Holidays: The Name’s the Same!

It appears there are a number of cities and towns in the US with holiday type names, so how about a little trivia where the name is the same when it comes to holidays?

The Star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is easily visible 20 miles away
The Star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is easily visible 20 miles away

Probably the most recognized Christmas related town name is Bethlehem, and in the US there are (reportedly) eight to 12. I’ve discovered 9 of them: Bethlehem, CT; Bethlehem, GA; Bethlehem, IN; Bethlehem, KY, Bethlehem, MD; Bethlehem, MS; Bethlehem, NH; Bethlehem, PA; Bethlehem, WV, with Bethlehem, PA being the most prominently known.

It was on Christmas eve in 1741, when a group of Moravians founded the mission community of Bethlehem, which proved to be a town for the future when in 1762 it built the “first-water works in America to pump water for public use.”

After the Civil War Bethlehem became a city, and a center for heavy industry and trade during the industrial revolution, thus Bethlehem Steel Corporation was founded, becoming the 2nd largest steel producer in the US, and was also one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. Unfortunately they ceased their operations in 1995, after about 140 years of being in business.

Could it be the result of a grand ceremony on December 7, 1937, during the Great Depression, when the wife of Bethlehem Steel Corporation President, Charles F. Brown, flipped on the switch to turn on the new Christmas street lights and a large wooden star [that the city of Bethlehem still beckons visitors]? It was also at this time the Chamber of Commerce adopted the nickname ‘Christmas City, USA’. Today, that wooden star when lit up can be seen as far as Wind Gap, 20 miles away.

Bethlehem is also home to three large universities, including Lehigh University, and Money Magazine listed it at number 88 out of 100 ‘best cities to live’ . . .
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O Christmas Tree – Oh Tannenbaum – Oh Árbol de Navidad – O Kerstboom – Oh arbre de Noël – Oh Pokok Krismas – Ol Jugran – O Coeden Nadolig and so on . . . .

1961 marks the first year for a  'themed' Christmas tree in the White House during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, which highlighted the Nutcracker ballet, a favorite of First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy - Wikimedia photo
1961 marks the first year for a ‘themed’ Christmas tree in the White House during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, which highlighted the Nutcracker ballet, a favorite of First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy – Wikimedia photo

We can thank the people of Northern Europe (Latvia more particularly) during the 15th century for the origin of the Christmas tree, one of the most iconic images during the Christmas holidays.

1995 White House Christmas Tree
1995 White House Christmas Tree
I, for one, cannot imagine Christmas without a tree, although over the years, I, like a lot of others have gone from a traditional fresh cut tree to a Sears & Roebuck aluminum tree with silver branches, and ultimately to a variety of artificial trees. They all have had one thing in common though, tinsel, lights (from the traditional oval shaped bulb to bubble lights during the 50’s (my favorite of all time) to the tiny LED lights that light up today’s Christmas trees. Add a little tinsel, a special tree topper and the souvenir ornament of the current year to complete the overall look.
2002 White House Christmas Tree
2002 White House Christmas Tree

As I write this blog I thought how interesting it would be to feature a little history of some of the White House Christmas trees, along with other trivia, such as a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

A typical Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
A typical Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Continue reading “O Christmas Tree – Oh Tannenbaum – Oh Árbol de Navidad – O Kerstboom – Oh arbre de Noël – Oh Pokok Krismas – Ol Jugran – O Coeden Nadolig and so on . . . .”

ZOOrific Holiday Family Outings

Flickr image by cliff1066 tm of Zoo Lights at the National Zoo
Flickr image by cliff1066 tm of Zoo Lights at the National Zoo

When was the last time you visited a zoo? If I am the example it more than likely was when you were a youngster, or your children or grandchildren were youngsters.

Flickr image by therichardlife
Flickr image by therichardlife
What could be more magical than Christmas at the zoo – with twinkling lights strung up along the walkways leading everyone to playful chimps, long-necked giraffes, big and fuzzy bears, or a magnificent tiger or two, amongst other creatures, sure to delight the whole family. More and more zoos decorate with lights and dazzling displays to encourage families to include animals in their holiday activities, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or any number of culturally traditional holidays during December and January.

Indianapolis Zoo at Christmastime (photo courtesy Indianpolis Zoo)
Indianapolis Zoo at Christmastime (photo courtesy Indianpolis Zoo)
It seems the Indianapolis Zoo was the “first zoo (since 1957) in the U.S. to hold a holiday lights event.” Since then, Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo “has become known for its spectacular holiday lights and Christmas displays,” making it a great place for holiday memories. Surely if there has been snow falling during this time, when evening comes and twinkling lights set the stage, it would indeed be magical!
Continue reading “ZOOrific Holiday Family Outings”