Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A musical 'Christmas night at the Rockefeller Center'

Hey everybody, this news is going to make your day rock. Christina Aguilera, Sting, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Sarah McLachlan, Enya, John Legend, Martina Mcbride, and Taylor Hicks will light up the stage on November 29, 2006, Wednesday, during the 74th annual Christmas tree lighting extravaganza at the Rockefeller center, New York which will be telecast on NBC. The power packed torrid performances by these renowned musicians and singers around the beautifully decorated majestic Christmas tree are sure to draw in large crowds. I am planning to be a part of the same, what about you?
The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree can be traced back to the Great Depression era. First erected in 1933, the tree was decorated with 700 lights and placed in front of the RCA building,now known as the GE building. With the inauguration of the outdoor ice skating ring pond in 1936, millions of New Yorkers and tourists flock to this awesome locale every year. NBC- TV televised the tree lighting in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and they have been handling the telecast since then.
So get set for that zooming adrenaline boost this year with some mind numbing performances at this amazing musical night.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Christmas gifts at low and affordable prices

Happy Halloween to all my readers.
A gift is an expression of one's love and appreciation. It enhances the magnitude of respect and also closely knits individuals or families together. The plethora of gifts available in the market and online retail shops is startling and so are their prices. However, it is the gesture itself which counts, a gift handmade or bought, expensive or not hardly matters. The simple desire to present a gift is enough to win hearts.
I have often noticed that people feel elated on receiving hand baked or cooked food items like Chocolate fudge or candies etc. In fact, homemade cookie mix with the recipe enfolded or baskets filled with cheese and fruits, flowers, drinks like cider, special jams and mustards or chocolate bars and so on are not just cheap to accumulate but also a craze among innumerable kids, house wives and teenagers as well. Gifts like cookbooks, set of dish towels and dish cloths, magazines on home decor, beautiful candles, kitchen gadgets, etc. for young homemakers, nail polish kits, makeup set, pretty night suits, video rental gift certificates, sports cards, movie theater gift hampers, hand decorated photo albums or prepaid long distance phone cards for teenagers are just a few examples of un-ostentatious gift products worth being merited and applauded.
For those who wish to avoid the traffic on the roads and the crowds in the malls, online shopping offers a large range of easily affordable options. For more information and exciting gift ideas, take a look at these websites I found on the net and am planning to borrow ideas from myself:




Top New Pop Christmas Albums

Looking for the latest Pop albums releasing this Christmas? So was I, coz I just love music. A wise man once said that if there is anything which can make your boss or instructor abandon that scowl on his forehead and rest his vocal chords or make his feet go cha cha cha, its nothing but some smashing good music. So here's the list of the top 10 Christmas albums making an entry into the world of Pop this year:

'James Taylor at Christmas' by Jame Taylor- Consists of a selection of warm and comforting traditional Christmas Pop.
'Now! That's What I call Christmas, Vol. 3' by Various Artists- The first two volumes are unforgettable, hope this one will create ripples as well.
'Wintersong' by Sarah McLachlan- Destined to stun your senses, Sarah's beautiful voice is sure to captivate audiences.
'Cool Yule' by Bette Midler- The first Christmas album ever in the long career of the Divine Miss M.
'Songs for Christmas' by Sufjan Stevens- For more information on this one, scroll down to check out my exclusive post dated October 19, 2006.
'A Classic Christmas' by Wyonna Judd- Primarily renowned as a country singer, nevertheless her songs can smoothly fit into the Pop category as well.
'One more Drifter in the Snow' by Aimee Mann- This collection ranges from a version of “You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch” to an original tear jerking Christmas number.
'A Mary Mary Christmas' by Mary Mary- A duo that keeps surprising us with their enchanting numbers. Hope this one will also add mirth to the holiday spirit.
'A Twisted Christmas' by Twisted Sister- This much awaited album is sure to be a party rocker.
'A 50th Anniversary Christmas celebration' by Johnny Mathis- Who would not want to lay his hands on this album consisting of the classic recordings of Christmas songs by a living legend?
Just check out these websites, for more information on these upcoming albums.




So plug in your headphones/earphones and make sure you get a few of these albums for your boss as well to ensure that extra wage hike this Christmas.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Christmas gifts for grandma

Hi! guys. So how was your weekend? Mine was simply great. Had loads of fun at the party. But now its time to reveal my find, came across an amazing variety of gifts on the net for my darling grandmother. The twinkle in her eyes, the immaculate grace and simple unimpeachable smile on her lips makes me want to thank god for sending an angel from heaven in the form of my grandmother.

Here goes the special long awaited list of gifts:

  • Grandma frame – For the sweetest lady in town, a photo frame with childhood pictures of the grandkids is sure to remind her of the times when she could carry us in her arms, feed , bathe and cajole us to sleep with a quick wave of her magic wand.
  • Grandmother red glitter ornament- Topped with a festive Santa hat, a Christmas tree and a holy wreath, this ornament engraved with the sweet lady's name on it is sure to make her merry.
  • Memory book- Who said grand mom's growing old? This gift is only to keep her winning at all the quizzes we have during family reunions.
  • Grandma Afghan- Available in an array of soft colors, beautifully embroidered with a Grandma poem and her name as well, this is for keeping her warm during those chilly winter evenings while reading her favorite novel or watching television.
  • Three dimensional personal family tree frame- Looks more like a sculpture to me which can be used to display photos of all family members and serve as an artistic emblem aesthetically adorning the bedside.
  • Personalized Grandma T shirt
  • Bracelets- After all, jewelery is any woman's best friend, right?
  • Pendants
  • Mahogany wood keepsake box
  • 365 Hugs and Warm wishes- Though not exclusively meant for Christmas, this little bottle with 365 or more messages on love, hope, friendship and hugs read everyday makes a really unique surprise specially with the new year tiptoeing in.

Now the problem is, I am having difficulty deciding which one to select from this immense variety. Suggestions are most welcome. Drop in your own ideas in my comment box.
For more latest gift ideas click here. Make sure to click on these:








Saturday, October 28, 2006

Weekend Halloween fun

Halloween in Christmas! Sounds fun, doesn't it? This weekend I decided to take a break from Christmas and dwell on my Halloween celebrations instead. So how are you guys gearing up for the weekend?
I have converted my garage into a grand maze partitioning it with black curtains. Guests are invited to enter the house but not before journeying through this dark and spooky labyrinth where Freddie, Jack the Ripper, Jason, Frankenstein, Dracula, and other ghoulish monsters as well as nefarious witches are out to grab the faint hearted and the weak willed. Coupled with this, a combination of eerie background music and intermittent blasts of spine chilling, blood curdling screams will create that ultimate hellish experience.
As for the food: gooey eyeballs, mummy cupcakes, cobweb fudge with chocolate spiders, gnarled witch fingers and a heart dripping with blood are my choice for the evening. Yucky, aren't they?
This is for those who are attending my party but I have also reserved something really special for those living far off. A Halloween wish goes out to both my cousins, Cindy and George in the form of these spectacular e cards.




