Five Christmas Blogs We Love


The Christmas season is upon us. Shopping, decorating, baking. Whatever your holiday traditions there are hundreds of bloggers out there to help you bring joy to your home. Here are five of our favorites.

Wiser Lake Chapel
Advent 2015 – The Names of Jesus
26 days of exploring the names given to Christ.
Luke 1:31 -You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the
name Jesus.

A Debbie-Dabble Christmas
Dedicated to All Things Christmas

Bells Will Be Ringing
Marks’ Holiday Music Blog
A blog about the best sounds of the season.

Bringing Families Together
A Holiday Home Decorating Blog by Balsam Hill
The Christmas tree supplier brings together holiday tips and ideas.

Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts has 30 Christmas Cookie Recipes to make your holiday

Have some favorite Christmas posts or blogs? Share them in the comments.

The First Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath 1

All last week Americans heard over and over about Thanksgiving and Black Friday. But  today is the First Sunday of Advent and in the Christian faith this is the beginning of the season, the looking toward the Coming of the Christ child.

Sunday, November 2 begins the liturgical season of Advent in Western Christian churches. This may involve special prayers and the lighting of the first Advent candle.

Some churches or families may choose to follow an Advent calendar counting down the days until Christmas. After World War II, military personnel and their families who had been stationed in Germany brought them home to the United States.

In Eastern Christian churches a similar observance, called the Nativity Fast, runs for 40 days.

“The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”
Jeremiah 33:14-16

Old Testament Scholar, Dr. John Oswalt, speaks to how the Old Testament speaks of the coming of Christ.

Here are some resources to help celebrate Advent.

You Version (the electronic Bible) has featured reading and devotional plans for Christmas and Advent.

d365 offers Devotionals for 365 Days a year and offers “Following the Star” an Advent guide with Scripture and meditations. The series begins today with “Hope.” Writer Mihee Kim-Kort, says: “Advent is a seson in which we can cultivate a posture of waiting and watching with hope.”

How to Make an Advent Wreath
Catholicism at

Apartment Therapy offers 35 DIY Advent Calendars to Make Now So You’re Ready for December. There are options for those not of the Christian faith who still wish to count down the days to Christmas.

Advent, it’s about preparing the way.

Pairing Virginia Wines with your Thanksgiving Meal


You have the plan for the turkey, and the stuffing, and grandma’s cranberry relish recipe.  But what about the wine?
Here are some posts that offer suggestions on how to pair Virginia wines with your Thanksgiving dinner.
This post is from 2014 but there are some great suggestions.
Alison says, “There’s no one right wine to pair with Thanksgiving, but some choices are better than others! Whether you prefer red, white or rosé, you’ll want to pick a wine that plays well with others to complement the huge array of flavors found on many Thanksgiving tables. Acidity is also a great feature when selecting a wine for Thanksgiving as it balances out the richness in many traditional holiday dishes.”
“Holiday wine matches aren’t so much about the food that’s on the table, but who is around it.”
“We pop the cork on our American Thanksgiving wine picks.”
“The Thanksgiving table is bursting with flavors: sugary sweet potato casserole, spicy cranberry sauce, smoky sausage stuffing, rich gravy. All these tastes need to be considered in making your choices.”
Again not exclusively Virginian, but Holley Simmons at The Washington Post offers The best beers and wines to pair with your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. “Thanksgiving is a day when no indulgence should be denied, so we present fool-proof wine and beer pairings for four common Thanksgiving dishes.”
The bottom line?  Sure, take the suggestions, but drink what you like.

Five Thanksgiving Posts We Love


It’s Thanksgiving week. All across America folks are finalizing travel plans, or cleaning the house, or searching Google for “how long does it take to defrost a turkey?”

There are many different Thanksgiving. Here are five Thanksgiving blog posts we thought you’d like.

Thanksgiving: Not Just a Day, But a Season
Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts says “There is a danger, I believe, in identifying one day a year as Thanksgiving Day. It’s the danger of implying that thanks is due on this day, but not on others. We face a similar danger, for example, when we designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Shouldn’t children honor their mothers more than once a year? Similarly, shouldn’t we be thankful more often than once a year on the fourth Thursday of November?” Read on.

Tiny Buddha offers 7 Simple Ways to Create Thanksgiving Every Day.
Arvind Devalia says, “Thanksgiving Day will be gone all too soon, but there is no reason why you cannot continue the spirit of Thanksgiving all year around.” Read on.

CBC Music serves up a Thanksgiving Playlist. Sure, it’s Radio Canada, and Canadian Thanksgiving is a different day of celebration, but the music is good.

The Galveston Blog offers 10 Ways to Ensure a Happy Thanksgiving. It’s a short and simple, but helpful, list.

Finally, it’s what Thanksgiving is all about. What Christians Want to Know lists 10 Great Thanksgiving Prayers.

Have a favorite Thanksgiving post? Tell us about it in the comments.

Behold, the cranberry


What is it about cranberries?

While Virginians know that there were likely no cranberries at the real first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation, it is believed that cranberries were among the bounty that Native Americans shared with the pilgrims.

Cranberries are a fruit that grows on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. They are one of only three fruits native to North America. They grow mostly in the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest.

Cranberries are of course associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the movie Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis and his relationship with Joy Gresham (whom he later married) there’s a seen with Lewis and young Douglas Gresham who is missing being home for the holidays. It goes like

Lewis: You wish you were at home, don’t you?

Douglas: We always have a turkey for Christmas at home.

Lewis: Well, we’ll have turkey here too.

Douglas: With cranberry sauce? – My dad loves cranberry sauce.

Lewis: Does he?

(To Mrs. Young, the Housekeeper)

Lewis: We wouldn’t happen to have any cranberry sauce, would we?

Mrs. Young: Cranberry sauce? What’s that?

Lewis: Well, my guess is it’s a sauce, made from cranberries.

Mrs. Young: Well, Mr. Lewis, if you can find me some cranberries, I’ll sauce ’em.

He did, and she did, but it wasn’t what young Douglas was hoping for.

Cranberries are a must at Thanksgiving, and there are many ways to serve them. Rather than pick
out a handful of recipes we found several sites that offer a variety of cranberry recipes.

Spectacular Thanksgiving Sides from Southern Living
There’s something for everyone in this special collection of Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Find familiar favorites, along with tempting new creations to try on your Thanksgiving menu.

Fresh Cranberry Recipes from Martha Stewart

The Best Cranberry Desserts You’ll Ever Make from Huffington Post
No Thanksgiving feast would be complete without the requisite cranberry sauce. And they’re
pretty much the best part of any Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. But cranberries can do more
than accompany turkey — their unique tart flavor and ruby red color turn any standard dessert
into a stunning one.

Top Cranberry Sauce Recipes from The Food Network
Try new ways to make cranberry sauce with recipes from Food Network chefs.

21 Cranberry Recipes from Coastal Living
Don’t get bogged down thinking cranberries are just for traditional sauce. There’s way more to
this tart treat.

I Love a (Thanksgiving) Parade


If you’re like us, you grew up with a tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning, and dreaming that one day you’d be there to watch it live.

In our household, the parade was always on the local NBC affiliate. All these years later it’s hard to watch it on any other channel.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, the same year America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, but four years after the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.

Watch the Macy’s Parade and you’ll see floats, balloons, the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and snippets of current Broadway shows.

The Macy’s Parade is also a signficant part of holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, the 1947 version, not the remake. Face it, classics don’t go out of style.

These days there are parades all over the country including Walt Disney World.

The Macy’s Parade doesn’t have to be your favorite.

We just think it’s the best.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day and is broadcast in full on NBC.