Are You a Christmas Person? (Reblog)

While I enjoy certain aspects of Christmas — like caroling and A Charlie Brown Christmas — I approach other parts of the yuletide with this expression:

In my opinion, there are a lot of to-do’s, traffic, travel, and testiness involved with the holidays. However, I want to get into the spirit, so here’s a 10-question, multiple-choice quiz to decide how you measure up on the Xmas spirit-o-meter.

1. When it comes to holiday specials on television, I:

a. Curse at the TV when my regular programming gets preempted and send hate mail to the networks. The silly Christmas saps should be the ones to hunt down their shows, not me.

b. Turn on the TV, discover a special, and happily settle in to watch. Who doesn’t like Santa Claus is Coming to Town?

c. Track when the best specials will air and post a schedule on the refrigerator. I can’t stand the thought of missing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or The Year Without Santa Claus!

d. Own an extensive Christmas library of classics and watch one each day in anticipation of the big day. Heck, I know every word of Frosty the Snowman and You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

2. For holiday decorating, our family:

a. Puts up a tabletop tree and a few stockings. That’s quite enough, thank you. My house isn’t a store display window.

b. Erects a nice Christmas tree with ornaments and a few household decorations about two weeks before. Then we can count down those 12 days of Christmas as presents start to pile under and around the tree.

c. Had a couple of trees, household decor, and outside lights up the day after Thanksgiving. I love this time of the year, and having a festive house is one way to amp up the holiday spirit and have a welcoming environment for our annual Christmas party.

d. Decorate several trees around the house, each with its own theme, and receive complaints from the neighbors about our extensive light show. But the families who come by in cars and slow down to look seem to like it a lot!

3. When it comes to cooking, my idea of holiday baking is:

a. Picking up rumballs at the local bakery for the office party. Those babies are good any time of year.

b. Baking and decorating Christmas cookies with my kids in the shapes of trees, wreaths, and Santa Claus. They especially enjoy sprinkles.

c. Hosting a party or two with fresh-baked goodies and handing out homemade bread and candy as gifts to family and friends.

d. Turning my kitchen into a Paula Deen playground for a couple of weeks beforehand. This is the best time to make breads, pies, fruitcake, and cookies. I have several holiday cookbooks that I put to good use during the Christmas season.

4. My favorite holiday movie is:

a. Die Hard – Terrorists interrupting a Christmas Eve party and Bruce Willis getting revenge? What could possibly compete?

b. A Christmas Story – Getting the toy you want for Christmas? Who can’t relate to this classic theme and its humor?

c. It’s a Wonderful Life – I love that part when Bedford Falls gathers at the house and Clarence gets his wings.

d. Miracle on 34th Street – Santa Claus is REAL. And if you don’t believe, you don’t receive.

5. Some people like to dress Christmas-y this time of year, and I:

a. Mock their dorky Christmas sweaters and Santa Claus hats, in person, on Facebook, and on Twitter. What are those fools thinking?

b. Have one nice Christmas sweater that I bring out to wear to the office or church party.

c. Own Christmas shirts, some holiday jewelry, and a set of red-and-green plaid pajamas to help me get into the seasonal swing.

d. Wear something festive every day in December, put Rudolph antlers on the dog, and have everyone pose in their brand-new Christmas pajamas for our annual family Christmas photo.

6. Santa Claus is:

a. The delusional character we invented to scare kids into behaving the rest of the year.

b. A jolly fictional character represented by seasonal workers in the mall who welcome little children onto their laps to rattle off their wish lists.

c. A fairytale figure who inspires us to be more generous toward others, especially toward little children.

d. The man who lives at the North Pole, has a workshop of elves, and visits every single child on Christmas night with his magical sleigh and flying reindeer.

7. On Black Friday, you could find me:

a. Snoozing in until 12:00 noon, then holing up at my house with a remote control and football on television. Let the idiots shop ’til they drop while I drink beer, eat leftover turkey, and yell at stupid referees.

b. Checking the flyers and websites for good deals, then concluding I don’t have the appropriate body armor for the trip. Maybe one day I’ll brace myself and venture out on that crazy shopping day.

c. Out for a couple of hours with friends or family to catch a few deals. I bought the latest electronic for 60% off (which the rest of you will only get for 50% off later).

d. Camped outside the store since midnight the night before, filing my fingernails into claw shape, and drawing a diagram strategy for me and my team to rush in and grab the best deals first.