So guys, take this opportunity to send e greetings to all your loved ones this Halloween making sure they also feel the foul and decayed breath of zombies, fiends and specters emerging from their laptops to haunt their bedsides....and their dreams.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Christmas cookies

Has anyone ever heard this proverb, 'A cookie a day will keep the doctor away'? Guess not coz I just made it up. Sounds yummy right? Most of my silhouette conscious acquaintances would not agree because cookie= sugar = a weighty affair. But, Christmas comes once every year and thats when all the grand moms roll up their sleeves to knead the flour and serve us kids with dainty delicacies. Here are some traditional, easy to bake but time honored recipes ( I found on the net and am planning to try out this Christmas) that will remind you of the sweet sensuous flavor of scrumptious cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and add the vanilla extract. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients, then the chocolate chips. Using a rounded tablespoon, place this mixture onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and cool completely.

2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose sifted flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine eggs, sugar, and salt. Beat well. Add the remaining ingredients; beat until smooth. Heat rosette iron in deep, hot oil (350 to 375 F) for two minutes. Drain excess oil from iron; dip in batter to 1/4 inch from top of iron, then immediately into hot oil. Fry rosette until golden, 10 to 30 seconds. Lift out; tip upside down to drain. With fork, push rosette off iron onto rack placed over paper towels. Reheat iron for 1 minute; make the next rosette. Stir batter from time to time as you will get some oil in it. Sprinkle rosettes with confectioner's sugar.

Snicker Doodles
1 cup Butter or margarine
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Sugar
1 3/4 cup flour; all-purpose
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt; (optional)
3/4 cups Brown sugar; packed
2 eggs
2 cups uncooked oats
1 teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet. In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and a 3/4 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, soda and salt. Add this to the sugar mixture and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. In small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle lightly over each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes.Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire cooling rack.

Low carb almond sugar cookies
1-1/4 cup almond floor
1 cup Splenda
¼ cup butter at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
additional Splenda for decorating

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Stir together flour and Splenda. Blend in butter, egg and vanilla until well mixed. Form into 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet and flatten each with a fork. Sprinkle with additional Splenda. Bake for 8 minutes or until set but not brown. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet then remove to wire cooling racks.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Christmas gifts for grand dad

This one needs special attention. Whenever I look at my darling grandparents, I am struck with wonder. They are a couple made for each other and their amazing chemistry is quite an inspiration for us youngsters.
Going by the trends,the most popular gifts for grand dads this year are:

  • Artemis desk clock- Grandma would be elated if I gave this to my grandfather who has broken innumerable alarm clocks while handling them. This will certainly help him getting up early for his morning walk.
  • Golf Ball gift set- For any golf loving grand dad, this gift will set him in motion immediately.
  • Tool kit set- All the right tools for the right job in one single kit...now thats what I call a perfect Christmas present.
  • Baseball legends and playing cards
  • Wood stamped picture frames
  • Grandpa coffee mugs
  • Pocket watches
  • A grandpa hero slate frame- To tell him how much he means to you and that you truly idolise him.
  • Simple TV remotes with large buttons- Not only does it ensure less strain on the eyes but being a multipurpose gadget, it controls TVs, VCDs, cable boxes, satellite dishes and DVD players as well.
  • Memory books –Designed to keep old memories fresh and make ample space for new ones as well, this book would surely be any grandfather's best friend.
  • A long sleeve Polo neck sweater- or a T-shirt with his favorite player/actor embossed on it.
  • Lap writing desk
  • Blackcomb half zip fleece

Well, if thats not all, for all those who are still not sure about what to gift their grandfather this Christmas, here are a few online retail sites you guys could check out:





As for my sweet grand mom, I have reserved a post exclusively for her, which will be coming up soon. So keep peeping in guys.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Delectable Christmas candies

Creamy, sugary, buttery fondants!! Stopped dead in your tracks already? Better pop one in your mouth before anybody else does.
Candies add spice to any Christmas celebration. It is still a wonder how these small bean shaped, half an ounce of chocolate or cream filled candies can make even the most elite forget their table etiquettes.
Here's how:
Turkish Delight
Melt 1 oz. of gelatin in a cup of cold water and pour this into a saucepan adding one pound of fine sugar along with orange or lemon juice. Boil it up three times and then simmer for about twenty minutes till it feels sticky or chewy. Butter a soup plate and pour half the mixture into it.
Color the remainder with a few drops of coloring, pour it on to the rest and set it to stiffen.
Then warm the plate slightly to loosen it, transfer by turning it on to paper dusted with icing sugar, cut into squares, and sugar these as well.
Store in a container.

Almond butter crunch candy
2 (11.5ounce) packages milk chocolate chips, divided
2 cups butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 cup blanched slivered almonds, divided

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Grease a 14 by 18 inch cookie sheet.
Sprinkle one package of chocolate chips on to the pan. Place this in the oven until the chips melt which should take about about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread melted chocolate over the pan; set aside.
In a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Stirring constantly, heat to 300 - 310 degrees F (149 to 154 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup slivered almonds and pour onto pan with melted chocolate; spread mixture evenly.
Sprinkle remaining package of chocolate chips over the almond layer. The heat from the almond layer will melt the chocolate chips; spread melted chocolate evenly. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup almonds over chocolate.
Cut into squares, or allow to harden in a solid sheet and break it apart. Cool before removing from pan.

Chocolate Nut clusters
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, almonds, pecans or jumbo peanuts
2 (3 oz.) milk chocolate candy bars or 6 oz. milk chocolate melting wafers
30 caramel candies

Preparation - Preheat oven to 300°. Unwrap the caramel candies and place them a few inches apart on a buttered baking sheet. Place in oven baking at 300° for eight minutes, or until the caramels are soft but not syrupy. Squeeze in about 6 nuts into each melted caramel. Let it cool. Place the chocolate on a bowl in the microwave on full power for about one minute until the chocolate melts. Push the stop button to stir after 30 seconds. Spoon the melted chocolate on top of each caramel+nut mound. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden. Place each cluster in a paper candy cup.

For more delicious recipes, check out these websites:





Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Real or artificial Christmas trees?

