Friday, November 25, 2016


Merry Christmas Eve Snoopy:

   The annual airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas has become as much a part of Christmas as Santa and Rudolph.
   Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, Snoopy's decorated doghouse and Linus' classic recitation on the true meaning the season have become true baby-boomer Christmas icons.  Throw in Vince Guaraldi's classic soundtrack, and you have an animated special that has defined a generation.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas was not the first time the Peanuts characters were animated.  In the early 1960's they appeared in a series of commercials for the Ford Motor Company.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas was conceived, written, animated and produced in only six months, and was finished only a week before the air date.  The first airing, on December 9, 1965, was sponsored by Coke.

  • A CBS executive who watched a preview was disappointed and declared the program, "A little flat....a little slow", and said he thought Peanuts was better suited for the comics page.  Ed Levitt, an animator who worked on the show was more percipient, however, declaring "A Charlie Brown Christmas will run for a hundred years"!
  • The children who sing the opening and closing songs, "Christmas Time is Here", and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", were chosen from a children's choir at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California.  The songs were recorded at Fantasy Records Studio in San Francisco.
  • The voice of Charlie Brown was provided by 8 year old actor Peter Robbins, who had previously appeared in over 35 television commercials, and had small roles in TV shows such as "F Troop" and "Get Smart".  Robbins continued to be the voice of Charlie Brown in 5 more Peanuts specials, as well as in the first Peanuts movie.  A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
  • The youngest voice in the cast was that of Sally, played by 6 year old Cathy Steinberg.  Because she couldn't yet read, when had to be fed her lines a few words at a time.

  • Vince Guaraldi was a San Francisco jazz musician.  Producer Lee Mendelson was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge when he heard one of Guaraldi's songs on the radio, and recruited him to write the music for the special.
  • The "voice" of Snoopy was provided by co-producer Bill Melendez.
  • The very first airing placed second in the ratings for it's week, behind Bonanza and ahead of such favorites as Red Skelton, Walt Disney and The Andy Griffith Show.
  • A writer for TIME magazine loved the show, calling it "refreshing and "special".  He also wrote, " A Charlie Brown Christmas,  is one children's special this season that bears repeating".
  • The 1965 airing won an Emmy Award for "Best Network Animated Special" and a Peabody Award for "Outstanding Children's and Youth's Program".



   In spite of the use and abuse of ultra modern engineering and the rushing hullabaloo of the 21st century, people often seem to become nostalgic when it comes to home decorating for Christmas.  Norman Rockwell's creations-marvelous pictures of Victorian villages under the snow, children eagerly waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus while carolers walk around the villages singing Christmas carols.  Thinking to families decorating a beautiful Christmas tree and drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows, makes our hearts feel merry.  These "old world" visions are the reasons why a lot of us desire vintage Christmas ornaments for decorating our homes.  However, truly old vintage ornaments can be difficult and expensive to acquire.


   Not so long ago the nostalgic desire for items from the past has caused a boom in the artistic creation of vintage hand crafted Christmas ornaments in the last 10 to 15 years.  A lot of online and regular retail outlets specializing in vintage items now offer hand crafted classic Christmas ornaments made of silver or tin with that old days flavor.  Hand-blown, gorgeous glass ornaments to dazzle the eye, vintage twenties looking tin ornaments engraved with the early renditions of jolly old Saint Nick, and softly shining bubble lights in an array of beautiful colors.


   Maybe gold and silver glass ornaments shimmering in the soft light of the Christmas tree, whose top is adorned with an old fashioned tin star or a painted angel, looking like it came right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  Some homemade garland of popcorn and cranberries, strung around the tree along with crystal "icicles" glistening from the reflections of the Christmas lights.  Tiny "gift" looking ornaments and other metallic pieces of tin shapes.  Cotton or cardboard shapes of cutout fruits, birds, and an assortment winter scenes.  There was a time when people would put tiny candles in reflective holders all over the tree.  Their use was highly risky as it cause many a home fire.  Nowadays, it's possible to have the same kind of old world candles without the open flame.


   Current trends are moving towards old wreaths that are made of foil and tin with pearls or angels attached,  as well as traditional wreaths made out of pine and holly with gold ornaments and dried flowers.  Modern Christmas garlands are not as beautiful as vintage garlands made out of small pine limbs tied with natural bonding materials like hemp,  and decorated with colored berries and pine cones.