8. When I see mistletoe, I:

a. Yank it down. I’m allergic, and what do a bunch of leaves have to do with whether I get lucky anyway.

b. Smile at the sweet notion that someone might get kissed underneath. For myself, it’s never worked any wonders, though.

c. Find my honey and plant a big smooch on  him. Why not use mistletoe as an excuse to get some lip-locking?

d. Drag everyone in my family underneath and give them a big kiss. Then hang some at my workplace to kiss that handsome coworker three cubicles down from me and the delicious Corrigan water guy. That’s what mistletoe is for, baby!

9. My favorite Christmas carol is:

a. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. That song cracks me up.

b. Santa Claus is Coming to Town. That’s what this season is about.

c. O Holy Night. It’s a classic.

d. A toss-up between The Twelve Days of Christmas and Handel’s Messiah. The first helps me count down those precious days until Christmas arrives, while the second must be heard in its entirety to revel in the Christmas spirit.

10. My feelings about this quiz can be summed up as:

a. Can I have my 10 minutes back? This was a total waste of my time.

b. Cute, but I could have used the time for online holiday shopping.

c. Fun to take this quiz and start thinking about the Christmas spirit.

d. Are you kidding? I love EVERYTHING Christmas – even quizzes!

SCORING: Count up your a’s, b’s, c’s, and d’s. Which letter got the most answers?

from A Christmas Carol (2009)

Mostly a’sSCROOGE. On Christmas Eve, be prepared to be visited by three scary ghosts who need to jolt you into a little show of humanity and Christmas spirit. Drop the “Bah hum bug” attitude and find your inner elf.

from Yes, Virginia (2009)

Mostly b’sVIRGINIA. You have some doubts about this season, but you know deep down that “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Still, you might want to take a Christmas lights tour or visit a Nativity scene to get yourself more excited about the holidays.

from How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Mostly c’sMAX. You understand that Christmas isn’t perfect, but you are determined to get into the spirit and have a great season no matter what. Put on that smile and pull the sleigh. It will all work out in the end!

From http://www.dragoart.com

Mostly d’sELF. You belong at the North Pole year-round just getting ready for Christmas — the best day of the year. Santa Claus is accepting applications for toybuilders, and I will happily write you a recommendation letter.

 

 

So are you a Christmas person? Hanukkah person? Perhaps something else?

Merry Christmas!

Post first published December 2011.

If Dickens Tweeted

Sometime ago, I started a category of posts called If ___ Tweeted, in which I share what people would have tweeted. For instance, what would Winston Churchill, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Alfred Hitchcock say if they’d had access to Twitter? I can guess, by gathering quotations of 120 characters or less.

Now being a bit of a Scrooge myself until about two weeks before Christmas, I’ve been thinking I might need to re-read, or re-watch, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. And since his name comes up so often around the holiday season, I wondered what Dickens would say . . . if he tweeted. (And as it turns out, several are perfect for the holiday season!)

Dickens Fake Tweet

 

  1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. #BlackFriday
  2. There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.
  3. The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.
  4. A multitude of people, and yet a solitude! #introvertatthemall
  5. But charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.
  6. No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.
  7. I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
  8. In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.
  9. There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.
  10. It’s a mad world. Mad as Bedlam, boy! #standingintheSantaline
  11. A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.
  12. No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.
  13. He would make a lovely corpse. #elfonshelfcreepsmeout
  14. Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.
  15. What greater gift than the love of a cat?
  16. Every traveller has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering. #holidaytrip
  17. I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.
  18. Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies. #nopeekingbeforeChristmas
  19. For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.
  20. God bless us, every one!

Sources: BrainyQuote; Wikiquote; Mental Floss; Victorian Web; Quote Investigator; Charles Dickens Info; Goodreads

Which quote is your favorite? And what other quotes from Charles Dickens do you enjoy?

The Twelve Days of Writer Christmas

Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what we can discover.

