Yule Tree: The History Behind The Yule Tree


Yule is a traditional holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, particularly that of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. When the days grew colder and the nights grew longer, people of ancient times would light candles and gather round fires to lure back the sun. They would bring out their stores of food and enjoy feasting and festivities. Dances were danced and songs were sung and all would delight in decorating their homes. Such were the Yule traditions of those times.

The Yule Tree was also another important symbol in pagan tradition. Originally, it represented the Tree of Life or the World Tree among early pagans. In ancient times it was decorated with gifts people wanted to receive from the gods. It was adorned with natural ornaments such as pinecones, berries and other fruit, as well as symbols sacred to the gods and goddess. In some holiday traditions, garlands of popcorn and berries were strung around the tree so that visiting birds could feed off the tree as well. Joyous people deck the tree with bright, shiny, sparkling ornaments – a brilliant contrast to the cold, possibly snowy conditions outside in the dead of winter.

Ancient druids throughout the British Isles and northern Europe adorned their houses and temples with pine, spruce and fir to evoke everlasting life. Scandinavians believed Balder, their sun god, favored evergreens as special plants. When Roman Emperor Constantine decriminalized Christianity in 313, the religion began to spread throughout Europe. These early Christians adopted and incorporated many pagan rituals (fertility rites of the spring were converted into Easter bunnies and eggs) and the Christmas tree evolved from those winter solstice celebrations.

Starbucks Toffee Nut Crunch Frappuccino

Starbuck’s Toffee Nut Crunch Frappuccino -Shots of rich espresso dance together with the heart-warming flavours of buttery toffee, which are delicately balanced by flavours of toasted nuts. The crescendo is a crown of whipped cream peak sprinkled in a sweet, crunchy topping. Blended with milk and ice for the perfect summer sips. This beverage is vegan friendly when enjoyed with oat, almond or soy milk and plant-based whipped cream. Vegan customers are advised to omit the Crunch topping as it contains traces of dairy.

Ok so this is one of the items from the famous coffeeshop chain’s Winter season menu. Although winter isn’t a big thing here – I live in a tropical state – that’s no excuse to not try the winter special drinks from Starbucks. I had planned to get a frappe on Thursday but I pushed it to the weekend since I had a doctor’s appointment and some blood tests set for Friday. So this Sunday afternoon I thought that I would order one of the winter special and this particular drink caught my eye. Ordered it on Swiggy and waited for the 30 minutes it took to have them deliver it to me.

I sat back in my chair and put the drink next to my laptop. Mandatory photo taken, I take my first sip through the straw. A customary swirl of whipped cream is topped with a sprinkle of toffee nut bits – possibly best describable as a crunchy, buttery, a bit nutty and a bold toffee taste. The sprinkled bits add the ‘crunch’ to toffee nut crunch after mixing the concoction. It has a sweet scent of toffee that reminds me of my childhood. Buttery toffee with a light note of nuttiness, blended together with coffee. It wasn’t too cold and also gave me the feeling of cozyness. I got the grande this time and I think going forward I might stick to it. Since I only order like one coffee from Starbucks a month, I usually go for the venti but hey this one was delicious and satisfying. An 8 outta 10.

1991

Ah, 1991. Yours truly was still a 14 year old and would only turn 15 in August of that year. I honestly believe that 1991-1993 were the best years for rock music in general, maybe because I got really into a lot of great bands and we got a lot of great music during that time. How much I played the songs in these albums you see above (the exception being Soundgarden) and enjoyed the music videos as well. Although the year 1991 is the year that grunge music made its popular breakthrough, heavy metal was still the dominant form of rock music for the year.

So, Nirvana’s Nevermind, led by the surprise hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit“, was not the most popular U.S. album of the year. That award goes to heavy metal band Metallica and their self-titled ‘Black‘ album. Runner up would be Guns N’ Roses double album Use Your Illusion I & II. Nirvana’s success was eventually followed by other grunge bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and grunge would rule the roost for a few years. Pearl Jam’s debut Ten is one of the best albums ever, while Soundgarden’s 3rd album Badmotorfinger further established them as a top rock act. Red Hot Chili Peppers’s 5th album Bloodsugarsexmagik was their big breakthrough, making them a household name.

