Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Rockettes at Christmas in New York

The Radio City Rockettes Christmas show is a wonderful holiday treasure in New York City. Ah NYC and the magic of Christmas. Truly something special.

Walking New York streets there is the constant sound of Christmas carols from shops and vendors. When you think of all the "Christmas tunes" this time of year, one can only imagine those early days in the streets of New York with stars of the day like Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Johnny Mathas, Aretha Franklin and the Carpenters (to name just a few).  Click forward to such present-day delights and performances by Gwen Stefani, Michael Buble, Sam Smith, Pentatonix and The Tenors as they carry on the tradition of wonderful Christmas music.

The famous Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show has reigned over New York City since December of 1933 . We were able to take in this awesome event on a recent getaway to New York City. We had attended the show before. It was so wonderful to see all of the enhancements that have made the show so current, in technology and visual effects. Naturally, Santa, The Rockettes, and the story of the Baby Jesus are core to the performance. The three-dimensional filmography is a wonderful start early in the show. It is just so much fun to see the kids in the audience reaching out to try and catch presents falling from Santa's sleigh, as he flies over Manhattan.

Although The Radio City Rockettes Christmas show is a crown jewel in Christmas performances, many such holiday spectacles take place in communities across North America and around the world. There are countless celebrations and performances bringing joy to family and friends with local traditions of Christmas pageants and events. This is in addition to the Sunday programming at churches and parishes as we approach Christmas eve checking off each day on the advent calendar. In Toronto, there are lots to choose from (note, the post says 2011 but it has been updated). No doubt your community has a similar list - just google "Christmas even services in your community".

Be sure to share a link to your favourite Christmas celebration. I'd love to hear your special little awesome celebration that you and your family enjoy this special time of year.

Just ten more posts of "awesome" inspired by Neil Pasricha's "The Book of (Holiday) Awesome" this season. Wishing everyone much joy this season.

@fergdevins


Queen's Band Macy's Parade

Love a Parade

American Thanksgiving, no matter where you are in the world, will always be a morning to watch the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is a spectacular production that has withstood the test of time.

 

In 1983, I was fortunate enough to have marched in the parade as a member of the Queen's University at Kingston - Queen's Bands. The photo atop was our pipe band contingent. Oh my gosh my feet were sore after marching around Manhattan with that bass drum strapped on.

 

Whether participating in or spectating at, a community parade is just simply one of the events of the holiday season and Christmas festivities that leaves us feeling awesome. Although not one of Neil Pasricha's references in his "The Book of (Holiday) Awesome", I did want to refer to the joy that a parade brings to the community. It is certainly a cultural event - lining up along the street, hand warmers engaged, hot chocolate in hand, lawn chairs in place.

 

Thanks to Retro Festive Pop Culture Christmas Store and the work of @RetroFestive and Damien Nelson, I have included a list of LINKS to Santa Claus parades in provinces across Canada this holiday season. Here's hoping that you and your family have an opportunity to take in the festivities and appreciate the fine work undertaken by parade volunteers and supporters coast to coast to coast.  Enjoy !

 

A big shout out to the I Heart XMAS blog and Damien Nelson for curating a list of Santa Claus Parades across Canada. Nicely done! Well done.

@fergdevins

Santa Claus Parades Across Canada in 2017

British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec

Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador

Territories


Santa

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Continuing along my daily blog posts inspired by Neil Pasricha's "The Book of (Holiday) Awesome", I am actually going to post a personal memory today. It relates to Santa Claus Coming to Town.

 

I have heard of numerous Santa Claus parades and tree lightings taking place over this past weekend. I know that my hometown of Kenora had their annual tree lighting at Main and Second Street on Friday night. My parents advised that in their new community of Bowmanville, the Santa Claus Parade was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Right here at home in Toronto, the "world famous" Santa Claus Parade meandered its way through downtown City streets to the delight of more than a half million people strung along the route.

 

The Santa Claus parade is a remarkable tradition. I'm not quite sure how the jolly old man in the red suit can make it back and forth to all of these communities, and keep an eye on his workshop at the North Pole. However, that is all part of the magic of the Christmas season.

