Merry Christmas to all…

The Christmas Song

Christmas is the day that holds all time together.

—Alexander Smith

The Nat King Cole Trio recorded The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) in 1946 and turned it into a Christmas classic one year after Bob Well and Mel Torme wrote it. The song is also commonly subtitled as Chestnut’s Roasting on an Open Fire due to its opening lyrics.

Multiple song arrangements have been recorded throughout the years but the most notable version has to be Cole’s which includes the warm sounds of a small string section. The lyrics are filled with warm Christmas feelings and sweet holiday imagery including: “Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe/ Help to make the season bright…Yuletide carols being sung by a choir/ And folks dressed up like Eskimos.”

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The popular Christmas song has been covered by many artists including Christina Aguilera for her 2000 album, My Kind of Christmas and Michael Bublé on his Let it Snow EP.

Check out the full lyrics below to get in the Christmas spirit. 

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight
They know that Santa’s on his way
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
And every mother’s child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you 

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It is Christmas Eve and I hope you are reading this someplace cozy, surrounded by friends and family, your partner, your dog, your cat… 

I hope there’s a soft chime of Christmas music playing in the background and something delicious cooking in the oven. I hope you are warm, healthy, and grateful for everything mentioned above.

If this year looks different for you, if you are not warm, or healthy, or surrounded by friends and family, this space is for you too.

This year, much like the past two, has presented new challenges. Prices are high, gifts may be fewer, and miles traveled may also be fewer.

Things that are always free to give: love, kindness, a smile, a wave, a hug, your favorite book off your bookshelf, a phone call…

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I’ve been working hard to try and define ourselves here at rvingwithrex.com. Who are we really? What’s the point of all this? Why do I do what I do? Much of it boils down to my love of the RV lifestyle and a desire to share my years of experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you have an RV whether it’s a big Class A that you live in full-time whether it’s a small teardrop trailer that you and your family take out on the weekends or whether you live in an RV because it’s your only option or place of shelter, it doesn’t matter. One thing I’ll always say: We’re all RVers. Our community is for everyone.

As usual, I will post a newsletter tomorrow and I wish you the Merriest of Christmases—and, to my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah.

Whatever your day may be, wherever you are and however you’re spending it—may your day be merry and bright.

Worth Pondering…

A joy that is shared is a joy made double.

John Roy

Do You Really Know A Christmas Carol?

A story of redemption and self-discovery

Like many Christmas traditions and trappings, a fresh look at them may return luster to a dullness that can build up over time. In fact, from a cultural perspective, such an exercise is part of the whole purpose of Christmas and the approaching New Year.

It’s a time to consider ourselves in a new light and appreciation our blessings. Serving as a means to accomplish this is a story that stands as largely unfamiliar although many claim otherwise: Charles Dickens’s 1843 masterpiece, A Christmas Carol.

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This is a story that everyone knows yet few remember for what it truly is: a tale that sings out like a caroler pounding at the door on the night before Christmas. Its purpose is to awaken us to the reality of our life journey and the need to love one another along our way.

A Christmas Carol is a ghost story in which Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable old sinner and tightfisted financier, is haunted on Christmas Eve by his business partner, Jacob Marley, who’s been dead as a doornail for seven years. Scrooge learns from Marley that torments await him in the afterlife for his misspent time.

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To sidestep the terrible path that Marley’s ghost treads, Scrooge accepts visitations from three spirits who come to offer him reclamation. They show Scrooge how his misery is self-inflicted and how much happiness he stands to gain by simply making others happy.

From his boyhood memories to his own chilling deathbed, the spirits lead  Scrooge on a difficult, merry, and disturbing journey through time and space to prove to him the profound purpose of every human life—one most clearly seen in the humane light of Christmas.

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As it turns out, Ebenezer Scrooge has proven a soothsayer of our times, for by and large, Christmas actually is something of a humbug these days. It preaches peace but breeds pressure. The ritual of Walmart has replaced the ritual of the wassail. Santa Claus is not really St. Nicholas. The holidays are not really holy days. Christmas is a lost and long-forgotten mystery in need of a great awakening which is the thundering message of Charles Dickens’s carol.

For this reason, A Christmas Carol is an important voice at Christmas, and unlike the customary Christmas fare, it is anything but warm and fuzzy.

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is nothing warm about the infernal furnaces that stir Jacob Marley’s hair, or the heartbroken young Scrooge abandoned by his father at boarding school over the holidays, or the cold corpse of Tiny Tim surrounded by his family, or the frozen corpse of Ebenezer Scrooge himself alone and unloved with nightshirt and blankets torn away by his cackling charwoman to be sold in a greasy bone shop.

There is nothing fuzzy about neighborly charity or a changed heart—of which this book boasts along with its horrors. And it is at Christmas that people should face these realities for what they are.

