‘Tis the Season to Be Merry
Well, it’s that time of year again – the “Holiday Season” as it is commonly referred to these days. In the author’s younger days, the season was a few frantic days centered around Christmas Day and the New Year celebration; Hogmanay as we called it. It seems that the Holiday Season now extends from Halloween until after the January sales.
Years ago, Halloween, which originated as the Celtic/Druid harvest festival of Samhain morphed into the modern eve of All Hallows’ Day. Then you have Thanksgiving, which is basically another form of a harvest festival celebrated mainly in the U.S. and Canada. It is ironic that in the U.S. it is always celebrated on the last Thursday of November, well after harvest time. This date was fixed by President Lincoln, and makes perfect sense, as he was a genius, and well before commercialism even took off, he must have realized that we needed a time for hysterical shopping halfway between Halloween and Christmas.
But wait, there are more holidays to celebrate during the Holiday Season! Depending upon the phases of the moon, we are sometimes able to include the Muslim holiday of Eid into the Holiday Season, and more commonly, the Hebrew holiday of Hanukkah. On the backside of Christmas day, which is usually on December 25th (some Christian sects may have a different date), we have St. Stephen’s Day. This is celebrated the day after Christmas and in some countries, it’s called Boxing Day, although the only fights you will see that day are in the line for those super bargain items in the stores. Then, up until New Year’s Eve, you have what this author calls Return Days. This is when those unwanted or wrong-sized gifts are returned to the stores. Furthermore, Americans of African descent have introduced a new holiday, Kwanzaa, lasting for the week between Christman Day and New Year’s Day, and is intended to celebrate their African heritage and culture.
So, there we have it. Unless I have missed something, the Holiday Season lasts nearly as long as one of the four seasons of the year. So, why don’t the powers that be just take a month from Fall/Autumn and Winter and make it a fifth season of the year.
Christmas by the numbers.
- In the US, holiday purchases amount for one-sixth of all yearly retail sales.
- It takes about 15 years to grow the average Christman tree.
- Over 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. each year.
- LEGO sets appear to be a popular gift. It appears that 20 LEGO kits are sold each second in December.
- In order to visit every child in one night Santa Claus, would have to get between each house in 0.00002 seconds, making more than 800 million stops in his 250-million-mile journey.
- In 1931, construction workers placed a small undecorated tree at the Rockefeller Center in New York city. Today, the annual tree erected there is decorated with more than 50,000 lights that would stretch for nearly 5 miles.
- All the gifts in the song, the “12 Days of Christmas” would equal 364 gifts. This year, if you still have any money left and have a true love, these gifts are going to cost you a whopping $46,729.86, which I believe is a record. PNC bank, along with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, came up with a slight increase of 2.7% over last year, which dwarfs the 16.2% increase over the two previous years. And this is not taking into consideration transportation costs, unless you use Amazon Prime. Beware of those porch pirates.
- Authors tip for getting rid of all the rubbish generated over the Holiday Season: keep all of your empty Amazon, UPS, USPS and FedEx boxes and just fill them with the garbage, tape them up, leave them on your doorstep, and sooner or later, someone will steal them.
And a Big Thanks
Holiday Season thanks from the Battery Blarney duo of Geoge Pedersen and Allen Byrne to our podcast producers, David Neubert and Jason Pape, and our many guests during the past year. These good folks include Al Warner, Peter DeMar, Dan Lambert, Ed Rafter, Fran Losey, Jeff Donato, and many Eagle Eye Power Solutions employees, and partners.
Byrne’s Irish Dream Recipe
Did You Know…
Fun Facts About the Holiday Season.
Did you know that “Xmas” is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation for “Christmas”? Some people seem to think that the use of the abbreviation is being irreverent by taking the “Christ” out of Christmas. Well, nothing of the sort is intended. “X” is the symbol for the Greek letter Chi and is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. Early Christians used the letter X as a symbol for membership of the Catholic Church.
Did you know that, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, “White Christmas,” sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all, with an estimated sales of over 50 million copies worldwide? That being the clear number one, what do you think comes in second in many polls? If you live in America, the chances are that you have never heard of it. In 1987, a Celtic punk band Called the Pogues came out with a quirky song called, “Fairytale of New York,” which surprisingly, after a slow start, grew on listeners and reached the UK Top records charts on 20 separate occasions. Topping that, in the UK and Ireland, “Fairytale of New York” is the most played non-carol Christmas song of the 21st century. Rolling Stone magazine, rates it at number two on their all-time list. Last Christmas, a British music radio station poll resulted in “Fairy Tale in New York” being the listeners favorite Christmas song for the third year running. This author’s bet is that it will reach number one in the UK charts again this year. Listen to it and you will be surprised.
