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Asides - Interesting Facts/ Notes About Christmas

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It is an accepted fact that the Christmas tree tradition is one that was brought to the shores of America by German immigrants who continued a practice that was popular in their former homeland. Today, a Christmas tree, even a miniature one, is present in just about every home at Christmas. It is therefore interesting to note some little-know facts about the Christmas Tree and other traditions related to Christmas.
The first interesting fact is the source of real Christmas Trees for some Americans.These can be bought at a Christmas Tree Farm or at many local stores and other places of business in just about every town and city across the country around Christmas time. But according to the National Christmas Tree
Association, Americans buy about 330,000 Christmas trees that are real through e-commerce or from a catalogue and have them shipped by mail-order.
The scent of real Christmas trees is the reason they are so popular. But as they stand silently in their decorative wonder, they also are providing another benefit. The Christmas Tree Association says the amount of oxygen produced on a daily basis by one acre of Christmas tree is enough to provide enough oxygen for people. And during the first week, a Christmas Tree at home will use up to one quart of water each day to help retain its longevity for the many days of Christmas.
Since Christmas celebrations gained popularity in America, the Christmas Tree has always been a big tradition. During the 1950s however, artificial Christmas trees were not always green. It was very popular during those times to have artificial trees with other colors such as silver, pink and aqua. The appeal in having these colored Christmas trees may have been due to the fact that they looked shiny and bright and appeared like tinsel instead of green foliage.
An important ceremony related to the Christmas tree that gains national attention during the Christmas season is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House. This tradition can be credited to President Calvin Coolidge who lit the first decorated Christmas tree outside at the White House in 1923.
The lighting of the National Christmas Tree has also been used to convey some symbolic meaning not related to Christmas. It was not lighted until Dec. 22 in1963 because of a national mourning period of 30 days for the assassination of President Kennedy. And while Teddy Roosevelt was President he gave an order that banned the Christmas tree from the White House, not for the assassination of
President McKinley in 1901, which caused him to become president, but for reasons related to the environment. 
Also of note is that when the National Christmas Tree was lighted on Dec. 13 in1984,temperatures were in the 70s during an unusually warm December.
Christmas has been celebrated in the United States since the 1600s although it wasn't always very popular. It took more than two centuries into the mid-late 1860s for Christmas to become a popular holiday season all across America. So maybe the rest of the country owes the holiday of Christmas Day to the state of Alabama, which in 1836 became the first state to declare Dec. 25 a legal holiday.
It is interesting to note that on Christmas Day of 1789 Congress was in session. And to show how far ahead of the game Alabama was, it wasn't until June 26, 1870 that the federal government declared Christmas as a federal holiday.
Although Christmas is based on the Christian religion, not all Christian groups celebrate the season. Among the Christian groups who do not celebrate Christmas and related traditions such as sending greeting cards are Jehovah Witnesses.
Jehovah Witnesses and other non-participating Christian groups say Christmas isn't specifically mentioned in the Bible as a time or reason to celebrate and since they strictly adhere to the word of the Bible, they refuse to celebrate Christmas.

