Don’t Let the Coronavirus Steal Christmas

outdoor nativity

This Christmas season, the Coronavirus could be a metaphor for the cantankerous protagonist in Dr. Suess’s book How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  The Grinch is an unhappy creature with a heart “two sizes too small” wanting to ensure that everyone feels as lonely as he, which isn’t too far from reality right now. The Coronavirus is an insidious virus made up of spike proteins that act like grappling hooks, ensuring practically everyone who comes in contact with it gets sick. Yikes!  Well we know what to do about the virus, but what about feeling woeful about Christmas?  Maybe Dr. Suess’s book can give us direction.

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A Brief History of Christmas Carols

Santa Claus with Jingle Bells carol sheet music

There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something.

— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


Of all the Christian holidays, Christmas must be the most sociable. Since at least Victorian times (and certainly before) it has been a season for family and friends to spend time together and engage in joyful group activities. And one of the most joyful of those activities is the making of music and the singing of holiday songs by outdoor Christmas carolers.

Imagine Christmastime without music or carols. It just wouldn’t be the same. And yet, ironically, in the very earliest years of Christianity there was no Christmastime to speak of, much less music to celebrate it. Easter—commemorating the miraculous resurrection of the crucified Jesus—was the main holiday of devout Christians. The birth of Jesus, by comparison, seemed an unimportant affair and simply was not celebrated.

In the fourth century, however, church officials decided to proclaim the birth of Jesus as a holiday. The history behind that proclamation illustrates the genius of Roman Catholicism for incorporating secular, pagan traditions into its religious rituals. One of those is the tradition of caroling.

Carol sheet music, The First Noël
The First Nowell from an 1879 book by Henry Ramsden Bramley
(Source)

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Historical Origins of Outdoor Nativity Scenes

Outdoor Nativity scene

 

“All cultures…have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration.”
— Joseph Campbell, Mythology and the Individual (1997)


From church iconography to Easter baskets, from Yule logs to small indoor crèches and huge outdoor Nativity sets, the backstories behind the outward manifestations of Christian belief, in all their rich variety, remain a source of endless historical interest, and not a little speculation. Continue reading “Historical Origins of Outdoor Nativity Scenes”

Different Ways to Decorate Buildings

While homes seem to lend themselves naturally to Christmas decorations, decking out a building can seem like an insurmountable challenge. It’s not. The key to effectively decorating buildings is to ensure you match the size and scope of the building with the décor. Check out some ideas on different ways to decorate buildings we put together here at Christmas Night Inc.

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Create Your Own Christmas Light Show

One of the most fantastic elements of the holidays is all the glimmering, shimmering, brilliant lights, and you can create your own Christmas light show in your very own yard. These tips from Christmas Night Inc. outline how.

Sketch an Overview of Your Yard

Creating a rough yet accurate sketch of your yard gives you a bird’s eye view of how much room you have to work with. It also provides a working draft of all the different areas you want to cover. Once you have an overview of how much space you want to fill and elements you want to light, you can more easily assess how many larger light displays and what type of backdrop lighting will produce the most dramatic effects.

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The Best Collectible Christmas Gifts

While giving Christmas gifts like socks and candies may be useful and delicious, neither one is going to be around for the long haul. Collectible Christmas gifts, on the other, can be enjoyed for years to come. Collectibles refer to gifts that are beloved, cherished, passed down through the generations, and may often align with a specific theme as part of a larger collection. We here at Christmas Night Inc. are big fans of collectible Christmas gifts of all sorts and sizes, and we gathered up the best collectible Christmas gifts to share with you.

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Indoor vs. Outdoor Christmas Decorations

For those serious about holiday decor, Christmas decorations don’t stop at decking the halls. You are also likely to deck out your living room, kitchen, foyer and areas around your living space, both inside and out. While you may be tempted to use whatever holiday decorations you purchase anywhere you choose, you’re better off keeping indoor Christmas decorations inside the home. Christmas Night Inc. will tell you why.

