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Betty MacDonald Fan Club

Betty MacDonald Fan Club. Join fans of the beloved writer Betty MacDonald (1907-58). The original Betty MacDonald Fan Club and literary Society. Welcome to Betty MacDonald Fan Club and Betty MacDonald Society - the official Betty MacDonald Fan Club Website with members in 40 countries. Betty MacDonald, the author of The Egg and I and the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Series is beloved all over the world. Don't miss Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald biography and his very witty interviews on CD and DVD!

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Kevin Spacey was the author of his own downfall

Spain could be kicked out of 2018 World Cup

Spain could be kicked out of 2018 World Cup after FIFA write to Spanish football federation warning them about political interference

  • FIFA have warned the Spanish football federation against political interference
  • Spanish football federation are seeking a new permanent president to take over
  • Angel Maria Villar resigned from the role after his arrest on corruption charges
  • Interim chief Juan Luis Larrea has been in charge since Villar's arrest back in July
Spain's involvement at the 2018 World Cup is under threat after FIFA warned the Spanish football federation against political interference.
FIFA has informed the Spanish football federation (RFEF) that continued involvement from Spain's government in the upcoming election for RFEF president could see them banned from the World Cup next summer. 
Spanish football has been led by interim president Juan Luis Larrea since July, when former chief Angel Maria Villar was forced to step down on corruption charges. 


Spain face possible expulsion from the 2018 World Cup in Russia by governing body FIFA
While proposals for the new election have yet to be delivered, the Spanish government's National Sports Council have made contact with the RFEF over the eventual vote for Villar's permanent successor. 
According to Spanish outlet El Pais, FIFA would rule any involvement the Spanish government has in the election as political interference.
FIFA can suspend any the membership of any national team if their football association is ruled to be influenced by political pressure. 
Rules state that: 'Each member must manage their affairs independently and ensure that there is no interference by third parties in their affairs.'

Angel Maria Villar resigned from his position as RFEF president after his arrest back in July

Angel Maria Villar resigned from his position as RFEF president after his arrest back in July

Juan Luis Larrea has been in interim charge of RFEF since Villar's arrest on corruption charges

Juan Luis Larrea has been in interim charge of RFEF since Villar's arrest on corruption charges
Villar stepped down from the role after being arrested on corruption charges back in July. along with his son and three other RFEF executives. The allegations related to collusion, embezzlement and falsifying of documents.
The former Spain player also resigned from his position as UEFA vice-president and FIFA executive vice-president, where he was essentially second in command behind Gianni Infantino. 
The Spanish government want the RFEF to hold an election to officially end Villar's reign and to rebuild the reputation of the tarnished football federation. 
Then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter previously threatened to ban Spain from Euro 2008, a tournament they went on to win, when the Spanish government was accused of interfering in the election process.

Spain are among the favourites to lift the World Cup in Russia at next summer's tournament
Spain are among the favourites to lift the World Cup in Russia at next summer's tournament

Spain have been drawn into Group B for the World Cup featuring Portugal, Morocco and Iran
Spain have been drawn into Group B for the World Cup featuring Portugal, Morocco and Iran
Blatter had accused the Spanish government of influencing the presidential election by ordering for it to be held in advance of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Villar, who was midway through his first spell as RFEF president, filed an injunction against the government order from Spain's sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky. FIFA eventually permitted Spain to compete.
The current Spanish national team are among the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup after an impressive qualification campaign.
Spain have been drawn with Portugal, Morocco and Iran in Group B after finishing top of their World Cup qualification group with nine wins from 10 games.

WHY SPAIN HAVE BEEN WARNED

Why have Spain been contacted? 
FIFA have written to the Spanish football federation (RFEF) warning them against political involvement in their presidential election. 
The world's governing body have confirmed the existence of the letter - which warns them they could face expulsion from the 2018 World Cup as a result. 
What happened with the previous president? 
The previous president, Angel Maria Villar, resigned from the position after he was arrested on corruption charges back in July. 
Juan Luis Larrea has since been placed in interim charge but the RFEF are looking to make a permanent appointment for the position. 
Can Spain be banned from the World Cup? 
FIFA can suspend the membership of any national team should it find their football federation is under political influence. 
Has this happened before?
Spain were previously warned in 2008 about the influence of the then-government sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky, after RFEF elections were ordered to be held in advance of the Beijing Olympics. 
Ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter warned Spain they could be banned from Euro 2008. Spain were permitted to play - they went on to win the tournament.
Greece faced a similar threat over the 2002 World Cup, when the government was adjudged to have meddled with Greece's football association. Greece were eventually given more time to comply with the rules and were allowed in.