Fancy Tales Related to Christmas

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A lot of what is widely regarded as true about Christmas or held as a tradition cannot or has not been verified, or, has changed through the years.
Even Christmas Day itself, Dec. 25, has been questioned about whether that is the exact day on which Jesus was born. Skeptics have asked why shepherds would be out in the cold watching their flocks by night during the winter. Those skeptics have put forward the thought that Jesus may really have been born in the spring instead. It is therefore little wonder that there are many fancy stories and tales that are told about Christmas and the Christmas season.
The most common fancy tale that everyone tells, particularly to children, is about Santa Claus, also called St. Nicholas. But even if it were accepted that Santa Claus existed, where does he live and how is he able to get to all the houses of good boys and girls on Christmas Eve?
In the United States, Santa Claus is said to have two homes. There is a home in Torrington, Connecticut, which is used as a distribution point for Santa and his many helpers, who are elves, to hand out gifts. And then, a second home is said to be located in Wilmington, New York, and that is where Santa Claus and his delivery reindeer crew are located.
But Santa can be visited in Cyberspace at anytime and what about the widely held belief that Santa Claus really lives in a village at the North Pole?
The people of Finland also claim that their country is the official residence of Santa Claus. That's because in Finland, you can actually visit a village any time during the year and see Santa's workshop and observe Santa and his elves hard at work as they prepare for their very important Christmas gift delivery job on Christmas Eve.
The only day when Santa's workshop is closed to visitors is of course, on Christmas Eve.
Maybe a very smart visitor could visit Santa's workshop on the day before Christmas Eve to see if there are any clues to how Santa and his reindeers plan to make their trip the next day. That's because as the tale goes, in Finland Santa Claus and his reindeers do not reach their destinations around the globe by flying.
Finland welcomes visitors to Santa's workshop but there is nothing said about whether visitors actually have any chance of having a word with the man himself. While the chances of doing so are believed to be non-existent, among the questions that inquiring minds could ask Santa is whether Rudolph is the son of Donner (and to confirm the spelling - Donner or Donder) or whether Santa spotted him in a different reindeer village one foggy Christmas Eve when he had already started on his Christmas toy-delivery mission.
If mere mortals got a chance to question Santa, then he also would likely have some questions for us humans. He may want to know whose idea was it to have Christmas trees and for the gifts to be placed under them.
The tradition of Christmas tree as it exists today comes from Germany by way of immigrants. But it isn't clear how the tradition really gained a foothold in Germany. One story is that Christians in Germany during the 16th century started to bring trees that were decorated into their homes. Some of those Christians would build pyramids for Christmas. The pyramids were made of wood and would be decorated with evergreens and candles if wood were in short supply.
It is however Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer, who is said to have been the first to add lighted candles as decoration to a tree based on his inspiration from the brilliant light of twinkling stars that shone through evergreen trees as he walked home one winter evening.
As the legend goes, Martin Luther placed a tree in a primary room of his house and placed wires with small, lighted candles around the branches of the tree. And that is how, as the tale goes, the Christmas tree as known today, was started.

Eating Heartily but Consciously During Christmas Season

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During the Christmas season, summer and its body-conscious state of mind
are distant memories. Hearty indulgence in the many foods shared at Christmas
therefore doesn't produce the same feelings of guilt. Nevertheless, its not a
pleasant thought to start the New Year carrying any extra pounds. So why then
eat yourself into a resolution to 'take off a few extra pounds' if you can
smartly avoid it?
Whether it's sharing cookies and candies at work, or having an evening out
at a party or dinner, you can have Christmas food and enjoy it. While you seem
to be eating heartily with a smile, the key is to have a secret strategy of
moderation. It involves sticking to a plan that can be called 'Eating on a
'Eating on a Budget' is not about the cost of what is eaten, but about the
quantity of what is eaten. It is important that a 'budget' or eating in
moderation plan is developed because it is almost impossible to avoid exposure
to a lot of cookies, candies and other sweets at Christmas. At work, you may
risk appearing like the Grinch who stole Christmas if your response will always
be something like, ' humbug' all the time that some Christmas goodies
are offered. It will seem as if you aren't in the spirit of the holidays
especially since at that time of year everyone is usually in a festive and more
relaxed mood, and the pace at work is usually slower.
A practical way to partake in Christmas goodies, for example, is to
substitute some holiday cookies for say the bagel that you usually have with
breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. And instead of just taking one cookie,
from the platter, which is noticeable and likely will encourage a colleague to
tell you to have more, take three instead. That's where the plan can come into
play. You can then enjoy the cookies over two or more hours, because nobody will
be watching how you really eat. You can always have a few candies, one cookie or
a cookie and a half by your desk and that way it will seem as if you are
heartily enjoying the holiday treats.
Another strategy is to bring - bake or buy - low calorie Christmas cookies
and candies to work to counteract others that are being offered. Since eating
healthy is highly encouraged, health-conscious cookies will not be looked down
upon so long as they taste great. A box of sugar-free Christmas chocolate
candies for example will look just as delightful as regular chocolate candies.
It's interesting to note that in a poll sponsored by the National Confectioners
Association in 2004, chocolate was the favorite food gift that Americans said
they preferred to receive for the holidays. The lowly and much maligned fruit
cake was last on the list. The second favorite holiday food gift was a fruit
basket and a plate of cookies was third on the list, according to the
For an occasion such as a Christmas party or a dinner, including Christmas
Dinner, where larger quantities and selection of food is available, the 'Eating
on a Budget' plan means that serving portions and the choice of food selected
should be carefully watched.
At a party where more desserts and sweets are likely to be available, a few of
the selections can be sampled. If the urge to try everything can't be resisted,
then do so, but then second helpings have to be severely limited. The same is
somewhat true for Christmas Dinners. One big difference is that the food served
during Christmas Dinner will be heavier, so by selecting portions wisely, one
can always say truthfully that the stomach is full.
And indeed, after a sumptuous Holiday Dinner, your body is likely to be full
from food and your soul full of joy from sharing another memorable holiday
tradition with family, friends and loved ones.

