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Christmas Cheer!

by Melissa Thompson

 

Courtesy of The Melissa Thompson Team

The True Meaning of Christmas

by Melissa Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

“But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come ‘round…as a good time, a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.”

Charles Dickens

 

The True Meaning of Christmas

Per Wikipedia, the "true meaning of Christmas" is a phrase with a long history in American pop culture. It first appears in the mid-19th century, and is often given vaguely religious overtones, suggesting that the "true meaning of Christmas" is the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. But in pop culture usage, overt religious references are mostly avoided, and the "true meaning" is taken to be a sort of introspective and benevolent attitude as opposed to the commercialization of Christmas which has been lamented since at least the 1850s. The poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (1822) helped popularize the tradition of exchanging gifts, and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance. An early expression of this sentiment using the phrase of "the true meaning" is found in The American magazine, vol. 28 (1889):

"to give up one's very self — to think only of others — how to bring the greatest happiness to others — that is the true meaning of Christmas".

The phrase is especially associated with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843), in which an old miser is taught the true meaning of Christmas by three ghostly visitors who review his past and foretell his future.

The topic was taken up by satirists such as Stan Freberg and Tom Leher during the 1950s and eventually by the influential TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, first aired in 1965 and repeated every year since. The phrase and the associated moral became used as a theme in numerous Christmas films since the 1960s.

As you gather with family and friends to celebrate this year, take time to think about the origins of some of the traditions of Christmas.

  • Santa Claus – his story begins in the 4th century with St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra (an area in modern day Turkey). St. Nicholas was known to be a generous man especially devoted to children. Because he was so kind and benevolent, rumors began that he could perform miracles.  He became the patron saint of Russia and was known for his red cape and flowing, white beard. He has his own feast day that is celebrated on December 6…a day of gift giving and charity. The story of St. Nicholas was passed down through generations and his name transformed over time. The Dutch called him Sinterklaas. Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace and Sinterklaas would reward good children by placing treats in their shoes. This tradition traveled to America with Dutch colonists and here the Anglican name of Santa Claus emerged.
  • Christmas Trees – the decorating of fir trees originated in 16th century Germany where trees would be adorned with apples, roses, candies and colored paper.  The Christmas tree was brought to England by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, from his native Germany.  The first Christmas trees in America were introduced by Pennsylvania Germans and became popular by the middle of the 19th century.
  • Mistletoe – mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They held the plant in high esteem because it had no roots, yet remained green throughout the winter season.  The ancient Celts thought that the plant had magical healing powers. It was also seen as a symbol of peace and it was said that when enemies met under mistletoe, they would lay down their weapons and embrace. Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, the goddess of love. This is perhaps where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began.  It is thought that those who kiss under the mistletoe have the promise of happiness and good luck in the year to come.
  • The Christmas Wreath – The Christmas wreath is another tradition that has been around for a long time.  The first wreaths were created from fresh evergreens. Because they are green year round they were the obvious choice for winter months.  The word “wreath” is derived from an English word meaning “to twist”, such as in a circle.  Some believe that initially wreathes were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory.  The circle shape with no beginning or end represents eternity or life never ending.

While celebrating with these ancient traditions and with your own family traditions this year, may you be surrounded by peace and joy. Merry Christmas! 

 

101 Things To Do In Memphis #45: Christmas at Graceland

by Melissa Thompson

Christmas was Elvis’ favorite time of year. Elvis and his family would plan for Christmas with great excitement. Christmas meant home and family and fun.
During the holiday season, the tour of Graceland is extra special with the interior and exterior of the mansion decorated for the holidays. See traditional lights and decorations including hundreds of blue lights along the driveway, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh and much more originally displayed by Elvis. The interior of Graceland mansion is decked out in Christmas decor and includes his traditional red velvet drapes and Presley family Christmas artifacts on display. 

Running since November 20 until January 8th, there is still time to join in on the fun. Visit https://www.graceland.com/holidays/ for more info.

Elvis Presley’s Graceland|3734 Elvis Presley Blvd Memphis, TN

By and photo credit: graceland.com

The Season of Giving

by Melissa Thompson

The holidays are a time for togetherness and fun.  Whether you are decorating the Christmas tree or gathering around the Menorah or simply celebrating the joy of the season, spirits are high and love is in the air.  But unfortunately, the holiday season is not fun for everyone. For some people, it brings with it financial strain, stress and loneliness.  This is the time of year when those less fortunate need comfort and assistance more than ever.  Here are a few ideas of how you can make this a season of giving and compassion for those in need. (click links for more information)

  • The Cookie Letter – Make your 2016 Holidays extra special by honoring your friends and family with the Mid-South Food Bank Cookie Letter and provide the gift of food for people in need. For a $50 per letter minimum donation, you provide approximately 150 meals for those in need this holiday season. See The Cookie Letter for details.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis provides academic, recreational, and mentoring programs for young people in need in Memphis. You can help by sponsoring a child or providing a scholarship for a student or making a one-time donation.
  • Dorothy Day House of Hospitality is the only shelter in Memphis that allows families to stay together.  They provide food, shelter and clothing to homeless families and they work with them to get them back on their feet, even after they have moved into permanent housing.  The house is always in need of supplies, monetary donations and volunteers to provide childcare, tutoring, house repairs and more.  Click here to learn how you can help. How to Help

No matter how you find a way to GIVE during the holidays, bringing joy and comfort to others is the best gift of all! 