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Last Minute Christmas Decorations

Despite the weeks of excitement and fanfare, Christmas can still sneak up on you quicker than you think. This can leave you expecting a house full of guests with nary a Christmas decoration in sight. Don’t fret. Get creative. We’ll even show you how. Christmas Night Inc. gathered up a handful of last-minute Christmas decoration ideas you can implement in a jiffy.

Go for Bulbs, Bulbs and More Bulbs

Maybe you have some glittery bulbs stashed in the basement somewhere, or you can make a fast trip to the store or have a few boxes delivered quickly. Bulbs and other Christmas ornaments can be hung, strung, placed and propped just about anywhere around the home to create a festive look.

Weatherproof Christmas ornaments can grace outdoor trees or shrubs, while those meant for indoor use can add a holiday touch in any number of creative spaces. Try hanging Christmas bulbs and ornaments in your front windows, from light fixtures or chandeliers, around the bannister, in the center of your front door, or even around interior doorframes.

A batch of Christmas bulbs can also make striking centerpieces for the dining table, or holiday décor for end tables. Simple pick several holiday bulbs that share a common theme, them place them in a decorative bowl or vase.

Just Add Lights

Christmas lights add instant ambiance to your space, and strings of them can be quick and easy to install. Gather up several strands of holiday lights, then use thumb tacks to secure them around windows and doorframes. Drape them generously across the mantel, down the bannister and around picture frames.

String lights also make a striking statement when gathered inside Mason jars, vases or other glass containers that let you see the glow. Bookcases, cabinets, desks and mirrors are also work as places to drape strands of Christmas lights.

Grace Your Home with Greenery

Like holiday lights, Christmas greenery has the power to decorate your place in a flash. Go for long lengths of garland you can wrap around the same type of areas you can hang lights. Spruce up the greenery even further by including a few evergreen boughs and wreaths.

Try Some Sticks and Stones

Tree boughs don’t have to be covered with pine needles to be festive. You can make your own mini tree decorations using sticks. A single larger stick can work as a mini tree on its own. Simply place it in a heavy vase and add lights and ornaments as desired. Smaller sticks can be arranged in vases in batches, and again adorned with ornaments and lights.

Stones can take on the role of Christmas décor if you paint them with festive colors and designs. Use acrylic paint or paint markers to decorate rocks you can then place in strategic areas around the home. Line them up along the fireplace mantel, place them in a decorative bowl, or arrange them in a circle in the center of the table.

Even better, you can gift your painted rocks as stocking stuffers or as a parting present for your guests as they leave.

Dazzle with Glam Candles

Candles of any shape, size, scent or color can contribute to dazzling Christmas candle display. Once you round up your existing candles, or purchase several you can acquire quickly, arrange them into groupings. Perhaps one group is all white candles, while another features candles of all the same size.

Glam up the candles by placing a small ornament on each candleholder, and place each group of candles on its own decorative tray. You should now have several warm and cozy collections of Christmas décor to place around your home as desired.

Build Your Own Tree

No time to go out and get a Christmas tree? Why not try building your own. Take a look around your home and garage to see what types of materials you may have handy. Then build a tree with what you find. Options may include a wire sculpture Christmas tree or a tree that features rolled-up brown bags or paper as branches attached to an old broom handle.

Some of the more creative DIY Christmas trees we’ve seen include one created out of a stack of books and adorned with lights, several made out of glued-together sticks or planks of upcycled wood, and a Christmas tree made out of a ladder. Simply place a ladder in a highly visible area, wrap it with lights and dangle several ornaments from the light strands and ladder frame.

Whether you want to quickly spruce up your home with holiday décor to impress your guests or for your own enjoyment, these last-minute Christmas decorations have you covered. Try one, two or combine all of the ideas to having your house feeling a lot like Christmas in no time at all. For future reference, you can also order Christmas decorations from Christmas Night Inc. all year long so you’ll be set with plenty of time to spare for next year.

How to Plan The Perfect Holiday Party for Home or Work

The winter holidays are a festive season and the holiday party is a popular way to celebrate with family, friends and co-workers. While everyone enjoys showing up at holiday parties, planning and hosting one is a big responsibility. Because a holiday party is a once a year event, everyone expects it to be relaxing and fun. So, how do you ensure your holiday party meets those expectations? Follow the tips and suggestions in this guide to make your holiday party a memorable one.