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

you can join 


Betty MacDonald fan club


Betty MacDonald Society  


Vita Magica  


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on Facebook



Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club 

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Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel -   

Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia  ( English / German )

Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 


Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  
 

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

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Christmas in Germany

Christmas in Germany



Christmas celebration in Germany

In Germany, preparations for Christmas begin before December falls. But the real celebration starts from 6th December, St. Nicholas Day, known here as "Nikolaustag". On the night of 5th December (St. Nicholas Eve) children put their shoe or boot outside the door, a tradition practiced in many other European countries. According to a German legend, the spirit of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, goes from house to house on this night carrying a book of sins in which all the actions of the year of all children are written. It is said that St. Nicholas fills the shoes of all good kids with delicious treats and places twigs in the shoes of all naughty children.

Christmas celebration in Germany
During Advent, advent wreaths (made of Holly flowers) are placed on a table and four red candles are placed in the center of it. One of these candles is lit on each Sunday preceding Christmas and the last one is lighted on Christmas Eve. Advent calendars, containing pictures beneath each window, are used by kids to count the days until Christmas.
The Christmas tree is an integral part of German Christmas celebrations. It should be kept in mind that the Christmas tree actually originated in Germany. A unique aspect of the German Christmas decorations is that, kids can not take part in the beautification of the Christmas tree. It is believed that the tree has some mysterious spell for all young eyes that rest on it before Christmas Eve. Hence, the Christmas tree is decorated on Christmas Eve, prior to the evening feast. The father usually keeps the children in a seperate room while the mother brings out the Christmas tree from a hidden place and decorates it with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, cars, trains, angels, tinsel, family treasures and candles or lights. The gifts are kept under the tree. Nearby, beautiful plates are laid for each family member and filled with fruits, nuts, marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. The decorations finished, a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter the room. The Christmas story is usually read during this time and carols are sung. Often, sparklers are lit and gifts opened too.
The Christmas Eve dinner menu traditionally comprises of delicious dishes such as suckling pig, white sausage, macaroni salad, "reisbrei" (a sweet cinnamon) and many regional dishes. The Christmas Eve is popularly called here as "Dickbauch" (meaning "fat stomach") because of the myth that those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night. So everyone tries to stuff their belly to the fullest on this day.
The feasting continues on Christmas Day with a banquet being held on this day. Traditional Christmas dishes consist of plump roast goose, "Christstollen" (long bread loaves stuffed with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit), "Lebkuchen" (spice bars), marzipan, and "Dresden Stollen" (a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit).

Christmas market in Stuttgart, Germany 
From the beginning of Advent, booths and stalls are set up on the market-places in all cities where you can buy everything you need for Christmas: decorations for the tree and candles, crib figures and gingerbread (which is mainly baked and consumed at Christmas), Christmas trees, and presents for Christmas Eve. Walking through such a market really is an exceptional experience. Children enjoy this most of all. The smell of fir resin and roasted almonds intermingle. Then there are all the lights from the stalls and the little stoves where sausages are fried and chestnuts roasted. Songs and the sounds of music fill the air. The most famous Christkindlmarkt takes place in Nuremberg and attracts lots of visitors every year. St. Nicholas Eve. This happens on Dec, 6 an all of the children leave one shoe out for St. Nicholas to either leave candy if they are good or twigs if they are bad.
The Advent calendar
While children in Canada have Christmas parades to assure that Santa is on the way, in Germany the magic of Christmas starts with the December arrival of the advent calendar. Advent starts on the first Sunday after November 26th. This time is devoted to preparations for Christmas. After the four Advent Sundays are over, there follow Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Advent calendars with their bright Christmas pictures hang alongside children's beds. If you look more closely, you discover small numbers in this picture. One, two, three, and so on up to 24. Wherever the numbers are, there are small paper windows. When you open these windows you find a little picture on transparent paper: a candle, a ball, a snowman-whatever children like. The children open a new window every morning, and then they know that there are still twenty three days to Christmas, twenty two, twenty one, and so on. Every day Christmas Eve, so much longed for and charged with wishes, comes a little closer.