 

I've met Santa in Toronto on several occasions. One of the most memorable was when Santa was attending a Variety Village event. He asked me if we would be attending the parade. I advised that we would be attending and that we would be above the old Shopsey's store at the turn from Yonge Street to Front Street. Santa asked me the names of my children. He advised that if Kathy and I and our children were at the end of the terrace closest to Yonge and Front that he would shout out a greeting to our family. Well...you can just imagine. As the parade was winding down, there was great anticipation for the arrival of the final float. Kath and I quickly gathered up Helena and Clark and took our position nearest Yonge and Front Street. As Santa's float made the turn he was greeting all the mom's and dad's and then said "and a big hello to Helena and Clark...Merry Christmas!". The look on the faces of Helena and Clark with just one of those truly magical moments of Christmas.  They were simply awestruck in the moment.

 

We have had many awesome moments through all those years of attending the Toronto Santa Claus parade. That year took the prize for all time great in the book of awesome. Thanks to the Toronto committee that has kept this fine tradition alive all these years.

 

Santa. Wherever you are this fine Sunday eve. Wishing you safe travels and well wishes for a great holiday season. Ho Ho Ho !

 

@fergdevins


Baby in the mall

Crying Kids in the Mall - Not Yours ! Amen...

The next post of Holiday Awesome that I am drawing from Neil Pasricha's "Book of (Holiday) Awesome is all about the crying kids in the mall. Of course, the awesomeness that he points to is that the kid is not yours.

 

Calling on all parents. Don't feel bad about the child crying in the mall. Those of us that are parents can quickly tell you that we've been there and done that. Don't be embarassed, don't rush off with the child, don't hide in the washroom until soothers are in place. Just let your child wail away until consolded and carry on with your Christmas or Holiday shopping.

 

The fact is you are probably bringing joy to many of us that have fond memories of our own children at that age. I do recall so many seniors that would have commented: "I remember those years of joy". I know, I know, that moment of wailing in the mall is not a current moment of joy for the current parent. However, the point I'm making is that those around you are likely not as fussed or embarrassed as you being the parent. We all sympathize and have a little smile inside to share with you.

 

And Santa's lap...always good for a loud wail now and again...smiles.

 

@FergDevins


Light Them Up

One of my most favourite tasks of the holiday season is to put the lights up on the trees outside. In recent years the task has become quite enjoyable, as our global warming seems to have extended autumn and allowed for fairly mild weather for stringing the lights. One custom that I have adopted is to place the lights on the outdoor trees the weekend of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. As I reviewed the situation today, I think that my lilac bushes may finally have shed their leaves for Sunday's placement.

 

Neil Pasricha's reference to this task is on page 7 of his "Book of (Holiday) Awesome" . He refers to the awesomeness being the fact that you are "plugging in your Christmas lights from last year and having them all work". I must admit that up until last year, this was always an issue for me. I was a late convert to the new LED light systems. The original old style lights were far more fragile and breakable than the new LED versions. The LED versions are also much easier to string and remove for storage as well.

 

I am sure that I will still be faced with the surprise of half strings undone when I go to light up the indoor lights. I still have lights from many years of adding strings to the indoor tree. Hey!  Maybe this year is the year that we should finally make the transition to LED lights for the indoor tree as well. Has anyone made this transition and have feedback on that front? Does the tree glisten with the new as well as the old light systems?

 

While the weather is still fairly warm, my suggestion is that you consider installing your outdoor lights this weekend. The rule in our household, as dictated by my dearly beloved better half, is that the lights are allowed to be turned on the day that our neighbours to the south celebrate American Thanksgiving. Thus, Thursday, November 23rd will be the tree lighting at the Devins.

 

Wishing you all well in your plans for tree lighting this Christmas season. Ho Ho Ho.

 

@FergDevins @fergdevins


From the Book of (Holiday) Awesome

The Holiday season

Firstly, for me as a Christian, it is truly the Christmas season. I have also had many Muslim, Jewish and Hindu friends suggest to me that they also look at this coming time of year as the "Christmas Season", with other celebrations of faith and community included.

