10 films to watch at Christmas

It’s nearly that time of year again. Christmas is just around the corner!

Now there are famous Christmas foods and famous Christmas songs but I am going to be running through a list of 10 Christmas films that I think go hand in hand with the festive season. 

These are films that many of you will have seen but if you haven’t, find them immediately to watch, especially at this time of year.

Now, in no particular order, here are my 10 films to watch at Christmas time:

1) IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Plot: A desperate businessman is shown by an angel what life would be like if he never existed.

One of the best loved films of all time is not only great viewing for any time of the year but because of its setting, It’s A Wonderful Life is just that little bit more special at Christmas. The story of George Bailey (James Stewart) is enough to test the emotions of anybody.

2) WHITE CHRISTMAS

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A Final stroll through the 2013 RFL Christmas Expo

The 2013 RFL Christmas Expo ends on December 14, 2013 at 10 a.m. SLT.  After that, the sims officially become the home for the AVI Choice Awards.  Attendance is by ticket only, and the tickets have been sold out for days.  Congrats to all the nominees and, in advance, to the deserving winners.

I apologize for the tardiness of my final post regarding this wonderful Expo and fund raiser for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.  I couldn’t let this end without saying a few quick words about the shops I visited on the Wonder sim.

DaD’s is the sim sponsor and anchor store here.  The store offers fireplaces, Christmas furniture, flowers and some cute outdoor holidays decorations.  RFL vendors in the store offer several decorated fireplaces, a cuddly spot with a cute snowman and both gold and silver wire Christmas trees with falling stars.   One of the sweetest things in the DaD store was a teddy bear floating around in a hot air balloon, wishing everyone a Happy Christmas.  You can purchase your own teddy bear, who holds a sign you can write your own message on.  Happy Christmas right back at ya, DaD.

I’ve always enjoyed visiting Spyralle, and I was very pleased to see them with a shop at the Expo.  Spyralle has a passion for fractal designs, and the offerings in the store here include clothing items, tables, wreaths and crystal Christmas trees.   One of the trees is in a RFL vendor, as is a very cute mesh sweater and pair of poinsettia topped boots.  Unfortunately, the sweater demo wasn’t working when I touched it, so I didn’t take a chance, but the flowered slippers went home with me. Continue reading

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A Stroll through the 2013 RFL Christmas Expo – Part Two

This was another splendid day for strolling at the 2013 Christmas Expo Sims, benefitting Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society.  You could almost feel the crispness of the chilled air and hear the rustling of the last autumn leaves, clinging for life to the ice covered tree branches.  The Victorian setting was, and continues to be, perfect for walking along, peaking into windows that almost frost with your breath, then slipping inside for warmth and some pleasant shopping experiences. Today I visited the Hope sim, starting with the anchor store and sim sponsor, LivGlam.  Glam is so appropriate for this venue.  The Expo shop for LivGlam is stylish and overflowing with product.  So packed, in fact, that I had to step gingerly to avoid bumping into things, but it was worth the visit.  Beautiful items to chose from, including the dress that was offered in the Relay vendors….Breath Again.  Superbly continental.

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As I mentioned in my earlier article, proceeds from all items sold in the Relay vendors go directly to the American Cancer Society for their continued research and aiding individuals diagnosed with cancer and their families.  Thank you so much for your generosity LivGlam. Just a door down from LivGlam I found Libby’s Holiday Store.  The shop featured many bright and cheery Christmas themed craft items, most with a sparkling hue.  Libby’s has a fantasy feel to it, because of the shimmer she paints with.  No drab colors here.  Even the balloons sparkle.  In fact, one of Libby’s RFL vendors contains balloons with a hugable teddy  bear and the other has a sled pulled by the jolly old elf himself.  So, if you like your decorations with sparkle, make a point to visit this shop. Continue reading

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A Stroll through the 2013 RFL Christmas Expo — Part One

With the immensity of Relay for Life’s Christmas Expo, how in the world can you choose what to write about?  I’m at a loss for the answer, so I just decided to let fate make the choices for me as I randomly strolled around, checking out the stores.

First of all, major cudos to ALL of the shops, merchants and service providers who donated their time and products to make this winter fund raising event such a success.  Relay for Life continues to support the American Cancer Society’s research efforts to fight cancer, find a cure and make life better for those battling the disease.

There are four sims which comprise the Expo shopping area, done in the style of a Victorian Village.  Just walking through the sims is a treat.  The buildings were designed and made by Cassie Eldemar, who stepped in to solely complete the assignment when her co-builder had to leave due to family issues.  The facades look so real and give the village a look which makes you want to search your inventory for those Victorian clothes you’ve stored away.  Add twinkling lights and snow covered landscape and you have a perfect holiday shopping setting, not to mention photo ops galore.

