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Re: VIRTUAL XMAS PARTY preparations

Our Virtual Xmas Party preparations continue.  We walk down the 
street after church services and on the way, we look at, and even 
into the decorated houses.  We stop in at an open house to show the 
children the exciting display and eat cookies and drink a little punch. 
Since we are virtually traveling, some streets look like South Africa, 
New Zealand, Sweden, Australia and regions of America.

I always went to church at Calvary Chapel, and the Christmas service on
Christmas Eve was always special to see folks who never came except for
Chrismas and Easter.  Pastor Bob is a man with a gift of Teaching and
Preaching, and he always was really a blessing on the holidays.  I miss that
perhaps most of all...  The church family I had there.

Sharon Ruck in Texas

My place:
Outside, along the street, I have a stylized Christmas tree done with
white lights on my line of redwoods. By stylized I mean straight lines
of lights in concentric upside down "Vees".

      /  \
     / /\ \
    / /  \ \
   / / /\ \ \
  / / /  \ \ \
 / / / /\ \ \ \

It is about 22' high.

I have a redwood "gate house" in my fence nestled amongst the redwoods.

The gatehouse and gate are outlined in white lights, there is a lighted
wreath on the gate.

On the roof of my house I have  a Santa sleigh with reindeer (the kind
that are wire frame outlines with different kinds of colored lights for
hat, face, sleigh etc. Attached to the back of the sleigh, and sweeping
off over the roof for about 20 feet are a bunch of strands of twinkle
lights, so it looks like a big trail of pixie dust (you know Tinkerbell
pixie dust) is coming out he back of the sleigh.

Along the roofline on the front of the house I have draped white lights
in small swags to make it look as if there is snow hanging over the edge
of the roof.

The walkway to my front door has an arbor over it, on which grows
Forscythia. I string twinkle lights over the arbor so you walk under
this canopy of twinkling white light.

Inside, in my living room, which has a loft over it and a 23' ceiling
(at the highest), I put a 17" Cedar tree. It is along the big wall and
right next to the railing of the loft. It is decorated with the miniture
globe lights, all white (notice a compulsion here???) and assorted

Also on that same wall is a 52" diameter wreath decorated by Ashley with
red berries, golden apples, sprigs of this and that, ribbons etc, very
Martha Stewart-ish.

The railing an stairway bannister have doug fir garland swagged on them,
white twinkle lights and big red bows. More garland at the top of the
walls in the dining area (which is open to the living room - room is a
misnomer here, it is all one big room with the dining room and kitchen
under the loft, and the living area open above.) The dining room garland
has colored lights in it.

Placed strategically around are Christmas arrangements, cresh and
For the party night I put luminaria along the walk from the front gate
to the arbor.

John     John Jones, jijones@ix.netcom.com
Fremont CA, 
        Ok, since Christmas is my time of year I will tell you what we have
outside. The well house is out closer to the road and the house doesn't
face the road so most of our decorations are out there.  We have red and
white lights around the roof of the house and the well house.  Out at
the well house we also have 75 lumainarias in red and white making a
square with the wellhouse as the fourth side.  Inside this square we
have lawn figures of Santa, a sleigh with a Christmas tree in it, and
three reindeer.  On the side of the house that faces the highway we have
a wreathe of 500 red and green lights.  Around the porch which is 10' x
40' we have draped evergreen garland with wreathes and bows.  Last but
not least on the section of chain link fence that parallels the highway
we took white styrofoam coffee cups and wrote HO - HO - HO!  In the

spring we use this same technique to write IRIS and draw an iris on the
fence. Looks really cute.  Next year we will do more as we just had an
electrician drop us an extra line out at the well house just for
Christmas decorations.  All we've got to do is put in the wiring and
boxes and VOILA!  we can almost double what we have out there!  I plan
to hit the after Christmas sales and get the goodies for next year.

Dana Brown, Lubbock, Texas

In the garden I have a Christmas tree with Christmas tree 
illumination, and an apple tree with some colored lights. We 
have a corn sheaf for the birds.  

Christmas in OZ
The debate here usually extends to how hot it is going to be and if its
going to be fine. ie.fine and hot will see many Xmas picnic lunches at the
beach or by the pool. Raining and everyone complains and gets testy!

