Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2013

Test your Christmas IQ

You are probably cooking like mad or travelling to someplace during this busy holiday period but if you want to take five minutes and have a giggle, I thought I'd share this true-or-false combo quiz I came across in the easyjet magazine.

Can you spot the festive falsehoods? TRUE or FALSE?

1. Scientists say Rudolph's red nose is because of infection. T/F
2. Santa Claus wears red to symbolise Jesus turning water into wine. T/F
3. The 'true love' mentioned in 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' refers to God. T/F
4.Kissing under the mistletoe references an affair between Vidarr, the Norse God of the forest, and Elli, the goddess of old age. T/F
5. Crackers originally symbolised an assassination attempt on Pope Julius 111 in 1752. T/F
6. In Poland, spiders and spiders' webs are common decorations. T/F
7. Stockings come from the Hungarian tradition of washing socks on 24 December. T/F
8. The Swedish made the first artificial trees out of dyed pheasant feathers. T/F
9. 120 million Christmas trees are grown each year in Europe. T/F
10. Christmas pudding was originally a thick soup with raisins and wine in it. T/F
11. Presents used to be wrapped to prevent rats from eating them. T/F
12. Workers in Spain get a Christmas bonus of one month's salary by law. T/F
13. In Serbia, Santa is a woman who gives the children a kiss while they're sleeping. T/F
14. In the Middle Ages, the traditional Christmas meal in England was pig's head and mustard. T/F
15. In Estonia, the festive meal is a stew made from seal meat and chestnuts. T/F
16. Since 1947, Oslo has sent a Christmas tree to London to thank the British for their help in World War 11. T/F
17. The first bit of music played in space was 'Jingle Bells'. T/F
18. Christmas is the most common time of year for couples to break up. T/F
19. Christmas trees are fed dried banana peels during germination to help them develop their deep green colour. T/F
20. In Russia, it's considered unlucky to give teddies as presents, because bear attacks are common in wintertime. T/F


 15-20 YOU ARE SANTA, THE RIGHTFUL OVERLORD OF CHRISTMAS. You scoff in the face of any mere mortal who asks you which winter berries to add to a mince pie. Travelling a mere 510,000,000km on Christmas Eve is no problem so long as there's a glass of eggnog waiting for you when you get home.

8-14 YOU ARE RUDOLPH. Unfortunately, your ruminant mammal brain prohibits you from absorbing all things Christmassy, but 365 days a year under Santa's guidance has given you some basic wisdom.

0-7 YOU ARE SCROOGE. Christmas isn't your thing. Your prefer high interest loans and Victorian workhouses. Try not to bah humbug your way through the festive season, retaining a certain amount of information is crucial if you want to become less of a grump.

10. TRUE
12. TRUE
14. TRUE
16. TRUE
17. TRUE
18. TRUE

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Swiss Humour

Have a look at the latest advertising of a local insurance company starring the Swiss World Cup alpine ski racer Didier Cuche. Supposedly he retired from competition following the 2012 season.

This is what he is up to nowadays:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Swiss handmade online markets

Every once in a while I come across a product or a service that tickles my fancy to the point that I decide to post it on my blog.

This weekend I came across a Christmas Survival Kit card by www.lulaloo.ch. The designer started brainstorming with her kids about things they love about Christmas and this is what they came up with.

Check it out here: http://www.lulaloo.ch/category/more-celebrations/christmas/.

If you are an avid internet user as myself and with an Anglosaxon background, you will problaby have heard of a site called etsy, an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items, supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items.

Switzerland is big on arts and crafts. Here a few sites similar to etsy that sells handmade or vintage items but are based in Switzerland/Europe:

www.de.dawanda.com/ (German site in Euro)
www.fait-maison.com (French site in Euro)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas concert for charity: Make-a-Wish

Are you feeling christmassy and in need for some soul-searching after a Saturday of shopping? The International Women's Club Lugano invites you to a classical concert with the Orchestra Giovanile d'Archi della Svizzera Italiana. The concert is given for charity to benefit Make-A-Wish Switzerland/ Ticino. So up you get, have a cup of tea and some Christmas biscuits before you head to the Conservatorio and enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

Venue: Make-a-Wish Christmas concert
Where: Conservatorio, Aula Magna, Via Soldino 9, 6900 Lugano, Lugano
Date: Saturday, December 14, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Tickets available at CHF 25.- (including cocktail) at Uff. Manifestazioni Conservatorio phone +41 (0) 91 960 2362 or email iwcl.charity@gmail.com

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nativity scenes in Vira

The town of Vira with the Church of San Pietro rises impressively above Lake Locarno. The heart of the village, still nearly all intact, is typically Ticinese, with its old houses leaning against one another, its alleys, bottlenecks and porches. On the facades of the houses there are some "frescoes" that were painted in 1970 in occasion of the "Fresco School".