Another quirky song that has recently become loosely associated with Christmas and has caught this author’s attention is called, “Stop the Cavalry” by Jona Lewie, mainly because of the mention of Christmas and a lively backing by a Salvation Army Band. As they say, Google it and check it out.
Did you know that those in Scotland or certain parts of Ireland celebrate Hogmanay, which is a feast seeing out the past year and welcoming in the new one? With its origins in the Celtic and Norse celebration in the winter solstice, in the modern context, Hogmanay is used more loosely to describe the entire period of the last few days of the old year and the first few days of the new year. If you are a tall dark-haired man, you may be in in particular demand because if you are the first person over the threshold of a home bearing a gift, usually coal, food and whiskey symbolizing sustenance and warmth for that household, the bearer is suitably rewarded and may not last the night.
Did you know that Muslim and Jewish holidays are not on the same day every year of the modern Julian Calendar, which is based on a solar year of 365 days, but are determined by moon phases, with each month beginning at the time of a new moon? In the Islamic Hijri calendar, the Western Holiday Season falls in the year 1445. The Hebrew calendar consists of 12 lunar months per year, which is 354 days. To somewhat get in sync with the Julian calendar, an extra lunar month is added every 2 or 3 years. This must go down well with those that are paid monthly.
Odd Facts about the Holiday Season.
- The song “Jingle Bells” was originally written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas and was called “The One-Horse Open Sleigh.”
- Jewish songwriters and singers have penned some of the most popular Christmas songs, including “White Christmas” and “Rudolpf the Red Nosed Reindeer.”
- If you want to mail a letter to Santa Claus at the North Pole, then you are in luck. Canada has given him his own Postal Code. Yes, seriously, it is HOH OHO!
- The enduring Christmas classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was originally a box office bomb, and it wasn’t until 1974 when the copyright expired, and network TV was able to air it for free, that it became one of the most loved Christmas movies. But when it comes to money, “The Grinch” is the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time, pulling in over $520 million.
Byrne’s Traditional Holiday Fruitcake Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups dried fruit (orange and lemon peel and cherries)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large bottle Jameson’s Irish whiskey
- · Liberally sample the whiskey to check for quality.
- · In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, fruit, and butter. Check the whiskey.
- · Pour level cup of whiskey and sample for consistency. Repeat.
- · Turn on electric mixer.
- · Add sugar and mix.
- · While mixer is running, check whiskey.
- · Turn off mixerer.
- · Break two legs, add to bowl, and chuck fruit.
- · Mix with beater in your large bowel.
- · Sample whiskey for tonsisticity. Repeat.
- · Sift flowers and assault.
- · Ensure that whiskey is ready. Sample again.
- · Sift the lemon juice and strain chopped nuts.
- · Add one table, spoon off the sugar into the whiskey.
- · Turn off beater and butter chopped nuts.
- · Grease the oven and turn the cake tin to 360 degrees.
- · Drink remainder of whiskey.
- · Throw up into mixing bowl and leave to simmer at a medium heat.
- · Pass out for five hours.
- Who the hell likes fruitcake anyhow!!!!
- Happy Holidays.
News From the Nest
The Season of Giving
The Eagle Eye team recently had the heartwarming privilege of shopping for and preparing two meals at the Ronald McDonald House. Our dedicated employees, and some family members, came together to provide a comforting meal for those facing challenging times. The experience was truly humbling. The Eagle Eye team is immensely grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of others, and we look forward to continuing our commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of those around us. We encourage you to share in the experience as well.
Eagle Eye Townhall and Holiday Celebration
We concluded the year with an unforgettable townhall meeting and holiday celebration that brought together our dedicated team and service personnel from across the country. The event was a testament to our commitment to unity and appreciation for the hard work and dedication exhibited by our team throughout the year. Flying in service personnel for this special occasion, the day featured engaging presentations highlighting our achievements and setting the stage for exciting plans ahead. Amidst the festive atmosphere, our team enjoyed a delightful array of food and drinks, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared accomplishment. The celebration continued with lively games that added a touch of fun and friendly competition. As the evening concluded in a shared dinner with family, it underscored the strong bonds forged within the Eagle Eye team. The event not only celebrated our successes but also showcased the importance of collaboration and teamwork that defines our company culture.