Apart from the Advent calendar, families also have an Advent wreath. The wreath is made of bound fir twigs to which four candles are attached. One more candle is lit for each of the Advent Sundays. In large houses, shops, and in churches, these Advent wreaths hang from the ceiling, adorned with four fat red or yellow candles. This looks particularly splendid when the wreath is also decorated with red or violet ribbons. No one knows when the Advent wreath came to Germany and where it originated. It does not date back very far as a Christmas Custom but has already firmly established itself. Before the first Sunday in Advent you will see many, many Advent wreath in flower shops and nurseries. Pine and fir cones, little red mushrooms, or red and yellow ribbons are also attached to the green of the wreath.
The Christmas tree
The undisputed focal-point of the entire Christmas period, in the community and in the family, is the Christmas tree. A German Christmas without the green fir tree is simply inconceivable. The tranquil splendor of Christmas tree lights is an essential aspect of the festival for both the individual and the population as a whole. It is the symbol of Christmas for all Germans, who have to have their Christmas tree on December the 23th (not a day before!) even if they live abroad in distant countries. Trees are also found in churches and public squares. They are used in shops as decoration, and in offices to please staff and visitors. The giant trees that stand in public are especially grown for this purpose and carefully looked after in municipal wood. They are often up to 25 metres. Decorating the treeIn earlier times, candles were perhaps enough in the eyes of children and adults. Today everyone wants a well-decorated tree in their home. You can even say that there have been areas-such as Rhinish Hesse and the Spessart-where the sweets on the tree have been more important than the lights. People there spoke of a Sugar Tree rather than a Christmas tree, and this was hung with edibles and decorations. Some families with children maintain this custom up to the present day.

Music for Christmas
Christmas is a time for singing and music making. There is a constant mention at Christmas of the mysterious sounds of bells and other musical instruments, present in all households. This starts with the first Sunday in Advent and reaches its peek on Christmas Eve, the Holy Evening, when the silent night should be filled with sounds that seem to come from celestial spheres. The most famous of all German language Christmas songs , "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! was first heard during Christmas 1818 at the small church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf (Austria), which is near Salzburg and the German-Austrian border. The writer of the text, Joseph Mohr, was assistant priest from 1817 to 1819. Franz Yaver Gruber, the composer, had been the teacher and organist at nearby Arnsdorf since 1807, and he also filled the latter function at Oberndorf, when no one was available. Just before Christmas 1818, Mohr suggested to Gruber that they should produce a new song for the festival. On the 24th of December he gave the musician his six verse text, leaving only a few hours till the moment the song was due to be presented. The organist's melody pleased the poet though, and the song was performed with great success. Today this famous song is translated into 44 other languages and is known all over the world.

Xmas feast:
It is said that the tradition of serving boar's head at the Christmas feast originated because the German god Frey, who was responsible for the well-being of livestock, was symbolized by the boar. Therefore boar was often sacrificed in hopes of a prosperous spring herd. Eventually, the boar's head custom as a part of German Christmas feasting became impractical. Boars were increasingly hard to find and dangerous to catch. It also took a week of cooling and preparation to make the boar presentable. In more modern times, the boar was replaced by pork, roast beef, turkey, and goose.

According to Mr. Rohit Ghosh, a resident of Munich, Germany,
The month of December brings a lot of joy and happiness for the people in and around Europe, and Germany is no different. With a brimming Catholic population similar to most of the Europe, one of the most important aspects of German Christmas is ADVENT. Traditionally, it is maintained in the form of a calendar with 24 different boxes or pockets with small secret gifts in it, leading to the Christmas day. Sometimes instead of using the calendar, the setup consists of 24 well decorated boxes / pouches with small gifts in it hanging from the Fir tree which is used as the original Christmas tree. By practice, the Christmas tree is expected to be unveiled on the Christmas Eve and to be decorated by the eldest lady in the house, generally the mother. Generally during Christmas, the entire family reunited with the elderly ones and enjoys a nice evening of exchanging gifts, cooking together (generally roasted Goose along with Stollen which is popular Yeast bread in Germany).

