Archive for November, 2009

Do You Hear the Christmas Bells?



There is no Christmas without Christmas bells. And around this time of the year, they are about everywhere you go. It is the tradition in most Catholic countries that the church bells ring at all times during the Christmas season. From early in the morning to late at night, it chime having its own meaning.

In the US and other cultures where the Christmas tradition relies heavily on consumerism, we can hear the jingle bells and sleigh bells in shopping malls, supermarkets, offices, restaurants, etc. The concept is still there though. Christmas rings Christmas bells.

The “bell” has also become such an idiosyncratic image of the winter season. We see bells on Christmas cards, candy, ornaments and decorations, bells specifically designed to be put up on the Christmas tree.

There is a history behind the importance of Christmas bells. Bells were used many years ago to “scare away” the bad evil souls that would populate villages at night. Around the autumn and winter time, villagers were given the bells so they could make as much noise as possible, thus scaring the bad souls away. Over the years and after so much bell ringing, people started to associate the noise with good things happening like weddings or christenings. Obviously, the birth of Christ was the most celebrated birth and therefore when bells ring the most.

Christmas bells were also seen as an affordable musical instrument. Instruments were expensive and so people used bells when singing Christmas carols and would also take them to church. Then came Santa Klaus, and all his reindeers would wear tiny little bells called “Christmas jingle bells”. The noise would ward Santa of any danger and also make it to go through the snow.

Sleigh bells are really popular every year, you can buy packs of 50 to 1000 bells starting at around 30$. These bells are fantastic to use as Christmas ornaments, around doors and Christmas wreaths. They are a wonderful symbol of this time of the year, and the sound the produce is just charming and very evocative.

You can also look for Christmas bells lyrics online and send them as a ringtone to people over the holiday season. It is an inexpensive and great way of sending your Christmas greetings this year if you find yourself having to write too many cards!

Bells are one of the most iconic symbols of Christmas and everyone recognizes their universal sound. They are magical, delightful, and have become over the years an essential part of the Christmas tradition.

Spend Your Christmas Holidays Overseas



Many people contemplate the idea of getting away during the Christmas holidays. Yes, the season is great to get together with family and friends, but it is also an opportunity to escape from routine and enjoy learning about other cultures and the way they celebrate the festive season.

Europe

Why not have a Christmas holiday somewhere evocative in Europe? London, Paris or Madrid are three great choices. In London you could go to Trafalgar Square and enjoy the famous tree that the Swedish offers Britain as a gift. Regent Street is famous for the lights and every year they impress the British people and tourists with better designs and different lighting effects. Into ice-skating? You can ice skate in London’s famous sdfsfsdf House, or in Paris for free, outside the famous City Hall.

The Spanish celebrate their Christmas in a different way. There is the tradition of the Three Kings (los Reyes Magos); which visited Mary and Joseph with gifts for baby Jesus. The parade is the biggest one in the whole of Spain (there is smaller parades virtually on every town and village) and it features the Three Kings who throw sweets and candy to the children.

So, leave your decorations in the Christmas storage boxes this year and head towards these exciting European cities!

and if you want to take it even further, why not take Holidays To Dubai

Cheap Christmas Holidays

If you are looking to go away without spending too much money look for different packages online; prices to certain destinies can be really cheap at this time of the year. If you want to get away from the cold weather, then the islands are a great option. The Caribbean is one of the most popular destinations as well as European islands (mostly Spain and Greece). Some people prefer to go for something a bit more exhuberant. You can easily find cheap holidays to Dubai (also known as the “shopping capital of the Middle East”), Cairo, Tel Aviv and many other exotic places.

If you are really looking for really inexpensive deals, why not going to that city/area you always wanted to go to but never had the time? Maybe you want to hire a lodge in the mountains, or spend a weekend in New York in an economical hotel. This might be the time to follow that dream and get away from another Christmas at home.

Packages

From mid October you can find lots of different Christmas holiday deals through travel agencies and online with lots of variety for you to choose from. Whether you want to go skiing, a cruise, log cabin breaks, or just go abroad to visit friends and family, these places will have something to suit your budget. If you go online you can book the package easily by clicking on the different options. The advantage of doing it online is that you can check literally hundreds of Christmas holiday packages and destinations within just a few hours. Choose the one that fits within your budget and you’re all set for your Christmas holidays at one the click of the mouse!

Your Christmas Video



Hope you’ve got your camera ready for your Christmas video this year. Christmas is the perfect time to capture those very special moments as the whole family gathers together. Some of the members of the family live really far away or we just cannot see them that often! Celebrities, film stars and musicians do it too. Every year there are new Christmas videos out on the market, whether they’re clips or shows from the latest comedians to special Christmas events.

Christmas video assemblies are available at many retailer stores. You can find anything from oldies (even back to the 40s and 50s) to the new trends and shows. If there is a particular Christmas video you are looking for but cannot find it, check online and it will be there. Amazon is a great place for buying all sort of themed videos and the prices are usually lower than the high street.