Make a Budget

Before you do anything, crunch the numbers and come up with a budget for your holiday party. This helps you stay within a certain monetary range as you make spending choices. Also, a solid budget can help you save money by considering the cost of items on your party list before you spend a dime. Keep in mind that spending lavishly doesn’t equate to a successful party. Spending wisely and making good choices is the way to approach your budget for this event.

Create a Guest List and Send Invites Early

Start your party planning in earnest by putting together a guest list. This list includes names and contact information. Email is faster, but it’s important to make sure the subject line mentions holiday party, so people open it. Or, you can stick with the classic mailed party invitation pairing a paper invitation with a matching envelope. Asking invitees to RSVP can help you figure out attendance numbers well in advance. Avoid conflicts by sending invites out two to four weeks ahead of the party date.

Choose a Date and Time

Setting a party date requires some thoughtful consideration of the busy season. Fridays are the most popular date for workplace holiday parties, and this makes sense because employees can relax, knowing there’s no work the next day. Alternative days are Wednesdays and Thursdays. Start times tend to be around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., but parties can start earlier or later, depending on the workplace. Weekends are ideal for parties hosted at someone’s home. Home parties can begin in the afternoon or early evening. Ideally, the day and time should work for most people on the guest list.

Choose a Suitable Space or Venue

Once you’ve settled on a date and time, and you have a rough idea of the number of attendees, go ahead and secure an event space. This is easy if you plan on hosting the party in your home. You already know if you can use your living room, dining room, garage or other space for your party. However, if the party is for work or an organization, you can choose to host it on-site or at an outside venue. Either way, do whatever is necessary to reserve your desired space as quickly as possible. Remember, others are also planning parties, and spaces get booked rather quickly.

If you plan to use an event venue or restaurant as your party space, consider booking the space more than a month in advance. Also, have backup spaces in mind, just in case your first choice is unavailable. The last thing you want is to have to settle for a less than desirable location because there’s no other good choices.

Delegate Tasks

There’s no rule that says one person must do everything related to throwing a holiday party. In fact, this may be too stressful for just one person. Instead, divvy up responsibilities among two, three or more people to make planning go quicker and smoother. This can be something like person A takes care of securing a location and getting decorations. Person B does food and entertainment, while person C oversees party set up and cleaning tasks.

Make a Food Plan

There are two ways to go when it comes to food for parties. You can be formal or casual. Formal settings usually involve a sit-down dinner with dining tables adorned with classy tablecloths, dishes, utensils and holiday centerpieces. Casual affairs feature buffet style food choices, which lean heavily on easy-to-handle foods and snacks. Whether you desire a formal or casual setting, you can go one step further by deciding how food is presented.

Build your own food bar. This popular trend involves setting up tables (food bars) featuring foods that align with a certain culinary theme. Guests are given numerous choices and they can build their plates by selecting whatever foods they wish, just like a buffet. Food bar ideas include fruit or vegetable salads, desserts such as donuts, cookies or cheesecake, nachos, hot dogs and sandwiches.

Classic catering. Hire a local caterer to provide food for the party. Contact various caterers and ask about their holiday menus. Some caterers may also offer food bar options.

Pot luck. Send party invitees a list of food items and ask them to volunteer to bring items on the list. Require them to tell whoever’s in charge of food planning what they intend to bring, so planners can ensure there’s enough food variety.

Leftovers. Food costs money, and one way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste is to supply guests with Chinese take-out boxes for leftovers.

Holiday Party Decor

It’s not a holiday party without festive decorations. Envision how you want the space to look and find decorations that help you create an uplifting atmosphere. This may include indoor and/or outdoor decorations.

Decorative lighting. LED lighting brightens any room or outdoor home or building. You can hang strings of twinkling lights near the ceiling or install holiday character lights outdoors as a fun way to greet guests.

Creative displays. Create festive displays using holiday table top characters or use life-size Santas, elves, gifts and candy canes to wow guests. Large displays are great for group pictures and selfies.