Along with these greats you also had a debut from Ugly Kid Joe, Rush Street by Richard Marx, the awesome We Can’t Dance by Genesis, Dangerous by Michael Jackson, the breakthrough album for Mr. Big in Lean Into It, Slave To The Grind from Skid Row, my fav Van Halen album in For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, a return to more guitar driven songs and my introduction to Rush in Roll The Bones, Dire Strait’s last album On Every Street, Psychotic Supper by Tesla, No More Tears by Ozzy Osbourne, Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper, Stars by Simple Red, the massive Waking Up The Neighbours by Bryan Adams, Luck Of The Draw by Bonnie Raitt, Solace by Sarah McLachlan, Pocket Full of Kryptonite by Spin Doctors – did I miss any others?

Holiday Gift Shopping During December

Do you love holiday shopping or dread it? Share some shopping survival tips.

One of the best things about living in a non-gift giving for Christmas culture like India, if that you do not have to worry about is giving out gifts for Christmas or birthdays (unless you are a kid who is having the birthday). So there might be a few Christian families that do exchange gifts for Christmas and/or New Year but it is kinda rare. The most you have to worry about is the office or college Christmas Santa thing and that usually has a very reasonable budget and buying 1 or 2 of those gifts is very easy to do.

  So yeah, as a kid I got gifts for my birthday but that was such a long time ago. It’s been ages. I have bought a few gifts for my niece & nephews but that too is rare. If I lived in a Western country, I guess I would easily be able to adjust and buy some gifts for close family & really close friends and also receive some from them. That is fun in itself and I guess exciting to see people’s eye light up when they get something nice from you and your own excitement on getting that thing you like from a close friend or family member. It really is a warm feeling.

So here is my shopping tip – stay in a country like India if you want to save money. At the most I buy is a nice dinner for the 25th & New Year’s Eve and maybe a cake or two, which we also give to our neighbours. And maybe some alcohol to go along with those dinners.

Prompt from DECEMBER BLOG PROMPTS {12 MONTHS OF WRITING IDEAS} at Food Fun Family

Avatar

Avatar (marketed as James Cameron Avatar) is a 2009 American epic science fiction film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century when humans are colonizing Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system, in order to mine the valuable mineral unobtanium. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na’vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film’s title refers to a genetically engineered Na’vi body operated from the brain of a remotely located human that is used to interact with the natives of Pandora.

Avatar premiered in London on December 10, 2009, and was released in the United States on December 18 to positive reviews, with critics highly praising its ground-breaking visual effects. During its theatrical run, the film broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing film at the time, as well as in the United States and Canada, surpassing Cameron’s Titanic, which had held those records for twelve years. Avatar remained the highest-grossing film worldwide for nearly a decade until it was overtaken by Avengers: Endgame in 2019, before a Chinese re-release saw Avatar retake the top spot in March 2021. Adjusted for inflation, Avatar is the second highest-grossing movie of all time after Gone with the Wind with a total of more than $3 billion.

The Bastard MotherFucker Is Dead & I Am Not Feeling Sorry

One of the biggest problems with our society in India is that they choose to ignore and keep quite about a disgusting human being (and I use those last two words lightly) and choose to bury your head in the sand about this things he has done, just to avoid bringing attention to it. Avoid the shame. How would you be able to show your face in public if people knew? So you push it to the back of your mind, ignore it and conveniently even treat it as if it was “normal”. And you adjusted to it – after all it didn’t happen to you or to your kid, right? It’s ok to forget. It’s easy. So you forgot.

This is because of the sense of “normalcy” about this vile excuse of a human being, who would abuse his wife and even once raped his own daughter, because it happened in the early 80s (81 or 82 I guess). At that time, until very recently, it was so common for such things to not go reported because “how on earth will we face the public? The shame that it will bring to our family when everyone will know.” Even when someone saw this man naked with his two young daughters (way too young for them to know) and reported it, due to the shame it might bring, charges were dropped. The mental abuse to his wife continued on for a while, until the children became bigger.

So now he is dead. After suffering a long time with an illness. But he flourished. Was a respected doctor. Most people who interacted with him outside the work place would get the feeling that something was off with him but he did well in life. Had 7 kids, controlled them (not raised, controlled) for as much as he could until 1 daughter told him to “fuck off” and she went to live her life the way she wanted to.

But generally now that he is dead in his late 70s, people want to forgive him. “Oh poor man, it is sad” Why? Because he prayed? He goes to temple or TEMBLE as the bastard used to say! He does pooja in his home to please the imaginary dieties who he feels has enabled him smug superiority and gave him what he wanted in life. Is that the reason he went scot-free?

A Tasty And Easy To Cook Breakfast

IMG20210912105351

One of my favourites breakfasts ever – that doesn’t have eggs. Lol, I love eggs for breakfast but this one was pretty awesome too. Mushrooms sauteed in unsalted butter, spicy chicken salami (very thinly cut slices) and some cheddar cheese that I cut up from a block. Delicious!

