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A Special Publication of the Messenger-Inquirer • Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Traditions Past

and present Memories, gift guide and stories of Christmas through the years

2 Christmas Traditions

Friday, December 2, 2016 Messenger-Inquirer

Christmas Traditions inside:

Old-fashioned Christmas caroling 3

Christmas Memories 4

Remember your pets at gift time 6

Help your holiday gifts arrive on time 7

Gift ideas for athletes and sports enthusiasts 8

Select educational gifts for children 9

From yogis to barre lovers, gift ideas for gym rats 10

Holiday Gift-Giving Guide 11

Friday, December 2, 2016 Messenger-Inquirer

Christmas Traditions


Bring old-fashioned Christmas caroling to your community hristmas carols help set the mood who have moderate to strong singing for the holiday season. Such songs abilities. Of course, you can accept are played in stores to create anyone, as it’s more about sharing the festive atmospheres for shoppers, and joy rather than having a pitch-perfect many families play seasonal music group. as they decorate their homes for the • Choose a neighborhood to visit. holidays. Select an established neighborhood Carols were first sung in Europe where there are likely to be many famithousands of years ago during Winter lies and even seniors who will be most Solstice celebrations. When Christian receptive to carolers. Place fliers in the holidays replaced many of the pagan mailboxes alerting residents of your celebrations, Christian holiday carols caroling plans for those who want to be replaced the earlier songs. home to enjoy the free show. Before Christmas carols • Promote your plans if were sung by the general you want a larger crowd. If Carols were first public, they were enjoyed you want to make the carduring church ser vices, sung in Europe oling a big event, promote when they sometimes were thousands of years your plans in the local newsperformed by official carol ago during Winter paper or in a community singers. However, new car- Solstice bulletin. This way everyone ols became popular during in the community can take the Victorian era, when celebrations. When in the caroling show. many ordinary people took Christian holidays • Choose a handful of to the streets to share holi- replaced many of well-known songs to sing. day joy with others through the pagan Your audience will appreciate easily recognizable the gift of song. Wassail, a thick, hot and spiced bev- celebrations, songs they can sing along with if they choose. erage, often kept carolers Christian holiday • Print lyric sheets. warm, and soon wassailing carols replaced the Although the lyrics to popuand caroling became inter- earlier songs. twined. lar songs are widely known, Although carols and it helps to have them handy other songs are still popular forms of if carolers forget verses. Keep extra copentertainment at school concerts and ies on hand in case others want to join some religious group events, the classic the caroling group. tradition of carolers going door-to-door • Get a sponsor. If you live in a rural has largely fallen by the wayside. But area and caroling door-to-door is impracthose who want to bring back this once tical, see if a local retailer will let you beloved tradition can take the following carol outside of his or her store or busisteps to do just that. ness. Doing so can set the holiday mood • Find a caroling group leader. It and may generate free advertising and helps to have someone who has a sense increased business for sponsors. of musicality and pitch to lead the carol• Involve youth groups. Kids love the ing. Carols are usually sung a capella, holiday, so including them in your carolso you’ll need a strong singer to guide ing efforts can bring smiles to many others and keep them in tune. Recruit faces. Speak with local youth groups to a theater or music student or even a determine if their members may want member of your church choir. Fill out to join in your efforts to spread holiday the rest of the carolers with volunteers cheer.


