Thursday, December 21, 2006

Giving at Christmas Time

The news is always flooded with the bad things people do. It is nice that once in a while you read about a good thing. An act of kindness, selflessness, and giving. Unfortunately, it does not happen often enough.

My father has just sent me an email about the wreaths that are laid at Arlington Cemetery each year by Merrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine. For the last fifteen years Worcester has laid over five thousand wreaths at the cemetery for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Not only has donated the wreaths, he also pays for the trucking expense too. A selfless act for those who can never repay him, What a wonderful man!

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.

Know the line has held, your job is done.

Rest easy, sleep well.

Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.

Peace, peace, and farewell...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas in New Zealand

I know it has been a while since I have last posted, but I have just finished a very intensive six month course for work. It has been extremely busy and stressful over the last few weeks of it. Unfortunately, my blogging was the first to suffer.

However, I am now finished that, and hope to be back blogging full swing. To get the ball rolling I thought I would re-post an article that I have just written for Topics From 192 Countries. It is called Christmas in New Zealand.

With only 6 days until Christmas, I thought I might write about how Christmas is celebrated in New Zealand, as I'm sure it may vary between the 192 countries.

Christmas is widely celebrated in New Zealand, unfortunately more commercially than religiously. Three months before Christmas, some of the big department stores were selling Christmas paraphernalia already. To them it's all about the money! I am not very religious myself, but I think it is still important to remember why we celebrate Christmas: The birth of Christ, and how he impacted on the world. We can't all make such a big impact, but we can all make an effort to make peace with one-another. Whether that is striving for peace in the bloggersphere like Mimi Lenox does, or just ringing a friend you haven't spoken to in a long time, just to say "hi!". That is why we give presents - as peace offerings.

Anyway, because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, it is summer down here at Christmas time. Our school year is aligned with Christmas, in that each year finishes before Christmas and starts in the new calendar year. Most working people also take summer holidays over the Christmas period and travel to see family for Christmas day and then on to either a beach or lake somewhere to celebrate the coming of the new year.

A BIG roast lunch with turkey, vegetables and all the trimmings on Christmas day is traditional here, but is losing popularity by the year. It is traditional because a great majority of New Zealanders are descended from British origin where it is winter, cold and miserable over there at this time of year. In cold weather, a nice big roast meal is great, but not in the heat of summer as we have here.

I am slowly convincing my family to drop the big roast meal and instead have the new kiwi traditional meal of a barbecue lunch and salads. Eaten outside on the outdoor furniture in the backyard, in the sun, rather than crammed around the dining room table locked inside, while it is a beautiful sun-shining day outside.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas this year (if you do!), I wish you all peace and prosperity. Merry Christmas!
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