Each sim is sponsored by a premier merchant, which serves as the anchor store.  I visited the JOY sim first, sponsored by Black Tulip.  Black Tulip was known to me from various grid hunts I’ve engaged in.  I found lots of fun items of an instructional and building nature inside the store.  In addition to sponsoring the sim, Black Tulip participated further by placing vendors inside their store, with sale proceeds of these items going directly to the ACS.  The vendor item I liked was a neat Snow Globe, available either finished or a base that you could use to create your own.

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I walked next door into a store called Potomac, which I was not familiar with.  I was delighted to find many really cute crafty items.  I’m a RL quilt lover, and the red Christmas cutie available in the RFL vendor will be going home with me.  Also offered in vendors was a bird house and candle arrangement. Continue reading

It’s Time to Hunt for the Bells!!

The 2013 Relay for Life of Second Life’s Christmas Expo has many fun and exciting activities this year. One fun activity is the Hunt for the Bells Hunt. Below is the official press release for this great event:

2013 CHRISTMAS EXPO HUNT FOR THE BELLS

 

DATES: December 5 to 15 (10am slt)

WEBSITE:  http://slchristmasexpo.wordpress.com/expo-entertainment/hunt-for-the-bells/

The bells are ringing across the Christmas Expo and it is time to find them! TP into any of the Christmas Expo sims and start hunting for gold bells, which are hidden in some of your favorite merchant shops!

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RFL Christmas Expo 2013 (texture by Texworks)

RFL SL 2013 Christmas Expo Press Release

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in SL, because the 2013 Christmas Expo is right around the corner! In support of Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, the 3rd annual Expo will open on Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at 10am slt and will end at 10am slt on Sunday, December 15th!

Spanning four SL regions, the Victorian Christmas Wonderland will delight people of all ages. SL residents will be able to shop for that perfect Holiday gift from our over 50 vendors, visit Santa and have pictures taken, and enjoy a “Naughty or Nice” gift! The beauty of the Expo build, the entertainment, and the peaceful, festive spirit will set the perfect tone for the holiday season.

Adjoined to the Expo this year is the Magic of Christmas Breedables Fair featuring the Breedables One-Of-A-Kind Auction for Relay!  This exciting event is always highly anticipated raises a lot for RFL every year.  That and many, many more fun happenings at the Fair which runs from Dec. 1-16th!

At the Xmas Expo, residents can attend one of the many events:

✻The Avi Choice Awards – The Avi Choice Awards ~ the annual awards presentation recognizing the people and talent behind SL’s amazing creations, completely chosen and voted on by SL residents.  For more information on The Avi Choice Awards and how to purchase tickets, visit the website at:  http://avichoiceawards.com/

✻Auction/Raffle – Many amazing items will be available for auction and raffle from some of SL’s best creators. 100% of the proceeds from the Expo’s auctions and raffles will go to Relay For Life of Second Life.

✻Race for the Bells Hunt!

✻Shopping – In addition to enjoying the many events, activities and features of the Christmas Expo, visitors can get a head start on their Christmas shopping at the more than 50 shops.

✻Live Music/DJ – Entertainment will feature many of SL’s top performers, live musicians, djs, and hosts throughtout the Expo. See the ‘entertainment schedule’ part of the website for dates and times.

*The Naughty or Nice Gift Exchange

and MORE!

The Christmas Expo crew hopes you will enjoy visiting this year’s event and wish you a lot of fun exploring the sims and getting into the holiday spirit.

For full information and all the latest updates, please visit the Christmas Expo website:

http://slchristmasexpo.wordpress.com/

http://slbreedables.wordpress.com/

twas the night before christmas

Christmas Classics: Twas The NIght Before Christmas

Twas the night before christmas and all through the house, not creature was stirring not even a mouse.

The first and infamous line from Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 poem,’A Visit from St Nicholas.’ It speaks of what happens when Santa comes to your house in the middle of the night to deliver gifts, unaware that he is being watched by the father of the family. The father being the one who is telling the tale.

A personal note: This poem always scared me, I first heard it when I was 5 years old from an audio cassette and a book my father bought me. I remember the voice booming out of the speakers and shook me to my little core. It didn’t really leave a good impression of Santa Claus on me. Since then I always thought of Santa Claus as  mysterious figure who ran around at night, a being that would reward you if you were good and one you wouldn’t want to see get angry. For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the person who did the audio reading. I just remember that it was a book and cassette. Still I will leave you with a reading from Dick Van Dyke, with his boom voice.

