Holiday idea tips

December 8, 2009 I have no idea where most of 2009 went. It’s rather hard to believe there are 17 days to Christmas, but then again I say that year after year. Since Christmas is the same day each year, no one can really say it snuck up on us. I’m always looking for a few time-saving tips for the holidays, and here are a few I thought I’d share with all of you:• My mom uses her lunch hour to run Christmas shopping errands. She also brings all her wrapping paper, tape, tags, etc., to her office so on the days she’s not out shopping, she can wrap gifts and doesn’t fall behind.

In need of a ‘Makeover’?

December 7, 2009 After six years ABC’s “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” looks like it’s the one in need of a makeover. The Dr. Brian Wofford family of California is one of many families at risk of losing their homes since being helped by the TV show that finds a “deserving” family and replaces their old home with a new one. Their story was featured last week as one of’s top stories.

Angels sing — or maybe not

December 4, 2009 ’Twas the nightmare before Christmas late last month for Michael Stratechuk of Maplewood, N.J., when a federal appeals court upheld a local school district policy barring religious music from school events during the holiday season.

They all discovered America

December 3, 2009 Charles Michael Boland got it right in his 1961 book “They All Discovered America” (Doubleday & Co., New York).Not everything right, but overall, Boland hits the nail on the head with his meticulous research, excellent writing and knowledge of the numerous discoverers (before Columbus) of this land now called America, or Americas actually (North and South).

Socially conscious toys for tots

December 2, 2009 Ah, the Christmas season is upon us. What better time to make our children more socially and environmentally aware.I refer to an interesting item in The National Post: More toymakers are producing products designed to make children sensitive to important issues.Little Billy wants a truck this year? How about a bright green recycling truck made from recycled milk jugs?Little Susie wants a doll? How about the American Girl doll? The doll and her single mother are homeless and live in the back seat of a car.

Time for old, new traditions

December 1, 2009 It’s that time of year where folks are pulling out their Christmas trees (if they haven’t already) and start reminiscing about holiday traditions.

Christmas at Graceland

November 30, 2009 Nothing kicks off the Christmas season better for me than the lights of Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis.And, it did just that Nov. 20 with a lighting ceremony and special guests Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Richard Marx and children from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I wasn’t there this year, but in some ways it felt like I was thanks to a Graceland Web cam and live streaming video and audio as Marx and the children flipped a big red switch to make the lights come on.

Nickname came from made-up lyrics

November 27, 2009 “Bulger” Jeffery, born in 1875 at Mount Olive in Izard County, got his nickname as a result of a songfest connected with an old-time camp meeting when Bulger but was a mere lad, according to an article in the Spring 1973, Vol. II, No. 4 edition of The Jeffery Quarterly.His actual name was Robert E. Jeffery.Written by Bulger’s grandson, Hugh E. Jeffery of Brea, Calif., the article tells how young Robert E. liked to sing but was not always sure of the words that made up particular songs, especially old hymns.

Dealing with flawed families

November 25, 2009 It’s the late-night, whispered conversation between you and your spouse when you’re finally alone in the bedroom after an exhausting day of dealing with family holiday drama.“You’ve got to talk to her,” hisses the wife, who has been counting the days until the “holiday” is over.“She’s just trying to be helpful,” says the conflict-avoider husband, who by this point in the visit has started to measure his time in minutes.“How is criticizing everything I do helpful?” the wife seethes.