the attitude of the heart. If I want a commercialized Christmas (and I don't) I'll have one. My choices influence my behaviour and my attitude. (Or maybe my attitude influences my choices and behaviour.) Either way, I love the music, the decorating, the baking, the buying and wrapping of gifts, getting together with people, etc.
    Favorite secular song: I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas (and I am!)
    Favorite sacred song: Angels We Have Heard on High
    Favorite Christmas movie: While You Were Sleeping, followed closely by It Happened on Fifth Avenue, a movie we discovered a couple of years ago that was made in the 50s, I believe.

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    1. Lorrie, I have never heard of that movie! I wil be looking for it because it sounds so good. How did you find it?

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    2. It Happened on Fifth Avenue that is...

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  3. Great post, Vee! It is the most wonderful time of the year & I love it! I do not go to the malls, too busy for me. A lot of my shopping will be done online.

    Smiles,
    Carol

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  4. LOVED this post...lots to think about. And yes, I love both secular and spiritual songs and movies. My favorite secular song is Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, ~ what is the name of this song, lol ~ and spiritual is Mary did you know? no wait, maybe it is Oh Holy Night, love them both, and my FAVORITE Christmas movie, though I have MANY is Preachers Wife. I will be back later to check out others answers...Enjoy your day!

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    1. Oh yes...I forgot about the Preacher's Wife...LOVED that movie too...I have many favorites I guess..lol!

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  5. We decry the commercialization but we don't have to jump on that bandwagon! Good post Vee and something to think about. Christmas can be as commercial or as loving as we make it. I love all Christmas music, but my favorite secular song is Carol of the Bells, it gives me goosebumps. My favorite Christian carol is O' Holy Night, and we always watch White Christmas, but have you seen The Bishops Wife? Totally adorable! I also can't help but love The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, totally secular but so cute.

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  6. Favorite secular song: White Christmas
    Secular Movie: It's a Wonderful Life
    Sacred Christmas song: Oh, Holy Night
    Great post Vee!

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  7. Great post and love your photos ! I don't have a fave or either I love them all lol ! Yes Christmas is way to commercialized ! Thanks for sharing ! Have a great week !

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  8. I love everything about Christmas. Thanks for the post. My favorite secular song is Have yourself a merry little Christmas. My favorite Christian carol is Oh come Emmanuel. We stating watching Christmas movies in Oct.
    We love them all. I thank God for loving us enough to send His only son. Now that's what I call Love. Merry Christmas.

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  9. Oh Vee, you've got me thinking too hard and it's not noon yet...in my part of the country. I'm not quite sure what to think of Sarah Palin's remarks. I'll have to do a little pondering of my own about that. I don't like the commercialization of Christmas as far as having stuff out in some of the shops before Halloween. Other than that, I don't think I worry overmuch about it.

    My favorite Christmas song, sacred - O Holy Night. My favorite secular song - The Christmas Song.

    Favorite movie is a hard category for me. There are many I love, but it's kind of a tradition at my house that we all watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and laugh ourselves silly, so I'll say that one. My hubby can do a pretty good impression of Cousin Eddy, which we all laugh at, too.

    I love your header. Have a nice day!

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  10. Hello dear Vee, Well, you're sending me right to my stack of Christmas CDs. I'll get back to you.Of course, I love, love, love Silent Night. It makes me tear up every time I hear it. I guess it reminds me of my grands and when my family would all gather around the tree. I'll check out other music and return.

    Love,
    Sharon

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  11. Yes let's stop moaning and start spreading the joy of Christmas all around us! :)
    Holiday has it's root in Holy Day. A day set apart. So I'm not getting my knickers in a knot about people saying Happy Holidays, either. I'll say Merry Christmas with joy in response.
    Now to your questions. I have so many favorites. Secular song, "White Christmas" Sacred Song "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (but I have many more favorites!) Christmas movie...I have to admit I'm not very fond of Christmas movies. I love lines from a lot of them, though. If I have to pick I'd say the original Miracle on 34th St.
    Hope you have a most excellent day, Vee!

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  12. Favorite Christmas Songs? Silver Bells and O Holy Night. Favorite Christmas Movie? Miracle on 34th Street
    I love everything about Christmas--both religious and secular. In my past Brooklyn church my pastor would dress up as Santa Claus and do the famous "kneeling Santa" scene by the life size Nativity set during the children's Christmas service. The children loved it! He would pick up infant Jesus and kiss him on the forehead, and I saw so many children do that afterward. I always believed in Santa Claus--he is part of the holiday magic of generously giving and being good. I think Christmas can accommodate both aspects of the holiday. Did you watch the Charley Brown Christmas last night--perfect example! :)

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    1. Yes, I did. Love it and I love how the true meaning of the holiday is tucked in. Charles Schultz was so good at that!