 

A Time With Family and Friends

However, regardless of faith, it is a wonderful time of year where family and friends rejoice. I was truly taken by the work of Neil Pasricha and his "Book of (Holiday) Awesome".  As Neil works on his mission to to help people live happy lives, his work in this book is certainly a written legacy of happiness.

 

Neil Pasricha's Work

I reached out to Neil this week and asked for his permission to post and share some of the content from his wonderful work throughout the the holiday season. He graciously accepted my request. Thanks Neil! For true joy and guranteed smiles, check out Neil's works at Amazon.ca.

 

Time for Awesomeness

So, over the next 47 days (commencing November 14th and ending December 31st) I am going to share excerpts from Neil Pasricha's work "The Book of (Holiday) Awesome".

 

I hope that it may warm your hearts and make you think a bit of how you might spread a little Holiday Awesomeness as we wrap up 2017.

 

Here we Go

The first thought of awesomeness from page three of Neil's book is related to "Getting a Christmas card from someone you thought you lost touch with". Realistically, we are all probably a little less involved with the physical handwritten Christmas cards as the years progress. There are so many "online" options to choose from. Many just simply post an electronic message to their "contact list" and email blast away. I'm still a big fan of personalized outreach on special occasions. It is wonderful to share a Christmas message that is personalized so that your networks can relate to you and your family and loved ones at Christmas. However, there truly is nothing like receiving that direct connection from someone you have not heard from in a long time - whether that is a physical greeting card or email.

 

As Neil points out, "life is short and always wavering", thus friendships are worth sustaining, worth investing in, "worth enjoying and worth savoring".

 

So here we go - post one of the season is up and running. Follow more posts via @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork  @TravelFerg , via The Devins Network on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

Through my networks I hope to add a little spice of happiness, from the inspiration that Neil Pasricha has provided through his work.

 

Have an Awesome Holiday Season everyone !

 

FERG


Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

The country was a buzz from St. John’s to Grouse
The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there

Each province was covered with a blanket of snow
And ploughs ready with salt in their yards row on row
RIDE checks were in place for the high season drive

Telling folks to be safe being sure to arrive alive

When out on the lawns there arose such a clatter
The US election had caused quite a chatter
The New Year should bring more political debate
Hoping free trade continues, because it has been great

The moon on the crest of the new-fallen snow
Families gathering together by travelling to and fro
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, pulled by Canadian reindeer

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
The goodwill he could bring was like a magical trick
He was dressed all in red like the flag of our nation

His whistle stops lined up including Union Station

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
In the west, through Ontario, across Quebec and Atlantic

His journey would begin and it would be quite frantic

From the east coast to west and then through the north

A big country to cover as he went to set forth
Near rivers and lakes over tree tops and valleys
Close to ten million square miles, with no dilly dallies

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
He’d made it to our place so soon on this night
He slid down the chimney with ease not too tight

He was dressed all in fur, red and white to the top
Said the snow on the prairies should yield a good crop
He was a weary old traveler with joy from inside
Said the country was glowing on his celestial ride

His eyes how they twinkled, his cheeks full of frost
Across provinces and territories his path quite criss crossed
He spoke of goodwill and joy across our great land
Encouraging young and old to just lend a hand

He toasted our country with so many people
And our cultural mosaic including mosques and church steeples
He said we are peace keepers with intent that is great
Bringing the world closer together is really at stake

He smiled ear to ear for Canada’s 150
Citing many celebrations and no doubt they’ll be nifty
From Cities to Towns whether urban or rural
Canada’s birthday celebrations will be sure to unfurl

He googled his route and loaded up his apps
With his mobile device positioned solidly on his lap
He was ready to tweet from his red glow in the sky
Pleasing those on the ground with a twinkle their eye

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim, as he flew east to west

Merry Christmas to Canada you’re truly the best



6 Joyful Tips for Christmas Social Networking

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas ! It's that time of year that giving takes on a special meaning. At Christmas we speak of peace and joy and goodwill among all humankind. It can also be a very difficult time for people. When many may be reaching peaks of joy, togetherness, family, love and neighbourly time - there are those who may be feeling the opposite, given a difficult time in their lives. For those of us who can attempt to foster joy, these 6 tips for your social networking community this Christmas may help bring a positive influence to our broader community.