Beginning a discussion on this issue is like entering a vortex and I am speaking from personal experience. Had a small party at my place yesterday where I casually asked my friends whether I should go for a real or artificial Christmas tree. Little did I know that this would spur a heated debate. Real trees are no doubt more attractive and beautiful to the eye but instead of entering a controversy myself, I will relate all the pros and cons of both the varieties now.
Artificial Trees besides being cost effective, last for more than six years and require little maintenance. They do not shed needles and are thus safe for the kids, creating very little mess. Being fire resistant, the house is never under a threat even if lit candles are kept near. However, most notably as my friend Zack pointed out, there are hardly any disposal pangs (certainly no immediate ones), neither do they rot and having a huge collection to select from, people are increasingly tilting towards them.
In comparison to this, here is what James, an agriculturalist had to say, “Artificial trees look unimpressive and unreal, require ample storage space and assembling time as well. Besides, they are made from a non renewable resource- petroleum; lack smell, can be insect infested, are not environment friendly like their real counterparts which release oxygen in the air taking in carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases, augment the growth of rural economy, decompose easily and are nature's unique gift to man”.
Is your head already spinning? Well, mine was but you know what the best thing about this conversation was, I gathered loads of information which now I can share with you all. Real trees, are however my choice for the season, what is yours?
Here are a few websites I learnt about while this heated exchange was going on where I will soon be ordering my Christmas tree:
For real trees:

NEW YORK tree farms:




For artificial trees


For Christmas tree ecards

Christmas with Santa Claus dolls

“Whats my idea of a perfect Christmas? One in which the whole room is filled with Santa Claus coming in all sizes and shapes dressed as a majestic king or a fisherman or a Scot playing the lute.” said my grand mom the other day. She dotes on little Santa Claus dolls and my plan is to make this Christmas her most memorable one.
Have you guys ever wondered how Santa would look holding a frog in one hand and a backpack filled with a tree? Well, this is not a mere figment of my imagination. I was amazed to come across such a doll named Whimsical Santa on http://www.shopfest.com/shirleystraditions/ Then there is Victorian Santa, Golfing Santa, Keepsake Santa and a whole new range of dolls that are worth taking a look. In addition, the Santa for sale gallery at http://www.cddolls.com/ hosts an assortment of dolls like a Mexican Santa dressed in velvet, Skier Santa, Woodsman Santa and lots more.
Few more in the list are,





Phew!! now my plan is to ask my friends and family to check out these sites, and order as many unique Santa dolls as possible and with that plus a few contributions of my own, I hope to decorate that special lady, my grand mom's room just the night before Christmas. Cant wait to see her face light up with child like emotion and joy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Christmas stockings

Yesterday while rummaging through my drawers, I suddenly came across my old and worn out stockings hung up during Christmas every year. It suddenly struck me that Christmas stockings could be an excellent gift. Available in iridescent shades, these cute, snuggly and adorable wool handcrafts possess the magical ability to allure Santa Claus to arrive at jet speed and celebrate Christmas with us. But not all stockings can do the trick, they have to be like the ones grandma used to make, right?

http://www.auntjoy.com/ is a site I learnt about from one of my friends who spoke quite highly of it. These Christmas stockings available online are unique and original in their designs. Made to order and shipped within a fortnight, I hope to receive them at my doorstep early this winter. It was fun selecting from their wide ranging and bewitching designs.

http://www.annieswoolens.com/ another website I have heard of has already begun taking orders. Their hand knitted time honored Christmas stocking collection is quite popular among my more traditional family members.

I am also planning to buy new stockings and Christmas ornaments for my pet dog, Nemo. After all, he should get a chance to bark and have a lark on Christmas as well. Will be placing orders at either of the two online websites I came across and have added to my list of favorites,



Something old, something fresh, something bold and something beauteous, Christmas is the time to bring in the best of everything and celebrate in plush style. So, make sure you have loads of fun and enjoy.

Christmas food delights

Time to start munching and crunching your way to a gala Christmas feast.
Orange eggnog punch, Shrimp Cocktail, Sausage bites, Roasted lamb, Gingerbread cookies, Christmas fudge, apple pie and fruit cakes...wow! wish I had a genie like Aladdin, who'd produce all these titillating flavors at my command. But I believe if you want something, then you got to strive hard for it. And when so many new recipes are out in the market, why not try a hand at cooking them?

Chicken in Champagne sauce
2 whole chicken breasts, boned
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely diced fennel or celery
1/2 cup finely diced white part of leeks
3/4 cup finely diced mushrooms
1/4 cup or more chicken broth
Flour for dusting
2/3 cup champagne
2/3 cup heavy cream

Take the 2 whole chicken breasts and cut them into 4 pieces. Remove the skin and bits of fat. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides, then place them between two sheets of wax paper. Flatten evenly with a meat pounder. Heat 3 tablespoons butter and saute the diced vegetables in a large skillet over low heat for 1 minute. Keep stirring. Then add the broth, salt. Cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add more broth if needed, remember the vegetables should not turn brown. Push the vegetables to the edge and add the rest of the butter. Dredge the breasts in flour, shaking off the excess and add them to the pan. Saute the pieces for 30 seconds on one side, then turn them over. Add the vegetables and the champagne. After it has boiled up, stir in the cream, cover, reduce heat, and let it cook for 5 minutes. Check if the sauce has thickened, in case of excessive thickening, stir in a little broth or cream. Taste.
Serve hot with rice.

Yield: 4 servings

There is more to come. So keep dropping in for more inputs on Christmas food delights.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Christmas gifts for men

Are you feeling the chill in the air? It's an indication that Christmas will be knocking at our doors soon. So have you begun shopping for the season? For all those who are wondering what to buy their male friends, husbands, colleagues or boss, here is an insight into the hottest trends this year.
iPod accessories-

  • Super cool powerful speakers
  • iPod Nano Lanyard Headphones
  • Belkin iPod voice recorder
  • iPod HiFi from Apple
  • Bose Sounddock digital Music System

Playstation 3- Releasing on November 17th, this Christmas gift is already topping the charts.

Powerizer Power- I can vouch for this one. Once these super charged powerizers embrace the feet, there is no question of parting with them. For any fitness freak (like me) who loves to jump high and run faster, what could be a more pleasurable gift?

Robosapien RS Media- This robot plays MP3, MPEG4s, takes pictures and shoots videos. With a head mounted camera, a colour LCD screen, a full speaker system, 40 MB of internal memory, and an external memory card slot; playing Java games and hand controlling this technological masterpiece would be desirable to any man.

DNA Potraits and fingerprints from DNA11- Imagine creating abstract designs from your own DNA or fingerprints and placing this artwork on the mantlepiece. Surely, nothing beats that.

Electric Guitars and AMP pack- Twang! twang! twang! Just love that sound, don't you? I have saved this gift for my gang of die hard music fans who want to make it big in the industry. Its a complete kit that guarantees good value for money.

A Cocktail Fountain- A spectacular, functional yet fun punch bowl that could add glamor and jazz to any party and dazzle all.

For some amazing funky neck ties, you people could check out this site,

For more unique gift ideas, take a look at the following:-




I have already taken a dip into this fascinating blender of fashion and technology. What are you all waiting for?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Top Christmas Gifts for Your Overweight Child

As the holiday season nears, many parents struggle with deciding on what gifts to buy their children. This is rarely due to a lack of suggestions from their child. Instead many parents face anxiety during the holiday season because they are battling whether or not the suggestions from their children will actually be good for them.
For decades now, some of the most popular holiday gifts have been video games. Gone are the days of the bike or rollerblades it seems, as more and more kids are glued to their video game systems. Systems like the PS2 and XBOX have become a fixture in the typical American household.

