Holiday Spirit: Santa Snacks Served Around the World

cookies-for-santaKids will do just about anything to please Santa Claus — and every year as a last ditch effort, they set out milk and cookies to secure the best presents for Christmas morning. But that’s just what we do in the United States — Santa delivers presents all over the world and he relies on children in every country and culture to keep him fueled throughout the night. That means cookies aren’t on every menu! Here are 6 Santa snacks served around the world.

Rosy Cheeks, Down Under Australians know what keeps Santa and his reindeer moving around the world all night. To keep him warm, they leave a glass of sherry and, because sherry is a dessert wine, it’s fitting to serve it with pie. Sherry pairs best with dessert containing dried fruit, so mince pie is the customary accompaniment for Santa’s sherry. In England, Santa gets a fusion of the Australian and American snacks: mince pies and milk.

cookies-for-santaThe Great Danes Danish people don’t just want to please Santa, they also don’t want to anger his elves. Folklore suggests that the elves play tricks on children who don’t leave out snacks, so Santa can count on a bowl of rice pudding in Denmark.

Dutch Trade Offs In the Netherlands, Santa mounts a single horse to deliver gifts to children. There, the kids are more concerned about keeping up the strength of Santa’s horse than Santa! They leave hay and carrots to give him energy and water to hydrate him. In return for the care of his horse, Santa leaves chocolate and oranges.

Christmas Cake In Chile, children set out a special Christmas cake filled with fruit. It’s called “pan de Pascua” which translates to “bread of Easter.” However, “Pascua” (Easter) and “Navidad” (Christmas) are used interchangeably, so it’s not out of season to eat pan de Pascua at Christmastime. Chileans eat the cake for their traditional dinner and set aside a piece for Santa in exchange for gifts.

French Burrito In France, Père Noël (Father Christmas) gets around on a donkey rather than a sleigh towed by eight tiny reindeer. Like the Dutch, French children spoil Santa’s pets to win him over so he’ll leave them treats.

cookies-for-santaIrish Santa Much like the Aussies and English, Santa likes a good mince pie when he touches down on the Emerald Isle. But in Ireland, the only thing to pair with mince pie is a pint of Guinness. A good mug of suds makes a night around the world worth the effort. The smiles on children’s faces are just a bonus.

We’re eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival at The Lakeside Collection! We have all sorts of ideas and inspiration for your holiday celebrations. Whether it’s snacks for Santa, or your family dinner, check back for fun ways to brighten your holidays.

10 Things To Do To Pass The Last Week Of February

FebruaryWe have finally reached the end of February, and it seems like the winter will stretch on forever. Spring is right around the corner, but you need to find some fun ways to get through this last icy patch. Here are 10 things to do to pass the last week of February.

  1. Clean out your closet. Spring often means new fashions. Make some room for those new looks and get your winter clothes ready for storage with a little work. Check out these tips to get to the bottom of your closet clutter.
  2. Binge on your favorite show or movie series. Binge watching is the newest way to keep up with the best in entertainment. Thanks to online streaming services and DVDs, it is possible to watch entire seasons at once. Catch up with a show you love or are curious about, or dig into a film trilogy.winter-running
  3. Start training for a summer run. Join a gym and start off on a treadmill for an energizing workout. Talk with your doctor first, and follow a beginner’s program to get moving.
  4. Begin a new book. Feed your mind with a new and interesting book. Start a reading habit with a bestseller, or try out a piece of classic literature. Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a book.
  5. Build a winter campfire in the yard. If your city or homeowners’ association allows it, set up a backyard fire pit and have a winter campfire. Don’t forget the s’mores and hot chocolate.
  6. Play snow soccer. Give your favorite sport a winter twist while keeping warm by running around in the snow. Make sure to check out your playing space for ice before you start, and use a brightly colored ball so you will not lose it in the snow.
  7. Build a model or puzzle. A model or a puzzle is a wonderful way to pass the time alone or with a group. Start with a small puzzle and work your way up to something more complex.playing-game
  8. Make an indoor fort or a snow fort. It’s always delightful to create a space just for fun. If there is snow on the ground, use it to build your own fort to prepare for a snowball attack. Stay indoors and pile up pillows and combine it with a fort kit for hours of fun.
  9. Go on a winter scavenger hunt. Try one in the outdoors to show children the beauty of nature in winter, or set up some clues indoors for a cozy treasure hunt.
  10. Play a new board game. Set up a family game night, and try something you have never played before. Rolling the dice on something different will keep you from getting in a rut, and you may find a new favorite.

10 Of History’s Most Beloved Pets

dogandcatWhether you share your home with a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a bird, you love your pet as much as you love the human members of the family—sometimes even more! But a few times in history, pets—some real, some fictional–have risen to a level of fame that made them the companions of entire nations and cultural icons. Here are 10 of history’s most beloved pets.