Advent Christmas Tree
Advent Christmas Tree
Advent Calendar
Advent Calendar
 Christmas markets are very popular not only in Germany but across entire Europe. Christmas markets generally open up late November and continue till the Christmas eve. Most of the big cities have numerous Christmas markets appearing across different city squares, with varying themes. Sometimes you will find the Traditional Christmas Market while across the next city block you might bump into a Medieval Christmas market !! Christmas markets are generally famous for glass ornaments however it provides an opportunity for youngsters to socializing. On a cold chilly subzero temperature, the best feeling is to enjoy a cup / glass of Glühwein (mulled wine with different fruity flavors). Sometimes, on a really cold chilly evening, it is prepared to pep up the drink with a shot of Amaretto to warm your soul as well. Another variation of the traditional Glühwein is called the Feuerzangenbowle (a rum soaked sugar cube is set on fire and slowly dripped in the Glühwein)For non-alcoholics , Kinderpunsch is the easy option out.
The traditional way to wish Merry Christmas in German is Frohe Weihnachten. The traditional Christmas day is called as Erste Feiertag (Erste translates to First, and Feiertag means feast/celebration but also translates as Holiday).
In workplaces, the employees receives gifts like an Advent Calendar, a St Nicholas Chocolate memento and other corporate gifts. Sometimes, amongst certain teams / close colleagues, secret gifts are shared within the group, and it get passed around until the correct person find their respective gifts. Traditionally, the identity of the gifter remains anonymous.

St Nicholas Chocolate from Lindt
St. Nicholas Chocolate from Lindt

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

you can join 


Betty MacDonald fan club


Betty MacDonald Society  


Vita Magica  


Eurovision Song Contest Fan Club 




on Facebook



Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club 

Betty MacDonald fan club on Facebook

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel -   

Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia  ( English / German )

Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 


Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  
 

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 

Christmas in Sweden


Christmas in Sweden: the ultimate guide

Snowy rooftops, flickering candles and the warm smell of freshly baked gingerbread wafting across the streets: Sweden does a very good job of shaking off the cold and getting people into the Christmas spirit.
Visit the country at any point between late November and the New Year and you’ll see locals welcoming jul (Christmas) with open arms, and doing their best to brighten up the dark days of winter with some seriously festive celebrations.
Christmas is, with the possible exception of Midsummer, the biggest party of the year. It’s a time for feasting, drinking, socialising, present giving and enjoying the great outdoors (weather permitting, of course). But as a tourist, what should you expect from a trip to Sweden at Christmas?

Ideas for spending Christmas in Sweden

Photo: Infomastern (CC)

What to expect

Unless you’re extremely unlucky, Christmas in Sweden should involve at least some snow. The white stuff is practically guaranteed if you’re heading anywhere in the northern half of the country, but there is always a chance that southern cities like Gothenburg, Malmö and Lund could remain snow-free until January or February.
Snow or no snow, you should expect Sweden to be very cold – temperatures in the south of the country hover around freezing point throughout December, while in the far north temperatures struggle to get much above -10c (and -20c is not unusual). A good down jacket and warm, waterproof boots are essential, and you’d be wise to bring a hat, gloves and a thermal under layer, too.
Another thing to consider is the lack of daylight. While southern parts of the country still get a good few hours of daylight during December, northern reaches of Sweden are dark almost right around the clock. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit, but it may limit you in terms of the outdoor activities you can enjoy. On the upside, lots of darkness will only increase your chances of seeing the northern lights.

Christmas market in Stockholm

Photo: Michael Caven (CC)

Where to spend Christmas in Sweden

There are two main ways to see Sweden at Christmas. The first is to visit one of the big cities like Gothenburg or Stockholm, where tourist boards are making a lot of effort to make things feel extra Christmassy – through markets, carol signing and other festive activities.
Museums and galleries all stay open in the days before Christmas, and even if you don’t feel like doing a lot of sightseeing you’ll still find stuff to do. For one thing, eating and drinking at all the cosy, candlelit restaurants and cafés never seems to get boring.
The other option for a Christmas trip to Sweden is to head into the countryside. This is where you’ll get the true winter wonderland experience, with the chance to go dog sledding, see the northern lights, and watch herds of reindeer scampering in and out of frozen forests.
Of course, you can always combine these two very different trips into one, but you’d need at least a week. Want inspiration? Here are six ideas for things to do on a Christmas holiday in Sweden.