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4 Christmas Traditions

Friday, December 2, 2016 Messenger-Inquirer

Christmas Memories

Christmas is a special time for so many families. Memories made during the holidays are some you hold dear to you for the rest of your life. Here are some special memories submitted people who live in Owensboro.  hirty-five years ago, Christmas came early to the little town in Tennessee. Daddy was an engineer for the local power municipality and his pet project had been overseeing the installation of the new lighting in the high school football stadium. We spent countless hours there in the late summer watching and sometimes helping in the site preparation from the holes being dug for the poles and supports to watching the new poles reach into the sky. Finally on a perfect fall night in October, on Homecoming, the lights came on. School let out early that Friday so we could attend the Homecoming Parade. All dressed in attire that reflected our mascot, The Pioneers. Homemade freckles adorned the faces of the smaller children while denim overalls and checkered flannel clothing kept us warm as the night air settled in over the stadium. Although those stadium lights weren’t twinkling or colored; it sure looked as if Christmas came early in my hometown. As a child of 11, it seemed that never happened.  Later that night, a Scrooge of sorts came to visit. My daddy had a heart attack and died. We had his funeral on Sunday and buried him in the church cemeter y. His life of 42 years impacted many as evidenced by the multitude of people that came to support us. Their words tried to ease the pain and their presence helped, but by Christmas that year most of them were gone while we were still adjusting to our new lives. Most kids my age were struggling with the idea of Santa Claus


and most with older siblings were all eager to say that he did not exist. Christmas would be different this year. On Christmas Eve, daddy’s co-workers came to our house and brought us presents. Mama then sent my older brother scrambling to the tiny-town’s stores to replace some duplicated presents. As hard as it was, I began to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Today, I have surpassed the age of daddy when he died but my youngest child is now the age that I was when he died. I am sometimes accused of being a downer when I see all the “stuff” of Christmas. It frustrates me. It hurts me. It reminds me. I remember the youth and excitement of Christmas and I enjoy that perspective but I also understand a hard life-learned lesson of the true meaning of Christmas. Just as the new toys and gadgets appear and soon fade the seasons of our lives change too. Part of this cycle also includes those people who no longer sit with us for Christmas festivities. To me the true meaning of Christmas comes with that hard realization that God’s life changed too and milestones in life should cause us to pause and remember. His perspective changed. His hopes and dreams for His child became altered because of evil in the world. But when we look at Christmas through the eyes of God, each day truly is Christmas and is a gift to enjoy or endure and reflect — even when it’s a hard day. My hope and Christmas wish is that in spite of what has happened this year and what might happen

next year, I pray that we can each be filled with the greatest gift ever given and because of Him we will be transformed into better gifts to share with each other. — Br yan Schrock      hen I was a child growing up in our house, there was me, my little brother, mom and dad and not much of anything else. Oh, we had a loving mother and a hard working dad, but we were poor and times were bad. So Christmas at our house was different, you see, there were no presents for brother me. I didn’t understand, just being a kid, why


we couldn’t have toys and gets like the other kids did. I didn’t understand and I just couldn’t see why we didn’t at least have a Christmas tree. I recall one year we had gone into town — the wind was blowing and there was snow on the ground. As we walked by the toy store with its dolls all in a line, there was one that was just beautiful and I wanted it for mine. But I just brushed away the tears and walked on down the street for I knew the little dab of money that daddy had would have to pay for shoes to go on my feet. I was so sad, often times I would cr y and momma would hang her head and daddy would just sigh.

Friday, December 2, 2016 Messenger-Inquirer

Christmas Traditions


Christmas 1986 — David and Leslie Ralph putting up the real Christmas tree at David’s home on Daviess Street. Ralph always insisted on having a real Christmas tree in his home. it would be locked for the holidays. The principal jumped out of his chair and nearly shouted yes! He said they he himself would go over to the school and unlock it and that the children could go all over the

place and remember their teachers and friends. The visit was a grand success. Their names are August, Sid, Ted, Tony and Erick. — Claire R. Neal

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE … INCLUDING YOU! We would eat Christmas dinner then prepare for bed. Momma would always come in to see that prayers were said. She’d would take us on her lap, me and little brother, and she would hug us real tight and say, ‘Oh I love you so.’ Then, she would ask, ‘Would you like to hear a stor y?’ I would just look up and grin without saying a word and she would begin. She looked right at me and in a gentle and low voice said, ‘Once upon a time, a long time ago…’ Now she told me about Heaven, about a home up above, she told me about Jesus and his wonderful love. I can still see her face when she tried not to cr y each time she told me how Jesus died. Momma’s gone now on to that

home up above to live there with the Jesus she loved. Though it’s been many years since we placed her in that grave, I can still hear those stories. Thank you, momma for the gift that you gave. Oh the stories momma told me are worth more than any gold, cause the stories she told me burn forever in my soul and the stories she told me were the greatest gift that she could ever give me. — Wanda L. Hipps ne Christmas, our five grown children, who lived across the countr y arranged to gather at our home in Owensboro. To prepare a surprise event. I went over to Sutton Elementar y School to ask the principal if my family could visit the school, even though