Unsinkable Sam For centuries, the British Royal Navy took cats along on sea voyages. In addition to providing companionship, the “Captain’s Cat” kept mice and rats away from food. One of the luckiest was a cat known as “Unsinkable Sam”. Supposedly, he started out on the German side of World War II aboard The Bismarck. It sank in battle on May 27, 1941. Sam was one of the ship’s few survivors, picked up by the British battleship the HMS Cossack. Later that year, that ship sunk, too. While 159 sailors lost their lives, Sam survived again. He then moved on to the HMS Ark Royal, which was later torpedoed. Sam was found “angry but quite unharmed” on a floating plank. The cat was then retired from shipboard service, and he spent the rest of his days a pampered pet in a home for retired sailors.

hachicko

Image source: Wikipedia

Hachiko Hachiko became a national symbol through an act of extreme loyalty. The dog was the pet of Japanese Professor Hidesaburo Ueno. He met his master at the Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo at the end of every day. In May 1925, Ueno died while teaching, and he never returned to the station. Hachiko never stopped waiting for him. Every day for the next nine years, the dog sat outside the train station, appearing precisely when Ueno’s old train was due at the station. A year before his death in 1935, a statue of Hachiko was placed outside the Shibuya train station, where it still stands. Bronze paw prints mark the exact spot where he stood every day.

Able Seacat Simon Able Seacat Simon was another feline of the British Royal Navy. He was the official ratter of the HMS Amethyst. In 1949, the ship came under fire in China, and Sam was seriously injured. With the help of the ship’s medical crew, the cat survived, raising the morale of his shipmates. In recognition of his gallantry under fire, the Royal Navy awarded him the Dickin Medal. He was the first and so far only cat to receive it. Sadly, Simon passed away shortly after his ship returned to England. He was buried with full military honors.

Rin-Tin-TinRin Tin Tin  He began life forgotten in a German bunker in 1918, but Rin Tin Tin ended it a star. The German Shepherd pup was found in an abandoned German military kennel in France by U.S. Army Corporal Lee Duncan. When the war ended, Duncan took his trained dog to Hollywood and got him movie parts. “Rinty” became popular with audiences and starred in his own films. The first Rin Tin Tin passed away in 1930. His son and other descendants continued performing in movies, radio shows, and television.

Greyfriars Bobby Beloved of Scotland, Greyfriars Bobby was a terrier who became a symbol of enduring loyalty. His owner John Gray was a member of the Edinburgh police force. When he died in 1858, Gray was interred in the Greyfriars churchyard. Soon afterward, Bobby was seen sitting on the grave. The dog spent most of the rest of his life guarding the gravesite. Shortly after his own death in 1872, a statue of Bobby was placed near the church.

Old-Abe

Image source: Wikipedia

Old Abe Cats and dogs are not the only animals that win our hearts. Old Abe was a female bald eagle who was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Old Abe saw battle in Vicksburg and Memphis. After the war, the regiment gave her to the state of Wisconsin, and she lived the rest of her life in a special room in the Capitol. Today, a statue of Old Abe keeps watch over the Wisconsin State Assembly Chamber, and her likeness graces the insignia of the 101st Airborne Division “The Screaming Eagles”.

Snoopy Perhaps no pet—real or fictional—is as beloved as Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy. Inspired by his own childhood dog Spike, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz created a beagle with a vibrant imagination. When he is not hanging out with Charlie, Snoopy often can be found on top of his doghouse writing novels, pretending to be a WWI flying ace, chilling out as “Joe Cool”, or spending time with his birdie friend Woodstock. In addition to being a cultural icon, Snoopy has served as the mascot of the NASA safety program and several armed forces flying units. He is currently the corporate mascot of a major insurance company.

winnipeg-the-bear

Image source: Wikipedia

Winnipeg the Bear Winnipeg’s story starts in World War I. She was an orphaned cub that Lt. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian army veterinarian, purchased from a hunter. His regiment adopted her as a mascot, and Colebourn named her Winnipeg or “Winnie” after his hometown. When the regiment was deployed in 1915, it managed to smuggle her all the way to England. Before leaving for France, Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo. After the war, a writer named Alan Milne and his son Christopher frequently visited Winnie. The little boy named his teddy after the friendly bear, and thus, Winnie-the-Pooh was born. Winnie the Bear lived at the London Zoo until her death in 1934. She is remembered in Winnipeg with a statue.