A couple of years ago, I translated some Christmas carol lyrics by updating them to today’s vernacular. And last year, I treated my writer friends to my own version of “Santa Baby.” This year, I’ve got another Christmas song in my head. It’s quite possibly the oddest traditional carol in our Christmas playlist: “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Partridge in a pear tree
Partridge in a Pear Tree
Pic credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Why is it so odd?

Well, when’s the last time you opened up a present from under the tree and two turtledoves flew out? Or had six geese a-laying for your yuletide? And don’t even get me started on the ten lords a-leaping!

As a holiday wish to my fellow writers, and anyone else who’s tuning in (good to see you!), I decided to craft an updated, writer’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” But I need your help!

I’m stumped on the ninth day of Christmas. So give me your ideas (remembering the rhythm of the tune, of course). As you read, remember that things get better the closer you get to Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A long weekend writing retreat

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two critique partners and a long weekend writing retreat

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Seven conference invites, six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight interviews, seven conference invites, six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine ______________, eight interviews, seven conference invites, six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Ten book signings, nine _____________, eight interviews, seven conference invites, six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven glowing reviews, ten book signings, nine _____________, eight interviews, seven conference invites, six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve bestsellers, eleven glowing reviews, ten book signings, nine _____________, eight interviews, seven conference invites, six-figure sales, a five-book contract! Four agent offers, three contest wins, two critique partners, and a long weekend writing retreat

I don’t know what’s really on your Christmas wish list this year. But I hope it’s something better than a partridge in a pear tree.

Have a lovely holiday season!

Which day is your favorite of the original Twelve Days of Christmas? And what’s your idea for my ninth day of Christmas

Getting into the Christmas Spirit, or Fighting My Inner Grinch

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.

Here’s a doozy I’ve learned: Not everyone really likes the holiday season.

Say, for instance, me.

I do eventually get excited about Christmas, but it’s often about a week before the holiday arrives. Meanwhile, there has been a flurry of activity around me for weeks — what with decorations and displays, Christmas cards, Santa in the mall, well-wishes of “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” from store employees and Salvation Army bell ringers, holiday-themed shows and movies, everyone‘s renditions of Christmas carols playing on the radio, and invitations to holiday parties. Compared to people who adore these long weeks of holiday cheer, I’m like the Grinch.

Grinch

Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot…

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!

I’m pretty sure I live South of Who-ville, but still . . . I struggle to get all that excited about Christmas.

So this year, I have a plan! After all, I don’t want to be in the same camp with creatures whose hearts are “two sizes too small.” I’m really a nice person — just not a holiday person. Anyway, here’s my strategy for getting into the Christmas spirit, or fighting my Inner Grinch:

Only Christmas music I like. Rather than groaning at Johnny Mathis songs or wondering why the latest one-hit pop wonder must record their own (bad) version of “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” I will find and play holiday music that I love. I’ll load up my iPod with a Christmas playlist that puts a smile on my face and a skip in my feet. I’ll collect the best of the best and download songs guaranteed to infuse me with holiday happiness.

Simple decorations. My pre-lit tree will go up today, and I will hang decorations on the tree and around the house that are simple and pretty. My husband already put up the outside lights (what a guy!), so we’re good on that front. But anything that doesn’t really add to the holiday spirit of my house can stay in the storage box this year.

Less mall, more Etsy. All too often, I get sucked into hunting down the perfect gift for someone in the overcrowded mall where I spent 20 minutes just finding a parking space. Or I end up standing at the gift card kiosk in the grocery store, trying to decide whether the restaurant card or the clothing store card would be better for someone on my list.

I want more personal, well-considered gifts for my loved ones. So while I’ve done a little shopping in regular stores or popular online retailers, I’ve been looking for different gifts this year, items that are unusual or customized or exactly the kind of thing I can see X falling in love with. Even the gift cards are based on the location and personality of the recipient (like from a local business where they live).

Quality time with my favorite people. Thankfully, I have a lot of favorite people, so I shouldn’t have a hard time filling my dance card, so to speak. But the holidays always seem to end up as a long to-do list to check off with me focusing on tasks rather than people. Instead, I want to carve out time to hang out with those I enjoy and let them know how much I enjoy them.