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Remember your pets at gift time N E W


ets are people, too — at least when it comes to holiday gifts. More than half of dog owners and nearly 40 percent of cat owners buy their pets gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah, according to the American Pet Products Association, an industry trade group. Potentially, that’s 39 million dogs and 32 million cats on holiday lists this year, the group reports. And don’t forget all those pet aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. Some ideas:


PET TOYS: Flatties, some that squeak, are always popular, said Mardi Larson, a spokeswoman for the retail chain PetSmart. And they can be cheap. For the holidays, PetSmart has some with Christmas motifs, like a bright green dinosaur in a Santa cap. “Pets just love to destroy their toys. Flatties are safe because they have no stuffing,” Larson said. You can’t go wrong with balls. Lots of balls. Or go for durable toys in sturdy nylon or rope. Consider safety in such things as sewn-on doodads or other swallowable bits. PET BEDS & BEDDING: Face it, a pet’s bed is part of home decor. You might as well find one that looks reasonably good as a gift. Choose one with a holiday theme for an added festive feel. For a classic or rustic look, PetSmart. com’s exclusive Pendleton collection includes beds in autumn colors or rainbow stripes. The company also has combination gift sets that come with a dog bed, cozy blanket and bone toy for about $20. will donate 20 percent of any pet bed purchased in November to support Movember and the fight against prostate cancer. That includes beds adorned with bright yellow mustaches. Oprah chose as one of her Favorite Things of 2016 the Charles Fradin Home Customizable Pet Blanket. It’s a 60-by-54, micro-fleece printed with an original hand-drawn image of said pet, for $395. Head to Amazon.

FOR HUMANS: Gift your animal-loving human a paw pendant, or head to one of the sites that will customize using a pet’s actual paw, including At, there’s a woman who will make you a pendant from a mold of your pet’s nose. Look for other customizables there, including pet portraits and pillows that look like your dog. There are kits available for your pet lover to make a paw print mold to turn into a tree ornament or garden stone. How about a throw? PetSmart has a red one selling strong emblazoned with: “I Just Want to Drink Wine & Pet My Dog.” $29.99. At Originalterritory. com, there’s a 30-by-40 fleece that reads: “Naps are Better with a Dog.” $19.99. if just that: A matching collar for pet and bracelet for the human. In a range of designs. $25 and $35. CLOTHES: For the pets. Widely available. Because, equality, PetSmart sells tiny Santa and elf looks for Guinea pigs, complete with pointy hats. They’ve also got a Santa with snorkel and goggles for a fish tank, in place of fish attire. Look around for one that amuses or fits your pet gift recipient’s personality. CATS & DOGS ETC: How about a holiday scratcher, a la the one that looks like a Christmas tree or the one that looks like a sleigh at PetSmar t. Lots of these things exist so don’t sweat it. There’s one scratcher shaped like a DJ’s turntable that really spins. It’s adorned with stickers of cat smiley faces, paw prints, photos of fish-shaped cat treats, and faux band stickers, including “Run DOG.” Flat pack cardboard. No glue necessar y for assembly. $35. Widely available from a company called Suck UK. Search for DJ Cat Scratching Pad. Holiday stockings are a thing for pets, including one filled with cat balls that comes with a purple feather toy that’s par t of the company’s holiday collection. Another for dogs from PetSmar t says: “Bones, Bones and more Bones!” There are plenty of little sweaters and collars that are gifty, too, at just about any place that sells pet stuf f. You don’t have to spend a lot.