1) Visit Gothenburg, Sweden’s Christmas city

Some of the main sights are only open during summertime, but in recent years tourism officials have been working hard to transform Gothenburg into Sweden’s ‘Christmas city’. What that means in practice is fun, open-air markets with lots of festive food, and a dizzying number of lights.
From mid-November onwards, large sections of the city centre – including Avenyn, the city’s main thoroughfare – are festooned with twinkling fairy lights. Festive imagery is also projected onto the huge brick façade of the city’s main art gallery, and there’s usually a choir or two signing in the area around Kungsportsplatsen.
The highlight of a yuletide visit to Gothenburg is a look around the Christmas market at Liseberg. It’s very nicely done, with cute wooden cabins selling touristy knickknacks, and after a glass or two of glögg around a crackling fire pit, you can’t help but feel a little festive.
For a view of the theme park’s lights without worrying about the crowds (or entry fees), head up to Heaven 23 for a drink – the bar has panoramic views of the lights twinkling far below. In December, smaller daytime markets usually set up in Haga, or inside the Nordstan shopping mall.

RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN GOTHENBURG 

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2) Watch the Santa Winter Games in Gällivare

Located more than 1000km north of Stockholm, little Gällivare is hardly a tourist hotspot. But if you’re looking for a fun, off-the-beaten-track place to visit in the run up to Christmas, it might be worth considering.
Every year in late November, the hard-working mining town hosts the Santa Winter Games – an international competition that aims to find the best beardy present giver. Challenges faced by the would-be Santas include a sled race and a porridge-eating contest.
There’s also a parade that allows contenders to size up the competition before the games begin. And it’s not always a Nordic man who takes the title; in recent years, participants from Hong Kong have dominated the leaderboard.

Snow at Christmas in Sweden

Photo: Marcus Hansson (CC)

3) Spend Christmas in Stockholm

Stockholm always looks good, but if you manage to visit when the snow is falling, it’s Christmas-card pretty. The cobbled lanes of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) seem to glow a little brighter in late December, with cosy cafés and restaurants welcoming a happy mix of tourists and locals.
From late November until just before Christmas Eve, stalls selling Christmassy bits and bobs set up on Stortorget, the Old Town’s main square.
For a more traditional Christmas vibe with lots of handmade gifts and sweets for sale, head to the Christmas market at Skansen, which usually puts on live music and has fun activities for young kids. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to meet some reindeer here, too.

RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN STOCKHOLM 

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4) Rent a car in Swedish Lapland

If you want to see Sweden at its wildest and most magical, head to the far north. With a week or so in Swedish Lapland you’ll have enough time to see herds of wild reindeer, photograph the northern lights and go snowshoeing through forests that seem to bend under the weight of too much snow. You can also go skiing, ride a snowmobile across a frozen river, discover Sami culture or learn how to make sculptures from blocks of ice.
An easy option is to fly to Kiruna (or take the train) and then hire a car, which gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace, admiring wildlife along the way. Abisko – around an hour’s drive away from Kiruna by car – is one of the best places on Earth for watching the northern lights, and has loads of outdoor activities right on its doorstep. There are a few decent places to stay, from hostels to cosy guesthouses.
Jukkasjärvi, a 20-minute drive from Kiruna in the other direction, is probably the most Christmassy little village in Lapland. This is where you’ll find the famous Icehotel, which is well worth a visit even if you don’t want to stay the night (and it is extraordinarily pricey at Christmas). This guide has tips on seeing the Icehotel on the cheap.

5) Go skiing in Sälen

If it’s guaranteed snow you’re after and you don’t fancy travelling all the way to Swedish Lapland at Christmas, Sälen is worth a shot. It’s a relaxed, family friendly ski resort with a good mix of different runs and some cosy cabins available for rent. Our guide to skiing in Sweden has more on what to expect.

6) Catch up with Santa

Little kids will get a big kick out of visiting Sagolandet Tomteland, which is located by Lake Siljan (around 300km northwest of Stockholm). Before Christmas, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with snowy red cabins surrounded by forests and frozen streams.
There are daily events and shows for kids (presented in English on certain days) and there’s a very good chance of meeting Santa himself. There’s no accommodation in the park but you’ll find some great options in nearby Mora (check rates here).

Candles are important in December

Photo: Marcus Hansson (CC)

Christmas tours in Sweden

There are some great guided tours worth taking over the Christmas period. This Christmas tour of Stockholm’s Old Town gives you a chance to learn about Swedish yuletide traditions, sipping mulled wine as you browse market stalls filled with local handicrafts. If you’re heading to the north of Sweden, consider this excellent northern lights adventure, this snowshoeing expedition, or this guided snowmobile tour!

Where to stay at Christmas in Sweden

If it’s snowing outside then most hotels and hotels in Sweden feel pretty cosy at Christmas.
However, if you’re looking for something really special, check out our guide to Sweden’s most amazing places to stay.
If you’re going to be in the city then our guides to the best hostels in Stockholm and Gothenburg are also worth a read – they’re cheaper than regular hotels and the best ones have very comfortable private rooms.

