According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Nicaragua is “The Warm-Weather Winter Travel Destination of 2020.” You can read the entire article – including yet another great review of Rancho Santana – here.

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The Daily Beast recently published a great review of Rancho Santana. You can read the entire article – “Forget the Caribbean. Nicaragua Is Your Next Beach Getaway” – here.

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January is named for Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways. He is depicted with two faces – one looking backward and one looking forward.

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If you want to be one of the very first people to celebrate New Year’s Day 2020, you’re going to have to position yourself somewhere along the International Date Line, which runs through the Pacific Ocean a little to the west of Hawaii. The easternmost island of Kiribati (Caroline Island) near French Polynesia might be a good choice. (Hawaii will be one of the last places to celebrate.)

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You know what eggnog is – the traditional Christmas/New Year’s drink consisting of milk or cream, sugar, and eggs beaten together and often mixed with rum or brandy. But why is it called “eggnog”? Egg, yes. But nog?

According to my dictionary, a nog is a small wooden block or peg. Doesn’t make sense to me, so I did a little research and found many theories. One suggests that it comes from the Middle English word “noggin,” which was a wooden mug for serving alcohol. Another claims that it’s derived from an Old English word for strong ale. A third attributes it to Colonial America, where it was referred to as egg-and-grog. (Rum was called grog.) And there are lots more.

So the only thing we really know about “nog” is that it maybe/probably has something to do with alcohol…

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When the Three Wise Men gave the Christ child frankincense and myrrh, they were doing much more than giving him something that smelled good. They were giving him a gift of good health. Because in those days, these two aromatics were widely used as medicine. (And they are still used by herbalists.)

Frankincense, a natural antiseptic, sedative, and immune stimulant, was used as a treatment for respiratory problems, depression, infection, and tumors. Myrrh, a natural anti-inflammatory and astringent, was used as a tonic and as a cure for cancer, leprosy, and syphilis. Mixed with coriander and honey, it was also used to treat herpes.

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“White Christmas,” Irving Berlin’s wistful ode to homesickness, was originally meant to be a parody, according to Jody Rosen, author of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song. Inspiration for the song came during the years that Berlin was working in Hollywood. It amused him to watch people celebrating a traditional winter holiday while sunning themselves poolside. So, tongue in cheek, he opened with this:

The sun is shining, 

The grass is green, 

The orange and palm trees sway. 

I’ve never seen such a day 

In Beverly Hills, LA. 

But it’s December the 24th 

And I am longing to be up North.

When Berlin realized that the song had actually turned out to be a sincere expression of the almost universal emotions that are evoked by the Christmas holiday, he had that opening verse suppressed.

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