Happy Holidays from Melissa Thompson and the We Know Memphis team!

101 Things To Do In Memphis #43: Christmas Light Displays

by Melissa Thompson

 

If you were to roam around Memphis this time of year, you would think you were at The North Pole. Huge inflatable snowmen, mass arrays of lights, and garland hung from every corner, consumes just about every neighborhood in Memphis! You might consider venturing from your normal route on major roads, and venturing through some of these areas: Here’s a few neighborhoods we think have sweet displays:

But not just residents get in on this holiday fun, businesses deck out in the spirit too! Several retail and dining communities in Memphis, unite together and ensure their neighborhoods are ready for the holidays. Check out these areas to hang out, eat, walk, and shop while checking out the lights:

Visit any of Memphis’ traditional exhibits:

​​By and photo credit: choose901.com

Happy Holidays From The Melissa Thompson Team!

by Melissa Thompson

Here are a few fun facts about Christmas!

  • Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.​
     
  • Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.
     
  • The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.
     
  • The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
     
  • Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
     
  • Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.    
     
  • The meaning of Christmas lights- one common belief is that red represents passion, green represents vitality, yellow represents brilliance, white represents purity and blue represents a generosity of spirit!     
     
  • Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska.
     
  • By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S.
     
  • The tallest living Christmas tree is believed to be the 122-foot, 91-year-old Douglas fir in the town of Woodinville, Washington.
     
  • In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn.
     
  • Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.
     
  •  According to reports by Captain John Smith, the first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in his 1607 Jamestown settlement.

 

Learn more fun Christmas facts and traditions at the History.com

101 Things To Do In Memphis #93: Christmas Light Displays

by Melissa Thompson

 

Clark Griswold would be proud of these Memphis Christmas Lights!

If you were to roam around Memphis this time of year, you would think you were at The North Pole. Huge inflatable snowmen, mass arrays of lights, and garland hung from every corner, consumes just about every neighborhood in Memphis!

 

30,000 + lights with some set to your favorite Christmas carols, visit these great residential locations for some awesome displays:

It’s not just residents that get in on this holiday fun. Several retail and dining communities in Memphis, unite together and ensure their neighborhoods are ready for the holidays. Hang out, eat, walk, and shop while checking out the lights:

Visit any of Memphis’ traditional exhibits:

 

Photo credit: themagicoftheholidays.com

101 Things To Do In Memphis #42: Memphis Zoo on Ice and Zoo Lights

by Melissa Hayes Thompson

The Memphis Zoo knows how to welcome the holiday season! It’s time for Zoo Skating, plus Zoo Lights! Ice up your skates and stop by the only tented, outdoor ice skating rink in town! While you’re there,  enjoy a stroll through the #1 rated Zoo in the U.S., taking in the sights and sounds of wintertime at the seasonal Suntrust Zoo Lights display.

There's so much to see and do, visitors of all ages will find something to enjoy like the 200-ft-long tunnel of light, Santa visits, a 90-FT LED ferris wheel, singing Christmas trees, camel rides, the North Pole Express Train, the China Carousel and don’t forget to catch a Magic Mr. Nick Illusion Show for a light-hearted and magical experience.

Memphis Zoo on Ice brings a holiday vibe to the already popular zoo, with ice skating daily from 9:30 - 4:30 and on the evenings when Zoo Lights is on from 5:30-9:30. Snacks, holiday treats and warm beverages available too.

The Zoo is closed Christmas Day, but the SunTrust Zoo Lights will open at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets: $6/members; $8/nonmembers. Please note that Zoo Lights is a separate event and requires a separate ticket.

Don’t miss out on a Mid-South tradition that not only brightens up the season, but is also a lot of fun. Make a night of it and build holiday memories at these unforgettable celebrations of light and holiday spirit.

Visit the website or call 333-6500 for more info. 

Happy Holidays!

Photo Credit: Memphis Daily News

Memphis Monthly Event Calendar

by Melissa Hayes Blume

Find Out What is Going on This Month, Only in Memphis; We are Your Key to Memphis!

 

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

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Melissa Thompson
Crye-Leike Realtors
6525 N Quail Hollow Road
Memphis TN 38120
(901) 729-9526
(901) 756-8900
Fax: (901) 435-0620