While this statistic alone is not problematic, when combined with the increasing rate of obesity among America's youth, it is. Most parents are aware of the alarming statistic and view video games as a major contributor. If asked, most parents would admit that their children need more exercise. They might reflect on their own childhoods when physical activity was woven into their daily lives.

Fortunately, video game companies have responded by creating a new wave of exciting and interactive games that are both fitness friendly and involving in a whole new way.

Dance Dance Revolution, commonly referred to as DDR, is one such game that would make a great holiday gift. Compatible with just about any video game system, this game challenges its players to get physical. Players must out-dance one another in order to be crowned winner. Don't have someone to challenge? No problem. Like most video games, in DDR, players can also just challenge the game. Utilizing the standard user levels, from beginner to expert, your child can dance their heart out. Newer versions of DDR are also equipped with a special feature that allows the player to monitor the amount of calories they are burning. Where else can someone burn over 500 calories an hour without ever really noticing?

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is another video game that would make a great holiday gift. Like DDR, it requires a significant amount of physical activity. On the surface, Donkey Kong seems to be a simple platformer, but it is actually a surprisingly complex game. Instead of the standard controller, the player can use a set of bongo drums, often included with the game. Using the bongos, the player can drum their way through the jungle. Unlike DDR, a player does not directly compete with another player. Instead, Donkey Kong is a single-player adventure game that is great for both the video game novice and an experienced gamer

read more digg story

A Child's dream Christmas party

Christmas is just a few blocks away and sticking to tradition, I will once again be sitting with my niece and nephews to plan out an elaborate Christmas party. Starting with the invitations to the decoration ending with the yummy dishes and the Christmas games and gifts, everything ought to be rocking special.
We are settling with a star shaped invitation card attached with a candy bar ( chocolate being every child's dream delight) which will first be sent to all the kids in the neighborhood.
Speaking of the decorations, twinkling party lights, paper snowflakes, white, blue and silver streamers, artificial plastic Christmas trees, white styrofoam balls for snow, bells, balloons etc. indoors is sure to light up the faces of the little ones as they enter.
For the games, building a snowman in the backyard is a must, then come tree decorating and caroling. Throwing big Styrofoam snowballs at each other, reading winter solstice and Christmas stories together and ice skating are also on the list.
Want to know whats on the menu?
Hot chocolate
Hot Apple cider
Rice krispie treat snowballs
Snowman cupcakes
Soup or stew
Cheese fondue
Gingerbread cookies
Rudolph cupcakes and smiley face chicken sandwiches
last but certainly the best.....a huge Santa Claus cake

With provisions for blowing bubbles, bursting crackers, dancing like hell and taking stickers, little bags, rubber stamps etc home, I hope the party will be a success.
In case you are already feeling inspired and wish to plan a party for the kids as well, here are a few sites you could check out.






Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sufjan Stevens' 'Songs For Christmas'

Hey everybody, got some great news for all music lovers. The lyrical genius and multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens is releasing his next album, 'Songs for Christmas' this November which will include five individually packaged CD EPs recorded between 2001 and 2006. His songs relate to faith and family but despite addressing Christianity, they are not overtly didactic. In a world where faith in love, man and religion are all under attack from different quarters, his albums, 'Seven Swans', 'Michigan', 'Illinois' and the rest help to soothe our nerves gone erratic and reinstate our values.
Incidentally, 'Illinois', with its songs 'Chicago', ' Decatur' with the chorus “ It's the great I Am”, “The Seek's Tower” etc, was the highest rated album of 2005. He also received the Album of the Year, Best Album Art/ Packaging, and The Male Artist of the Year awards in the PLUG Independent Music Awards 2006.

Guess your hands must already be itching to get a hold on the new album. Here is the track list:
Noel: Songs for Christmas, Vol. I (recorded December 2001)
'Silent Night'
'O Come O Come Emmanuel'
'We're Goin' To the Country!'
'Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming'
'It's Christmas! Let's Be Glad!'
'Holy Holy, etc.'
'Amazing Grace'

Hark!: Songs for Christmas, Vol. II (recorded December 2002)
'Angels We Have Heard on High'
'Put the Lights on the Tree'
'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing'
'I Saw Three Ships'
'Only at Christmas Time'
'Once in Royal David's City'
'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!'
'What Child Is This Anyway?'
'Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella'

Ding! Dong!: Songs for Christmas, Vol. III (recorded December 2003)
'O Come, O Come Emmanuel'
'Come on! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!'
'We Three Kings'
'O Holy Night'
'That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!'
'Ding! Dong!'
'All the King's Horns'
'The Friendly Beasts'

Joy: Songs for Christmas, Vol. IV (recorded December 2005)
'The Little Drummer Boy'
'Away In A Manger'
'Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!'
'The First Noel'
'Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)'
'The Incarnation'
'Joy To The World'

Peace: Songs for Christmas, Vol. V (recorded June 2006)
'Once in Royal David's City'
'Get Behind Me, Santa!'
'Jingle Bells'
'Christmas in July'
'Lo! How A Rose E'er Blooming'
'Jupiter Winter'
'Sister Winter'
'O Come O Come Emmanuel'
'Star of Wonder'
'Holy, Holy, Holy'
'The Winter Solstice'

Gifts for pregnant women: Christmas ideas

I came across this great Christmas Gifts for Pregnant women here while searching for christmas gift ideas at digg.com
So, here’re recommendations for those, who want to spend money wisely and make glad not only a woman, but a woman who is “in a family way”.

Festive attire. Every woman dreams to meet Christmas in a new beautiful dress, but, alas, not everyone can afford herself this, especially if she’s going to wear this dress only for several months. You should not think only about shapeless garments, but choose a slinky dress, accentuating a woman’s pregnancy. In last case, however, you need to be absolutely sure that, firstly, a woman will like this cut, and secondly, that you know her size for sure.

Close people (husband, girlfriend, mother, sister) can make a future mom glad with tights or pants with special insets for belly.