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Christmas “is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices,” remind the two gentlemen collecting for the poor in Scrooge’s money-changing hole. And the heartbreaking happiness of Christmas resounds in their words bringing in the dawn of Christmas be they as cold as Scrooge or as warm as his nephew.

His nephew salutes the season “as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time … in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There could hardly be a more beautiful or unique expression of the Christmas spirit and we shouldn’t forget it for that distinction alone.

Scrooge’s self-discovery and desire to retract his selfishness is the fruit of the Christmas season. With Scrooge, all can realize a need to purge before answering The Ghost of Christmas’s booming call, “Come in! and know me better man,” and discover the men and women sharing this earth with us, be they lame or blind. And in the words of Tiny Tim, remember the one “who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.”

The Christmas Season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The remarkable power of this story is that it is about everyone, awakening memories of who we are and why we are. But to live the lesson of examination and transformation presented by Dickens is a lofty test. We can share the journey with Ebenezer Scrooge by moving away from the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” into a larger world as we helplessly face eternity.

A Christmas Carol is a song of preparation, passage, and praise. It is indeed a Christmas carol, and the process it initiates is not an easy one. But as the ghostly mentors of Scrooge held up a mirror to him, so too must we face our own pasts, presents, and futures.

Many, hearkening to this call, swear to lead a changed life that will honor the spirit of Christmas and try to keep it all the year by living in the past, the present, and the future.

Let the spirits come. Let them wake us from slumber. A Christmas Carol prepares us not only for Christmas Day but also for every day: for Life, in all its ups and downs. And may it inspire every one of us to cry, “God bless us every one!”

Worth Pondering…

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.

—Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Christmas 2021 Message from RVing with Rex

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Long before there was a Grinch who stole Christmas, there was Krampus, the devilish half-man, half-goat that helps out jolly St. Nicholas by stuffing naughty Austrian children in sacks and dragging them to hell. Yes, the true history of Christmas is as colorful as your neighbor’s flashing and strobing house light display.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back to a monk named St. Nicholas who was born in Turkey around 280 AD. St. Nicholas gave away all his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick and became known as the protector of children and sailors.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

St. Nicholas first entered American popular culture in the late 18th century in New York when Dutch families gathered to honor the anniversary of the death of “Sint Nikolaas” (Dutch for Saint Nicholas), or “Sinter Klaas” for short. “Santa Claus” draws his name from this abbreviation.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1822, Episcopal minister Clement Clarke Moore wrote a Christmas poem called An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas, more popularly known today by its first line: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. The poem depicted Santa Claus as a jolly man who flies from home to home on a sled driven by reindeer to deliver toys.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The iconic version of Santa Claus as a jolly man in red with a white beard and a sack of toys was immortalized in 1881 when political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on Moore’s poem to create the image of Old Saint Nick that we know today.

Related Article: When You Are in Need of a Christmas Miracle

Oh, so sorry to break the harsh news, but Santa isn’t real. Yep, he’s just a sales pitch for Big Soda.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t take it from us—that’s what a Catholic bishop in Sicily told a dismayed group of children earlier this month, per the New York Times. In fact, “The red color of his coat was chosen by Coca-Cola for advertising purposes,” Bishop Antonio Staglianò said.

Just wait until they find out the Grinch is sponsored by Mountain Dew.

HO-HO-HO MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Merry Christmas fellow RVers, campers, wanna-be’s, snowbirds and Winter Texans, winter campers, birders, photographers, hikers, and everyone who loves the great out-of-doors…and all readers!

Thanks to the madness of 2021, Thanksgiving came and went with a whimper this year. It’s a bummer, for sure, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still take part in outdoor activities.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It was said that 2020 was not a typical year. No surprise there! RVers knew so firsthand. Canadians had to cancel their annual U.S. migrations, thwarted by border closures. Folks who normally spend t-shirt time with friends at RV resorts and rallies in the South had to reschedule thanks to cancellations and other safety measures.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With wide-scale vaccinations, we looked forward to a brighter, more social 2021. But little has changed in the past 22 months. The volatile, uncertain, and complex times continue with no sign of abatement. The border finally opened in November but with ever-changing conditions and requirements.

Related Article: Christmas Music Inspires and Brings Cheer during the Pandemic

RVing continues to be a safe means of travel where self-contained environments ensure security and flexibility.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2020, followed by the subsequent quarantines and travel restrictions, has made many Americans more reluctant to hop on a crowded airplane for a cross-country flight. This health-related hesitancy is likely to remain for some time to come. RV travel allows vacationers to control every aspect of their environment at every step of the journey.

