Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! Sharing Writing Gifts For The Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

My story character friend and writing partner Little Red Bear and I would like to share some of our holiday season writings and activities with you to enjoy with family and friends in the coming days!

Below, please find links to our “Twelve Days of Christmas Free Holiday Reads”, “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”, and one of the most popular visits on the writing site this time of year — “Little Red Bear’s Happy Christmas ‘Left-Right’ Game!” to play with kids and holiday visitors.

Please just tap on any link to visit the page(s) and activities of your choice!


“The Twelve Days of Christmas Free Holiday Reads”

“It’s In The Singing Of A Street Corner Choir”  —  An ode to the “Muppet Christmas Carol” show.

A Christmas Poem – “Blue House on the Hill” — A nostalgic Christmas poem inspired by a winter painting created by artist Trisha Romance.

A Holiday Short Story – “Susie’s Bear” — The heartwarming story of a grandmother’s love and devotion during the depression, confronted with a blustery snowstorm and a very sick little girl.

“Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola, and Santa — A look back at how the artist Haddon Sundblom defined the image of Santa Claus for not only my generation but also for generations to come.

“Christmases of My Childhood” by Kathleen Creighton — A very special piece contributed by my dear friend and award-winning author Kathleen Creighton.

A Christmas Poem – “The General Store Christmas”  — Inspired by country artist John Sloane’s painting, a little boy shopping for family presents and gifts.

“A Christmas Tradition — Trains and Memories Beneath the Tree”  — My fondest family traditions and Christmas memories seem to run thru tunnels, over bridges, and along train tracks thru the years.

A Nostalgic Look Back – “Christmas Thru The Window Glass”  — A nostalgic look back at Christmases past, with the highly anticipated and decorated storefront windows, department store Santas, and more.

A Christmas Poem – “Fireside Questions for Santa”  — With a few questions and wondering why. So waiting up to ask the jolly elf guy.

“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown”  — Words of wisdom from Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, a simple reminder of what the holiday season is truly about — Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, and Love for all.

A Christmas Poem – “Love’s Candle in the Night” — Waiting for a loved one’s safe arrival thru the snow on Christmas Eve.

“Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus . . . . . . And More!”  — What circumstances or forces in the Universe worked to bring together a young girl and a cynical, childless curmudgeon to produce a timeless literary piece of Hope, Generosity, and Faith that endures thru time?

Bonus — “What to Do on a Christmas Week Night?” A fun little rhyme during the holiday time.


“Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”

Little Red Bear’s Christmas & Holiday Coloring Pages Summary

Little Red Bear’s Special “Beary Christmas!” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Santa Claus” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Santa’s Elves & Angels” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Snowmen & Reindeer” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Ornaments, Trees & Bells” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Christmas Holiday Greetings” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Other Christmas & Holiday” Coloring Images


Little Red Bear’s Christmas & Holiday Fun Activities

“Little Red Bear’s Happy Christmas ‘Left-Right’ Game!”— An entertaining group gift exchange game to bring plenty of fun and laughter to family gatherings and holiday events featuring characters from the Little Red Bear stories.


 As always, “Thank You!” for visiting and spending part of your time with us here thru the year!
We always look forward to your visits and comments, because YOU are the reason we do it all here.
This has been a strange year, indeed, hasn’t it? If pandemic circumstances prevent us from gathering with family this holiday season, there are other ways to connect these days which will allow us to all be present together for the next one.  And regardless of technical expertise, we are always truly connected in our hearts.
Please take precautions to be safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the holiday season in spite of it all. And if staying at home not visiting with loved ones this year to stay safe, just think of how glorious next year’s holiday celebrations will be!
Sending the very best wishes your way for a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season! And a Happy and Healthy New Year!
See y’all in the New Year with more new posts and features!   — Jim  (and Red!)

              “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”             – Hamilton Wright Mabie
 
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” — Roy L. Smith

Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase



“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” – W.T. Ellis


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


 “I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day!’” – David Grayson

Christmas Peanuts & Linus’s Inspirational Message For Us All

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday Season to everyone!

Some writer friends and I are taking a few minutes this month, some to recall treasured holiday memories and traditions, and others to take a look back at the writing year soon coming to a close. I invite you to check out their thoughts later, listed at the end of this post.


For me, the morning of December 9th, 1965 found me one week away from my 16th birthday, approaching nearly not fast enough at the time, as you may well imagine — The Big 16!

That evening featured the debut of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on the CBS television network, based on my favorite comic strip “Peanuts” by creator Charles Schulz. The show remains a much-anticipated classic and delight each holiday season for millions of viewers to this day and an annual highlight of my family’s Christmastime.