Manchester United 3 Arsenal 2

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 800th career goal before driving home a penalty winner as Manchester United came from behind to beat Arsenal in a memorable contest featuring two crucial VAR decisions. As new United interim boss Ralf Rangnick watched from the directors’ box, where former England captain David Beckham also enjoyed a thrilling encounter, Arsenal scored first in controversial circumstances. Emile Smith Rowe drove home from the edge of the area, while United keeper David de Gea was lying on the ground, seemingly injured, with his back to play. The inevitable VAR check concluded De Gea had fallen after bumping into and being trodden on by his own team-mate Fred, and referee Martin Atkinson gave the goal.

Bruno Fernandes levelled, when he finished off an intricate move involving Jadon Sancho and Fred a minute before the break, setting up the pulsating second half that followed. Ronaldo put United ahead as he swept home Marcus Rashford’s cross, but Martin Odegaard made it 2-2 with a well-taken equaliser. Then came the second big VAR decision, as Atkinson gave United a penalty after reviewing Odegaard’s challenge on Fred on a pitchside monitor – and Ronaldo kept his nerve to score. Watching proceedings unfold, Rangnick was largely impassive and made plenty of notes, although he did stand to applaud Ronaldo’s winner.

The result leaves United three points off fourth-placed Arsenal after recording two wins and a draw under Michael Carrick, the interim’s interim. Carrick, stand-in for the past three matches, said afterwards that he was leaving the club, where he has been since 2006, first as a player and latterly as a coach. There is an festering history between these teams, from the on-pitch brawl that led to both teams having points deducted in 1990, through the controversy in which Arsenal players jumped at Ruud van Nistelrooy after he missed a last-minute penalty in 2003, to the infamous ‘pizzagate’ incident, which led to Sir Alex Ferguson conducting his post-match interviews in a change of clothes after being hit by food thrown from the visitors’ dressing room in 2004.

In law, Atkinson had no choice but to award Arsenal’s opening goal, having waited to blow his whistle until Smith Rowe’s shot hit the net. United’s players clearly felt the situation, with De Gea on the floor with his back to play, warranted a stoppage. They surrounded Atkinson in their immediate protests and at half-time, De Gea continued, with technical director Darren Fletcher, currently assisting on the coaching side, pitching in as the official reached the mouth of the tunnel. Amid all the furore, Arsenal were probably unhappy not to be ahead at that stage – having lost their lead just before half-time after controlling a large part of the game. By the end, they must have wondered how they ended up with nothing. De Gea saved superbly twice from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and also denied substitute Bukayo Saka, who also had a goalbound effort deflected wide.

5 Smart Tips To Free Up Space On Your iPhone

There’s nothing worse than an iPhone that starts slowing down or losing battery very quickly. Most of the time, this is caused by a lack of internal storage. Your phone has barely any megabytes of storage free, so everything gets slower, and there’s more demand for the processor.

Luckily, there are lots of ways you can free up space on your iPhone. The tips below can all be used in conjunction with one another – or you might discover that only one is needed to free up loads of internal storage space.

Delete duplicate photos

Go through your photo library and delete any photos that are duplicates. You took a handful at the time, but you only posted one of them to your Instagram. So, you don’t need all of the others as they just take up storage space. You’ll be amazed at how much phone storage you will free up by getting rid of duplicate photos on your phone – it’ll also amaze you just how many duplicates you have.

Send photos to the cloud

While you’re clearing up your photo album, you may as well move some photos to the cloud. Now, you only get 5GB of free cloud storage, meaning you’ll receive the iCloud storage full message pretty soon. So, your two options are to only send the most important photos to the cloud or to pay for more storage. The choice is yours, but either idea will help you free up some much-needed internal storage space on your iPhone.

Trim down your Messages data

The Messages app on your phone will hold a lot of data that’s virtually useless to you. If you go to the storage section of the iPhone settings, it will let you click on the Messages app and see how much data it contains. From here, you can remove and delete lots of things – like attachments that take up so much storage. It also lets you delete conversations from over a year ago. So, if you have lots of messages and convos with an ex, you can delete them forever and free up space on your phone!

Go through your WhatsApp conversations

Likewise, if you’re an avid WhatsApp user, you’ll probably find that this app contains most of your storage-sapping data. Just like Messages, you can have thousands of attachments that you no longer need or use. What’s worse, most of these are just duplicate photos from your Photos app that are stored in WhatsApp! So, deleting lots of attachments from your conversations will free up lots of extra internal storage.