This may involve fewer gifts purchased and more family drives to look at lights or hosting people in my home (and not worrying about the mess) or watching holiday movies with friends and family. But it’s a season of blessings, and I want to savor the blessings of the wonderful people I have in my life.

Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas early this year. It never fails. Just when I think I’m going to push right through December 25 with my Inner Grinch intact, A Charlie Brown Christmas airs and I’m knocked from naysayer to caroler in less than a half hour. “Hark the herald angels sing!” So this year, I won’t wait. I’ll start the season with the Peanuts gang and get in the holiday mood.

Now let’s get into the A Round of Words in 80 Days mood. Here’s this Sunday’s progress report.

ROW80 Update

1. Finish YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, by completing three chapters each week. I did work on this, though not all three chapters. I spent a while researching archetypes, a la Christopher Vogler, to get more clarity for a specific character, which took me off track from the writing but is likely to beef up the story and save me time in the long run.

2. Take Short Stories 101 course from Young Adult RWA. Not only did I take the course and then write, edit, and polish a young adult short story, I wrote another. Yep, this past week I completed the first draft of another teen paranormal short. I took an idea I’d had for a novel a couple of years ago and switched it to a short story plot. I absolutely love how it came together! So, 13,000+ words on that front.

3. 10 3 fiction books and 2 -1 nonfiction books. I finished Grace-Filled Marriage by Tim Kimmel, the third nonfiction book I’ve read this round. I also read Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett and then Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

Also read this round: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, Dangerous and Unseemly by K.B. Owen, Taking Chances by S.J. Maylee, Haunted Spouse by Heather MacAllister (all fiction), and Breasts by Florence Williams and Competability: Solving Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household by Amy Shojai (nonfiction).

Do you battle “Inner Grinch” syndrome? What do you do to get into the holiday spirit? And how was your first week of December?

If the holidays really are a difficult time for you (and they are for many), author Kassandra Lamb has some great suggestions in her recent blog post, Bah Hambug Deux.

Christmas Song and Belated #ROW80 Update

Santa Baby, slip a laptop under the tree
For me
Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa Baby, a literary agent or two
To argue
Over my stunning debut
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of I’ve the fun I’ve missed
Think of all the social invitations I dissed
Next NaNoWriMo I could write just as good
If you’d check off my Christmas list

Santa baby, I want a spot
In Amazon’s shop, the top
Been an angel all year
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, there’s one thing I really do need
A lead
On a six-figure deal
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, fill my stocking with royalty checks
What’s next?
I’ll sign my X on the line
Santa cutie, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With shiny book covers for my trilogy
I really do believe in you
Let’s see if you believe in me

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing
A string
Of movies made from my books
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry, tonight

ROW80 Update

My goals were a bit fluid this round, but here’s a summary of what I accomplished.

Writing & Editing

  • Posted three times a week: Sunday ROW80 updates, Amazing Words Wednesdays, and Deep-Fried Fridays.
  • Interviewed four guests for my blog.
  • Wrote one short story and submitted it to an open request for an anthology.
  • Wrote a couple of chapters on another short story.
  • Rewrote one-fourth of SHARING HUNTER, a young adult contemporary novel.
  • Started a young adult mystery, the first of THE PK MYSTERIES (Everyone know what a “PK” is?). The novel stands at 23,549 words.

Learning

Reading

  • Read seven fiction books, one non-fiction book, and two short stories.
  • Read 5,129 blog posts. Okay, not really, but I know there were a lot of great posts I read during this round.

Miscellaneous

  • Exercised, then pulled a calf muscle, then exercised a little–nothing really worth patting me on the back for.
  • Sorted through numerous pictures and came within a few pages of finishing a family scrapbook.

I didn’t accomplish my biggest goal of rewriting SHARING HUNTER. But a few weeks in, I discovered some issues in the novel that I needed to think through and resolve before I pounded out another full draft.

I had been feeling frustrated that I didn’t knock that goal out. But when I made that list above, it sunk in what I’ve said to other ROWers before: Even you I don’t accomplish all of your original goals, you can make a lot of progress with A Round of Words in 80 Days. I did far more than I realized.