So, Merry Christmas to all…and …Oh I still need to do the Grinch.

Honeydews Honey Drive

Christmas music, for goodness sake – Minecraft Christmas by Area11

Area11, the band behind the popular Minecraft team Yogscasts theme song, have once again joined forces with Simon, Lewis and the rest of the gang to produce a Chrismas #1 Single… for charity.

During Yogscasts Honey Drive, where all of Yogscast and their friends comes together for all of December to live stream daily and collect donations for the charity projects Plan Bee and 365 Emergency Fund, Area11 and Simon made this single and put on iTunes. The goal is to get it to the #1 spot on the iTunes sales list for December, and all the money goes to the Honey Drive. At the moment of writing, two days after the release of Minecraft Chrismas, it has reached #57 (out of the roughly 50 000 000 songs currently on iTunes), so they are well on their way.

Plan Bee is one of Oxfam’s projects for providing training, workshops and equipment for new beekeping farmers in Etiopia to give the country new sources of jobs and incomes. Honey Drive’s goal for Plan Bee is £10 000, which is what is needed to make this a reality.

365 Emergency Fund is another one of Oxfam’s projects, this is a fund for help during emergency situations worldwide. 365 Emergency Fund is helping on up to 25 locations worldwide at any given time, so they will need continuous funding and a lot of it to be able to help. All money past the initial £10 000 will go to this.

At the moment of writing, Honey Drive have collected over £130 000, which is an astounding number.

You can help out and get amazing rewards, for under a pound you can get Minecraft Christmas right down to your computer, music player or mobile device through iTunes, or you can donate directly on the Honey Drive donation page, where you get the option to send a public message that will be broadcasted both on the donation page and on the live stream, this is your opportunity to ask the Yogscast any question or give them any requests you might have, they usually answers if it’s within reasonable bounds. This is how much of the highlights that can be seen on their youtube page have come to life.

Christmas Carol

Carol Classics: Top Ten Christmas Carols/Songs

Christmas songs, we all know them by heart and we all love them. There are literally thousands of them and every year more and more songs are being thrown our way. I’d like to think that the songs of the 20th and 21st century might be regarded as classics to our children  and our grandchildren. So we, at the Torch, sat down with a cup of tea and began to talk about the  carols and songs that we all know and regards as the classics while we were growing up, through that this list was born. This is our top ten Christmas Carols/Songs that we grew up with:

10. All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

It was written in 1944 by second grade music teacher Donald Yetter Gander. The song came around when  Gander asked his students what they wanted for Christmas and noticed that those who answered had a lisp due to them missing their baby teeth. It was written in 30 minutes and was originally recorded by Spike Jones & His City Slickers in 1947.

9. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

This was the musical adaptation of 1939 story of the same name, about a young reindeer who has an odd luminous red nose. He is teased by his fellow peers because of this but is given the chance to prove himself on Christmas Eve when Santa asks him to use his nose to lead his sleigh, to which Rudolph accepts. The story finishes with him being accepted by his peers. The song was written by Johnny Marks and was released in September 1949. It was first sung commercially by Harry Brannon before becoming Gene Antry’s number 1 hit on  Christmas 1949.

8. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Written by Randy Brook, it was originally sung by husband and wife duo Elmo and Patsy Tigsy Shropshire in 1979. The song speaks of a grandmother who gets drunk after drinking too much eggnog, and after forgetting to take her meds and despite warning from her family members, wonders out into a snowstorm, is run over by Santa Claus and is killed. The song ends saying that the family had Christmas dinner in mourning and warns listeners that Santa Claus is an unfit driver and shouldn’t have a driver’s license.

7. Jingle Bells

One of the best known and commonly sung Christmas carols, it was written by composer James Lord Pierpont in 1850. It is now in the public domain, there are two versions of the song, the one we know and the original lyrics from 1857.

6. Noel ( The First Noel)

This is a Traditional Christmas song that emerged from the 18th Century. The Word Noel is French for Christmas. It is said to be of  Cornish origin and was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern in 1823. It was also edited and published in Hymns and Carols  by British Author Davis Gilbert in 1830. There are different versions to the song, today we sing a four-part hymn that was created in 1871 by English composer John Stainer. There are three versions, New English (created by Stainer), Cornish and the American version.

5. Deck The Halls

Is a Welsh Carol that originated in the 16th Century. It first appeared in Welsh Melodies by John Thomas  and was written in Welsh and in English.