Delete old apps

Have loads of apps that you never use? Delete them! There, a simple tip that helps you free up many megabytes of storage for your iPhone. To see the state of your internal storage, go to the iPhone Settings app > General > iPhone Storage. This will give you a breakdown of how much space is left, along with where most of your storage has gone. From here, you can use the tips above to remove unnecessary data, giving your phone more storage and making it last longer.

What Is A Digital Nomad? And What Are The Pros & Cons Of Being A Digital Nomad?

Digital nomads are remote workers who usually travel to different locations. They often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smart phones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want. With 34% of remote employees working 4-5 days a week out of the office, the digital nomad lifestyle could be an exciting possibility if you’ve caught the travel bug and want to break free from the shackles of 9-5 life.

Living as a digital nomad, you’re able to see incredible places, learn from different cultures, and work when or where you want to — true freedom. There are many types of digital nomads out there. Some people travel around their own country by campervan or RV. Some live on sailboats, working from different ports of call. Others stay in backpacker hostels or rent Airbnb apartments while flying from country to country.

There are many upsides to the location independence that digital nomads enjoy. Who wouldn’t want to check off their ultimate bucket list while working from a laptop anywhere in the world? Here are some of the benefits:

  • Save money living in a low cost-of-living area
  • The flexibility to live where you want
  • Ditch the toxic environment of office politics
  • Experience new cultures & make new friends
  • Learn new skills or languages
  • Broaden your mind through travel experiences
  • Set your own schedule and take time off when you want to
  • Spend winters on the beach, and summers in the mountains!

Working from anywhere is a dream for many people. But like all life choices, there are both pros and cons to a nomadic lifestyle. Here are some of the downsides:

  • Moving constantly is exhausting
  • Your productivity can suffer
  • Digital nomads often battle loneliness
  • Finding stability is difficult
  • A general lack of private space
  • Travel loses its luster & wow factor

If you like to travel and move around from place to place, enjoying new experiences then this line of work can be really worth it. However knowing the drawbacks is also a good thing to keep in mind.

Tips To Grow Your Small Business

Are you looking to grow your small business? What you need is a solid growth strategy. To get on the road to success, here are a few tips to help.

1 . Improve your branding

All of the most successful businesses have stellar branding. Your brand is essentially the personality of your business. As The Branding Journal describes it, ‘Branding is the process of giving a meaning to a specific organization, company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds.’ Your branding is shaped by your logo and graphics, your voice, your content, your interactions, and your culture.

If you want to grow your small business you’ve got to build a brand that’s engaging, memorable, and relatable. You’ll need a brand story that evokes emotions, and shows your audience who you are. Start off by improving your market research, to gain a deeper understanding of your audience. Understanding your ideal customer is the key to building your brand.

2. Fantastic marketing

It’s impossible to grow your business without a fantastic marketing strategy. To help you devise one, it’s important to keep up with the latest marketing trends. There are so many ways to create an effective marketing strategy, including:

  • Work with influencers to boost your visibility.
  • Create standout video marketing content (whether it’s how-to videos or traditional ads).
  • Host webinars or live online events.
  • Get your customers to make CSR content.
  • Use social media ads to target the right demographics.
  • Your blog content can help you to engage users and boost SEO.

3. Expand internationally

If you want to grow your business you might consider expanding from your domestic market into international markets. Before you embark on this process you must conduct plenty of target audience research. You’ll need to figure out the demand in these new markets, and how you might need to adapt. Research your competitors, as well as the laws and regulations for international trade. You can simplify trade with a customs broker. Customs brokers can help you to meet the legal requirements of international trade, and avoid penalties.

4. Invest in your culture

Growing your business is about investing in your company culture. Creating a positive company culture will help you to attract and retain the best talent. Without talented staff, it’s impossible to grow a successful company. To improve your company culture today, consider these starting points:

  • Offer attractive company benefits, whether it’s healthcare or pension schemes.
  • Create an inclusive culture.
  • Support your team to bond, arrange social events, etc.
  • Provide training and development opportunities.
  • Regular check-ins with your staff, and help them to set goals.

5. Keep an eye on competitors

All businesses need to keep a close eye on their competitors. When you understand your competitors, it’s easier to beat them at their own game. Assess the quality of your competitor’s products, look at their content, and their customer service. Use your insights to make improvements, and set yourself apart. The important thing is to establish what makes you different. Why should customers choose you? If you don’t know the answer to that, you can’t expect your customers to know!