 For many of us, the Christmas holiday is a time to relax and think of Christmas's in our past.  Where things weren't harried and busy.  Nostalgia creeps in and makes us wish for when things were much simpler, a time to reminisce. 

   When  we were kids and didn't have to worry about all of the other things that happen in our life.  When we looked forward for school being out for the Christmas holiday, going down to the department store to see Santa (before they had malls), loading up into the car to check out Christmas lights,  looking at the brightly wrapped presents under the tree and guessing which ones are yours.  Decorating with all of those wonderful old decorations and ornaments kind of brings us back to that time, even if it's just for a moment. 




   Created by Alison Eden, this octopus-like chandelier was made with only recycled and domestically made material and mosaics. 

Macy’s in Herald Square -
   Showed off its legendary display titled "Believe,” which inspires onlookers to have faith in the magic of the holiday season. The theme also salutes the department store’s nine-year commitment to its letter writing campaign that raises money for the Make-A-Wish foundation
   Each of the six windows portray iconic holiday scenes created by designer Roya Sullivan, which includes Santa’s “Communication Station,” a Christmas-themed pinball machine, the North Pole and more.
Check out photos of Macy’s festive holiday window display


Bergdorf Goodman

   This year, the folks at Bergdorf Goodman want to take shoppers on an adventure around the world — a dream world, that is. David Hoey, the retailer's senior director of visual presentation, characterizes the department store's displays as "delirious remakes of the classic dioramas seen in natural history museums." He cites the work of Henri Rousseau and 12th-century Chinese watercolor mountainscapes as inspiration for the lush, larger-than-life windows, each of which depicts a unique destination — and is each assigned its own designer wardrobe, from Marc Jacobs' resort and Gucci spring to custom CD Greene and fall Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana.

Barneys New York
   Barneys New York delivers with its artful windows every holiday season — but this year, the luxury retailer definitely wins on biggest variety. It tapped a series of artists across mediums and categories to interpret a theme of "Love, Peace, and Joy" for the displays of both its Madison and Seventh Avenue flagships; these include Nick Cave (with a one-a-kind sound suit and sculpture display), Rob Pruitt (with a bedroom tableau starring a monster couple), Ebony G. Patterson (with a multimedia video presentation), Studio Job (with a collaged, seven-foot boat facade), and Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park. (Yes, you read that last part right: Stan, Cartman, Kyle, Kenny, and the gang have gone high fashion.)

Henri Bendel
   You've probably seen James Goldcrown's love walls serve as the backdrop for many #OOTDs. Now, the artist is lending his message (and signature work) to a legendary Fifth Avenue flagship. Henri Bendel commissioned Goldcrown to love-ify both its store window and its interior. "We wanted our store to reflect a message of love and togetherness during the holidays," explained Pina Ferlisi, Henri Bendel's creative director. "We thought James’ mural would serve as the perfect reminder to spread the love this season." This is one holiday display you won't have to travel to New York to experience: The brand will reproduce the hallmark love mural at its 28 other locations across the U.S.

Lord & Taylor

   Anyone walking down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th streets will be instantly struck with all of the holiday feels: Lord & Taylor is bringing our winter wonderland dreams to life, from ice-skating bunnies to snowshoe-clad geese making their way through a forest. This year's display is the product of a team of 75, working over 5,000 hours to create five animated scenes, building on a tradition that's been ongoing for the retailer since 1937.

Parsons School of Design x Swarovski
   Every year, MFA candidates in the Parsons School of Design's fashion program are granted access to countless Swarovski crystals in order to integrate the Austrian house's signature sparklers into their garments. This year, though, students had the added incentive of the possibility of putting their work on display in midtown Manhattan. Six students nabbed the honor, and their final pieces will hold court on Madison Avenue until January 4, 2017. "It's quite a thrill for our students, and we cannot thank the new owners of 550 Madison Avenue enough for giving them this extraordinary opportunity," Burak Cakmak, dean of Parsons, said.





   A large bejeweled Christmas tree is set out on a balcony overlooking the twinkling Manhattan skyline. Plus, we even have a Little Blue Box sitting on a chair next to the tree. 




   Presented in a series of “acts,” Saks’s legendary animated holiday windows takes its viewers on a journey through a “Land of 1,000 Delights” around the classic Christmas story, The Nutcracker.