I honestly do not believe that Charles Shulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, ever envisioned the impact this simply created little show would have over time. Nevertheless, over fifty years of continuous broadcasts and changing times have not diluted or diminished the show’s impactful messages.

While there are many discussion themes running thru the story, the most poignant for me has always been Linus’s speech on stage, responding to a frustrated Charlie Brown’s question of — “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!?”

At this time of year, trying to keep our wits about us while navigating thru and around all the hustle and bustle of crowded malls, traffic, grocery shopping, cookie exchanges, decorating, children’s school plays and activities, holiday parties, family pictures and greeting cards, boxes, packages, wrappings, and bows, all while trying to out-maneuver porch pirates from swiping online deliveries, do you ever find yourself wondering the same question — “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Sometimes we simply need to pause, taking a moment to catch our breath, and reflect.


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought,                doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”            — Dr. Seuss


As one of my sometimes forgetful uncles used to say years ago — “I don’t need to be told, but I do occasionally need to be reminded.”

In reply to his friend Charlie Brown, Linus took the stage to remind us all —

“Lights, please . . . .”


“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them — “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

“And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men.”


And that is what Christmas is all about. For Charlie Brown. For Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy. For us all. The reason for the season, as they say.

Not to be found in a store, Christmas it turns out, does indeed mean a goodly bit more.



Linus is famously noted for carrying around his trusted security blanket with him wherever he goes. Held tightly fast and never let go lest panic ensues. Have you ever noticed that at the point when Linus repeats the words of the angel “Fear not!” that the blanket is suddenly on the floor beside him, confidently lain aside until he once again retrieves it at the end of the presentation?

There are subtle messages and lessons to be found in Linus’ simple action and demonstration of faith for us all this Christmas Season.


As Ebenezer Scrooge even came to realize in the end — “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!”

Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, Love — none of these are or should be exclusive or seasonal things, as each of us should truly keep them in our hearts throughout the year.

The Christmas Season is an annual reminder of how we should be always, for everyone and all things in this miraculous and beautiful world we all share and call home. Sometimes we do not need to be told, but occasionally do need to be reminded.

Thru the inspiration of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown and Linus remind us of the real meaning of the Christmas Season each year.


Thank You for visiting with us! In a period when it seems so much and so many seek to divide us, perhaps the Christmas Season is a time when we can all set aside differences for a while, come together in the spirit of the season, and just perhaps, realize that in coming together, like Charlie Brown’s little Christmas tree, that those things are really not so divisive and bad, after all.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and Holiday Season!

A simple act of kindness or encouraging word can change someone’s entire life around. Will you do that for someone today?

In the Spirit of Christmas.  — Jim  (and Red!)  🤠 🐻


If you grew up with the Coca-Cola Santa image as I did as a baby boomer in the ’50s, you may also enjoy my piece on  → “Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola and Santa Claus” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear”

(Then sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to please visit with my other writer friends to discover more about their writing year and holiday season thoughts!

Cat Michaels — “My Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road”

Rebecca Lyndsey — “December Dreamin’ – Holiday Traditions that Ring in My Season”

Julie Gorges — “Baby Boomer Writer’s Ups, Downs & In-Betweens in 2019”

Rosie Russell — “My Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road”

Julie Schooler — “3 Writing Wins and Lessons in 2019”

Sandra Bennett — “December Dreaming – 5 Ways Looking Back Can Help You Look Forward”


            “Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” – Eric Sevareid

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” – Helen Steiner Rice


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” – Washington Irving


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  Schools,  Classrooms, and Local Libraries,  and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy. 

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to cover site fees, registrations and operating costs while continuing this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone.

We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” – Dale Evans Rogers


 

“Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus . . . . . . and More!”

Most everyone is familiar with the phrase “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” but may not be familiar with the interesting historical information behind it.

The phrase comes from an editorial entitled “Is There a Santa Claus?” first appearing in the September 21, 1897, edition of ‘The (New York) Sun’ newspaper in reply to a question sent in by a young girl. The editorial response has since become the most reprinted newspaper editorial in the English language.

As the story goes, eight-year-old Laura Virginia O’Hanlon first asked her father the question “Is there a Santa Claus?”  Virginia’s father, Dr. Phillip O’Hanlon, a coroner’s assistant in Manhattan, suggested that she write a letter to the prominent ‘Sun’ newspaper, advising that “If you see it in ‘The Sun’, it’s so.”

There is some question due to the wording if Virginia actually completely penned the letter herself at age eight, or more likely with the aid of her father. Regardless, the query arrived at ‘The Sun’. Few may be aware of the rest of the story.

The editor who prepared the response to Virginia’s question was named Francis Pharcellus Church. Interestingly, Mr. Church had been a war correspondent during the devastating and horrific American Civil War and suffered from a great loss of faith and hope in society afterward.  He was a hardened cynic, an atheist not given to superstition, curmudgeonly, and wanted no part of writing the newspaper’s reply, to the point of initially not allowing his name to even be attached to the piece.