Swedish Christmas traditions

These days, Christmas celebrations in Sweden are quite similar to those that take place in the UK or USA, with elements of Christianity and consumerism rubbing along happily.
But there are still some uniquely Swedish traditions to look out for. Some of these have their roots in old Nordic myths, while others – like the act of watching the same Disney cartoon every year – are a little trickier to explain. But more on that later.
Christmas in Sweden tends to begin early and most high-street shops have their lights and seasonal displays set up by early November. The first real celebrations don’t start until early December, with office parties taking place in towns and cities across the country, and the arrival of Advent.
Each Sunday in December a new candle is lit (both in private homes and on TV shows), marking one step closer to the big day and giving Swedes an excuse to get together and drink glögg – a kind of lightly spiced mulled wine that’s usually served with almonds and raisins. Each year the public service broadcaster SVT also screens a special kids’ TV show called Julkalendern in the run up to Christmas, with a new episode shown each day between the 1st of December and Christmas Eve.

On the 13th of December each year Swedes celebrate Lucia (or St Lucy’s Day), a festival of light that sees processions of school kids carrying lights and singing. The person at the front of the procession wears a crown of candles – battery-powered for kids nowadays – and then there are more songs.
Most Swedish towns and cities have their own Lucia celebrations, with a public vote to decide who will lead the procession. Go to Sweden at this time of year and you’ll probably be offered heart-shaped gingerbread biscuits, a lussekatt (a sweet bun made with saffron and curled into a swirly ‘S’ shape) and possibly a glass of glögg.
Right throughout December, you’ll see restaurants across Sweden doing their best to attract people to their julbord – or ‘Christmas table’ – which is packed with traditional Christmas food, including boiled potatoes, herring and meatballs. Unless you can get yourself an invitation to a proper Christmas Eve celebration, this is the closest thing there is to experiencing a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner, and is definitely worth a try.
In the months leading up to Christmas you’ll also see an unusual product appearing in Swedish stores. Julmust, a fizzy drink that tastes a little bit like root beer, is so popular in December that it regularly outstrips sales of Coca-Cola.
As the big day approaches, shoppers head out in search of gifts for their loved ones. In recent decades, Christmas markets have sprung up to cater to the tourist market, selling wooden handicrafts, hot wine and sugar-glazed almonds, but Swedes are more likely to head straight for high-street clothes shops or design-conscious department stores. Some people put a lot of effort into crafting personalised julklappsrim (Christmas present rhymes), which give recipients clues as to what’s inside their gifts.

Julmust is a popular drink in Sweden at Christmas

Who needs Coke? Photo: cyclonebill (CC)

A really important thing to remember when visiting Sweden at Christmas is that the 24th December is the big day – not the 25th. Christmas Eve is when families exchange presents and sit down together for the traditional Christmas feast (usually served with ham and meatballs, rather than turkey). Nearly everything closes for the entire day and people have little choice but to stay at home playing games, watching TV and stuffing their faces with candy.
Christmas Eve’s unofficial highlight – and one of Sweden’s most bizarre Christmas rituals – comes at 3pm. At that moment, families across the nation crowd around their TV sets to watch a 60-minute cartoon featuring Disney’s Donald Duck. Although the same show has been screened in Sweden every Christmas Eve since 1960, it’s still bafflingly popular, and it regularly ranks as one of the nation’s most watched programmes of the year, with more than a third of the population tuning in.
For kids, another exciting part of Christmas Eve is when they get a face-to-face meeting with Santa Claus, who arrives sometime during the daytime on Christmas Eve – usually when a relative has ‘gone to fetch a newspaper’ (nowadays Swedish parents can hire a Santa Claus if they’d rather not dress up themselves).
Christmas Day (December 25th) is a game of two halves. Younger Swedes tend to head out to bars to catch up with friends, while older ones and little ones stay home for another day of chilling out.

Fancy trying glögg before you get to Sweden? Here’s a decent recipe.

Ingredients

Glögg recipe

Photo: Solis Invicti (CC)

0,75 l red wine
2 cinnamon sticks
8 cloves
12 cardamom seeds
5 tsp granulated sugar
1.5 cups vodka
almonds
raisins


Method

Add some raisins and almonds to mugs or glasses and set aside. Heat the wine and spices gently in a saucepan, stir in the sugar until dissolved, and then add the vodka. Simmer everything together until the mixture is almost boiling, and then pour into the prepared mugs or glasses. Don’t let it boil. Skål!

