Chrismukkah Unique Gift Wrapping Idea

If you give gifts to a couple that has one Christian partner and one Jewish partner, here is a unique way to wrap a present that supports the celebration of Christmas and Chanukah combined.

Christmas and Chanukah combined (Chrismukkah) wrapping paper

I thought this was very inventive and an interesting way to celebrate the holidays under the circumstances described above! Kudos to the creative talent who thought about this unique style of wrapping holiday gifts.

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In the Desert, Its Beginning to Look Like…

As most people can imagine, there isn’t too much in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona that would innately remind the casual visitor of the overall Christmas/Winter Holiday Season. It does get cool during the late fall and winter evenings. We hit temperatures in the forties many nights during the end of November and through December. We can also get more rain this time of year, but generally not as much as January.

So residents of the Phoenix area use their creativity to devise ways of decorating for the winter holidays.

Here is a photograph of a variegated agave we had in our landscape at one time. The plant has thick leaves with sharp edges and each leaf has a sharp point on the end. That is how it survives in the desert. Without all those sharp edges and points, it would be eaten to death by rabbits, javelinas and other denizens.

Agave with sharp edges and points

People have discovered that those sharp tips at the ends of the leaves have another good use!

Gold colored Christmas balls create a crown-like appearance on top of this agave in the front yard. They play well against the green of the agave and the rest of the residential desert landscape.

Gold balls on a green agave

If solid gold is too regal for you and you want more of a standard Christmas color scheme, a variety of colors would work just as well.
Colorful variety of Christmas balls on an agave

Colorful variety of Christmas balls on an agave

The increased color palette (above) plays well with other holiday ornaments such as the foreground cactus with Santa hat.

Instead of plain poinsettias, how about faux poinsettia leaves attached to the branches of the Ocotillo?

Ocotillo with Poinsettia leaves

(BTW – If you want to see what an Ocotillo looks like during the active growing season with leaves and without fake ornamentation, click HERE)

For a more subtle spot decoration, smaller colorful Christmas balls can be uniquely placed in planters.

Planter with small, colorful Christmas balls

Yes, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Sonoran Desert in 2016!

Sonoran Winter Holiday at the Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix

The Schilling Entry Arbor and Tranquility Fountain beckons seasonal guests to enjoy the winter holiday season in Sonoran Desert style.

Holiday Cheer at the DBG Entrance

Traditional festive decor can be found in many areas including the membership kiosk. While these items would be at home in any holiday display in the United States, they take on a special nuance when surrounded by nearby saguaro cacti and succulents.

Traditional Holiday accents at the DBG

It was somewhat strange to see the poinsettias taking their place next to traditionally xeric plants, many of which are native to the Sonoran Desert and other arid regions. The colors of the temporary plants play well off of the green aloes in the raised bed.

Poinsettias seem right at home next to their cacti neighbors

This yellow/white poinsettia with a bib of white cyclamen was strategically positioned near the main ticket booth. A swath of burlap is used to cover the less decorative standard pillar base.

Less traditional yellow/white poinsettias lend a nice accent when placed against the white cylcamen

During the Las Noches de las Luminarias celebration, the Desert Botanical Garden boasts – Eight thousand hand-lit luminaria bags and thousands of white twinkle lights will set the Garden aglow this winter for 21 magical evenings” – but I don’t think they were counting this rebar candelabra waiting patiently for the evening visitors and its chance to shine.

Candelabra in waiting for the evening display

The Las Noches de las Luminarias event is one of the major valley attractions this time of the year with a variety of music venues, holiday themes and a wonderful seasonal ambience set against the beautiful Sonoran Desert backdrop. If you attend, dress warmly and bring gloves!

Candelabra in waiting for the evening display

Above photograph courtesy of a screen shot of the Desert Botanical Garden website

It is a wonderful time of the year in Phoenix at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Video – Holiday Season Messages – Poignant, Witty, Funny

I found this video to be entertaining and engaging which is quite something for an advertisement. I am sure that some may deem it a bit hokey, but if viewed in light of the season, I think you will find it cute, humorous or poignant depending upon your mood at the time or your general disposition.

I watched it and thought of a couple of subtexts:

  • “Can’t we all just get along?!” – Rodney King
  • “Some of the best things in life are simple.”
  • “You never know what effect you will have on someone or something.”
  • “Live and learn.”

And I am sure this list goes on. If you can think of a witty, poignant or thought-provoking subtext, why not add it in the comment section? originally published this post

See previous Vide-Ohs HERE

Christmas Sensory Overload

This time of the year our brains may have been worked overtime or at least inundated by lights, music and action and maybe we are on sensory overload.

To help you refocus, I am putting a link below for a picture of a group of snowmen. Among the snowmen is one lone panda. How long will it take you to find the panda?

Find the Panda

You can read about why or why not at this link where I first read of this “puzzle.”

Read the explanation and details at Mental Floss

I think I found it rather quickly and you may as well, but if not, at least you can blame it on sensory overload of the Christmas season!