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#WQWWC #52: Festive Celebrating

Celebrating: This Is Always Write’s 1,400th Post

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This weekly writing challenge runs from Wednesday through Tuesday. The only rule is to use a quote. If you want to participate, create a pingback to link your post. Not sure how to do that? See how to create pingbacks here. Be sure to link to the most recent post, not my page. I don’t see links to my page. 

#WQWWC #52 – Topic: Festive Celebrating

Definition: Festive: Cheerful, jovial, celebratory synonyms: jollyjolly · merry · joyous · joyful · happy · jovial · lighthearted · cheerful · cheery · jubilant · convivial · good-time · high-spirited · gleeful · mirthful · uproarious 

Other Challenges

Today, along with #WQWWC, I’m combining Amy’s LAPC #177, “Celebrating,” along with Sunday Stills – “Christmas Song Lyric Challenge“. I also want to include Jez’s Challenge, “Fan Of.”

My Celebratory Choices for This Week

I’m a fan of Christmas, but not a superior decorator. I enjoy visiting others and seeing their decorative choices rather than creating our own for a few to see.

“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.”

–John Boswell

In Woodlake, the entire town came out for the Christmas parade. Along the way, we also enjoyed how people decorated their yards.

“Love the giver more than the gift.”

–Brigham Young
Woodlake Kiwanis Toys for Joy program

Friends from different service organizations, the Woodlake schools, and churches came together to provide a way for parents in need to pick out some beautiful gifts for their children.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

–Hamilton Wright Mabie

Many from Prescott and Prescott Valley come together for the lighting of Courthouse Square. The place for judgment becomes the place of beauty and joy during December.

“You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

–Maya Angelou

I laughed out loud at this quote. I am the worst offender, falling prey to frustration without using festive words to make it go away.

I grab the tangled sparkles away from my husband who stands perpetually fiddling with them. After giving them a good shake, I drop them on the floor. Then, finding one end that looks friendly, I start twisting and turning until I have a long string of lights. I immediately wrap the string of lights around my arm tangling it once again. Then we pass the retangled lariat of lights around the tree, fighting with our artistic fingers over which limb needs the light most. When it’s time to attach the next bunch, we discover that we started at the wrong end and there’s no place to plug in the next strand.

We saved $20 over the pre-strung Christmas tree. 🙂

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

–Edith Sitwell

It looks colder than it is with this plastic snowman. That’s as close as we could get in Central California to a white Christmas.

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.”

–Mary Ellen Chase

What was really strange to me was department store Christmas windows filled with scenes of summer Christmas barbeques in Melbourn, Australia.

Sunday Stills: A Christmas Story and the Song

For Terri’s Sunday Stills post today, I’m sharing a 2008 version of a very old Christmas song our pastor shared at the end of his sermon today. The lyrics are embedded in the video. This version and the story of Longfellow made the song even more meaningful to me than it had been.

Christmas Day was written by Longfellow in 1864 at the end of the Civil War when peace was yet a dream. His own life had been troubled in the three years prior to that time. In 1861 his wife, Fanny was saving curls cut from their little girl’s curls. In the process, she dripped sealing wax on her dress. It started to smolder, and a gust fanned it into flames. She ran out of the room to save her daughters. Henry W. Longfellow tried to put out the fire, but even throwing himself over her only burnt him, and did not save her life. His December journal that year reflected his grim outlook and sad memories.

Two years later his eldest son was severely injured in the Civil War. He penned this poem on Christmas day, 1863.

Christmas Day

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

December 25, 1863

“The English organist, John Baptiste Calkin, used the poem in a processional accompanied with a melody “Waltham” that he previously used as early as 1848. The Calkin version of the carol was long the standard. Less commonly, the poem has also been set to Joseph Mainzer’s 1845 composition “Mainzer”. Other melodies have been composed more recently, most notably in 1956 by Johnny Marks.Wikipedia

Many feel that way today about holidays. It is hard to celebrate right after losing a loved one or during other hardships in your life. If you are struggling with loss or sorrow, let the words of the poet soothe your emotions knowing that he too suffered greatly as he wrote this poem.

The Cedarmont Kids sang the first tune written by John Baptiste Calkin in 1848. This was the standby tune for many years.

This is the third version written by Johnny Marks in 1956. You have probably heard at least these two. I was not able to find the second version. Many famous recording artists recorded this version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

Now it’s your turn.

Tell us what you are celebrating or why it is hard to celebrate this year. Thanks so much for stopping by and having fun with quotes. Have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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63 replies »

  1. What’s not to love about your festive post, Marsha! Once again you expertly combined several challenges and made them all work! Firstly, I enjoyed your festive decor in Woodlake and now in Prescott. The courthouse looks very nice in its festive state. But I love that old song Christmas Day and didn’t realize what a history it had which Longfellow penned so eloquently! That last verse is awesome and is a wonderful addition to the variety of Christmas/holiday songs others have contributed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadness mixed with joy and laughter. Like all of life, Marsha. I loved your tangled lights tale. I always leave them to Mick. We have quite a small tree but I have NO patience. And today is the 1 year anniversary of the only death from Covid that has really touched my life. The lady who set up our croquet club with her husband had to watch him die through a plastic screen, unable to touch or hold. A living nightmare for her. If you can survive that I think you can survive most things in life. They played A-Ha and the songs they loved at the funeral and I can’t hear one without filling up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well Marsha, I started out loving your festive photos and then whammo, you hit me with the Longfellow story! i’d never heard that and found it so very sad. I do, though, love that song. How he could come through that and end on a positive note is beyond me. I’ll get over it but it’s a good reminder that not everything about the holiday is joyful and there are many for whom this will be a very difficult time. Thanks for the reminders of both the joy and the sadness, and that we should remember both. And of course, thanks to linking to our challenge!


  4. Hi Marsha – the casting crowns song Plays as I type – quite a nice version
    and enjoyed your post.
    That ice-skating ornament is great
    and we heard it is usually better to go without pre-lit – we know a few folks who have had problems with the pre-lit trees – hmmm


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Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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