Boots with a sole of modern waterproof porous (“breathing”) materials (Gore-tex, Simpa-tex, Cell) can become an excellent gift. Such boots are rather expensive, but feet don’t get tired in them, don’t freeze in cold weather, don’t slide (supercooling and falls are not useful for anyone, but during pregnancy there’re much more reasons to avoid such cases). And after childbirth, during long walks, especially in autumn-winter period, a young mom will be able to appreciate close people's care. However, don’t forget that boots for a pregnant woman should have comfortable and simple fastener (and it’s even better to choose a model without fastener at all: you know, it’s not so easy to zip fastener or lace up boots independently being on last months of pregnancy)

Cosmetics and perfumes

In this case we speak about special cosmetics (creams, scented oils, balms, lotions etc.) helping to prevent appearance of pigmentation, stretch marks on breast and belly, varicose veins and other troubles of pregnant women.


before you start looking shocked lets say that even strict doctors say that if a pregnant woman is savoring only one glass of champagne during whole Christmas night, there’s nothing terrible here. However, it’s another matter – you cannot really present a glass of champagne! But you can present … nonalcoholic wine.According to this technology, classic table wine passes all necessary stages of production, but before butylation it is placed in a special vat, where all ethyl alcohol is extracted from it with help of vacuum. As a rule, white nonalcoholic wine contains very small and non-dangerous (no more than 0,5) percent of alcohol, red wine is completely deprived of this constituent, undesired for a pregnant woman. There’s also sparkling nonalcoholic wine, however, here you should distinguish it from so-called “nonalcoholic champagne”, which is mostly a usual lemonade in a beautiful bottle.

Health control means

Tools for weight (electronic scales) and blood pressure (electronic pulsimeter) control. During pregnancy such procedures, like weighing and pressure measurement, become usual, they are taken every time a woman visits an antenatal clinic. But having a possibility to weigh herself and measure pressure at the moment, when it’s necessary, we think, every pregnant woman will be glad to it. Besides, both scales and pulsimeter will be useful at home after childbirth too.


Disks with films, where plot is “twisted” around pregnancy. For example, “9 months”, “The pot is calling the kettle black” (parts 1 and 2), “Mating games of Earth inhabitants”. These are not new films, but they will surely bring pleasure to a future mom. Probably, they will offer you something new on this subject in a store.

Subjects, providing comfort and safety

Bath mat. Pregnant woman has atopic centre of gravity, that’s why she has rather high chances to slip in a bathroom. In further she will be able to use this mat while bathing her baby.

A special ball of big diameter (70-90 cm). One of the biggest troubles for a pregnant woman is inability to lie on belly (you should try to avoid this position for several months!). Such ball (slightly blown off) can be used for this purpose. And after childbirth a young mom will be able to exercise with a baby on this ball.

Well, don’t forget:

Mobile phone

How will a mother (firstly future, then present) contact close people from a maternity hospital (and later – during long walks with a baby) without it?

However, regardless of gifts close people make a future mom glad, we are sure: meeting of this Christmas will remain in her memory for a long. You know, period of pregnancy is always pierced with happy expectation, and Christmas will bring a tint of holiday and happiness to this expectation. Have a happy coming Christmas!

Special Christmas gifts for women.

This one always makes a man dizzy. Buying a gift for his girl, mother, sister or female colleague is, believe me, not an easy job. But I was adamant about finding the best and most unusual gifts this Christmas. Want to know what I came up with? Here it goes.
Has your girlfriend ever mentioned about her falling asleep on the couch watching TV after a long day's work and getting up with a sore throat and a stiff back the next day? Well, mine has and when I came across a TV Cuddle Blanket on the net, with a built in pocket to store the remote and a pouch designed for the feet, I knew that her woes were finally coming to an end. Coupled with this, picture frames, satin bed sheets, jewelery especially diamonds, a palm pilot, fragrance sets, a Sephora makeup brush set, perfumes, apparels, hand bags, a dolphin massager, or the complete series of 'Sex and the City' caught my attention as well. Why just your girlfriend, these gifts are bound to bring a smile on any woman's face.

As for pregnant women, you guys can check out this amazing site,
http://www.baby-health.net/articles/353.html, where starting from comfortable shoes, nonalcoholic beverages to books, magazines and films on pregnancy or childbirth, just about anything is available.

But you know what, the best thing about buying gifts this time is that I wont have to go shopping anywhere...I can just find everything I want on the net. Be it, www.christmasgifts.com, www.askmen.com, www.everythingchristmas.com/womengifts.html or www.alloccasiongiftshop.com, with just a click on the mouse, I could make my female acquaintances feel soothingly special in a jiffy and that too without having to face any embarrassment or confusion while selecting gifts in the women's section at the mall either.
Isn't that what you would call the best Christmas shopping experience ever?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Its the Nightmare Before Christmas

Have to share this one with you all, the 3D version of my favorite movie, 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' is releasing on October 20 and under no condition will I be missing it.
Directed by Henry Selick, and released by Touchstone pictures in 1993, the original version of the film is about the inhabitants of Halloween Town who try to take over Christmas for a year. Being a ten year old then, watching the film was simply an awesome experience. The thought of Santa Claus disappearing or being kidnapped was rather scary but I would not hesitate to say that just like Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King and the inmates of Halloween Town, I also learnt to appreciate the true spirit of Christmas only after my exposure to this film.The twisted but irresistibly funny songs, the Gothic scenery and animation were all commendable. And after such an unforgettable experience as a child, learning of the remastered release of the 3D version in 2006 by Walt Disney Pictures made me jump with joy.
Hey did you know that a video game based on the 1993 version was released in 2005? Called 'The Nightmare Before Christmas Oogie's Revenge', the game developed by Capcom from Japan from PlayStation2 and Xbox systems is a rather dark vision of the story but capable of keeping anybody glued to the screen for hours.
As for the new film, 76 minutes of ultimate festive magic is about to cast its spell shortly and I am prepared to be mesmerized, are you?

Here's a preview, enjoy!

Theater list for the U.S. and CANADA


  • The El Capitan Theatre Hollywood, CA
  • AMC Universal City 18 Universal City, CA
  • Moreno Valley 16 Moreno Valley, CA
  • Criterion 6 Theater Santa Monica, CA
  • Glendale Exchange 10 Glendale, CA
  • Janss Marketplace 9 Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Mann Plant 16 Cinemas Van Nuys, CA
  • The Bridge Cinemas Los Angeles, CA
  • Long Beach Stadium 26 Long Beach, CA
  • Irvine Spectrum 20 Irvine, CA
  • South Gate Stadium 20 South Gate, CA
  • Edwards Corona Crossings 18 Corona, CA
  • Fontana 8 Cinema Fontana, CA


  • Union Square 14 New York, NY
  • AMC 84th Street 6 Cinema New York, NY
  • AMC Raceway 10 Westbury, NY
  • AMC Jersey Gardens Theatre Elizabeth, NJ
  • Pavilion 8 Brooklyn, NY
  • Farmingdale Multiplex 14 Farmingdale, NY
  • Linden Boulevard Multiplex Brooklyn, NY
  • College Point Multiplex Whitestone, NY
  • Edgewater Multiplex Cinemas Edgewater, NJ
  • Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas Jamaica, NY
  • Island 16 Cinema de Lux Holtsville, NY
  • City Center 15 Cinema de Lux White Plains, NY
  • Sheepshead Bay 14 Brooklyn, NY
  • New Roc City 18 New Rochelle, NY
  • Staten Island Stadium 16 Staten Island, NY