Friday, December 2, 2016 Messenger-Inquirer

Christmas Traditions



Help your holiday gifts arrive on time he end of December is prime shopping and shipping time for holiday gifts. Shipping giant UPS calls this time of the year its peak season, and FedEx and the United States Postal Ser vice also cite the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day as some of their busiest weeks. Jingling bells and Christmas carols once were the foremost sounds of the season, but now those noises have been replaced by the sounds of conveyor belts, trucks and airplanes rushing to get packages to their destinations. According to research firm Forrester, online sales now account for 10 percent of all shopping and 15 percent of holiday shopping. USPS expects to deliver roughly 15 billion letters, cards and packages during the holiday season. While the postal ser vice and the major pack-and-ship companies are incredibly reliable, shoppers can take the following steps to fur ther ensure their gifts arrive on time. • Shop in-store. Choose of f-peak hours, such as early mor ning and late evening, to visit brick-andmor tar stores. The crowds will not be too large, and you will have the added peace of mind knowing that


you don’t need to wait for gifts to ar rive via the mail. If you like the convenience of online shopping, shop online but take advantage of instore pick-up when available. If items are in stock, this can save you the hassle of making your way through crowded stores. • Follow cut-of f dates. Many online retailers will post “purchase by” dates to ensure specific deliver y times. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these dates so your items will arrive on time. If time is ticking away, you may have to pay more for expedited shipping. • Avoid backordered items. Popular gifts may sell out quickly, and retailers could put you on backorder lists. Research similar products as potential backups should your primar y choice be on backorder. • Shop well in advance. Shopping early is the best way to ensure gifts arrive on time. Shopping early also gives shoppers time to make exchanges in the event an item is not up to par or is damaged. Thanks to the popularity and prevalence of online shopping, it has become ver y important for shoppers to take shipping concerns into consideration before making purchases.

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8 Christmas Traditions


Friday, December 2, 2016 Messenger-Inquirer

ideas for athletes and sports enthusiasts



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with sports team names. If you can’t free gifts as well. • Winner’s trophy: For the sports find a particular item, it may be possible to order it directly from a team or fan who has missed out on getting his or her own trophy, have one made up retailer or have it customized. • Sports equipment: Athletes may benefit from updated equipment. Determine if the athletes on your gift

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ifts comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes the best gifts are those that come in small packages. Though some people pore over their holiday shopping lists for weeks, it’s not uncommon for even the most devoted holiday shopper to overlook stocking stuffers, which can be just as dif ficult to find as larger gifts. When shopping for stocking stuffers, consider the recipient’s interests. For example, athletes and sports enthusiasts would undoubtedly love a gift that reflects their loyalty to a favorite team or their devotion to a par ticular spor t. Holiday shoppers who have a sports-crazed superfan or accomplished athlete on their shopping lists may want to consider the following items when looking for stocking stuffers this holiday season. • Sports memorabilia: Sports fanatics sometimes double as collectors who are always on the lookout for new memorabilia to display. Such collectibles may include bobbleheads, cards, ticket stubs and signed photographs or equipment. Rare memorabilia may be beyond many gift-givers’ means, but there are still plenty of impressive items that can fit into any holiday gifting budget. • Game tickets: Give spor ts fans a chance to cheer on their favorite teams in person. Find a home game that will not require the recipient to travel too far, or if you want to splurge, include transpor tation with the tickets to an away game. Secondary market ticket-seller StubHub is a reliable resource that guarantees tickets sold on its site are legitimate, removing any doubt ticket market buyers may have. • Fan gear: Sports fans can never have enough gear to show of f their team pride. Everything from mugs to hats to authentic team jerseys makes for great stocking stuf fers. In addition, look for pennants or t-shirts that feature team names or logos. Today just about any item comes emblazoned