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    2. Oh yes....love me some Charlie Brown too!

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  13. I'm so happy that I found the songbook that is the same as yours, though I mostly play the old Diller-Quale (SP?) book that I learned these carols from long long ago.....My favorite secular song might be The Wassail Song with the chorus of "Love and Joy, come to you'....Sacred Song favorite is probably O Little Town of Bethlehem. My Christmas is not over-commercialized and I tend to stay away from places where it is. And my children are not so much into shopping either, though I did get a bit carried away this morning after a medical procedure when I wandered through the area where they were doing a fund-raising sale of possible Christmas presents. I do give a lot of books and that is what these were. We get together Sunday afternoons to sing Christmas carols around the Advent wreath and have tea together after and that is both a joy and something that brings us back to the heart of Christmas. Now that these things are not learned in public schools, and since we are at least a three language family, we use this as a way to teach the little ones the words to the carols we love. We have a set of bells for them to ring when they choose "Jingle Bells". But we sing all manner of songs together.

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  14. I definitely think that too many people look at Christmas as an excuse to buy and receive expensive gifts...that they really don't need OR sometimes want and mostly CAN'T AFFORD :( And to hear these accounts of people being hurt or even killed on Black Friday, all in the name Christmas, just breaks my heart and I'm pretty sure it breaks God's heart too. Somewhere in between is a happy medium. Although the Christian aspect comes first and foremost, of course, I have no problem with many of the secular traditions. As a kid growing up, my folks were all about the Santa thing, as we were with our kids when they were little. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are about that guy in the little red suit...to this day, I could swear that I saw Santa and his reindeer fly through the sky on Christmas Eve...lol! Just like everything else, society is what makes it or breaks it.

    Fave secular song: The Christmas Song (chestnuts roasting...)
    Fave Christian song: O Holy Night
    Fave Secular Movie: "The Gathering" (old made for TV movie with Ed Asner as a dying father of a dysfunctional family...wish I could find it somewhere)
    Fave Christian Movie: Although some might classify this as secular, I say "Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" is definitely Christian...and the George C. Scott version is my all time fave :)

    Thanks for this most thought provoking post!

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    1. Ohhh...good one! Hadn't thought if that movie as a Christian one, but you may have a point!

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  15. I do love some secular Christmas music and movies, like 'The Muppets' Christmas Carol' with Michael Caine and probably the Walton's Christmas (although I've not seen that special for a loooooong time) and of course All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special.

    And whether or not people spend way too much money on Christmas stuff, and whether we say 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Holidays,' (holy day) we're promoting the fact that a Redeemer has come to rescue this lost and dying world - because He loves us! And will eventually set all to right.

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  16. You sure are a thinker Vee. I don't like how much Christmas has become commercialized either but as long as we have our family gathering and remember the reason we celebrate, it's all fine with me.
    Favourite song (don't laugh) Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer because the grandchildren have done such great performance of it for me; favourite hymn O Holy Night.
    Favourite movie ( I see Debby Ray mentioned it) - The Gathering. I have been watching it every year since it came out in the 80's and for me it shows how a family can come together for Christmas and put their differences aside. Although no one in the family will watch it with me any more, they know how special the movie is to me, It took me a long time to get my own copy - somewhere in the US, because I don't think it shows on TV any more.
    Judith

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  17. Vee
    This was a thought provoking post. I believe it's important that we find a balance in the commercialization of Christmas, for sure. But we do find great joy in the giving of gifts. Yes, balance.
    My favorite Christian song; O Holy Night
    Secular song: Carol of the Bells
    Secular movies: Holiday Inn-Christmas in Conneticut-Special Delivery
    Christain Christmas movie: I need some recomendation here too!

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  18. I do get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas, I feel it when I go to the store, but that doesn't mean I get all caught up in it. I just feel the holiday excitement and enjoy it. I stay away from all the busy stores at least I used to, living out here in the country is way different than when we lived in the "city", the pace of life is so much slower that I'm allowed to get caught up in it all and still stay grounded and know what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.
    I love listening to all forms of the Christmas songs and I think It's a Wonderful Life is my all time favorite Christmas movie.

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  19. I agree with Sarah Palin on this, the heart of Christmas must be protected. I don't mind the commercialism since I concentrate on the sacred. Our fav Christmas movie is The Christmas Story, with the little boy who wanted a Red Ryder rifle.

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    1. Oh! The same one I showed. Like minds and all that!

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  20. I like all of the 'old fashioned' Christmas music. I don't like a lot of the new stuff. Some of it maybe. The radio station here plays Christmas music 24/7 and it always amazes me at just how MUCH music there is out there for Christmas. Movies? Love the Christmas Story...Love Wonderful Life....all of the old classics....it's just a nice time of year.