  • Streets of Woodfield Schaumburg, IL
  • Lake 7 Theatre Oak Park, IL
  • Crown Village Crossing Skokie, IL
  • Showplace 12 Theatre Schererville, IN
  • Lincolnshire Stadium 20 Lincolnshire, IL


  • Metreon 15 San Francisco, CA
  • Century Daly City 20 Daly City, CA
  • Century 20 Oakridge San Jose, CA
  • Hacienda Crossing 20 Dublin, CA


  • King Of Prussia Stadium 15 King Of Prussia, PA
  • Brandywine 16 Wilmington, DE


  • Tinseltown Plano 20 Plano, TX
  • Cinemark Legacy 24 Theatre Plano, TX
  • Hickory Creek 16 Hickory Creek, TX
  • Ridgmar 13 Fort Worth, TX
  • North East Mall 18 Hurst, TX


  • Georgetown 14 Washington, DC
  • Fairfax Corner 14 Fairfax, VA
  • Potomac Yards 16 Alexandria, VA
  • Countryside 20 Sterling, VA


  • Boston Commons 19 Boston, MA
  • Revere Revere, MA
  • Randolph 16 Randolph, MA
  • Blackstone Valley Cine de Lux Millbury, MA


  • Cinemark 16 Mesa Mesa, AZ
  • Arizona Mills 24 Tempe, AZ
  • Arrowhead Fountains 18 Peoria, AZ


  • Sawgrass 23 Cinema Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Palace Boca Raton, FL
  • Paradise Davie, FL


  • Auburn 17 Superplex Auburn, WA
  • Martin Village Stadium 16 Lacey, WA
  • Galaxy 12 Monroe, WA


  • Carmike 12 Cartersville, GA
  • Mall Of Georgia 20 Buford, GA


  • Colorado Mills 16 Lakewood, CO


  • Willowbrook 24 Houston, TX
  • Tinseltown At The Woodlands 17 The Woodlands, TX
  • Cinemark 19 Theatre Katy, TX
  • Cinemark 18 Webster, TX
  • Yorktown 15 Theatre Houston, TX
  • Greenway 24 Theatre Houston, TX


  • Galaxy 12 Riverbank, CA


  • Oakdale 20 Cinemas Oakdale, MN
  • Showplace 16 Cinemas Coon Rapids, MN


  • Horton Plaza 14 Cinema San Diego, CA
  • Creekside Place 10 Theatres Poway, CA
  • Chula Vista 10 Chula Vista, CA
  • Hazard 7 Mission Valley San Diego, CA


  • Jordan Commons Megaplex Sandy, UT
  • Wynnsong 12 Provo, UT
  • Cinemark Tinseltown 24 West Jordan, UT
  • Cinemark 16 Provo, UT


  • Great Lakes Crossing 25 Theatre Auburn Hills, MI
  • Emagine Novi 18 Novi, MI
  • Emagine Canton 18 Canton, MI
  • Waterford Cinema 16 Waterford Township, MI
  • Southgate 20 Cinemas Southgate, MI
  • Towne Square 20 Cinema Brighton, MI
  • Marketplace 20 Sterling Heights, MI
  • Showcase 20 Cinema Ann Arbor Ypsilanti, MI


  • Pleasure Island 24 Lake Buena Vista, FL
  • Festival Bay 20 Cinema Orlando, FL
  • Oaks 10 Melbourne, FL
  • Rave Avenue 16 Viera, FL
  • Waterford Lakes 20 Cinema Orlando, FL


  • Cascade Cinemas 16 Vancouver, WA
  • Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 Tigard, OR


  • Starlight Tampa, FL
  • Baywalk St. Petersburg, FL


  • Cinemark 24 Cinemas Valley View, OH


  • Showplace 16 Cinemas Indianapolis, IN
  • Metropolis 18 Theatre Plainfield, IN
  • Galaxy 14 Theatre Indianapolis, IN


  • North Haven North Haven, CT
  • Buckland Hills 16 Manchester, CT
  • Connecticut Post 14 Cinema de Lux Milford, CT


  • Crown Annapolis Mall Annapolis, MD
  • Egyptian Hanover, MD


  • Town Center 20 Leawood, KS
  • Eastglen 16 Lee’s Summit, MO


  • Colonnade 14 Las Vegas, NV
  • Galaxy 16 Las Vegas, NV


  • Carmike Thoroughbred 20 Franklin, TN


  • Stonecrest 22 at Piper Glenn Cine Charlotte, NC


  • Silverado 16 San Antonio, TX


  • Dole Cannery Row 18 Honolulu, HI


  • Cinemark Rivertown 20 Theatre Grandville, MI
  • Kalamazoo 10 Cinemas Kalamazoo, MI
  • Celebration 16 Cinema South Grand Rapids, MI


  • Springdale 18 Springdale, OH
  • Milford 16 Milford, OH
  • Streets of West Chester 18 West Chester, OH


  • Carmike 10 Wilson, NC


  • Galaxy 9 Porterville, CA
  • Galaxy 10 Tulare, CA


  • Gateway 16 Austin, TX
  • Highland 10 Austin, TX


  • Polaris 18 Columbus, OH


  • Hollywood 20 Greenville, SC


  • Port St. Lucie 14 Pensacola, FL


  • USA 19 Louisville, KY
  • Stonybrook 20 Louisville, KY


  • Summit 16 Cinema Birmingham, AL
  • Patton Creek 15 Hoover, AL


  • Cinemas Warwick Warwick, RI


  • Crossgates Cinema 18 Albany, NY


  • Paradiso Cinema 16 Memphis, TN


  • Pensacola 16 Pensacola, FL
  • Destin Commons 14 Destin, FL
  • Wharf 15 Orange Beach, AL


  • Flint West Flint Township, MI


  • Dayton South West Carrollton, OH


  • The Pinnacle 18 Knoxville, TN


  • Carmike 16 Theatre El Paso, TX
  • Tinseltown 20 USA El Paso, TX


  • Carefree 17 Colorado Springs, CO


  • Tinseltown 16 Rochester, NY


  • Boise Stadium 21 Boise, ID


  • Cinemark 20 Moosic, PA


  • Showcase Cinemas Maumee Maumee, OH


  • Metropolitan Theatres Santa Barbara, CA


  • Colonel Glenn 18 Little Rock, AR


  • East Ridge 18 Chattanooga, TN


  • Valley Bend 18 Huntsville, AL


  • Davenport 53 Davenport, IA


  • Grand Prairie 18 Peoria, IL


  • Carmike 20 Ft Wayne, IN
  • Jefferson Point 18 Ft Wayne, IN


  • Stadium 16 Cinemas Evansville, IN


  • Mall of Louisiana 15 Baton Rouge, LA


  • Carmike Colonial Mall 12 Myrtle Beach, SC


  • Cinemark 17 Theatre Springfield, OR


  • Carmike 14 Theatre Tyler, TX


  • Imperial Valley 14 El Centro, CA


  • Festival Plaza 16 Montgomery, AL


  • Silvercity 10 Toronto, ON
  • Colossus 18 Toronto, ON
  • Coliseum 12 Toronto, ON


