Tuesday, 02 December 2014
How many of us regardless of what the occasion fear that dreaded hush around the dinner table. Once food is eaten it needs time to assimilate, and moving from the table before this can happen can cause indigestion for the guests who sit it out in silence. Even the festive period has us struggle to become conversant with all the chit chats if any. Full bellies and a few memorable stories of old are what we see and hear round the dinner table, but when the stories stop, and tummies deflate it can become somewhat embarrassing. Because of this people tend to make excuses to leave the table or the party which you went to great lengths to arrange. Keep the happy chats going while pudding is served with topical conversation? Plan ahead what to talk about, although what may have started out as one subject can lead to other talkative matters, and this is what you want a constant flow of words. Christmas talks about things like what you bought the kids for Christmas, and how much the turkey cost this year, and the matter of prices this yuletide in comparison to that of the last are not lasting subjects, so again the lips seal. Make a list of interesting subjects to gab about. Your guests, not only will have enjoyed a tasty meal but enjoyed their time around the table also. Do yourself a favour and research on the whole scenario of this season and entertain your guests with your knowledge.
1. Its surprising how the Christmas tree is always highlighted at the time of decorating with tinsel and baubles but then forgotten about unless knocked over or you notice a hanging chocolate missing. Talk Christmas trees at the table. Let your guests in on the know how Christmas trees have been popular in Germany since the 16th century but only made it over to the UK 300 years later. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria`s better half originally came from Germany and made a tree part of the official celebrations at Windsor Castle. The USA official national Christmas tree, in Kings Canyon National Park, California, is almost 280 feet tall and 2,000 years old. A young girl in 1925 remarked what an inspiring Christmas tree it would make, and the President agreed, making it the country`s official Christmas tree in 1926.
2. How many of us quickly scribble names on a Christmas card and send them without reading the actual verse or looking at the Christmas scene on the front. Most of us take greeting card pictures for granted and assume it is the robin redbreast, Santa, or Christmas tree designs, this is not good because you could be sending out meaningless greetings. Just say the cards were tampered with at the time of production and picture scenes show a headless turkey, and I shudder to think of what words rhyme on the inside.. Different people like different things so take time out to send particular friends, particular cards, they will love to receive. Let your guests know that the most expensive Christmas card in the world was a hand-drawn card that John Lennon sent to Beatles manager Brian Epstein. It sold at auction for £5,600 in April 2000.
3. How much notice do you take of the Christmas bauble. Yes they sparkle and glitter and delicate, however aside from that what do your friends know about the Christmas bauble. Baubles were probably invented due to alcohol. About 200 years ago, Bohemian glass blowers used to take pleasure in a cold drink in their hot factories, and when tipsy would compete against each other to see who could blow the biggest glass bubbles. These then evolved into Christmas decorations, thankfully had it not been for the thirst of the bubble blower then no baubles we would have.
4. What of the fairies, the fairy light sort. Fairy lights are said to have appeared in 1882, when Edward H. Johnson a close friend of Edison - had 80 small light bulbs specially made for his Christmas tree. Before this, people would use candles. Although the candle is a festive piece, they are however also a hazard to have in the home. Candles need to be placed away from Christmas decorations, curtains, tablecloths and gift wrapping paper.
5. Christmas cards were introduced in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. Prior to this tradition it was the norm to write long letters at Christmas. This changed when Sir Henry Cole tirelessly from writing commissioned an artist to design cards filled with a short festive message inside, (greeting card.)
6. Talking of Christmas dinner, the traditional Christmas meal in England included pig`s heads and mustard. But when Queen Elizabeth heard of the destruction of the Spanish Armada on Christmas Eve 1588, she declared everyone should eat the dish she had enjoyed earlier that day - roast goose. When turkeys were introduced to Britain in the 1700s, they became a popular replacement. Turkey is now the traditional meat eaten on Christmas day over goose.
7. Everyone likes a tipple at Christmas and with Mulled wine being rationally the Xmas drink then you should know that neurologists say that Christmas spices included like cinnamon, cloves and ginger release feel-good hormones in the body. Get out the glasses.
8. Spiders, are we talking the right season here, are spiders not connected with Halloween. In the Ukraine apparently not because fake spiders and webs are used to decorate their trees and a real spider web found on Christmas morning is believed lucky.
9. Christmas carols is a festive way through verse we tell a Christmas story. Silent Night' was first performed in Austria in 1818. Myth has it that the church organ in Oberndorf broke down on Christmas Eve, leaving the priest - Joseph Mohr - with no music for his service. He handed a hand written poem to a friend and asked that he compose music for it, and 'Silent Night' was born and has never died. Christmas song 'Good King Wenceslas' is about Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. He was a 10th century king who legend has it is sleeping inside a mountain in the Czech Republic with his army of knights, ready to wake and save the Motherland when he`s needed.
10. Are you and your friends aware that Christmas back in 1647 was banned? Who was responsible for imposing such a ban on a time with much heartfelt meaning, in hope it to be diminished from thought? Yeah right, although celebration came to a halt across England, in spirit the festivity continued. Those responsible were the Oliver Cromwell puritans. Pro-Christmas riots broke out across the country but the holiday wasn't officially restored until King Charles II took over 13 years later. Who said thirteen was unlucky.
11. What do you or your friends know for why the common abbreviation 'Xmas.' 'X' is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ - Xristos.
12. Include music in your conversation. It's a fabulous topic for getting people to open up and motivate them into talking, however a debatable subject. Not everyone has the same taste in music so be careful as it is a delicate subject. Educate your friends with what you know. Tell them how the fab four (Beatles) and the Spice Girls were the only showbiz acts to have ever had three consecutive Christmas number one records - the Beatles from 1963 to 1965 and the Spice Girls from 1996 to 1998. 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen is the only record to have been Christmas number one twice - in 1975 and 1991. Where was Cliff Richard these times? Spare a thought for old Santa. He has less than one millisecond to deliver gifts to every home around the globe, this calculation derives from a 30-hour a day shift allowing for various time zones.
What do guests go home with after eating Christmas dinner, well aside from extra "weight" you will find they found something far more worth than its "weight" in gold and that being knowledge. Not only will it be the 3 wise men that get a mention this time of year, so will the wise old bird that got the Christmas entertainment right for around the Christmas table. Your party guests will leave for home a lot wiser than that of when they arrived.