Dec 252012

Moonrakers Pub hosted their 2nd Annual Free Christmas Lunch for Seniors on Christmas day from 11 am to 1 pm.  Not only did Moonrakers provide a free hot meal complete with ice cream & chocolates, they also offered a free ride service to and from the senior’s homes and Santa Claus came by and distributed gifts!  What a fantastic idea and a great way to share some Christmas Spirit.

Huge kudos to Moonraker’s Management, staff and volunteers  for organizing such a wonderful event!

Oh and I did spot a few CHA members in attendance 🙂


A Visit From Santa

A Visit From Santa at Moonraker's Free Seniors Christmas Lunch




Dec 252012

The Origins of Christmas Customs

A.     The Origin of Christmas Tree
Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshipers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning “Christmas Trees”.  Pagans had long worshiped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church.

B.     The Origin of Mistletoe
Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna.  Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim.The Christian custom of “kissing under the mistletoe” is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.

C.     The Origin of Christmas Presents
In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January).  Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace.  The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas (see below).

D.     The Origin of Santa Claus

a.       Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra.  He died in 345 CE on December 6th.  He was only named a saint in the 19th century.

b.      Nicholas was among the most senior bishops who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and created the New Testament.  The text they produced portrayed Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.

c.       In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy.  There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children’s stockings with her gifts.  The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the center of the Nicholas cult.  Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6.

d.      The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans.  These groups worshiped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw.  Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn.  When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing.

e.       In a bid for pagan adherents in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult and taught that he did (and they should) distribute gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.

f.        In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving (most famous his The Legend of Sleepy Hollow andRip Van Winkle) wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History.  The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus.

g.       Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem based on the character Santa Claus: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…”  Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.

h.       The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus.  From 1862 through 1886, based on Moore’s poem, Nast drew more than 2,200 cartoon images of Santa for Harper’s Weekly.  Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock.  Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world.  All Santa was missing was his red outfit.

i.         In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa.  Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face.  The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red.  And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.

Nov 252012

Jack Frost & Santa

Yesterday while performing my Jack Frost character for the City of Surrey’s Tree Lighting Festival  I had the opportunity to watch and listen to the  Langley Ukulele Ensemble rehearse and perform at the event. And I have to admit that this group of young musicians shattered my preconceived expectations of what a “Ukulele Ensemble” would be!

Like all who were present, I was totally impressed with their instrumental and vocal talents. Their arrangements of Christmas classics was thoroughly entertaining and I highly recommend that you attend the CHA Christmas Yulelog Dinner if only just to experience the Langley Ukulele Ensemble perform live!



Nov 072012


As web master I now and then deliberately do things that help me gauge the attentiveness of our followers and readers of this blog and in this case I hadn’t updated the Clarion link that is at the bottom of City Links since September 2012.

Last night a subscriber (finally) took the time to email me [web master email address is on the Contact page] to bring this matter to my attention: Thank you Pat!  The link has since been updated to point directly to our Clarion page where all the 2012 editions are featured.

So if you notice something that is incorrect or outdated, please don’t hesitate to contact me as not all errors and oversights are deliberate 🙂 .  I also applaud and welcome your feedback, complaints and suggestions as this is the only way the we can improve this site and develop it to cater to our  user’s interests.



Oct 282012


I am receiving emails with random information that makes no sense to me.  I can not “assume” to know where or how you would like your post request placed or whether or not you have approval to place any information or pictures on the CHA website. Therefore, I ask that if you are sending the webmaster an email with a post request, please indicate the following:

1: Your name and reason for the posting.

2: Page destination for the request i.e: “Please post the following on the Announcement Page.”, “Please post this picture in [Name] Gallery”, etc..

3: That you have received approval from someone in CH Administration or the Executive and state the name(s) of those issuing the approval.

4: Include all the applicable information such as contact info, captions, dates, times, costs, etc..

The aforementioned information will ensure your request is acknowledged and placed online, otherwise if it is not included, I have no choice but to ignore it.

Thank you.



Jul 052012

Congratulations to The Moody Blues for winning the Seniors Sluggers 2012 Recreational Championship and doing so in a dominating manner beating defending champions Coast Capitals 15 to 3!

This is the Moody Blues first win since they last won the championship back in 1998 and 1994.

Moody Blues 2012 Champions

Jun 182012

Even though the weather was hostile on Saturday, there was a respectable turn-out for Cal’s Karaoke which was hosted at the Century House between 1pm and 3pm.

I was very impressed with the extensive equipment setup, his music selection, and by the fact there was a bar serving beer & wine: I guess for those who needed some liquid courage before stepping up to the mic.

Cal didn’t seem to know when he would be returning to the Century House but he did mention that he brings his Karaoke show to the Legion #2 – 631 6th Street in New Westminster every Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays between 7pm and 11pm.

Cal's karaoke

Cal's karaoke at the Century House

Cal's karaoke

Cal's karaoke at the Century House

Jun 072012

The CHA is pleased to announce that we now have a You Tube Channel and a Facebook page! And these two new social media features can be accessed by clicking on their related icons at the bottom left of every page under the heading “Follow Us”.

Some of you may be asking why bother with social media…  well here is one great reason:

1. Social Media Can Keep Families Close

“I wish I heard more often from my children/grandchildren” is a common refrain of seniors.  You’d think that with seemingly everyone carrying their own phone, calls to senior loved ones would be more common than ever.  However, those phones are used less for making phone calls than for connecting by other means, particularly social media.  More and more seniors are realizing that going where their family members are going, most frequently Facebook, makes it easier to link up and keep up with what is going on in the lives of loved ones.  It also makes for more frequent and comfortable conversations (or “convos”) between generations than most would experience if the phones were used simply for calls.  So, yes, the first reason social media is for seniors is to stay closer to family.

Learn more reasons why by reading 5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors

So if you are on Facebook, please “Like” the page and stay tuned for videos that we will be uploading to our You Tube channel.  We invite you to email your CHA activity related videos * to

* All videos are subject to approval and must be a final edit.