All About Rudolph and Santa's Other Reindeers

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Maybe it's the undeniable alliterative appeal of Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer
that makes him the most known or popular of all Santa's nine flying reindeers. 
It certainly doesn't seem as easy to come up with a similar catchy description
for the others - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and
Blitzen - as named in the song.
The story of Rudolph whose glowing red nose made him a standout, first appeared
in 1939 when Montgomery Ward department stores distributed about 2.4 million
booklets with the poem in the form of a story about "Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer." It was written by Robert L. May, who worked in the store's
advertisement or marketing department, to be used to attract more people into
the store. When the booklet was reissued in 1939, sales soared to more than 3.5
million copies. But it wasn't until a decade later, in 1949, that the story
really gained immense popularity when Gene Autry sang a musical version of the
fable. As a Christmas song, it is second only in popularity to 'White
Rudolph, the ninth reindeer whose lighted nose guides Santa's sleigh through the
night, is now known worldwide as the song has been translated into more than 20
different languages and an animated television movie has also been based on the
story. Rudolph and his noticeable nose have also become the subject of jokes and
sparked more interest in reindeers which has led to much research into Santa and
the flying reindeers who pull his sleigh through the sky.
Along with the catchy rhythm of the lyrics, Rudolph's story is also appealing
because of the moral lessons it contains. As the story goes, Rudolph was
ostracized by the other reindeers, which laughed and teased him about his shiny
red nose. But on a foggy night, when Santa must have been concerned that he may
not be able to deliver his Christmas gifts around the world, Santa spotted him
and kindly asked if he would step to the front as the leader to 'guide my sleigh
tonight.' His shiny red nose would after all be very useful in lighting the way,
Santa thought. From then on 'all of the other reindeers loved him," and rightly
predicted that he 'would go down in history.'
Among the moral lessons the story can impart is that an attribute that is
perceived as negative or as a liability can be used for a positive purpose, or,
become an asset. It also makes the point that an individual should not let the
negative behavior of others define him or her and limit expectations of what can
be achieved. And it also illustrates how quickly opinions and attitudes about a
person can change.
The question still lingers however of where Rudolph came from. He is commonly
regarded as the son of Donner (or Donder), one of the original eight reindeers.
But the site rejects this however, saying that he dwelled in a
reindeer village elsewhere and it was there that he was seen by Santa who had
already started on his Christmas Eve journey to deliver gifts. And in a more
modern evolution of the story according to, an animation by the
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) introduced a son, named Robbie, of
Rudolph. That son has now become the tenth reindeer.
It's also interesting to note that the idea of Santa's sleigh being pulled by
reindeers was originated in the poem, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.' That
poem tells the story of St. Nicholas, who is Santa, calling his eight tiny
reindeers by their names, as previously mentioned, just before he came down the
chimney of a house to start filling the stockings from a sack full of toys he
carried on his back.

Three And Four Star Hotels In Dubai

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There is a growing demand of three and four star hotels in Dubai, despite the large number of hotels being constructed there. Learn more regarding why it is the case so.

Property firms are increasingly looking at constructing more three and four star hotels in Dubai these days. Dubai has made a surge in the recent years in trying to become the recreational center of the Middle East. A large number of tourists, apart from its expatriate community, are crowding Dubai's lanes each year. This has given a great push to Dubai hotels, especially to those in the luxury segment. One may see many five star hotels popping up across Dubai's horizon as a result, and many being announced regularly. The realty market hasn't taken care of catering to the needs of the low-end clientele, on the other hand. Realtors are increasingly looking at developing more affordable hotels therefore, and trying to gain a foothold in this emerging scenario.

There are several reasons why we are witnessing a sudden spurt in three and four star hotels in Dubai. First of all, tourism is getting diversified and looking out at wining the favor of low-end clientele in the whole world. Airlines are offering discounted flights to keep up being alive in an overcrowded zone. Tour operators are selling last minute holidays and cheaper hotel rooms to win more buyers. Travel industry is fast acquiring a global and competitive outlook. Dubai hotels couldn't ignore these emerging trends. There are several other major cities in the Middle East that could soon start giving Dubai a run for its money. Dubai has got no other alternative but to begin re-looking at its policies; hence the rising demand for less expensive hotels now.

There are a total of 90 three and four star hotels in Dubai in the present day scenario. However, it stands highly insufficient in the backdrop of a rising demand for budget accommodation. The trend might transform very quickly though, since more and more the UAE based construction houses were proposing budget hotel plans. Dubai's investment firm Istithmar plans to partner with London based Easy Group, and build 50 more budget hotels in the near future. These Dubai hotels would be launched and promoted under the brand name of Istithmar Hotels. Dutch hotel chain, Golden Tulip Hospitality, is also planning to partner in 10 new budget hotels soon. The firm is already managing twelve hotels across this region and six more are scheduled to open up by the end of 2009.