  • Paramount 12 Montreal, PQ

Source : http://thegeekzine.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Trends in Christmas lights

Light is a symbol of hope and the triumph of good over evil. In the past, Christmas tress were lighted with candles which were often placed inside colored glass or metal lanterns. With the advent of electric lights, wreathed in light strands, Christmas trees glow and dazzle creating a mind boggling effect.
Incandescent light bulbs and mini LED are much in vogue nowadays. But Christmas lighting is not restricted to trees alone; rope lights available in colors of red, green, blue and copper are being used to decorate the exterior specially the balcony. Rudolph, Bumble and Snoopy light up the outdoor of the house making the whole neighborhood stand out. In addition, Christmas icicle lights used to decorate railings and fences not just look beautiful but are also safe to handle with kids in the house. Finally, solar powered Christmas lights strewn gracefully on the garden floor deserves a thumbs up when it comes to outdoor decorations.
For indoors, reindeer shaped lights, bright clear bulbs on white wire or multicolor lights with green wire or bright pink lights are pleasing to the eye and have the ability to brighten up any home interior. Ornaments like the lighted Santa Claus or Candy cane, Christmas wreath, stars and garlands remain unrivaled in their ardor and beauty. Lighted pictures of Mother Mary, Jesus Christ or those depicting the Nativity of Christ or a musical snowing Christmas tree with revolving men are also gaining popularity.
So, get ready to bathe your house in millions of Christmas lights this year following in the footsteps of Danny DeVito in the movie 'Deck the Halls', such that they can be visible even from space.

Popular Christmas songs

“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day.....
......give it to someone special”

Wham's 'Last Christmas' (1984) sung by George Michael rings in our ears even today. It can never quite loose its magnetic appeal or fail to fill our hearts with love. Similarly, Dean Martin's “ Let it snow” (1959) or Darlene Love's “ Baby please come” (1963) conjures up warm feelings on a cold Christmas night. Among the oldies, Elvis Presley's “Blue Christmas”, Bing Crossby's “ White Christmas”, Brenda Lee's “ Rocking around the Christmas trees”, Charles Brown's “ Please come home for Christmas” or Chuck Berry's “Run Rudolph run” top the popularity charts.
Then again, “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus”, “ The little drummer boy”, “ Santa Claus is coming to town”, “ Jingle Bell- Rock”, “ I'll be home for Christmas”, and “ Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer” are some more of the unforgettable and immortal lyrics that will rock any Christmas party.
Christmas melodies of yore and those releasing year after year are a great demand not just among adults but kids as well. Christmas is a time to celebrate and enjoy with great gusto and enthusiasm, music is therefore a must and songs like these end up making not just humans dance to its reverberating tunes but the angels in heaven as well.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hollywood Christmas parade

For all star gazers, its time to get star struck once again this year in the 3.2 mile Hollywood Christmas parade on Sunday, November 26, 2006 on Hollywood boulevard at 5:00 p. m. This famous event first began in 1928 to attract shoppers to the Hollywood boulevard during the holiday season. The parade consisted of a reindeer pulling a wagon carrying Santa Claus and actress Jeanette Loff down the beautifully decorated boulevard. This parade was originally called 'The Santa Claus lane parade' and that inspired singer Gene Autry to come up with the lines, "Here comes Santa Claus.." for this parade.
Last year, the prestigious title of the Grand Marshall was bagged by L.A' s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Any guesses, who will be donning the mantle this year?
The parade is one of those rare opportunities when crazy fans get to watch their favorite movie stars riding in open convertibles and other glitzy cars followed by dozens of marching bands, equestrian units, parade floats and famous cartoon characters at close quarters.
With Hollywood stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jessica Simpson, Will Smith, David Hasselhoff and veteran actors like Dennis Hopper gracing the occasion in the past few years, this parade has fast turned into the most happening spots in town to be seen in. Who knows, your dream to be on television might just come true this year with cameras clicking away in all directions and media channels broadcasting this major event on a robust scale.

Christmas Gift Trends 2006

This Christmas, mini gift items are a rage with people. A 5-inch Gucci Blackberry case, a mini iPod and video game player that weighs less than half, to palm sized dolls, cellphones packed with MP3 cameras, bluetooth and video cams are in great demand.
Best gifts for women are a Sand Flip flop pendant studded with swarovski crystals, a Charming touches exclusive bracelate, Karolina- a gorgeous silk tweed bag by Amici, Melie Bianco “Laguna Beach” bag and so on.
DVDs like The Wow Hits 2007 featuring 20 of the top Christian artists and hits, Chronicles of Narnia, The Life of Jesus, Lord of the Rings and the latest Harry Potter flick are popular gift items for christmas as well.
In addition to above, latest gadgets and gizmos like the Bluetooth laser virtual keyboard, 4-Port USB Hub illuminated mouse pad, etc., which most women are opting as gifts for their computer geek partners are available at http://www.thinkgeek.com/.
Besides these, those interested in buying sheek corporate gifts like the corporate leather box suite or leather briefcase can log on to http://www.usabasketgifts.com/ for some amazing gifts this season. Other online retailers like http://www.safeshoppingnetwork.com/, http://www.gucci.com/ are must a check out as well.
Last year, a rather interesting fad arose in the choice of Christmas trees. Flipped trees that could be hung down from the ceiling saw a huge sales boost. Then, candles embellished in swarovski crystals, Christmas themed dolls like Mrs. Santa, bags with small gifts attached, gizmos like JC Penny Jacks up Xbox, the Nokia N90 cellphone and so on were a major craze that found their way into people's homes.
An inclination towards new and improved gadgets is obvious to our eyes. In fact, children are also pestering their parents for cellphones and digi cams that are replacing various traditional toy games. So which gadget are you planning to gift your loved ones this year?

Christmas Toy Trends

A toy is the most priced possession of any child and believe it or not, films and television are becoming main avenues of inspiration for boys and girls while selecting toys this Christmas.
Among boys, toys like Fast Talking McQueen, GI Joe Draggonwalk, Superman Inflato suits and Tyco R/C Shell Shocker are causing ripples. As for girls, on the hot list are Disney Princess chair, a Flair Pixel Chix Mall toy, Bratz Forever Diamonz dolls, Dora's Talking Kitchen and A let's Dance Barbie.
Pre-school kids prefer toys inspired by Weeble Weebly Wobbly Treehouse, Bob The Builder and Cuddle Chimp. Among older kids, Hover Racer and ESPN Fast Action Football have become popular.
In addition to these, Fisher Price Kid Tough Kid's Digital Camera, Speed Stacks Stackpack from Play Along, Digi Makeover from Radica Games, WII from Nintendo, Microsoft Zune, Roboreptile robot are fast disappearing from the store shelves.
As far as online retailers are concerned, The National Retail Federation, www.Kazootoys.com, www.giftbee.com, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association and Wal-mart are gearing up for the season. So what are you guys waiting for? Hurry!!