During the Christmas period, Vira is transformed into a winter wonderland of nativity scenes. "Il Presepe a Vira Gambarogno" consists of around thirty nativity scenes, exposed in the little streets of the town.

You'll find reconstructions of the Holy Night in all shapes and sizes, some with traditional features, with the characters placed in a setting re-created with the help of moss, stone, wood and water, while others are more unusual. For example, they have had nativity scenes that were crocheted, made with bottles or yoghurt pots, and from steel wire and chairs.

The first time it took place was 23 years ago, on the initiative of a group of local enthusiasts who wanted to enliven the village at a time of the year that traditionally was quiet and lacking in events. In a sense they were pioneers, as this was the first event of its kind in Ticino. Immediately the local schools became involved in creating the nativity scenes, and in no time at all this special way of anticipating Christmas was met with a great deal of enthusiasm.

The opening day (starting at 15.00) is particularly cheerful with the market in the square, a band playing bagpipes and various local associations offering food delicacies. Traditional Christmas music, chestnuts and mulled wine, together with the lighting, make the atmosphere extremely cosy and warm.

Venue: Il Presepe a Vira
Where: 6574 Vira
When: From 15.12.2013 until 06.01.2014
Click here for detailed programme

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Free Zumba Kids class in Lugano

To all you Zumba fans out there: listen up! I know for a fact that Lugano has quite a few Zumba fans from all kinds of nationalities. Don't miss the ultimate dance-fitness party for kids from 7 to 12 years of age.

If you are fast, there will be a free Zumba Kids trial class available for you today from 17:00 to 18:00. Just call 076/387'00'18 or e-mail: spazio360@sunrise.ch.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela's legacy

While the world is paying tribute to Nelson Mandela today, it seems to me that all the dignitaries whom have turned up at the stadium of Johannesburg are absolutely starstruck themselves.

Despite the pouring rain - which it seems is a good fortune in the tradition of Mandiba's tribe -  crowds are clapping, singing and dancing as they arrive at the FNB stadium. A most colourful stadium I might add.

On another level, I will be watching the movie "The 16th Man" with my children this weekend. "The 16th Man" is a documentary about the South African rugby team and how it helped Nelson Mandela write history in 1995, the year the “Springboks” hosted and won the Rugby World Cup. It is about the courage, the will power, the patience, the willingness to accept, the chance to change and about the determination of a man and his country to abolish old rules and accept the challenge.

“The 16th Man” is DEFINATELY worth watching. Absolutely speechless to what a nation with the right leader is capable of through sports. Never in our wildest dreams......

Monday, December 9, 2013

Funky Christmas playlist

I looove Christmas carols and will listen to them with gusto for the entire month of December. However, I do sometimes prefer a funkier version of the classic songs. My absolute favourite of all times is Lou Rawls' "Christmas is the time". Very Soul and R&B.

Following is a list which will hopefully inspire you to put together your own jazzy Christmas Carol list.

Happy listening:
Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding

Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

All I Want For Christmas Is You - Olivia Olson

Silent Night, Holy Night - Frank Sinatra

Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys

Last Christmas - Wham!

White Christmas - Louis Armstrong

Joy To The World - Aretha Franklin

Santa Claus Is Back In Town - Elvis Presley

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Ella Fitzgerald

Christmas Song - Cocoon

Winter Wonderland - Macy Gray

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Album Version) - Jackson 5

White Chrismas (Part 1) - Pink Martini

Baby It's Cold Outside (feat. Norah Jones) - Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones

Brighten The Corner Where You Are (24-Bit Digitally Remastered 06) - Ella Fitzgerald

Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (as made famous by John Lennon) - The Christmas Party Singers

Blue Christmas (as made famous by Elvis Presley) - The Merry Christmas Players

Maybe This Christmas - John McDermott/Ron Sexsmith

Winterlude - Bob Dylan

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent market in Lugano

Today, the first Advent Calendar window has been opened and therefore the countdown towards Christmas has officially begun.

To celebrate the first of Advent, head down to Piazza Riforma at 17:00 this afternoon to see Lugano's official Christmas tree. Accompanied by music, Julie Arlin will host the lighting of the city's tallest Christmas tree. A really exciting event, especially for children.

After, also check out the Advent market starting today. During all of Advent, Riforma Square will be populated by charming wooden houses, where you can find all sorts of Christmas specialties, decorations and original gift ideas.

A magical world for children, which even adults love to partake in. The joy of being together, without necessarily having to stay in one's home living room. The pleasure of buying presents at the market or in boutiques. This is the kind of Christmas that the city of Lugano proposes and which will feature 37 very special days in the streets of the city centre so that the Christmas season can reach out to everyone.

Lighting of the Christmas Tree
Sunday 1.12.13 at 5.00 p.m.
Riforma Square

Advent Market
Sunday 1.12.13 at 5.30 p.m.
Every day until Monday 23.12 from 11.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Tuesday 24.12 from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

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