6 Joyful Tips For Your Social Networks this Christmas

1. Point out a charity that you support and encourage others to give.

2. Share a goodwill story relevant to your community.

3. Post a great scene from the season or a quick video of glad tidings.

4. Listen for distress...Attempt to bring comfort and joy

5. Tell a little story about something you are doing to make a difference for someone in need.

6. Like, retweet, share positive news that you have seen posted in your network.

If we all were to just practice these six tips once this Christmas season, we would be influencing our networks in a positive way. This kind of positive energy takes on its own pathway as others share good news, joy and peace.

Wishing you well this holiday season. Merry Christmas !

FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

 


the spirit of Christmas

As December 25th draws closer, it's always fun to hear stories of the spirit of Christmas. Whether its the homeless person with a new set of gloves, a family receiving a food and holiday hamper, a loved one returning home as a surprise or any one of those random acts of kindness. They all represent a clip of the spirit of Christmas. I'm not referring to the religious nature of this christian holiday, but more the contextual spirit of Christmas. A time to give, a time to repay, a time to reconnect, a time to forgive, a time to reach out and help someone, or to put a smile on someone's face. All to me, represent the spirit of Christmas.

I just love the story of a friend who was recently visiting New York city. She was hunkered down at the Grand Central Station Oyster bar when a couple approached. She had single seats on each side of her. She waved the couple over and slid to the left to allow them seats together. It was a simple gesture. In fact, gosh, who'd think anything but doing that ! When our friend was finished, her oysters and beverage and ready to go, the server said that her cheque had been looked after. She asked "by whom". The server explained that there had been a couple sitting across the bar and had seen what she had done for the couple beside her. They thought that it was so kind of her to allow the couple to sit together. They were so impressed by the gesture that they looked after our friend's cheque/bill. Our friend, to say the least, was overcome with this gentle act of kindness and generosity, in the spirit of Christmas and thanked the server for this gesture. Our friend exclaimed that it certainly makes her Christmas special, on a simple act of kindness in the spirit of Christmas.

This season we can all play our part in spreading the spirit of Christmas. Best wishes for the Christmas season, for those who celebrate traditions. For those who are just taking time given this season and resultant holiday time - may you have much happiness and joy in your homes with family and friends. May the spirit of Christmas touch you all, and may you reach out and touch someone by spreading the spirit of Christmas. Best wishes for safe and joyful holiday season. Merry Christmas !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork


Tis the Season

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la...

At this time of year it is always inspiring to hear of the many works of goodwill and giving that go on in our community. The Salvation Army "bell ringers" raising funds in malls and on street corners. The Food Bank drives to help bring a meal to a table top for those under privileged. The countless efforts of "hamper drives" to pull together a Christmas hamper for a family in need. Galas and Socials of the season, with an intent of making a charitable or not for profit gift to the needy.  It tis the season for sure. A season of thanksgiving, a season of joy, a season of family gathering, friends re-connecting, neighbours carolling or getting together.

Beyond the christian meaning of the holidays and Christmas is a broader meaning and spirit of peace and joy. It is a time to celebrate all that we have, and to spread a bit of what we have to those who are in need. It's that time of year, on a cold winter's night, where I like to remind people of that extra change in their pocket perhaps making a real difference for that person on the street with their hand out. Tis the season of giving. Tis the season of sharing. Tis the season of being thankful for all that we have in our communities, but being mindful of lending a helping hand or gift to those that might still have a need. Tis the season to re-charge, refresh, re-energize for the year that lays ahead.

If you might be looking for a way to help someone in their time of need I've included a few links to help you reach out and make a difference. Thanks for all that you do for your community. Tis the season to extend goodwill to our fellow citizens. Tis the season ! @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

A few thoughts of agencies who can assist with your giving:

Daily Bread Food Bank

Second Harvest

Ho Ho T.O.

Waterloo House of Friendship

Convenant House - Volunteer

Salvation Army

Food Banks Canada

Holiday Helpers

Hope for Children

Sponsor a Family

Red Door Shelter

Feel free to comment and add your favourite not for profit in our community. Tis the season !