Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Christmas tree

It’s all about proportions

The Artdog Image of Interest

Yeah, that’s a pretty generous garnish. I’ve heard of lemon water, citrus water, cucumber water, and mint water, but who knew pine water was a thing?

IMAGE: Many thanks to Funny Pictures Christmas Cats, via Pinterest, for this image!

That funny-looking tree!

Seriously, people. 

You have pets and you also want one of those tree-thingys?

In researching this month’s Images of Interest, I found a BUNCH of funny pictures of pets tangling with Christmas trees.

I’m not going to glorify the ones where the animals appear to be in active danger (though the tree-topper cats are pushing it), but here’s a collection of assorted favorites. Happy holidays!

This was a much-re-posted favorite, all over the Internet.

Assorted critters

It’s not just dogs and cats who get in on the Christmas tree action.

Yes, it’s a rat. Don’t judge–rats make great pets. They are sweet natured and smart. Also take to trees pretty naturally.
Almost a “Hallmark moment,” if you’re a rat-lover.
Here’s another natural climber. Matches the pseudo-flocking pretty well, don’t you think?
Who knew Bearded Dragons made such good Christmas decorations? This one liked the warmth the lights created.
I thought this little guy was especially stunning. When better for a chameleon to show what it can do?

But the Cats rule

Dogs, lizards, rats, and ferrets may take the occasional stab at consorting with the Christmas tree, but the cats OWN this territory. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

This is my favorite Christmas Cat photo of all time.
What? You thought it needed something more?
it’s almost like the toy closet scene from ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, don’t you think?
Ruler of all s/he surveys . . . naturally.
Never doubt it.

So, then, are we who want Christmas trees defenseless?

Well, maybe. But we do still have a few options left.

We could take the “minimalist” approach . . . or is that simply how the tree looked after the cat got done with it?
I think this might qualify as “extreme cat-proofing.”
I actually did a variation on this “Fortress Christmas Tree” idea one year, when we had a puppy. Made it harder for the humans to mess with the packages, too!

Whatever pets you may have–and however they interact with your Christmas tree (if you have one), I hope you got a Christmas laugh from this post, and I wish you the best holiday season possible!

IMAGES: Many thanks to The German Shepherd Dog Community’s Facebook page for the “Oh Christmas Tree” German Shepherd; to Bonnie Cook’s Christmas Animals Pinterest Board for the Christmas tree Rat on a limb and the Christmas Ferret; to Michelle Nyree’s Pinterest Board for the red-package Christmas tree rat; to TikkiLink’s DeviantArt page for the ornamental Beardie, and to Harlingen Pets’ Facebook page for the Christmas Chameleon. As for the cat collection: a thousand thank-yous to: Emma Bruck’s “Emma’s Pics” Pinterest Page, via my own earlier post from Christmas 2015; to FunnyCatsGif’s “Christmas Cat” post, for the two mid-tree cat photos; and once again to Bonnie Cook’s Christmas Animals Pinterest Board for the tall “Tree-topper Cat” and “I’m the Star.” The three “cat-proofed” trees are all from i iz cat’s “6 Cat Proof Christmas Tree ideas to try out during the holidays” page. I appreciate you ALL!

Holiday charm-eleon

The Artdog Image of Interest

When caught in a jam, be creative! It also helps to be cute . . .

IMAGE: Many thanks to eBaum’s World for this image (check the linked page for more!)

Getting the season rolling . . .

. . . Or at least the ornaments rolling around everywhere. Sometimes there’s just no resisting temptation!

IMAGE: Many thanks to the Facebook page The German Shepherd Community, for this image.

Perhaps a smile

Every year I go into the holiday season hoping it will go smoothly, and that no one will flame out. It’s a modest dream, and sometimes it comes to pass.

no longer strive for “picture perfect,” or anything even close–that way lies madness (trust me: I know this for a fact). The less I try to control things, decorate things, schedule things, and be all things for all people, the happier I’ve found that I’ll be. 

It’s not that I’m the Grinch . . . well, sometimes my inner Grinch does come out. Too much Christmas music, especially before Thanksgiving, will nearly always do it.

But I’d rather do a little judicious decorating than turn my house into a sparkling holiday jewel box. I’d rather check out Costco’s holiday dessert aisles and take home a few prize items than spend days on end baking 58 different varieties of Christmas cookies.

A Christmas tree glows just as beautifully in the dark when it has a moderate number of ornaments on it, as it would if you loaded it with every ornament you’ve ever acquired or been given.

And I’d rather laugh than write a long post. So perhaps you’ll enjoy this small collection of smiles (or perhaps wry grins) about the holidays.

I just had to throw in at least one “writer” comic. This is certainly what hope for, each year!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Eat Hard, Work Hard for the “Stressed” meme; to Love This Pic for the “Christmas Tree in the Dark” photo; to Brian Gordon for the Fowl Language comic, and to Shoebox Greetings for the Santa-on-Facebook comic–BOTH Kansas City-sourced! I deeply appreciate the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and her “Will Write for Chocolate” comics.

