Monday, December 02, 2013

Christmas Around the World and At Home

Started off the morning with Rick Steves' European Christmas while I ate breakfast. Rick and his family visit countries throughout Europe, exploring how many different cultures, from choirs in England to adorable St. Lucias and angels in Norway to living nativities in Italy, celebrate the holidays. I began my holiday celebrations by finishing out the dusting in the living room.

I left for work as soon as Rick Steves ended. Work was actually rather quiet for most of the afternoon. I spent a lot of the day organizing shelves that were looking more than a little decimated from last week's crowds. It did pick up by rush hour, but I didn't have to deal with the crowds for too long, thanks to my relief being on time. Other than some grumpy people, there were no major problems.

I had a harder time getting to and from work. The chain came off my bike again about half-way through the ride there. I just made it in under the wire! Thankfully, I ran into a neighbor on Kendall as I was walking home who was able to help me get the chain back on.

When I got home, I put on my Max & Ruby Christmas episodes as I made a quick dinner of baked salmon and Brussels sprouts and mashed cauliflower. Ruby wants to find the perfect gift for Grandma in "Grandma's Present." Max knows what Grandma wants, but can he ever get Ruby's attention? Ruby and Max work together to decorate the perfect tree in their own way in "Max & Ruby's Christmas Tree." Max wants to go out in a blizzard in "Max's Snow Day," but Ruby thinks it would be the perfect day to do inside games. Max wants to stay outside and sled all day in "Max's Mix Up," but Ruby wants to go inside. Max finds a very sneaky way to remain outdoors! And in "Max's Sugar Plums," Ruby and Louise want to perform the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies for Grandma, but they can't figure out pirouettes. All Max cares about is that box of sugar plums Ruby keeps insisting is for after their dance.

After dinner, I quickly finished the remaining dusting in my bedroom. Good thing I just dusted a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't that bad. After that was done, I pulled out the felt Santa Bag filled with all the oversized Christmas decorations and things that need to go out first. The wreath went on the door. The nativity is on the music area table. (I had to move that big red vase to the junk dresser.)  The poinsettia placemats and the red and green woven coasters went on the dining area table. All of the greenery garlands are over the windows or attached to the baker's rack. The big gold tinsel garland was arranged decoratively on top of one of the DVD shelves in the entertainment area. I wasn't going to try wrapping it around the CD rack again, like I did last year. The CD shelf is too squeezed between record crates for that to work.

I ran a couple of quick Christmas specials as I finished my decorating. Papa Bear and the cubs are looking forward to some tree-trimming of their own in The Bernstein Bears' Christmas Tree. Papa is determined to find a tree in the wilderness, not some lot. What he forgets is that other animals have Christmas celebrations, too. He keeps finding trees with celebrating animals, until he and the cubs finally realize that the holidays are about a lot more than trees and pink plastic stars.

The Looney Tunes have more fun with their holiday adventures in "Bugs Bunny's Christmas Tales," a Chuck Jones-animated anthology of original shorts. The first short is an abbreviated version of A Christmas Carol, with Yosemite Sam as Scrooge, Porky and Petunia Pig as the Cratchets, and Bugs as a very crafty Nephew Fred. The second takes us to an unusually snowy desert for some Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner winter-themed antics. The third has the Tasmanian Devil end up in a Santa suit and appear in Bugs' house on Christmas Eve.

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