6. Collect feedback

Collecting customer feedback can help you to gain so much useful info. You can use your feedback to improve your products and content and keep on growing. Many customers are willing to offer their insights. If you’re struggling to collect feedback, you might like to offer your customers an incentive. There are plenty of advantages to collecting feedback, including:

  • Can build your brand to encourage trust and empathy.
  • Improve the customer experience.
  • Helps customers feel valued.
  • A great way to improve your products.

7. Use forecasting 

If you want to scale your business, forecasting is a great process to use. Business forecasting means making predictions about company outcomes, based on metrics. Making predictions can help you to prepare for the future, and make sound financial decisions based on the market. 

To support the process, there are several forecasting software options that you might like to use. Check out Vena, Prophix, and Oracle Planning cloud. Running your business can be challenging, but tools like these can make it easier.

The takeaway

Growing your small business can be difficult, but with the right plan of action, it’s easier to make it happen. The key is to improve the efficiency of your operations, making it much easier to save time and money. To make progress fast, start using these pointers today.

Top 10 Biggest Football Stadiums In The World

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium : North Korea 1989 150,000

Camp Nou : Spain 1954-57 99,354

FNB Stadium (Soccer City) – South Africa 1986-89 94,736

Rose Bowl Stadium : USA 1921-22 92,542

Wembley : England 2002-07 90,000

Estadio Azteca : Mexico 1961-66 87,523

Bukit Jalil National Stadium : Malaysia 1992-95 87,411

Borg El Arab Stadium : Egypt 2007 86,000

Salt Lake Stadium : India 1984 85,000

MetLife Stadium : USA 2010 82,500

What Is On Your Wish List This Year?

Simple things but let me get it started:

  • I want good health. I’ve almost recovered but my treatment is still going on and I just want to be able to go out for a coffee or a beer and not be in fear of getting pain on my legs.
  • I want a quiet but enjoyable holiday time off. That looks unlikely but I hope for a few days without any issues or problems coming my way. Atleast the weekends of the 25th and the 31st. No phone calls, just peace and quiet.
  • I want work at home to continue into the next year and so on.
  • I want my mom to recover from her problems with varicose vein and good health for my dad and other family members too.
  • I want a nice quiet dinner of maybe a pizza and perhaps some alcohol for New Year’s eve.

That’s all. I just want some peace and quiet.

Prompt from 31 Blog Post Ideas for December at A Grande Life

The Last Month Of The Year 2021

December promise you gave unto me
December whispers of treachery
December clouds are now covering me
December songs no longer I sing

So tomorrow starts the final month of the year 2021, the transition year post pandemic. I say the transition year because we were still getting used to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 was the year where we learned to adjust to the new normal and the way things are and the way that things are going to be for a few years. When will it end, I do not know. Are we still in trouble? You bet your last rupee we are.

With a new strain of the Coronavirus looming it’s head to threaten the whole of the planet, Omicron promises to be more dangerous than ever. The variant known scientifically as B.1.1.529 was little known to the public until November 24, when South African officials reported it to the WHO. It took the organization just two days to elevate its profile and status substantially. And while some places have gone back to some sense of normality, the pandemic is saying “Uh uh, I am gonna make you guys have to work for it a while longer”. So while organizations like my own employers are trying to get us back to the office, we may have to rethink that.

But it is the last month of the year, a time I usually like a lot. I hope things go good for everyone.

Setting Up A Youtube Channel & Creating Content For Your Videos

How to Set Up Your Youtube Channel 

Setting up a new YouTube Channel is simple. It helps if you already have a Gmail account, which allows you to associate your new channel with your email address.

  1. Sign in to Youtube
  2. Click your picture in the top right corner (desktop version)
  3. Select “Create a Channel”
  4. Decide if you want to use the name associated with your email address or create a custom name for your channel
  5. Add details to the “about” section
  6. Customize the look of your channel with a cover photo and profile picture
  7. Upload your first video
  8. Add playlists, fill out your profile with more details, and link to your other social media accounts

Using your smartphone is certainly an acceptable way to record videos, but if you want viewers to enjoy your content, it really helps to invest in the right equipment. Most YouTubers use DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, along with other essential accessories for videography such as tripods, lenses, and studio lighting. For those who normally vlog on-the-go, a mirrorless or action camera and a good monopod or handheld gimbal stabilizer are typical gear staples. Invest in a good microphone that you can mount on your camera.

You need advanced software (like Final Cut Pro) to edit your content. These software programs don’t necessarily improve your content, particularly if you’re going to be struggling with it a lot during the first few weeks. If you’re new to video editing, you’d do much better with simple programs like Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie. These are a lot more user-friendly and are easily downloadable (for free), if you don’t already have them on your computer.

Next, plan your content and start shooting!