What’s the cost of those 12 Days of Christmas?

12 Days D3I had a little extra time while working with a group of kids today. To finish up our time, groups were challenged to see who could list all the gifts of the classic song Twelve Days of Christmas first.  Funny enough none of the groups got the list just right- not sure about the ducks and the chickens that were suggested- HA! After reviewing all the correct gifts for each of the days, the groups were challenged to guess what the cost of the gifts might be.  Following a WILD set of guesses we went to the web and found this little gem: The PNC Christmas Price Index.

According to the website the index was started 31 years ago by one of the economists at PNC.  HE wanted to know what the cost would be for one set of each of the gifts listed in the song.  This initial quest for knowledge has become 30 years of looking at the adjustments and cost rise and fall over time. You can see trends in the US economy reflected in the Christmas Price Index.  The site is pretty cool. There is a lot of interesting financial info- you can look at the total price over time, the price of individual gifts over time, and look how things as varied as the internet and fuel cost have affected the prices.  There is a complete separate section of the site the provides educators with ways to use the information to implement some lesson on financial literacy (don’t be surprised in my classes if you see this round about the 22nd and 23rd).

Great CarolThe site also has lots of fun and clever parts to it.  There is a section dedicated to “updating” the song itself since it “has fallen to an all-time low in popularity”. The section is titled The Great Carol Comeback and features cool renditions of the song for each of the 12 gifts.  Future classics like “Milk Bucket Music”, “Golden Ring Orchestra”, “Bird Call Quartet” and “French Hen Hairband”.  Be sure to check out all twelve of the The Great Carol Comeback.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the 2014 price of one set of all gifts is $27,673.21.  Seems fair, right?

*Santa* Brand Book 2013–A marketer’s dream

Two of my dearest friends and my husband are in the marketing business.  When I saw the *Santa* Brand Book 2013, I recognized the perfect marriage of my love of Christmas with the public relations language that surrounds me day and night.

Quietroom, a British advertising agency, has updated their *Santa* Brand Book each year since its creation in 2010.  Every page made me laugh out loud.  Here’s the cover.

*Santa* is a Concept, not an idea. It’s an
Emotion, not a feeling. It’s both Yesterday
and Today. And it’s Tomorrow as well.

When I read this opening, and the pages that followed, I was totally hooked on Santa.  Jeremy and I talk about what will make The Yule Log 365 more of a brand and less of a blog experiment launched by two friends.  Clearly, we need professional help!

Find your Christmas Spirit on Pinterest

If you are feeling the dog days of summer, or you are in the dumps about school starting in just two weeks, now if the time to start following The Yule Log 365 on Pinterest. We’ve been collecting inspiration, and visiting the boards of ideas we’ve saved–Christmas trees, wreaths, gifts, and more–reminds us that Christmas is only months away (4+ if you are counting with us). I got some inspiration from Thrift My House for recycled sweater balls.


I felt I could tackle these babies. No problem. My results are mediocre compared to the original design, but I’m pleased to say that I used what I had on hand.  On Saturday, I made a trip to the thrift store for a white sweater, but Shirley spotted a two-dollar white scarf instead (and paid for it so, in essence, it was free).  Ready to try again!

Sweater Ball 1

Video Christmas Cards – A look at the possibilities

sladeOn Saturday, Roger and I went to the Sykesville Veterinary Clinic on Liberty Road to take our annual Christmas photo.  It was for a good cause, the Red Cross, and our pet sitter works there, so Blue and Peso were excited to participate.  (We discussed a photo with one of our chickens but worried that they might mess on Santa’s suit–maybe next year).

Some of my friends would express concern about our interest in pet photos with Santa–but I assure you we were not alone in our endeavor.  Just a few hours later, we received notice from Two Paws Up in Frederick that they would have a booth at the Humane Society which was offering photos with Santa on Sunday.

A simple photo, though, appears to be a thing of the past.  Roger sent me this link with 10 YouTube video Christmas cards.  The first of the 10 features the Slade family singing under water–that takes a lot of planning!

Videos have the added advantage that each member of the family can contribute something unique, showcasing talents, lip-syncing to a Christmas tune or making a photo montage of important events of the last year.  And it’s not difficult–I assure you.  Exactly 24 years ago this month, my mother decided we would send a VHS video Christmas card to my Aunt Rosalie in Iowa–we had a new video camera (ancient by today’s standards).  I decided my contribution would be to give Ian a bath in the kitchen sink and videotape a little of it so that my godmother could see my beautiful first-born child.  All went well until Ian’s soapy head slipped from my loving grip and made a small but embarrassing “thud” on the counter–no do-overs for us.  We plowed on to Susan describing her recent foreign exchange trip to Ecuador and more.

In the YouTube link, my favorite family Christmas card video is the time-lapsed family baking cookies that spell out Happy Holidays.  The trimming of our Christmas tree might be the perfect time-lapsed video for us, considering that it would be a speeded up version of me  putting ornaments on the tree and Roger coming behind me to “fix” them.

What will you do?  Let The Yule Log know.  Please send us your Christmas video soon!  (In the link, Video 10 gives some tips for filming your own Christmas card.)

Reindeer Cam: Watch reindeer and see who’s been nice!

reindeercamReceived a tip from Gini, another one of my good friends who is trained to spot interesting Christmas happenings and forward them to me.  Last year, two enterprising Michigan (Gini’s from Michigan, so maybe there is a little bias) men installed a webcam on their property and created the website reindeercam.com , Santa’s official reindeer live feed, so that children around the world could watch the reindeer all day and see Santa feed the animals at 11 a.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.  Meanwhile, in the background of their festively decorated pen, there is a ticker tape listing all of the young people who have written to Santa and reported that they have been “nice” all year long.

There is an app available for download ($1.99) so you can check in at any time.

The list of nice children is difficult to read and is a little blurry, but I imagine if you time it right, showing your children Santa feeding his reindeer is a big hit. I have opened the app three or four times, but so far, I’ve only been treated to reindeer eating.  Not too thrilling.  Looking forward to a glimpse of Santa.

The FAQ’s indicate that there are three ways to be included in the “nice” list, one of which is to donate to the reindeer feed.  There’s an address so children can write to Santa and get their names on the “nice” list.  There is a Facebook page, and on the website comments, both positive and negative, continually feed down the right side.

Started in 2011, the website received millions of visitors, and they’re back again this year.