Garfield Star of the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, Garfield is a cat who knows how to live large. He lives the way most humans wish they could—days full of laziness, rich food, and disdain of Mondays and diets. Garfield’s laid-back approach to life frequently conflicts with the more outgoing attitude of his owner John Arbuckle and the limitless joy of the dog Odie. While the cat is frequently cynical, Garfield has a major soft spot for his teddy bear, Pooky. Garfield and his friends have starred in countless comic strips, books, an animated television series, and a pair of live-action films.

trigger

Image source: Wikipedia

Trigger Known as “The Smartest Horse in the Movies”, Trigger was the faithful mount of film and television cowboy Roy Rogers. Originally named “Golden Cloud”, the clever horse mastered an almost endless list of tricks, including untying ropes and even shooting a gun. Starting in 1943, Trigger appeared in over 80 movies with Rogers, as well as 100 television episodes. Within a few years of his debut, he was so popular, he needed a body double to keep up with all the demands for personal appearances. The original Trigger passed away in 1965. The statue of a rearing horse that decorates the Denver Broncos home scoreboard was cast in Trigger’s image.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas: Products to Show Your Sweetheart You Love Him

Valentine-coupleValentine’s Day is coming up! But, after the holidays, we might be a little drained from figuring out what to give everyone — coming up with a gift for your sweetheart might not come to you very easily. We have a few ideas for your Valentine to take a little pressure off you. Whether he is a sports fan, a history buff, or just needs to relax, we have something he will go wild over! Here are a few Valentine’s Day gift ideas to show your sweetheart you love him.

sports-cardsSports Fan A die-hard fan can never have too many pieces of home decor and accessories with his team’s name and colors on them. Complete his collection of sports cards with ones decorated with 23-Karat gold. If he has other interests in addition to sports, you may be able to find a way to combine them in one gift, like a grill cover with his team’s logo on it or golf balls.

history-booksHistory Lover If your “honey-sop” relaxes by exploring the past, you can give him a gift that takes him back in time. Look for a book or DVDs on a favorite topic or era, or fascinate him with shocking crime stories. For something more personal, check out a coin set from a significant year.

beer-holsterPersonalized Decor Personalized decor for his home or office lets you give him something made just for him. A sign with his name on it announces to all who visit just who the king of the man cave is. Personalized pint glasses or beer steins are a distinctive touch for any home bar. Photo frames with your names on them are a wonderful way to display holiday snapshots. Even just a monogram brings sophistication to drinkware, a beer growler or even a beer holster.

Whatever your guy is into, The Lakeside Collection has a wide variety of gifts to help you show him how much you love him. Our values and shipping deals make romance more affordable than ever. This Valentine’s day, celebrate your love with gifts and decor from Lakeside!

The 4 Most Memorable Big Game Halftime Shows

Halftime-ShowFor the NFL’s most important game, the halftime extravaganza is a show within a show. Even if the game itself is a snoozer, the halftime entertainment usually gives everyone something to talk about the next day. While it may seem like an institution as old as the big game itself, it was not until the 1990s that broadcasters realized it was an opportunity to pack some extra fun into the night. Many of the performances stand out for their excellence. Some others do not. Here are the 4 most memorable Big Game halftime shows.

patriots-flag2004—Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake
“Memorable” does not always mean “best”. It can also mean “controversial”. That certainly was the case in 2004 when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake teamed up for the 2004 Big Game show. This was the performance that introduced the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” to the American vocabulary. After some suggestive dance moves, part of Jackson’s costume was pulled off and “Nipplegate” began. Was it an accident or intentional? We may never know. We do know the half second of exposure led to a legal battle over censorship, thousands in fines, a five-second broadcasting delay for all future halftime shows, and the creation of YouTube.

seahawks-picture2005—Paul McCartney
Jackson and Timberlake were a difficult act to follow. The NFL wanted no surprises at 2005’s Big Game, but it still wanted a big show to draw in non-football fans. It found a safe choice in Paul McCartney. Sir Paul did not disappoint, opening with the Beatles song “Drive My Car”. He then treated viewers to a fireworks-laden performance of “Live and Let Die”. McCartney finished with the iconic “Hey Jude” and got the entire stadium—not to mention the crowd at home—to sing along.

packers-throw1991—New Kids on the Block
In 1991, broadcasters decided to have a big-name act as the halftime entertainment. In an effort to appeal to a wide variety of viewers including tweens, New Kids on the Block was hired to perform with characters from sponsor Disney. It sounded like a winning formula, but things went bad quickly. Most people did not see the performance at halftime. The Gulf War had just started, and ABC News preempted the halftime broadcast with an update on Operation Desert Storm. Viewers at home did not see the performance until after the game. When the television audience finally saw the show, instead of a medley of New Kids’ hits, it was treated to a salute to global peace and togetherness. Which felt odd, considering the aforementioned Gulf War. At least everyone got to see a mind-blowing version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Whitney Houston.

colts-ball1993—Michael Jackson
After some fumbles, broadcasters finally got the formula for a good Big Game halftime show: popular musicians and special guests performing for about 15 minutes in a huge, over-the-top spectacle, usually involving explosions. The first show of the new era was Michael Jackson, and some fans think it was last great TV performance of his career. He opened with drama, standing still for about 90 seconds before launching into a medley including “Jam”, “Billie Jean”, and “We are the World”. It was the performance of an artist in the middle of resurgence shortly before his ultimate fall, criminal allegations, and early end.