If you are thinking of a Christmas gift video this year, check out the films that were popular the year before. Or the classics; “It’s a Wonderful Life” is always a winner!. The videos don’t have to be themed around the festive season, though. Think Wizard of Oz or Oliver Twist. They are always bound to be a complete success. Any films with Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) will also be great choices.

A funny Christmas video is always welcome and it adds humor and warmth on a winter night while the whole family gather together watching TV by the fireplace. If you want quick sketches that can be really funny and there’s nothing on TV, search through youtube for funny clips. It is a great alternative to television because you will have control over what is being watched. Different members of the family might have different tastes and ask you for Christmas music videos, or to watch Christmassy clips that other people might have uploaded this year, etc. Also, a good idea would be to do a Christmas video of the whole family (you could all play different film roles, or film them while they play Christmas quizzes), upload it to youtube and show it to the members of the family that could not make it this year. It would be a fantastic surprise and a different touch to just plugging in the webcam (or sending digital photos).

Another good idea would be to interview all the members of the family – documentary style. Think of really funny questions, or something that would make them laugh. There are good editing software programs that are not expensive (you would probably get one when purchasing your video camera). Upload the moving images and create a “mini feature-film” by adding music, voiceover, credits… It is the best Christmas video you could ever watch on the evening of the 25th!

Christmas Photos are a Must!


Ready to take your Christmas photos this year? Get yourself a good digital camera if you haven’t got one yet. A good Christmas photo is important as it will be a reminder of that year; the memories withheld in the image.

It is good practice to keep your camera handy at all time during the Christmas season. You never know when that amazing snap is going to be ready for you. The family all gather together in the festive season, and it is important that we take plenty of photos to place later on in our albums. Toys for Christmas are a must, and they add to the Christmas feel when displayed around the tree. Make sure to take a photo so you will have a forever lasting memory of what gifts where given this year. One of my favorite pics is the one of the dinner table at Christmas day. I just love drooling over the amazing food that is displayed every year on the table, the bottles of good wine and champagne, all sorts of sweets and desserts. That is an image that we should capture as it happens only once a year!

Family Christmas photos are just great. This festive time gives us the opportunity of being together, and members of the family that we haven’t seen for ages (maybe even years!) will come to join us during the season. We might not see them again for a long time, but the photos will remind us of them in a very memorable way.

What about the kids opening the presents? You just have to video them, or at least the photographs, kids just grow up so quickly! Their faces are so candid and full of happiness on Christmas morning, running towards the tree searching for their magic parcel. Back at home, we had Santa “magically” coming in during the day, paying us a “visit”, talking to the kids. Those images will stay in my head forever, that’s for sure, and it is such a shame we never took pictures. It is true that at the time digital cameras were unheard of – probably didn’t even exist – and Super 8 was just too much hassle (and usually to dark for quality filming). Cameras were also expensive, so we ended up with no physical memories of those days.

If you are looking for Christmas photo ideas, why not ask the whole family to get involved in playing a game, so then you don’t have to worry about them waiting for you to get the shot ready, etc. You could take the pics while they play, and the beauty of it is that they will all gather together as they concentrate on the game.

For funny Christmas photos, I would take pictures of my dog wearing a small wreath, or my cat playing with the ribbons and ornaments. I love buying silly little presents, like Santa’s hat in cowboy style that lights up, or joke type of gifts. They are great for taking pictures afterwords.

A good idea is to take christmas card photos; display your cards around the Christmas tree, or a shelf, or above the chimney and take a picture. That way when you place it on the family album, one photo will display all the Christmas cards you received this year.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas photos; courtesy of sxc.hu.

Christmas Wishes Are Always Special


What are your Christmas wishes this year? What is that special thing that you’ve been wishing for all year round? Surely there are lots of things you have been wishing for. We’ve been blessed with friends and family who think about us this time of year and that try really hard to grant us our favorite Christmas wish.

The Christmas wish is really within us all year, from January right up to the last day of December. We usually struggle to get what we want, and the beauty of Christmas time is that people around us will help us to get exactly that: what we really want. Is as if we where “allowed” to finally get whatever it is we were wishing for regardless of expense or merit.  A memorable film rejoicing those moments would be the obvious Christmas hit “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In this film George Bailey has a wish that has not been granted… because the “real wish” comes at the end of the film, and it is then that his wish within is granted (to both him and the angel).

So this is the time to think about the others as well. Are you well prepared this year? Got your Christmas tree up? Decor inside the house on display? Outdoor christmas lighting set? Logs near the fire ready to keep you warm…?  Have you yet written down a list of the people you have to send your “merry Christmas wishes” to? Have you got all your greeting cards printed and ready to be sent? Have you look in your mobile phone to check your contacts list and make sure you at least send a Christmas wishes text? There are really cool SMS stylized text for Christmas, every year I receive a few of them and they always bring a big smile! The beauty about sending your Christmas wishes via text is that it is a simple and fast medium. The moment you receive one, you are sending another straight out. It gives a great sense of fulfillment and joy, and pressing that button also brings a smile on us knowing how the other person is going to feel at the end of the satellite line.