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Christmas Traditions


Select educational gifts for children


hen shopping for holiday gifts for children, shoppers can easily be over whelmed by the many toys, electronics, apparel and other items available for kids. Those who may not be up-to-date on the latest trends may even find shopping for kids a bit like solving a dif ficult puzzle. While some shoppers may want to get kids the flashiest toy, others may prefer gifts that are both fun and mentally stimulating. Developmental toys and educational games for kids make for popular gifts. Toy and game manufacturers continue to develop products that integrate logic, reasoning, language stimulation, and motor skill development. Shoppers looking for fun, educational toys and games for the kids on their shopping lists have a host of items to choose from. • Building blocks: Blocks that enable children to design and construct are popular among youngsters of various ages. Blocks come in many different forms, from early education wooden blocks that fill nurser y floors to the more intricate, interlocking building sets that are coveted by older children. • STEM toys: Some of the latest trends in children’s toys veer away

from regular video games and apps and cater to the rising interest in STEM. STEM is an acronym for science, technology and math. Early introduction to STEM-related skills can pay dividends later in life, considering students who have an emphasis on STEM knowledge are highly coveted among employers. STEM toys may include robot-building kits, toys that help young learners test the boundaries of physics, apps that help kids learn computer programing, and even scientific experiment kits that illustrate cause and effect.

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• Sensory toys: Young children can benefit from toys that stimulate the senses. Items to consider include water toys, sands (including the newer kinetic varieties), playdoughs, musical instruments, and bubbles. Even food-related toys, such as those that encourage bak-

ing or cooking, will appeal to various senses and can help kids learn valuable skills. • Imaginative play toys: Imaginative play is an effective way to stimulate creative thinking and may help children become better learners. The Creativity Institute, specializing in toys for creative play, says playing is important to children and the way they practice growing up. According to an article by Dr. Scott Kaufman that appeared in Psychology Today, “Systematic research has increasingly demonstrated a series of clear benefits of children’s engagement in pretend games from the ages of about two and one half through ages six or seven.” Dress-up toys, puppets, dolls, action figures, and toys that mimic reallife activities are all examples of products that promote imaginative play. Educational toys can be included on holiday gifting lists. Not only will they encourage children to play and have fun, but they’ll serve as building blocks to a lifetime of learning as well.

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From yogis to barre lovers, 10 gift ideas for gym rats B

Power Dust: Gwyneth Paltrow says she puts Moon Juice dusts in her daily protein shakes. The power dust includes Chinese herbs like rhodiola, astragalus and eleuthero that the company says helps sore muscles recover and reduce inflammation. Use it to heal from a heavy lifting session or find stamina for the next one. $30

ecause golf balls and yoga mats are so predictable. From spinners to CrossFitters and all the barre lovers in between, here’s a look at 10 gift ideas to keep every sweaty body in your life moving and motivated.


Exo protein bars: The latest ‘it’ bars will hit every picky dieter on your list. Exo bars are gluten-, soy- and dairyfree, offering 10 grams of protein per bar from cricket flour. Yep, as in insects. The company says crickets are full of zinc, iron and calcium to help power you through a spin class. They’re sweetened with natural sugars like dates and come in flavors like peanut butter and jelly and banana bread. $3 per bar or $36 for 12-pack TAva DVD: Celebrity to the stars Tracy Anderson’s newest DVD feels more like a dance party than a workout. Expect some serious booty shaking since the cardio routine was inspired by her sessions training Jennifer Lopez. $19.99


tiful workout streams classes online for those who can’t work out alongside her. Taylor Swift, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss are all regulars. Try the Ultimate Supermodel Workout. $12.99 Warm-up hoodie: Spiritual Gangster’s hip athleisure line offers a new kind of street cred. This cozy “love is the answer” hoodie will keep your YOGA AND BARRE LOVERS Online barre class: Former New warm post savasana. Sizes tend to run a York City Ballet dancer Mary Helen bit small. $78 Bowers trained Natalie Portman for CROSS TRAINERS/RUNNERS Oscar-winning role in “Black Swan.” Jabra Elite Sport: Whether they’re Now the founder of the Ballet Beauinto boxing, jump-roping or one-armed handstands, every gym rat is looking for one thing. Wireless headphones that will stay put despite serious sweat and movement. Two microphones in each bud help filter out background noise for up to three hours. Works with Android or Apple iOS. $249.99

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Fitmo: The app connects users with real personal trainers. Choose your coach from a list of profiles and let them create a personalized diet and workout schedule. Trainers give feedback and daily motivations through messaging and video chats. $10 a month or $60 a month depending on which coach you choose and the amount of interaction you want to have with them. Pressed Juicery: Don’t let poor meal planning spoil your hard-fought boot camp class. The juices come delivered to your door with enough flavor options to satisfy sweet-tooth skeptics and hardened greenies. $130 for a three-day cleanse of 18 juices delivered.