I will be back for ROW80 in 2013. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

A Few of My Favorite Things: Holiday Edition

One more holiday-themed post before we get back to the regular programming. Here on Deep-Fried Friday, I like making lists. Top 10 Lists. So “raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens,” yada-yada-yada . . . a few of my favorite things around the holidays:

10. Nutcrackers. I don’t even own a nutcracker, although I wish someone would get me one already. But I love seeing all of the variations of the wooden nutcrackers around the holidays. (This does not mean that I like that ballet, however. I never really understood that story.)

pic from http://www.nutcrackermania.com

 9. Wassail. I love this hot spice-laden beverage that warms your whole body throughout. I have never made the mulled punch myself, although I think I should give Christine Ashworth’s mulled wine a try too.

pic from http://www.tasteofhome.com

8. Christmas Lights Reflected in Water. I enjoy Christmas lights around town and in my neighborhood. But growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, I loved when people strung lights on their boats at the T-heads (harbor).

I also delighted in seeing the lights on the San Antonio Riverwalk – which are always lit in a celebration the day after Thanksgiving.

There is something not only about the bright lights, but the way they reflect upon the water that moves me. Now I may to take a trip to Kemah or Galveston to check out the lights there.

7. Hallelujah Chorus. I was in my high school choir, and we had a tradition of singing The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah at the end of every Christmas concert. Alumni were invited to come up and join in, if you could still reach all of those notes somehow. I find the lyrics and music uplifting. If the song ever comes on, I sing with it at the top of my lungs. Watch out, people!

Here’s an interesting version:

6. Holiday Parties. I know that some of them are obligatory. But they can also be quite fun! I’ve attended some great get-togethers over the years – from office parties to Christmas progressive dinners to my personal favorite, a New Year’s Eve fondue party. There is a festive spirit at such gatherings, with Christmas carols in the background, decorations all around, yummy food, and a chance to connect socially.

5. My kids’ excitement. Yes, this ranks somewhere in the middle. On one hand, it’s so much more fun to have Santa Claus and Christmas with a wide-eyed 6 – or even 14 – year old in your house! However, children are by nature impatient little creatures. They count down the Advent calendar like it’s a NASA liftoff. And to them, I suppose it does feel a bit explosive when the day finally arrives. Still, seeing the holiday season through children’s eyes gives it a sense of wonder that I hadn’t felt since . . . well, since I was a child.

Not my kid, but ain't she cute?

4. Christmas Carols. Beyond Hallelujah Chorus, there is a slew of great music out there for the holidays. Personally, I like the more traditional stuff best: Bing Crosby crooning White Christmas, Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside, and literally anything by Dean Martin. But there is also room in my playlist for such great songs like The Carpenters’ Merry Christmas, Darling, Harry Connick Jr.’s What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve, Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Cynthia Basinet’s Santa Baby, and the recent She & Him version of The Christmas Waltz. My favorite Christmas carol, however, is O Holy Night, and I love the rendition by Martina McBride. Here’s an acapella version from McBride on Opry Live. Wow.

3. Hubby Off Work. My husband usually gets several days off work at the end of the year. It’s a nice change to have him around, and we get quality time with our kids and with each other. I’d post a picture of the hunky hubs here, but I’m saving it for Roni Loren’s Boyfriend of the Week someday. 😉

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Although I liken myself to the Grinch at times during the holiday season, every December I aspire to be more like Linus in understanding the true meaning of Christmas. I love the whole show written by the brilliant Charles M. Schulz, but this monologue is the best part:

1. Friends and Family. I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life, and that number has grown in this year of blogging, tweeting, and meeting fellow authors. I have also reconnected with high school and college friends in the last few years. My circle is growing, and it includes some amazing people.

There are some who dread this time of year because it reminds them of their loneliness. I hope that we can reach out to our loved ones and to others and treasure them more than the gifts we receive this season.

Your turn: What are a few of your favorite things over the holidays?

Translating Christmas Carols

As part of my personal effort to get into the holiday spirit (see my Are You a Christmas Person? quiz), I thought I’d take a couple of classic Christmas carols and translate them for Amaze-ing Words Wednesday. After all, when’s the last time “Ron yon virgin, mother and child” slipped out as a part of regular speech? And yet, there it is, in the classic Silent Night lyrics.