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  21. Let's see??
    #1 Rockin' around the Christmas Tree
    #2 Oh Come all Ye Faithful
    #3 The Grinch

    There are so many neat Hallmark Christmas movies that play on cable. Never a shortage of them.
    I say, let them sell their merchandise etc. We have a choice.

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  22. Great post, Vee! Love the Sarah Palin quote and she is quite right. I love how there is always such a hoopla made for Christmas celebrations - even though there is a decided push to rename it and take the "heart" out of Christmas - which is precisely what Sarah was referring to. I have used the hoopla as a platform to share His Heart each year - and drive people away from the crass commercialism and to the manger Babe. Only there can we find wealth for the business of life.
    Joy to you!
    Kathy

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  23. I really enjoyed the post and comments! We have a choice on how we re-act and The 'heart' of Christmas must/ will be kept alive...though heaven and earth pass away;)

    My girls and I watch Shop Around the Corner at least a couple times each Christmas season...also love It's a Wonderful Life, and my all time wee fav...Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. Love Alan Jackson's Let it be Christmas and I was telling my daughters how when i was wee little I remember falling in love with the song Silver Bells.
    I don't comment often but really love to visit here.

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  24. There is one good movie about the Christmas story. I saw it on the Christian station. It takes the view from Mary....I enjoyed it!
    I love Christmas. I love all parts of it. It is commercialized, but we don't have to focus on that....besides, I rather see Christmas things out than Halloween and creepy!!

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  25. Good points. Never thought of it that way before.
    1. Don't have a favorite
    2. Away in a Manger
    3. The old, Miracle on 34th Street

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  26. Wonderful post! I will have to ponder on the Sarah Palin comment..and the commericialization..I happen to agree with you..my all time favorite movie is It's a Wonderful Life, then its Miracle on 34th Street. My fav song? Little Drummer Boy..just makes me cry..and The First Noel. Non Christian All I Want for Christmas is You! or Winter Wonderland. Whew..ok..that's it..I am little brain fried after today, lol.

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  27. I'm really loving the Made in America push this year and of course I love buying vintage and handmade items. I like Jingle bell rock, Away in the Manger.....and It's a Wonderful Life. And a bunch of others! heehee! Sweet hugs!

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  28. Would you believe I have NEVER seen A Christmas Story? I think I know that it's the movie where a kid gets his tongue stuck to a lamp post, and also where a parent constantly tells a child he will put an eye out with... something -- a BB gun?

    Well, anyways -- YES! I love the secular songs as well. I think my favorite might be Silver Bells. I can just hear my Gram singing it in her low alto voice! As to sacred, I'll choose O Holy Night. As a kid, I learned to play it w/ my piano teacher, and when I practiced at home, I would sing along. Still love it to this day! Favorite Christmas movie? I love White Christmas -- and the FIRST Home Alone. I love your thoughts on the commercialization of Christmas too!

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  29. Christmas is big business, but we do not have to "buy" into it. Silent Night and First Noel for secular, Feliz Navidad and Sleigh Ride for non. xo

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  30. Bill LOVES the movie The Christmas Story shown here in this post, I think he relates to his childhood. No matter how many times he watches it, he laughs and laughs. I love church this time of year, the decorations, planning to surprise or kids or grandkids with just the perfect gift. I love the carols, the sappy hallmark Christmas movies, the family Christmas day brunch. I love making my famous chex mix, sending out Christmas cards. I love to reflect on the nativity and what it would have been like in those days. Jesus is the reason for the season. Interesting analogy you had with the celebration of Christ's birth being the glue that holds things together financially. It always amazes me that much of society wants no mention of "Christmas" yet without it, many businesses would fold. Sorry for the long comment, it's just my favorite time of year. ~ Abby

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  31. Hmmm so many thoughts there , Vee. For my favorite sacred song, it's " Mary Did You Know". I'm not to sure if it's considered sacred, but it just moves me. I love all the secular, fun ones, too. Now, for my favorite holiday movie, it's The Holiday with Jude Law and Cameron Diaz and for an oldie, I love Christmas in Connecticut. I also LOVE the Hallmark channel for all their movies during Christmas. xxoo

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  32. Hello Vee, good point! God and His word is the glue that holds it all together. I like the song I Am Dreaming of A White Christmas, It always makes me think of my childhood and my Momma!
    And I love the old black and white movies, But I love the Christmas Story (You'll shoot your eye out kid)
    Thanks I needed this thought and perspective also :)
    Blessings, Roxy

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  33. What a great post Vee! I love all the Christmas music, even the sappy country songs. My favourite carol is "O Come all ye Faithful", my favourite song is "Winter Wonderland" or "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, and my favourite movie is probably "Elf", which we watched on Saturday night. When I was in NYC last year we went to the stage play of "A Christmas Story". I'd never read the book (if there's such a thing) or seen a movie of it and really didn't have a clue what it was about and what all the hype was over it but I really enjoyed it. I would love to get the movie of it. Haven't seen it here yet. There is a Christian Christmas story movie that is good. There's also a Max Lucado movie called "Christmas Child" that is really good. I think I'd heard about how Christmas is really important to the financial state of our countries. Strange isn't it? It's the celebration of the birth of the saviour of mankind but the giving of gifts and Santa Claus have made it the biggest sales season of the year. I really enjoyed this post and reading all the comments. Fun! Enjoy Christmas!!