4. Here Come Santa Claus

Is a Christmas Song written by American performer  Gene Autry and composer  Oakley Haldeman. antry was inspired to make this song while riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade when a spectator began to yell  out ‘Here Come Santa Claus’. In 1957 Elvis  Presley Recorded his own version for his Christmas Album.

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

The earliest known recording was made by Harry Reser and his band in 1934. It was however first sung on radio on Eddie Cantor’s radio show earlier that year. The song was so popular that the very next day, over 100 000 copies of the sheet music was ordered and before Christmas that year, over 400 000 copies had been sold. It was the most popular song of the decade and held it’s record in sales numbers until the mid-40’s.

2. Away in a Manger

Is A Christmas carol that was first published in 1885, in Britain it is one of the most popular Carols. It first appeared as two verses in an Evangelical Sunday School Hymn book in 1885. It was mainly published in Church Hymns. It was said that the lyrics were created by German Protestant reformer Martin Luther but further research into that matter as said that was not true.

1.  Carol Of the Bells.

was originally a lyrical rewrite of the Ukrainian folk song Shchedryk, and was written by Peter J. Wilhousky from the NBC Symphony Orchestra in the 1930’s. There are two popular versions out there, a second one made popular by Minna Luice Hohman in 1947 with  a more nativity-inspired set of lyrics. The original was sung around New Years in Ukraine Pre-Christianity and was therefore sung around April, but since the Christianisation of Ukraine, they too sing it around Christmas time. Even though the lyrics are licensed under copyright laws, the musical composition is royalty and copyright free, which is the main reason it can be heard in an instrumental version in so many movies.

Like we said, there are thousands of Christmas songs and carols, If I  had it my way, ‘Holiday’s Coming’ from the Coca Cola Advert would be number one every time, alas it wasn’t. So, what are your favourite Christmas songs?

(Thanks to Cookie and Lekkie, for helping us out with this list!)

Gift Suggester

Christmas Apps Part 2 – Christmas Shopping

Link to part 1

 

Sometimes, simple is best. If you, like me, have a hard time with both budget and memory, you too might find it hard to remember all those great gift ideas you had just  few hours ago. You can’t always keep a pad with you and voice notes and other note apps get messy quickly. Here are the Android apps that will help you through the Christmas shopping stress.

Christmas Gift Listfree

Christmas Gift List lets you create a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and set a budget for each person, so you can easily see who you need to buy a gift to and how much you can spend.

You can also make a note of every gift idea you have for every person on your list, complete with the price and a note (if you wanna remember where to buy it or something similar) and the app will let you know how much you have left on the budget for that person. When you have bought a gift, you can quickly mark that gift off in the list and the app will keep track and quickly let you know who gets what, how much it cost and if you have any other gifts to buy for each person on your list.Christmas Gift List comes with options for password protection in case you want to keep your list a secret, automatic timeout that will close the app if you have accidentally left the phone with the app open and the choice of currency between USD, GBP, Euro and Yen.

Christmas Wishlistfree

You’re at the store, shopping for your family and friends or just looking around and you find that thing you’ve wanted for so long. It’s almost Christmas, so you’re thinking “I’ll wish for that instead”, sigh in anticipation and walk out. You take the bus home, open the door, the phone rings… It’s your mother, she wants to know what you wish for… Your mind goes blank!

This is the problem many have during the holidays. We all say “Oh, I don’t wish for anything”, but truth is all of us do, many just can’t remember it. That’s where Christmas Wishlist comes in handy. With this very smart app you can quickly sort your own wishlist and watch other peoples wishlists. Christmas Wishlist has an archive of thousands of items from razors to phones, to computers, to tickets and it lets you search for what you want and add it to your list. If you’re in a store and see something you want, it also has a built in barcode scanner that uses the camera to scan the item, search for it and add to your wishlist.

When you’re done, or periodically as the time comes closer, you may share your list with others via bluetooth, chat apps, social apps or just about any app that allows for sharing through the Android Sharing option. Comes with a wide range of country and language settings.

Gift Suggester Lite - free

The last piece of the puzzle is to find out what to give to someone else. Gift Suggester uses a set of 30 questions about the person to find out what that person might like and gives you 5 suggestions. If you want, you can take your chances and check the answer before the 30 questions are up, but the less questions answered, the less the chances that you’ll find the right gift.

I was skeptic about this at first, thinking generic questions as these could never give the right answer, so I tried with first myself then someone close to me that I know what they like. Both hit right on with suggestion number 1. This app won’t give you the favorite gift of this Christmas, but it won’t let you down when it comes to gifts the person will like.

With these three apps, you will have Christmas sorted with time to spare for the egg nog!