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

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The 10 most magical Christmas Towns in Washington

Here Are The 10 Most Enchanting, Magical Christmas Towns In Washington

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Washington! Across the state, people are getting geared up for all the holiday parades and festivals of lights to come. Most of our cities and towns show their Christmas spirit somehow, but these 10 locations seem especially magical this time of year.

Washington is such a magical place to be during the holiday season. Looking for more Christmas cheer? Check out these local light displays

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

you can join 


Betty MacDonald fan club


Betty MacDonald Society  


Vita Magica  


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Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club 

Betty MacDonald fan club on Facebook

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

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Bob Woodward and Donald Trump


Woodward: Trump should welcome Russia investigation if he thinks there's 'nothing here'

 

Bildergebnis für Bob Woodward, Donald Trump and Russia investigation

 




Watergate reporter Bob Woodward said President Trump should welcome an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election if he believes nothing occurred.
"If Trump is correct, [and] he thinks there is no collusion and nothing here, he should welcome a full investigation,” Woodward said in an appearance on “CBS This Morning” on Friday. “That Post story showed that he just does not agree with the overwhelming conclusion of the intelligence community.”
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump’s daily intelligence briefings are set up in an effort to avoid upsetting him. A former senior intelligence official told the newspaper that intelligence about Russia was presented to Trump only in the written intelligence assessment and is sometimes altered to try to avoid displeasing him.
“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” a second former senior U.S. intelligence official told the newspaper about the president's daily briefing.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, calling the probe a “witch hunt” and repeatedly denying collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Trump has also reportedly urged Senate Republicans to end the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election has continued to intensify in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.

Republicans could kill Trump-Russia investigation



Republicans could kill House's Trump-Russia investigation, warns top Democrat

Donald Trump continues to smear the investigations 

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has said he is worried Republicans are trying to kill his committee's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 
Representative Adam Schiff’s comments came as President Donald Trump continues to smear the investigations into whether his campaign team colluded with the Russian government to influence last year’s presidential race. 
“Since March, our investigation has made important progress,” Mr Schiff wrote on Twitter. “We’ve interviewed numerous key witnesses behind closed doors, held public hearings, reviewed thousands of documents, identified new leads - all to understand and expose Russia's meddling and protect our democracy.”

He continued: “Yet, Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on.”
The House Intelligence Committee is just one of several looking into the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. 

Mr Schiff said it appears as if his Republican colleagues “want to conduct just enough interviews to give the impression of a serious investigation.”
The New York Times reported earlier that the committee is scheduling its final witnesses of the year to testify in New York - at the same time the House will be holding key votes on tax legislation and government funding bills. Government funding is scheduled to run out at the end of December 22. 

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

you can join 


Betty MacDonald fan club


Betty MacDonald Society  


Vita Magica  


Eurovision Song Contest Fan Club 




on Facebook



Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club 

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Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

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Trump and Russia Investigation


Trump May Decry the Russia Investigation, But the Trail of Evidence Is Long

Bildergebnis für Trump and Russia Investigation

 