Plenty of our holiday songs came from many years ago when language was more stilted or included words we no longer use in the same way (“Don we now our gay apparel”? – Deck the Halls)

So, without further ado, here is my first choice of a classic carol that could use a newly worded version:

Angels We Have Heard on High

Original Lyrics

My 2011 Translation

Angels we have heard on high We hear angels in the sky
Sweetly singing o’er the plain They sound good up there over the field
And the mountains in reply It sounds like someone’s answering in the mountains
Echoing their glorious strain It’s an echo of the song they’re singing
Gloria, in excelsis deo Glory be! Highest glory to God
Gloria, in excelsis deo Glory be! Highest glory to God

For my second choice, let’s take a look at God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (a song I never understood as a child):

Original Lyrics

My 2011 Translation

God rest ye merry, gentlemen May God keep you happy, guys
Let nothing you dismay Don’t let anything get you down
Remember Christ our Savior Remember that Christ who saves us
Was born on Christmas day Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power He came to save us from the devil and his power
When we were gone astray When we were really far from God
Oh tidings of comfort and joy It’s news to comfort you and make you joyful
Comfort and joy Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy Yep, news to comfort you and make you joyful

What other Christmas carols or holiday songs do we sing during this season with antiquated language? What specific lyrics come to mind that don’t make much sense with the English we speak today? How would you translate an old carol?

And to end this post about Christmas carols with a little treat, here’s a fun song a terrific friend shared with me – Straight No Chaser’s Christmas Can-Can:

Are You a Christmas Person?

It’s been a while since I gave a quiz. With the holiday season underway, today’s Deep-Fried Friday asks “Are you a Christmas person?”

While I enjoy certain aspects of Christmas – like caroling and A Charlie Brown Christmas – I approach other parts of the yuletide with this expression:

In my opinion, there are a lot of to-do’s, traffic, travel, and testiness involved with the holidays. However, I want to get into the spirit, so here’s a 10-question, multiple-choice quiz to decide how you measure up on the Xmas spirit-o-meter.

1. When it comes to holiday specials on television, I:

a. Curse at the TV when my regular programming gets preempted and send hate mail to the networks. The silly Christmas saps should be the ones to hunt down their shows, not me.

b. Turn on the TV, discover a special, and happily settle in to watch. Who doesn’t like Santa Claus is Coming to Town?

c. Track when the best specials will air and post a schedule on the refrigerator. I can’t stand the thought of missing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or The Year Without Santa Claus!

d. Own an extensive Christmas library of classics and watch one each day in anticipation of the big day. Heck, I know every word of Frosty the Snowman and You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

2. For holiday decorating, our family:

a. Puts up a tabletop tree and a few stockings. That’s quite enough, thank you. My house isn’t a store display window.

b. Erects a nice Christmas tree with ornaments and a few household decorations about two weeks before. Then we can count down those 12 days of Christmas as presents start to pile under and around the tree.

c. Had a couple of trees, household decor, and outside lights up the day after Thanksgiving. I love this time of the year, and having a festive house is one way to amp up the holiday spirit and have a welcoming environment for our annual Christmas party.

d. Decorate several trees around the house, each with its own theme, and receive complaints from the neighbors about our extensive light show. But the families who come by in cars and slow down to look seem to like it a lot!

3. When it comes to cooking, my idea of holiday baking is:

a. Picking up rumballs at the local bakery for the office party. Those babies are good any time of year.

b. Baking and decorating Christmas cookies with my kids in the shapes of trees, wreaths, and Santa Claus. They especially enjoy sprinkles.

c. Hosting a party or two with fresh-baked goodies and handing out homemade bread and candy as gifts to family and friends.

d. Turning my kitchen into a Paula Deen playground for a couple of weeks beforehand. This is the best time to make breads, pies, fruitcake, and cookies. I have several holiday cookbooks that I put to good use during the Christmas season.

4. My favorite holiday movie is:

a. Die Hard – Terrorists interrupting a Christmas Eve party and Bruce Willis getting revenge? What could possibly compete?

b. A Christmas Story – Getting the toy you want for Christmas? Who can’t relate to this classic theme and its humor?

c. It’s a Wonderful Life – I love that part when Bedford Falls gathers at the house and Clarence gets his wings.

d. Miracle on 34th Street – Santa Claus is REAL. And if you don’t believe, you don’t receive.