Oh yeah, and since its the beginning of the long summer holiday (vacation)
period, it's when everyone starts to switch off - what the media calls the
silly season begins and we dream of beaches, listen to the cricket on the
radio and the weather report for the surf conditions, reruns on the box and
basically switchh off from the rest of the world - what I would paraphrase
from one of our historians as the good part of the tyranny of distance.
I also forgot to mention how all of this is framed by the hibiscus and
frangipani flowering away in the heat shimmer!
Happy holidays

Robert Swieca,  Australia
IN%"roberts@phm.gov.au"  "Robert Swieca"
 I want to describe some
wonderful sights, sounds and smells occuring at my house:

On the ledge in the den, I have 34 German Nutcrackers of various sizes
and shapes.  The tallest is a red guard which is about 22 inches tall
with a bright yellow feather in his hat.  The smallest is 7 inches tall,
and is a gardener with a rake and a tray of plants ready to plant.  He is
the newest addition, purchased early December in Charlottesville.  Some
of the others include a Doctor, Piano Player, Popcorn Vender, Merlin and
the Owl, Ghost of Christmas Present, Drasslemire(sp), and the Mouse King
from the Nutcracker, Chimney Sweep, Sitting Bull in full head dress,
several Santa Clauses, "Holly Hacker" one that my wife Karen painted, and
many kings and royal guards.  

	On the archway between the den and living
room, I have pine draped with lights and small nutcrackers, some only 1
inch high. Over the ledge there is a wind sock in a nutcracker form
smiling brightly.  A Nutcracker blanket covers the couch and a nutcracker
pillow sits at one end of the couch.
In the living room, a 10 1/2 foot Christmas tree is loaded with many
colorful things from my childhood and things made my children and wife.
	The cat sleeps quietly under the tree, blending in the tree skirt.  She
also loves the White tree in the entrance hall covered with burgandy
balls, beads and white lights.  An open family Bible sits underneath,
which the cat enjoys snuggling up to.  Each doorway and archway is
covered with pine drapes and white lights with different themes.  One is
birds and different wild berries, pine cones and the like.  One is
musicial with many kinds of horns and other things musicial.  One is
Santas, one is bells and bows.  One is covered with Gingerbread cookies
and men with like ribbons and bows.  
	Angels cover a small tree in the
kitchen and archways between the kitchen and nook.  2 Small Ficus trees
in the dining room are covered with white lights, while the table is
covered in pine ropeing along with the chandlier above it.  I have
connected the two with 3 pine streamers and red ribbon. 
	 The front
hallway has different Santas painted by Karen with candles everywhere and
a Gingerbread house filled to the top with all sorts of candies.
	The fire is crackling with stockings hanging, pine and holly covering the
mantle, and a lit stable with figures surrounding the bed of Jesus.
Candles are flickering everywhere while music plays in the background.
	The CD player is loaded with some of the following:  Smoky Mountain
music, Music boxes, Mason Williams, Baroque Music, Andy Williams and Ray
Coniff, and Spike Jones for a laugh.  "Christmas from Yosemite" is a
wonderful treat with sounds of nature intermixed in the music.  Makes you
think you are in the snowy mountains. 
	Smells of fresh baked breads and
cookies come from the kitchen and the smell of coffee mingles too.
You sit and look out the windows to see the entire outside covered with
thousands of white and red lights on dogwoods and hollys along with the
front door and pillars of the porch.  A 22 inch Moravian Star hangs over
the entrance way.  
	Many cars stop and look through the open front door at
the sights within.
	As the party continues, we move down to my office in the lower level
where you will find a mini Christmas tree sitting on top of the computer
desk and on the "desktop" of the computer, a tree and wrapped presents
	Music by Chip Davis is playing on the CD-ROM and on the
floor, a massive desplay of Lionel Electric Trains dating from the
1940's.  An old steam engine puffing smoke and whistling its' heart out
rounds the bend by the electric display of ice skaters and the Village
from the story of "A Christmas Carol".  
	Lights are on in every house
except old Scrooges flat where it is as dark as night.  Crossing lights
flash and gates cross the road as the trains (3) pass by.  An oil pumper
clicks its' bounty and the beacon looks to the heavens for wayward
airplanes. Kids are playing in the snow and making snowmen and trowing
snowballs at the trains as they pass. 
	So many things to see...the
children love to watch, and they don't make a peep.

	Everyone is sipping on a Poinsetta, which is a drink made from Cranberry
juice and Champagne.  The sparkling red color is perfect for the event.
Trays of Williansburg Queens Cake, Cinnimon bread, Chocolate fudge and
different types of Bar cookies grace the tables and the smells are
	Several people breakout into song and before long, we all
dawn our coats and go outside and sing Christmas Carols to the neighbors.
	As we go, several of us light the candles and place them in the hundreds
of white bags which line the walkways.  The flickering candles, the
sounds of the Carols, and the cold evening with a hint of snow in the
air make for a marvelous experience no one will want to miss.

Dennis Stoneburner in Roanoke, Va. 


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