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's recent denunciations of the Russia investigation recall the famous legal advice: "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell."
Trump shouted out his defense earlier this month: "What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion!" he told reporters over the whir of his helicopter on the White House lawn. Since then, Trump's supporters have been waging a bitter counterattack against special counsel Robert Mueller, alleging bias and demanding: "Investigate the investigators."
But what do the facts show? There is a growing, mostly undisputed body of evidence describing contacts between Trump associates and Russia-linked operatives. Trump partisans have claimed that Mueller's investigation is biased because some members of his staff supported his rival Hillary Clinton. But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disagreed Wednesday, arguing that Mueller "is running his office appropriately."
As Republicans seek to discredit the investigation, it's useful to remember just what we've learned so far about how the Trump campaign sought harmful information about Clinton from sources that, according to U.S. intelligence, were linked to Moscow. This isn't a fuzzy narrative where the truth is obscured; in the Trump team's obsessive pursuit of damaging Clinton emails and other negative information, the facts are hiding in plain sight.
From the start of the campaign, Trump spoke of his affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Trump's aides followed his lead. In March, a young adviser named George Papadopoulos met a London professor who introduced him to a Russian woman described as "Putin's niece." This began months of efforts by Papadopoulos to broker Trump-Russia contacts, described in the plea agreement that Mueller announced in October.
Russian operatives by March 2016 had already hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Through cutouts, the Russians over the next eight months allegedly spooled out damaging information about Clinton to the media, sometimes egged on by Trump and his associates.
Papadopoulos got the first hint the Russians might share Clinton emails in a late April meeting with the professor, who told him "the Russians had emails of Clinton ... thousands of emails," according to the plea agreement.
Dishing dirt on Clinton was the pitch of a June 3 email to Donald Trump Jr. from the publicist for Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov's pop-singer son. He said Russian authorities "offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary."
Don Jr. eagerly met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9 at Trump Tower. When she claimed that an anti-Putin U.S. businessman had looted money from Russia, Don Jr. pressed her: "He asked if I had any financial documents from which it would follow that the funds stolen from Russia were then involved in financing the Clinton's Foundation," she told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
Trump's hunt for Clinton emails continued in June, when Jared Kushner hired Cambridge Analytica to do campaign research. The firm learned that WikiLeaks planned to publish a stash of the Clinton material, and Cambridge's CEO asked Julian Assange "if he might share that information with us," according to The Wall Street Journal. Trump promised "very, very interesting" revelations about Clinton in June, the same month an alleged Russian cutout dubbed "Guccifer 2.0" began leaking DNC documents.
WikiLeaks dumped nearly 20,000 Clinton documents on July 22. Three days later, Trump tweeted: "The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails ... because Putin likes me." Two days after that, at a July 27 press conference, Trump said: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
Roger Stone, a Trump friend and sometime adviser, kept beating the WikiLeaks drum through August 2016, saying he was communicating with Assange and that more damaging Clinton leaks were coming. WikiLeaks contacted Don Jr., too, in five messages that continued until Election Day.
"I love WikiLeaks," said Trump at a rally Oct. 10. And no wonder. This was the campaign's secret weapon.
U.S. intelligence agencies said on Jan. 6, 2017, they had "high confidence" that Russian intelligence had used WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 "to release U.S. victim data obtained in cyber operations." CIA Director Mike Pompeo has since described WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service."
The next time Trump demands a probe of Mueller's investigation or the FBI's handling of Clinton emails, remember that he isn't arguing the facts or the law about collusion with Russia. He's pounding the table.
(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group
davidignatius@washpost.com

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

you can join 


Betty MacDonald fan club


Betty MacDonald Society  


Vita Magica  


Eurovision Song Contest Fan Club 




on Facebook



Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club 

Betty MacDonald fan club on Facebook

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel -   

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Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 


Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

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Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  
 

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Linde Lund and a wonderful Saturday

    Dear Aashish Alix Acharydr Arno Bärbel Bodo Carsten Dawid Denise Duncan Eugenia Eva Ewa Friedrich Gabriele Gabriele Hana Harald Harald Heidrun Heike Heinz Heinz Jörg Hiltrud Immo Inna Iris Janie Jeanine Jorge Joyce Julieta Julia Kain Lila Melitta Nancy NA NG Octavia Pascale Peter Pram Rebecca Scott Swiss Teo Tom Ursula Zaezilia and our other friends we wish you a very nice evening, a good night with only sweet dreams and a wonderful Saturday with lots of fun and joy. 

    All the best and many greetings 

    Linde, Astrid, Greta and Lund family
     

    www.bettymacdonaldfanclub.blogspot.com/

    Linde Lund and a wonderful Saturday

Please help save Kain Talbott's belongings

Please help save  Kain Talbott's belongings! 

All the best and many greetings 

Linde and Lund family

www.bettymacdonaldfanclub.blogspot.com/

Kain Talbott's photo.
My partner of the past 18 years, Mike Raven, and I live on a very small income in a 20+year old Motorhome, my so... See More
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Kain Talbott to Help save our belongings!
Update; I hate reposting this when it's getting close to Christmas, I know many of you have other expenses and travel plans, but if you CAN donate, even a small amount, please do, and SHARE it on YOUR timeline, so your other friends will see it please. Our sincere thanks to those who have donated and shared this. 

Betty MacDonald, a very special politician and a year ago 








Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September

you can join 


Betty MacDonald fan club


Betty MacDonald Society  


Vita Magica  


Eurovision Song Contest Fan Club 




on Facebook



Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club 

Betty MacDonald fan club on Facebook

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel -   

Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia  ( English / German )

Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 


Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  
 

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 

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