5. Some people like to dress Christmas-y this time of year, and I:

a. Mock their dorky Christmas sweaters and Santa Claus hats, in person, on Facebook, and on Twitter. What are those fools thinking?

b. Have one nice Christmas sweater that I bring out to wear to the office or church party.

c. Own Christmas shirts, some holiday jewelry, and a set of red-and-green plaid pajamas to help me get into the seasonal swing.

d. Wear something festive every day in December, put Rudolph antlers on the dog, and have everyone pose in their brand-new Christmas pajamas for our annual family Christmas photo.

6. Santa Claus is:

a. The delusional character we invented to scare kids into behaving the rest of the year.

b. A jolly fictional character represented by seasonal workers in the mall who welcome little children onto their laps to rattle off their wish lists.

c. A fairytale figure who inspires us to be more generous toward others, especially toward little children.

d. The man who lives at the North Pole, has a workshop of elves, and visits every single child on Christmas night with his magical sleigh and flying reindeer.

7. On Black Friday, you could find me:

a. Snoozing in until 12:00 noon, then holing up at my house with a remote control and football on television. Let the idiots shop ’til they drop while I drink beer, eat leftover turkey, and yell at stupid referees.

b. Checking the flyers and websites for good deals, then concluding I don’t have the appropriate body armor for the trip. Maybe one day I’ll brace myself and venture out on that crazy shopping day.

c. Out for a couple of hours with friends or family to catch a few deals. I bought the latest electronic for 60% off (which the rest of you will only get for 50% off later).

d. Camped outside the store since midnight the night before, filing my fingernails into claw shape, and drawing a diagram strategy for me and my team to rush in and grab the best deals first.

8. When I see mistletoe, I:

a. Yank it down. I’m allergic, and what do a bunch of leaves have to do with whether I get lucky anyway.

b. Smile at the sweet notion that someone might get kissed underneath. For myself, it’s never worked any wonders, though.

c. Find my honey and plant a big smooch on  him. Why not use mistletoe as an excuse to get some lip-locking?

d. Drag everyone in my family underneath and give them a big kiss. Then hang some at my workplace to kiss that handsome coworker three cubicles down from me and the delicious Corrigan water guy. That’s what mistletoe is for, baby!

9. My favorite Christmas carol is:

a. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. That song cracks me up.

b. Santa Claus is Coming to Town. That’s what this season is about.

c. O Holy Night. It’s a classic.

d. A toss-up between The Twelve Days of Christmas and Handel’s Messiah. The first helps me count down those precious days until Christmas arrives, while the second must be heard in its entirety to revel in the Christmas spirit.

10. My feelings about this quiz can be summed up as:

a. Can I have my 10 minutes back? This was a total waste of my time.

b. Cute, but I could have used the time for online holiday shopping.

c. Fun to take this quiz and start thinking about the Christmas spirit.

d. Are you kidding? I love EVERYTHING Christmas – even quizzes!

SCORING: Count up your a’s, b’s, c’s, and d’s. Which letter got the most answers?

from A Christmas Carol (2009)

Mostly a’sSCROOGE. On Christmas Eve, be prepared to be visited by three scary ghosts who need to jolt you into a little show of humanity and Christmas spirit. Drop the “Bah hum bug” attitude and find your inner elf.

from Yes, Virginia (2009)

Mostly b’sVIRGINIA. You have some doubts about this season, but you know deep down that “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Still, you might want to take a Christmas lights tour or visit a Nativity scene to get yourself more excited about the holidays.

from How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Mostly c’sMAX. You understand that Christmas isn’t perfect, but you are determined to get into the spirit and have a great season no matter what. Put on that smile and pull the sleigh. It will all work out in the end!

From http://www.dragoart.com

Mostly d’sELF. You belong at the North Pole year-round just getting ready for Christmas – the best day of the year. Santa Claus is accepting applications for toybuilders, and I will happily write you a recommendation letter.

Best wishes as you try to rev up for the holidays in whatever way you celebrate! So let me know, are you a Christmas person? Are you a Hanukkah person? Or perhaps something else?