Social distancing is a cinch with RV travel. With thousands of RV parks, campground sites to choose from, you can easily select the level of social interaction you are comfortable with on any given day.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But despite the 2020s and 2021’s impact on traveling, socializing, dining, and more, we still can make the best of the situation. Folks whose RVs are nestled all snug can embrace the world outside their door and view the environment they choose to call home. Inside our RVs, we can start a new hobby, catch up on our reading, or reconnect with other household members. And plan a future road trip!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As usual, my regular postings will continue daily throughout this holiday season and into the New Year.

Related Article: Christmas Gift Ideas 2021

May you all have a heartfelt and happy Christmas!

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!

Forget sugar plums.

When you drift off to sleep tonight,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I’ll be dreaming of fabulous RV destinations I’d love to visit, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Yosemite, and Yellowstone national parks.

Sweet dreams and happy holidays!

Snowbird Christmas

Cranky as an RV space heater,

I groan and grumble in the pre-dawn chill,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wait for the coffee pot to finish playing

Reveille to my numb mind.

Shuffling around the RV Park,

Snowbirds and Winter Texans make mischief,

Cackling like contented chickens under the hot Texas sun.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A grateful respite from grueling gray cold fronts of International Falls, Winnipeg, and Green Bay

Amid chants of Go Packers Go!

A time of celebration and decorations

Christmas lights, ornaments, nativity scenes, Wal-Mart Santas, and reindeer.

A plastic Jesus or two adorn motorhomes, fifth-wheel trailers, and old converted buses.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Christmas Eve, wrinkled faces gather in the clubhouse by the artificial tree

Reminiscing of Christmases past during simpler times

Speaking of children in childish voices.

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all!

Related Article: Fruitcake: National Joke or Tasty Christmas Tradition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whatever seasonal celebrations you take part in—and for the unexpected downtime you may have—we wish you joy and happiness. We’ll be right alongside you in January as we usher in a brand-new year!

Sing it with us: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

Worth Pondering…

May the joy of today, bring forth happiness for tomorrow—and may the cold Alberta air stay up north!

Christmas 2020 Message from RVing with Rex

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

It’s Christmas week, the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas fellow RVers, campers, snowbirds and Winter Texans, wanna-bes, birders, photographers, hikers, and everyone who loves the great out-of-doors…and all readers!

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanks to the madness of 2020, Thanksgiving came and went with a whimper this year. It’s a bummer, for sure, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still take part in outdoor activities.

It’s been said for months that 2020 is not a typical year. No surprise there! RVers know so firsthand. Canadians have had to cancel their annual U.S. migrations, thwarted by border closures. Folks who normally spend short-sleeve time with friends at resorts and rallies in the South have had to reschedule thanks to cancellations and other safety measures.

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

These are volatile, uncertain, and complex times but with wide-scale vaccinations we are looking forward to a brighter, more social tomorrow. RVing will continue to be a safe means of travel where self-contained environments ensure security and flexibility.

But despite 2020’s impact on traveling, socializing, dining, and more, we still can make the best of the situation. Folks whose RVs are nestled all snug in their, er, storage areas can embrace the world outside their door and view a pristine snowfall. Inside our RVs, we can start a new hobby, catch up on our reading, or reconnect with other household members. And plan a future road trip!

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As usual my regular postings will continue daily throughout Christmas week and into the New Year.

May you all have a heartfelt and happy Christmas.

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!

Forget sugar plums!

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you drift off to sleep tonight,

I’ll be dreaming of fabulous RV destinations I’d love to visit,

Acadia, Mount Rainier, Yosemite, and Yellowstone national parks

Sweet dreams and happy holidays!

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Snowbird Christmas

Cranky as an RV space heater,

I groan and grumble in pre-dawn chill,

Wait for the coffee pot to finish playing

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Reveille to my numb mind.

Shuffling around the RV Park,

Snowbirds and Winter Texans make mischief,

Cackling like contented

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Chickens under the hot Texas sun.

A grateful respite from grueling

Gray cold fronts of International Falls,

Winnipeg, and Green Bay.

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Amid chants of Go Packers Go!

A time of celebration and decorations

Christmas lights, ornaments, nativity scenes,

Wal-Mart Santas and reindeer

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A plastic Jesus or two adorn motorhomes,

Fifth wheel trailers and old converted buses.

Christmas Eve, wrinkled faces gather

In the clubhouse by the artificial tree

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Reminiscing of Christmases past during simpler times

Speaking of children in childish voices.

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all!

Whatever seasonal celebrations you take part in—and for the unexpected downtime you may have—we wish you joy and happiness. We’ll be right alongside you in January as we usher in a brand-new year!

Merry Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sing it with us: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

Worth Pondering…

May the joy of today, bring forth happiness for tomorrow—and may the cold Alberta air stay up north!