Nevertheless, Mr. Church’s response turned out to be a masterful testimony much more far-reaching than the original, simple Santa Claus question. Addressing the philosophical issues of not only the existence of Santa Claus, he uncharacteristically affirmed hope, encouragement, generosity, love, and faith, as well.

Despite being placed seventh in order on the newspaper’s editorial page, even appearing below an article on the newly-invented chainless bicycle, Mr. Church’s reply was both noticed and well-received by readers, taking on a subsequent life of its own which has endured over a century and still going strong.

Reprinting here for everyone, should you wish to share this inspiring piece with your family this holiday season . . . .


“We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

“We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

“Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

“You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

“No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”


Virginia went on later in life to become an educator, receiving a doctorate from Fordham University in 1930, with her dissertation on ‘The Importance of Play’, a theme later echoed famously by Fred (Mr.) Rogers, that play is actually the work of childhood.  Later in life, she credited Mr. Church’s editorial response to her Santa Claus letter to influencing and shaping the direction of her life in a positive manner. She passed away on May 13, 1971, at the age of eighty-one.

At the time of the editorial reply, Francis Pharcellus Church was fifty-eight years old. He passed away a few years later at the age of sixty-seven and is buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He had no children.

One wonders what forces of the Universe combined to bring together such an unlikely pairing? An innocent young girl and her curiosity about Santa Claus, and a childless curmudgeon, to inspire a timeless literary piece of love, generosity, and devotion.

What would the world be and what would we do without Santa Claus? Without Kindness, Hope, Faith, Love, Compassion, Generosity, and Charity? Without Santa Claus embodying the Spirit of Christmas?  Without our faith and belief in the unseen? Truly, there is nothing more real, indeed. May the Spirit of Christmas continue to live within and inspire us all.

Thank You always for visiting and spending part of your day with us! And in the words of Charles Dickens thru Tiny Tim —“God bless us, every one!”  — Jim  (and Red!)


“They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart.” — Charles W. Howard

“Of course there is a Santa Claus. It’s just that no single somebody could do all he has to do.            So the Lord has spread the task among us all. That’s why everybody is Santa Claus.        I am. You are.” — Truman Capote


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

“Whenever you give someone a present or sing a holiday song, you’re helping Santa Claus. To me, that’s what Christmas is all about. Helping Santa Claus!” — Louis Sachar


“To say there is no Santa Claus is the most erroneous statement in the world. Santa Claus is a thought that is passed from generation to generation. After time this thought takes on a human form. Maybe if all children and adults understand the symbolism of this thought                             we can actually attain Peace on Earth and good will to men everywhere.”                 —  Charles W. Howard


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


“Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus. Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because          everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy.         And in the morning you saw what that had done.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder


 

 

Christmas — “It’s In The Singing Of A Street Corner Choir . . . . . .”

Where do you find Christmas and the Christmas Spirit this time of year?

Do you look under a tree?  Search in the gift shop?  Or perhaps — at the street corner?

I have found when confronted with a mystical or difficult question, it is often best to ask a Muppet.   So —  “Where is the Christmas Spirit to be found?”

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir,
It’s going home and getting warm by the fire,
It’s true, where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas.

“A cup of kindness that we share with another,
A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother,
In all the places you find love, it feels like Christmas.

“It is the season of the heart.
A special time of caring,
The ways of love made clear.
It is the season of the spirit.
The message if we hear it,
Is ‘Make it last all year’.

“It’s in the giving of a gift to another,
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother,
It’s all the ways that we show love that feel like Christmas.

“A part of childhood we’ll always remember,
It is the summer of the soul in December,
It’s when you do your best for love, it feels like Christmas.

“It is the season of the heart.
A special time of caring,
The ways of love made clear.
It is the season of the spirit.
The message if we hear it,
Is ‘Make it last all year’.

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir,
It’s going home and getting warm by the fire,
It’s true, where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas.

“It’s true, where ever you find love,
It feels like Christmas.
It feels like Christmas.
It feels like Christmas.
It feels like Christmas!”

(“It Feels Like Christmas”  by  Paul Williams.    Published by Fuzzy Muppet Songs.)

Roy L. Smith observed — “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”    True words.    Peace, Love and Joy are to be found within and shared in the company of others.

Merry Christmas!  Wishing everyone the best of Peace, Love and Joy this Holiday Season! — Jim (and Red!)

"The Muppet Christmas Carol", 1992. Produced and Directed by Brian Henson for Jim Henson Productions, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol”, 1992. Produced and Directed by Brian Henson for Jim Henson Productions, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.