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Christmas Traditions

Headache-free holiday ho-ho-hosting here’s a reason the holidays are called the most wonderful time of the year. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones over delicious food and shared traditions. But playing hostess can sometimes feel more like a burden rather than a blessing. This year, keep your holiday gathering fun, not frantic, with these headache-free holiday hosting tips. Put time on your side. Start your dinner or cocktail party prep as soon as possible to make room for any last-minute surprises, like forgetting an ingredient or unexpected guests. Developing a checklist and assigning manageable to-do’s each day will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. For example, once the invitations have been extended, plan the menu, and gather recipes and a grocery list. Take inventory of your cooking supplies, serving dishes and tableware. While cleaning the house, identify what decorations are needed. Know when to buy, when to DIY and when to ask for help. From appetizers to desserts, determine what on the menu can be homemade, made ahead of time or store-bought and how guests can contribute. Fig-



ure out what is actually feasible for your meal - it’s OK if you can’t make everything from scratch. If you’ve never made homemade pie, there is no reason to put your culinary skills to the test the night before. If budget allows, buy prepared dishes or desserts from the market and place on festive platters. Find do-ahead recipes that can be stored in the fridge until they are ready to be ser ved. By prioritizing your menu and ask-

ing for help, it will alleviate unnecessary stress and allow you to enjoy the event. Ditch the pile of dir ty dishes in favor of disposable tableware. Instead of standing over the sink cleaning, spend the extra time celebrating with family and friends. Make sure to choose products that can stand up to heavy foods, such as mashed potatoes and gravy or stuffing. Try using eco-friendly products

that are made from recycled material and biodegradable in home composting - leaving you to only feel guilty about that second helping of green bean casserole. And if your guests are known to be animated, opt for recyclable disposable wine glasses. It will hold up the event’s style without sacrificing your favorite stemware. Set the scene the night before. Focus on setting the table, deciding where to put the drinks, and gathering extra seating and decorating the night before. That way the day of the party, you just have to worry about putting out the food and drinks. While last minute rearranging is bound to happen, conquering the planned details ahead of time will help keep you sane. Deck the dinner table with a napkin fold. For a sophisticated, yet deceptively easy place setting idea, consider using a perfectly coordinated line of disposable tableware and add a napkin fold as a pretty and practical accent. Although some napkin folds can be intricate, try a unique design such as a poinsettia that can be made in a matter of minutes. Include complementary greenery or pine cones for a festive touch.

Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

veryone has had to scurry around to find a last minute holiday gift at some point, whether you procrastinated, you were searching for the perfect gift or you forgot to add someone to your gift list, but don’t let these scenarios cause you stress. The discount experts at Dollar General are offering advice to help you find something for everyone this holiday season.


For the family and friends who have everything, consider purchasing small decorative items for them to use around their homes. Blankets, candles, picture frames and even holiday decorations are great last-minute items recipients will enjoy. Food baskets with delicious snacks and


For recipients who are hard to shop for, gift cards and technology items are great go-to gifts. Consider headphones, DVD players and TracFones. Gift cards to favorite restaurants, retail stores and cof fee shops are always a great choice, giving them freedom to choose exactly what they want.


Don’t forget about mom and dad this holiday season. For Dad, save on Emerson men’s gifts like outdoor lanterns, portable tools for camping holiday candy placed in a decorative canning jar and winter clothing. You can also find sleepwear, are simple, affordable and useful items that are scar ves and handbags that are sure to make sure to make loved ones smile this season. Mom happy this holiday.


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12 Christmas Traditions


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