Posts Tagged 'Christmas'

What Exactly is Boxing Day?

It’s something you’ve probably seen on every paper calendar turned to the month of December. Most of us are familiar with Christmas Day on December 25, but we see December 26 marked as Boxing Day and always wonder what exactly that means. I remember asking that exact question to my family when I was younger and this was the explanation my grandmother gave me: “It’s the day when you put all the toys you got for Christmas back in their boxes after you’ve played with them.” Well upon further examination it seems that my late grandmother was more interested in giving me an explanation that kept her house clean than saying she had no idea what it was. In truth we don’t really know how the holiday originated.

Here’s what we do know: There are two possible explanations concerning how the holiday came about. During Advent in the weeks preceding Christmas, the Church of England would set up boxes that the congregation would put money into. The day after Christmas those boxes would be emptied and donated to the poor. The other possible explanation is that the aristocrats of Victorian England would give Christmas presents to their servants on the day after Christmas in boxes and the servants would then have the rest of the day off. In truth though we don’t know for sure if either of those explanations is correct or not.

Another thing we know is that it is a national holiday in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and many other former British colonies. In Britain the holiday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, compatible to Black Friday here in America. They also have annual fox hunts and football matches (the kind of football where players actually use their feet) much like we have sporting events on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It is an interesting holiday and no one really knows why it exists. But if this is a holiday you celebrate and you have the day off, well happy Boxing Day!

Also Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. Sorry Mr. Ali.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Why Do We Say Merry Christmas?

I always thought it was quite strange that when wishing someone well on the holiday of Christmas we would say “Merry Christmas.” It is curious because the term “merry” is seldom used in any other context in modern English anymore and it is only used for Christmas. When wishing someone well on just about any other holiday we always say “Happy (insert holiday here)”. In fact during this time of the year phrases like “Happy Holidays”, “Happy New Year”, and “Happy Hanukkah” are all commonly heard. What is it that makes Christmas so special in that respect?

Well, here’s a pretty good explanation why. The first known Christmas greeting in the English language we know about came from an informal letter written in 1699 wishing someone a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” so we know that such a distinction existed since at least then. It is also thought that the phrase “Merry Christmas” got a very strong cultural endorsement by Charles Dickens in his famous novel “A Christmas Carol” where all of the characters would use that phrase in the same way that we would use it today and that became extremely popular thing to say in Victorian England which eventually made its way over to America.

But if you were to go to the UK or Ireland today you will find that many of the people there will be wishing you a “Happy Christmas.” Having lived in England during one holiday season I speak from personal experience. Why is it that they say “Happy Christmas” like any other holiday? One of the explanations as to why that’s the case is that the word “merry” has an alternate meaning in England. As well as “joyous and happy”, it also means “drunk” in English English. This was further reinforced by Queen Elizabeth II in her annual Christmas addresses to her country. Well aware of this alternate meaning she has never once wished her country a “Merry Christmas” during her 61 year reign.

As for me, I agree with the British on this one. The phrase “Happy Christmas” makes far more sense to me rather than using a word that is hardly used anymore outside of December. So with that being said, on behalf of all of us here at Churchill, we wish all of you a very Happy Christmas.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

There’s About $1 Billion Worth of Unredeemed Gift Cards in America

I never liked getting store gift cards as a present. The intent is certainly nice. The person giving it to you usually has no idea what you actually want and they’re giving you some money towards something you can get for yourself. This is what annoys me though. Many gift cards have expiration dates and restrict you to buying from a certain store. If that store has what you really want then that’s fine but what if it doesn’t? What do you do then? Gift cards are incredibly easy to re-gift and you could always sell it off on a site like Cardpool for some actual cash.

There are some people who absolutely love gift cards and those are the stores that sell them. Why is that? There is a good chance that a customer with a gift card will either spend more than the entire value of the gift card on their trip or they’ll spend less than the card’s value. Either way the store makes more money than if the customer was paying the total sticker price of their purchases. Also every year about one percent of the total balances on gift cards go unredeemed. Considering that about over $100 billion worth of gift cards are sold each year, that comes out to about $1 billion in pure profit retailers get every year. I’m not against businesses making money but I hate seeing stories of consumers wasting money. If you’re considering buying someone a gift card for Christmas this year, just give them some cold hard cash instead. It may seem a bit more impersonal but the recipient has way more options on what they can do with it and it will be more appreciated.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Fenway Park Winter Light Show

Don’t let the Holiday season go by without stopping by “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” for the 1st annual Fenway Park Winter Light Show presented by the Boston Red Sox.  The show will be holiday themed through January 4th so be sure to get there and catch a performance. Tickets cost $15 (five years old and older) and space is limited. For more information call 617-226-6666 or email tours@redsox.com.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in Boston.  Please call us at 800-587-2640 or email us at Boston@FurnishedHousing.com for more info.

Photo courtesy of: Boston Red Sox/MLB.com

Photo courtesy of: Boston Red Sox/MLB.com

The History of Santa Claus

Merry Christmas & Season’s Greeting to all! If you celebrate Christmas you have most likely spent sometime today lingering around checking under the Christmas tree to make sure you opened all your gifts from Santa Claus. With all the celebrating and merriment this beautiful season brings to us, did you ever wonder where the story of Santa Claus and his traditions came from? Wonder no more, history.com has all the information your need to become the Santa Claus historian in the family. Take some time to read this interesting article about everyone’s favorite man in the red suit!

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of: CORBIS

Photo courtesy of: CORBIS

Washington D.C. – American Festival Pops Orchestra: Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season

Culturecapital.com highlights the American Festival Pops Orchestra: Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season concert set to take place this Friday, December 21st at Hylton Performing Arts Center (10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA 20110.) Spend the evening listening to classic, traditional Christmas and seasonal music that will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit! If you aren’t familiar with the American Festival Pops Orchestra, they are a group of more than 60 extraordinary musicians from the D.C. area including military ensembles, regional symphonies and George Mason University music faculty, which is where the American Festival Pops Orchestra makes its home. They are also the only orchestra in the Washington D.C. area to offer performances year-round playing the most festive and celebrated of music. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available throughout Washington D.C. and Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 for more information.

Photo courtesy of: Hylton Performing Arts Center

Photo courtesy of: Hylton Performing Arts Center

Tomorrow Night’s Annual Winterfest Boat Parade in Miami

If you plan to be in Miami this weekend be sure to check out tomorrow night’s annual Winterfest Boat Parade presented by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Beginning at 6:30pm on December 15th at Birch State Park, (3109 E. Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale,) this highly anticipated event presents a spectacular show of decorated glimmering boats for those on land and sea to enjoy. This year as the parade celebrates its 41st year, the theme is “Musical Memories,” and it is sure to be a wonderful and festive event for people of all ages! Tickets for Parade Viewing cost $18 per child and $22 per adult and can be purchased by clicking here.

Churchill has short-term rental apartments throughout Florida. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or email Florida@furnishedhousing.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of: Michael Laughlin, Sun Sentinel

Photo courtesy of: Michael Laughlin, Sun Sentinel