Holiday Ecards Trends and Projections for 2006

A few interesting information about the Holiday season 2006 from American Greetings Inc website projects that more holiday eCards will be sent through cyberspace this year, more holiday cards will be personalized and made at home, and that consumers are interested in a diverse selection of greetings and home projects for the holiday season include Christmas Thanksgiving and New years . 80% of those polled said that they planned on sending at least one eCard this year for the Holidays. More than half of those surveyed will be sending ten or more eCards this holiday season, compared with 38% who sent that many last year.
Respondents said that they plan on increasing the number of personalized greetings and holiday decorations that they make at home. More than 30% of users plan to print some of their holiday cards themselves this holiday season. In addition, 70% of those polled said they were planning on printing address labels at home, 65% responded that they were thinking about making a personalized calendar, and 60% planned on making personalized gift tags at home.
When asked how early people start sending out their paper holiday cards, over 70% wait until December, while only 7% send out any holidays cards before Thanksgiving. When asked when they purchase their holiday cards, the largest group said after the holiday sales the year before, with the second most popular timeframe being the last week in November.

In a separate national independent study recently commissioned by American Greetings, the results showed that online greetings and traditional holiday cards complement each other, and tend to be used for different situations and people

Friday, October 13, 2006


American Christmas cannot be without discussing about the greatest celebration of the White House. The holiday season at the white house is a time of fulgurant decors with various types of entertaiment. Over 200yrs the celebration of Christmas at President's house has evolved from a simple family observance into a grand public celebration. Celebration cannot be described without the decor and the people. Blown glass and glittery decorations had not yet manufactured, so natural embellishments were used like the greenery, flowers and items provided by nature. Imagination was used to combine all these so to create decorations that perhaps represent the time in which they used by the occupants of a white house of long ago. The Christmas celebration was more a personal celebration but now the popularity has gripped the interest of people. Americans are getting to know about how Christmas is celebrated in details. Decorating Christmas trees is popular in US. The decoration of the trees have with time increased and is popular with the presidential era. In 1958 Mamie Eisenhower had 27 decorated Christmas trees in the White House. Then in the 1960's the "theme" Christmas trees appeared in the White House and each year the press anxiously awaits news of the latest theme to be used by the current White House couple.In 1961, First Lady Jackie Kennedy decided to decorate the White House for Christmas, she started a tradition at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The theme that year was "Nutcracker." And it got bigger every year. The tradition of placing a decorated tree in the White House started in 1869 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. In 1998 Clinton tree was based on “A winter wonderland” it featured snowmen ornaments, knitted mittens and hats and painted wooden ornaments. Today the First Lady has selected the theme and also taps the talents of American artisans. Laura Bush chose “Home for the Holidays”for 2001. Wait and watch out for the exciting theme this year. Pet has always been an important part of Christmas celebration in the House. Barney, had made news recently with a video clips on how he celebrates his Christmas. He has a new member in his family Miss Beazley this year. On the other hand, the official Christmas ornament for the year 2006 honors the administration of the 21st President of America Chester A. Arthur(1881-85). HGTV takes viewers on a grand tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, showing them how an army of decorators, volunteers, and staffers doll up the old dame so the first family can celebrate in style. Viewers will see the whole historic home, including the Blue Room, the State Dining Room, and the East Room. Later, all the dirty secrets, wrapped in Christmas bows, come tumbling out of the closet in the basement. So, roll up your sleeves and start up with your own celebration plan...get influenced by the First Family of America.

Christmas wedding themes.

Planning a wedding during Christmas has its own charm. With the advent of winter, heaven herself descends on earth clothed in snowflakes blessing the young couple on this sacred day. So why not plan a smashing wedding this Christmas? Its a rare occasion when family and friends reunite thus offering a doubly good reason to have a wedding on the cards. Some of the most popular wedding themes popping up this year are an authentic Christmas style wedding with the venue decorated in iridescent colors of white, red and green. A velvet dress for the bride to keep her warm and as for the guests, what could be more appropriate than coming in attired as fairies and angels to grace the party? Finally, a mouth watering three tier snowflake wedding cake and a reindeer drawn carriage waiting to carry the newly wed off to North Pole for a meet with Santa.
Well, if this isn't enough, an Arthurian style wedding theme is also catching heat. Transported directly into the medieval court of Arthur to witness the grand wedding of the King and Guinevere would certainly be an unforgettable experience.
But a personal favorite would be the Arabian style wedding held under a shamiana with guests transformed into characters from The Arabian Nights like Jasmine, Aladdin or Sindbad coupled with an authentic Arabian cuisine could just make this Christmas wedding hit the headlines.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fascinating Christmas ornaments.

So how are you planning to decorate your home this Christmas? Try thinking beyond bells, balls and stars because even though they essentially endorse the spirit of Christmas, people are coming up with some really bright and funky ideas this year. Lets start with the home made gingerbread ornaments which though not edible, smell great. Once baked and hung up, these ornaments will have guests gaping at them till their jaws fall off. Besides this, a variety of decorative items like cute little snowmen, snow women with a whole bunch of their kids are much in vogue. These when placed on the Christmas tree will not only accentuate its beauty but also add to its virgin innocence.
Have you ever seen Santa wearing a cowboy hat or created a reindeer using clothespin? Since creativity is the call of the hour, Christmas celebration has taken a new meaning altogether with people going for the latest and happening ornaments in stores or even those that can be crafted into existence in no time at all.
Time to go on a shopping spree!!

Some Cool Christmas Ecards

Personalize & Send This Ecard

Personalize & Send This Ecard

Personalize & Send This Ecard

Christmas carols

Christmas without carols is like cake without icing. The theme of Christmas surfaces in most carols sung during winter. The Nativity of Jesus Christ functions as the most important ingredient, however, “Jingle Bells”, a famous carol that we have grown up listening to celebrates not simply the birth of Christ, but the spirit of Christmas itself.
Christmas carols were introduced by St. Francis of Assisi in the 12th century. Sadly, these enchanting lyrics did not find favor with the protestant leader Oliver Cromwell under whose regime carols were banned. Though revived later during Victorian era, many beautiful songs lost during Reformation are no longer extant.
Leaving history behind, today caroling involves the coming together of children to sing a jolly note together. Also, families and friends reunite on Christmas eve to sing under the cheerful glow of candlelights. Carols sung in churches or homes set the ambiance of peace and love and perhaps even call out the angels in heaven to shower us with their blessings. Whats more, if these “Angels from the realms of glory” decide to list us in their best carol singer category, a day may arrive when Jesus will himself ascend (not to judge) but bless the winner with a lifetime of glory and happiness.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Of The Most Popular Christmas Songs!