Get drunk, light a fire, and eat dumplings or fruit! it’s Winter Solstice!

It’s the nadir of the year. The longest night, the shortest day. What’re you gonna do?

What else? Have a party!

That’s apparently been the Winter Solstice solution of choice for cultures all over the Northern Hemisphere since at least Neolithic times.

The famous triple-spiral design incised inside the Newgrange tomb, popularly thought to be Celtic, actually predates the Celts by several thousand years. It bears a striking resemblance to sun symbols seen elsewhere in northern Europe. The opening of the tomb precisely frames the rising sun of Winter Solstice.

Humans have undoubtedly been aware of the Winter Solstice for much longer than 5,000 years, but some of the earliest evidence that they took it seriously can be found at Newgrange, Ireland, where a Neolithic passage tomb that is thought to be at least 5,000 years old is aligned with the rising Winter Solstice sun.

I can’t find any archaeological evidence that those early Irish folk had alcoholic beverages, but it’s fairly likely. Fermentation is a process that happens naturally. Pottery jars discovered at Jiahu in China, that date back as early as 7000 BCE (about 9,000 years old) were found to contain the residue of a fermented beverage made from honey, rice, and hawthorn fruit, so it’s not hard to imagine that other people may also have created fermented drinks, but stored them in less long-lasting containers.

Patrick E. McGovern discovered that these 9,000-year-old pottery jars from Jiahu in China contained the world’s earliest known fermented drink.

Those are two of the four essential ingredients for a universally human Winter Solstice celebration: (1) knowledge that the Winter Solstice is a thing that happens, and (2) alcoholic beverages to drink. The other two are (3) Food for feasting, and (4) fires for warmth and light.

Maria Kvilhaug offers a detailed description of Old Norse Jól, or Yule traditions and cosmology. “The Yule celebration as a whole was often referred to as “drinking jól”, as in “to drink” yule. This descriptive term strongly suggests that drink was an important part of the celebration,” she wrote.

Greek Poseidon (left) and Roman Saturn (right) each were honored by their devotees with several days of drinking and feasting at the Winter Solstice.

The Norse weren’t the only ones who partied hearty on Winter Solstice. The ancient Greeks celebrated the Festival of Poseidon, god of the sea, with several days of drinking and parties. Perhaps better known these days is the Roman Saturnalia, celebrating a different god, but at the same time of year, and in pretty much exactly the same way–with feasting and lots of drinking.

In eastern Asia, the Winter Solstice festival of Dōngzhì focuses more on food than drink, with dumplings served more often in the north and dumpling-like filled rice balls called tangyuan served more often in the south.

Dōngzhì delicacies seem to focus on rice flour wrapped around assorted fillings. The main point: they are all warm and tasty.

The Iranian tradition of Yaldā Night also centers on food, especially red-colored fruits, and sweets. It is a gathering of family and friends to share the last fruits of summer and prepare for the leaner period of winter. The gathering continues until after midnight, the middle part of the year’s longest night, thus seeing themselves through an inauspicious time into a more hopeful period. Another traditional practice is reading or reciting poetry (especially the poetry of Divan-e-Hafez, sometimes used for divination of the future).

Hafez poetry and fruits help carry this Persian lady safely through Yaldā Night.

The fourth ingredient for a quintessential Winter Solstice celebration–especially one in the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere–is a good, warm bonfire to light up the night and keep bad spirits at bay.

Most of us know about the Yule Log, which was adopted as a Christmas tradition throughout much of northern Europe. This is a large log, sometimes a whole tree, burnt through the course of the Yule season. If there was anything left, it sometimes would be kept to light the following year’s log. 

Large outdoor bonfires were often a feature of Yule, Beltane, midsummer and Halloween, in pre-Christian traditions. More recent festivals have combined the bonfire idea with the even more widespread and popular tradition of the Christmas Tree. After Christmas old, dried-up trees from many households (fire hazards, by that time) are sometimes brought together and burned in a public event.

San Francisco’s Richmond-area “Friends of the Rootless Forest” safely burn discarded Christmas trees on Ocean Beach for their annual “Post-Yule Pyre” event.


Many thanks to for the Newgrange tomb image (from a book by Michael and Claire O’Kelly; I couldn’t find a photographer’s credit). 

Many thanks to Patrick E. McGovern, the biomolecular archaeologist who did the analysis of the Jiahu pottery, for both the photo (thanks also to Z. Juzhong and the Henan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology), and for an interesting article about the find.

Many thanks to Gods and Monsters for the image of Poseidon (there’s an informative article at this link, too), and to for the photo of the Carthaginian marble statue of Saturn and the accompanying article about it.

I am indebted to Your Chinese Astrology for the photos of traditional Dōngzhì foods, and the informative article that accompanies them. 

Many thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the photo of the Persian lady reading Hafez while surrounded by fruits on Yalda Night. 

And finally, many thanks to the Richmond District Blog for the bonfire photo by “ampoda” (sorry no link available), and the article about the 2012 event by Sara B

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