Hotels in Dubai have always reported strong occupancy, especially during the peak summer seasons. However, the new emerging trend is that of an increased number of travelers from within the Gulf region. Until recently, Gulf travelers constituted up to 25 % of the clientele in Dubai hotels, most of these having their annual summer breaks. However, this has gone up to 50% in the recent months. Most hotels and hotel apartments report of occupancies that may lie in excess of 80 to 90 percent. One might say therefore how exhausted Dubai hotels could be finding it to continue as a business today, and how urgently they need to be given more three and four star hotels by the real estate firms.

Dubai hotels

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Known to be one of the most fast growing cities in the world, Dubai has its share of tourists and visitors which is growing in number every year. The economic growth has been phenomenal here, owing to which many international hotels have set up branches here. A city which is a good blend of modernity and history has within its boundaries a multitude of star hotels. In fact the international airport is said to be among the busiest with an inflow of people for both pleasure and business purposes. It is connected to the rest of the world in all ways and has become a hub of sorts for people looking for a new location for their business. The Dubai hotels are all spread across the city each offering a view of the entire city and service that encompasses its counterparts in other parts of the world. Based on the budget and preference, the hotels can be chosen. The Dubai shopping festival that happens towards the second half of every year

Dubai business sector is divided into two parts, the Bur Dubai and the Diera; even though they are at two ends, they are connected by numerous bridges. For tourists, the options to stay in one of the leading Dubai hotels are many ranging from the ones alongside the beach to the interior of the city. No matter which part of the city you are in, you will be in awe of its rich historical buildings, and architecture designs. The tourists get a glimpse of how Dubai was and how it has transformed over the years. All the hotels here are tall, reaching for the skies and filled with life like nowhere else. Also the courteous staff, the 24 hour concierge service teamed with high quality security systems make these hotels sought after by people of all classes. If you are looking for hotels along the beach, then there are some available which are two bedroom and some of larger sizes.

Some of the renowned hotels being the Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Abu Dhabi, the Ritz Carlton, and of course the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel which has caused quite an uproar and has been named to be the tallest hotel in the world. The Dubai hotels all offer the visitors a taste of luxury at affordable prices teamed with sights and shopping in a city known for its glitz and glamour.

How to Find a Good Inexpensive Hotel

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Here are some great ways to help you find the right hotel that’s fits with your comfort needs as well as your monetary needs, after all you can't enjoy a vacation without having a good nights sleep.

When going on vacation somewhere you have never been it can be hard to find a good quality Hotel working on a budget. So here is a guide to help you find a good place cheap, so you don’t have to worry about where you will stay.

In my life I have done a great deal of traveling, and I have many nightmare stories about the things that have happened to me in some of the cheap hotels I have stayed in. I remember once I was ok a ski trip and half the floor in my room actually dropped about 6 inches. I woke up and my head was lower then the rest of me and was confused for several seconds before I managed to come to my senses. Lucky for me the room was on the first floor. On another trip, the police raided the hotel looking for illegal immigrants, and there was noise all night long. It was probably quiet the next night, but I did not stick around to see.

Finding a good inexpensive hotel should not be a gamble. The best way to find a good hotel is to go to a place you have been before, but assuming that is not an option the next best thing is from someone who has been there.

If you know someone who has been to the same vacation spot as you are planning on going, ask them about the place they stayed, the worst that can happen is they tell you they hated it or that it was too expensive.

But what if no one you know has ever been to where you are going to be? Unless you like to gamble, you can't just make reservations anywhere, if you are looking to gamble on something play blackjack or poker in a casino, but don’t roll the dice with the place you are going to use as your home base for your vacation.

Use the internet to look for hotel reviews. There are many websites that have reviews from people who have stayed in the hotel. Now one mans hell may be another mans heaven, but at least this way you can see that 5 people stayed there and said it was fine and two said it was not good maybe these 2 people were the exception.

Or maybe the two that did not like the hotel were in town for business in an area popular with tourists. This can be an annoying situation when everyone around you is partying and you are trying to sleep, this is one of the reason why no business is conducted in Daytona Beech during Spring Break.

Talking with a travel agent is always a great way to assure your happiness with your lodgings, and helps keep the gambling in the casinos and out of your room.

A good thing to do is to make sure to ask lots of question on the phone with any hotels you are considering staying in.