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  34. Greater post Vee ..I agree too much commercialized makes poor people like me sad..can't get everyone gifts.. My favorite song rockin around the Christmas tree and ave Maria

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  35. I'm not sure I have favorites that I can say at this time when I need to go to bed, but I do really like your thoughts in this post. I'm glad someone is thinking clearly!

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  36. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite song.....but HOME ALONE is my all=time favorite little Christmas movie.
    A grand and I watch it together every Christmas season....
    Like Podso....I'm glad to know not EVERYone has thoughts flitting out here and there and not making a lick of sense. I always get that way around this time of year.....a real airhead. :)
    hugs, bj

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  37. I enjoyed reading your Christmas thoughts today, Vee. Even though Christmas is commercialized, it seems to me an opportunity to point toward the Savior.

    Favorite secular Christmas song: "Sleigh Ride" (Great musicality! Only a good singer can nail the line, "We're gliding along with the song of a wintry fairyland." I can't.)

    Favorite sacred carol: "Angels From the Realms of Glory", the entire Christmas story in four verses... a gorgeousl tune.

    Favorite Christmas movie: The Homecoming (the pilot of The Waltons series)

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    1. Oops...that's supposed to be "and a gorgeous tune"...

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  38. We just do our own thing at Christmas! We cut down a real tree, go shopping for meaningful gifts, stuff stockings, buy treats, enjoy the music and movies of the season…we don't go in for the commercialization of it in the sense that most people talk about, but we like to buy from local businesses and stores like Target.

    We have a tradition of watching The Nativity Story every Christmas eve. Are you familiar with it? I think you'd like it and I believe it is available on Netflix instant play. So good.

    I grew up listening to my parents Andy Williams Christmas album and I loved it. I like many of the older artists versions of Christmas songs.

    Favorites? I'll Be Home For Christmas, The Christmas Song, White Christmas. On the Sacred side I love Mary, Did You Know, Strange Way to Save the World, Silent Night, O Come, O Come Emmanuel…so many! This is really my favorite music of all time!

    Deanna

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  39. Enjoyed reading your thoughts on Christmas :) Yes, we can leave the commercialization part and look forward spreading the joy and cheer of Christ our Savior's birth. The Christmas look of your blog looks cute :)

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  40. I like the idea of keeping the heart of Christmas alive. And it is a good reminder that capitalism is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. I just prefer to avoid the crowds this time of year and rejoice that there is an alternative - online shopping!

    My favorite secular song is Jingle Bells and favorite religious song is Holy Night. Can you believe that I've never watched A Christmas Story? I'm a big fan of It's a Wonderful Life.

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    1. Can you imagine a world without capitalism? I think I can. Russia during the Cold War. I so well remember a friend who toured the country with a group of fellow Americans who said that the country was beautiful, but the pall over it was like death itself. Once they were informed that they were flying out of Russia they broke into "God Bless America." It still brings a tear to my eye. I was just a kid when I first heard that story. It made a deep impression on me.

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    2. That's a wonderful story! God bless capitalism!

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  41. I wish I had seen your post yesterday Vee..but alas..I was knee deep in errands and tending a sick husband...I see in your list my favorite..Christmas in Connecticut.. and oh my so many favorite songs...Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.........
    I love the way you think....aspiring to be more like you. :-)
    Love, Mona

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  42. A little excitement won't kill any of us:) I love all the Christmas hymns, one of my favorites is "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence." Secular -- I still love "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", primarily because we had the Gene Autry version growing up which we listened to over and over. Movies: the one I have to watch every year is "The Grinch." I love all the old claymation children's ones. As a family of mostly boys, everyone loves "Elf" and "A Christmas Story" too. I'm like you, usually I don't think sacred things translate well to movies for some reason.

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  43. Thanks for sharing a different perspective on this, Vee! I never thought of it that way! xo

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  44. We've watched the Grinch and next on the list is A Christmas Story. I've watched Tasha Tudor's,Take Peace, and am in the process of reading the book. That's one of my personal holiday traditions. I love both the religious and secular Christmas music. I'm not sure where "Mary, Did You Know?" is, but, especially the version sung by Winona Judd and Kenny Rogers, brings me to tears. It's such a powerful song and touches me deeply to think of the gift our Heavenly Father gave us.

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