Maybe this year you want to send funny Christmas wishes rather than the more conventional and repetitive words. Check online for humorous poems and quotations of all sorts. You could even write them down on your business Christmas cards and take that smile one step further with your clients, customers or work colleagues. Like with everything in life, be diverse and spontaneous. Customize the way you give your Christmas greetings to your loved one, groups of different friends and member of your family. They will most definitely appreciate Christmas wishing done this way as it is very thoughtful. The sense of warmth you will get pays off handsomely in the end!

Merry Christmas.

Printed Christmas Cards


Your printed Christmas cards should be ready every December well in advance, as you are supposed to be sending them out between the 1st and the 15th. Check online for a huge variety of places to choose from: print Christmas cards is big on the net and you shouldn’t have a problem finding a place that fulfills your particular requirements.

The majority of places on the internet take around 7 working days to deliver your printed Christmas cards. If you want to be 100% sure your cards will arrive on time then allow for two weeks. Christmas is a very busy time of the year for posts offices and mail orders in general so expect delays and allow for waiting time. Same goes for when you are ready to send your printed Christmas cards to your friends and family. It is always better that they get their cards earlier than late!

When preparing your cards, do a list of all the people you are sending them to. It is easy to forget if you haven’t got it written on paper in front of you. Make notes next to their names of the type of card and greetings you sent. Also, make note if you sent them custom printed Christmas cards as when you see them you can “add” to the value of the card by telling them how you went about getting it specially printed!

Set yourself a budget and stick with it. Sometimes we underestimate the amount of people we have to send Christmas cards to. That is why it is also very valuable to have a list. You might want have different columns on the list as to separate which type of card is going to whom. Some cards might have to be more “elegant and classy”, others are more the joking type while others might be really romantic and expressive. If your budget allows, have a printed Christmas card ordered for each column in your list. That way you will make people feel really special this year. Only if your budget allows, remember, as it could be an expensive gesture, but in this season everything adds up!

Your printed Christmas cards are all about customization. Design your own fronts and backs or ask the company who is printing them for you to show you different designs you can choose from. Customize your greetings and any images you want to add to your print Christmas card, matching it with the appropriate envelope.

If you are doing your on design on your computer at home, allow for bleeds, document sizes and types of files. Check with the company business who is printing your cards and read all their guidelines. Most of them will have a .pdf ready to be downloaded on their website. If you don’t see one do give them a call and make sure they send it to your email address or, if they haven’t got a printed brochure or .pdf version, discuss the guidelines over the phone (don’t forget to take notes). By not following their rules you could end up with disastrous printed business cards!

So:

-allow plenty of time to order your printed business cards and expect delays

- make a list of all the friends, family and colleagues you are sending you cards to.

- If budget allows, custom design different type of cards taking care of colors, greetings and both covers (front and back).

- If you are creating the design yourself, read the printing company guidelines before sending them the work.

Good luck with your printed Christmas cards and Merry Christmas!

Business Christmas Cards


Millions of business Christmas cards are sent every year as a thoughtful gesture to companies’ clients. A well thought of business Christmas card will improve your sales as customers feel they are being “taken care of”. But companies sometimes use this marketing strategy to very low effect, as they send impersonal and cold Christmas business cards that get piled up with the rest of the junk mail and, eventually, thrown away without a second glance. Let’s have a look at a few guidelines that will help you succeed with your business Christmas greetings cards this year.

The first thing you should keep in mind is to remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Sometimes, a general greeting does the job nicely without having to add the word “Christmas” on your card. There are many saying you could add to your business Christmas cards that don’t involve mentioning this very particular festive word or other words that relate to it. Still, be thoughtful when mailing your cards and give them a “company personal touch”.

Portray your business accurately in your cards by using the appropriate logo, corporate colors and fonts. You want your clients to “recognize” your business straight away and give them the warm feeling of having been remembered. Take care of the design you choose for this season. Be general but affectionate, incorporating within your business Christmas cards all your branding and marketing strategies.

Timing is a key factor. It is a well known fact that Christmas cards should be sent between the first and fifteenth day of the month (December). If you are sending personalized printed cards do order them well in advance (mid-October at the latest). They do take time to be sent to you, so keep that in mind. When posting your business Christmas cards to other business, make sure you find out when their holiday season starts as you could find yourself sending cards to a company that works reduced hours during this time of the year, or worse, or no hours at all!

Being personal is being thoughtful. Treat your business Christmas cards the same way you treat any greeting card you send your friends and family. Personalize the cards with your own signature (or ask a member of your staff), a hand-written envelope and a stamp. Just these three important details will make your card stand out from other businesses that “don’t have the time” to spend on the “little things that don’t matter”. They do matter to your customers as they want to feel remembered and businesses should never forget that.

Display around your office all the different business Christmas cards your company has received this year. It will definitely give a positive feeling to the rest of the staff as well as personally satisfying those who have spend the time and made an effort to send them to you.

Differentiate your business from the others. Send your business Christmas cards thoughtfully and on time, and be one step ahead from the competition. It will be time well spent and an investment for the year ahead. You want your customers to remember you, and they are very much likely to forget if you don’t remember them first!