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By Jacob McConnico
336.758.5237
November 30, 2005

WFU HANDBELL CHOIR TO PERFORM BENEFIT CONCERT — Wake Forest University's Handbell Choir will perform its annual "Carols of the Bells" benefit concert at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 in Davis Chapel in Wingate Hall. The concert, which raises funds for Brenner's Children's Hospital, features Wake Forest students performing traditional Christmas carols. Donations will be accepted and all proceeds will go to the hospital.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT HOLIDAY LETTER — Year-in-review letters accompanying Christmas cards have become a popular way to maintain connections with friends and family who have fallen out of touch. As the trend has emerged, so has the fact that in an age of text messaging, e-mail and cell phones, many people today struggle with the art of letter writing. John Llewellyn, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest, says four "YULE" rules can help you compose engaging, thoughtful letters that loved ones will look forward to reading every year.

  • You care for these people. Make the love and caring — the spirit of the season — come through in the letter.
  • Use vivid language to tell your story. Let them "see" the special moments. This is not a drab inventory; it is a catalog of adventures.
  • Leave economic gloating for some other time, if at all. If your biggest problem is where to park the spare Jaguar, don't mention it.
  • Enough is enough. Two pages of news are plenty and may actually be read with interest.

    Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    CAN BLENDED FAMILIES GET RIGHT MIX OF HOLIDAY TRADITIONS? — Whether it is going to the mountains to chop down a Christmas tree or attending a performance of the Nutcracker, holiday traditions can pose a challenge for newly blended families, says Samuel T. Gladding, professor of counseling at Wake Forest. Figuring out which traditions should be kept or discarded can either strengthen or divide stepfamilies. "In a blended family, you are always looking at what has been, what is and what can be," Gladding says. "You may need to slow down and get the pulse of the family in terms of what each family member wants instead of one or two people deciding and saying 'isn't that great'." He suggests making a "traditions" list of "what you especially want to do this holiday season that you don't have to do." Then, he suggests talking it out to settle on what the family would most like to do. "Being flexible and soliciting input from everyone" is important, he says. Gladding suggests keeping some of the old, but also being creative in coming up with new traditions to help the family forge stronger bonds.

    Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    AS SEEN ON TV - SITCOM HOLIDAY CELEBRATED IN REAL LIFE — According to two new books and numerous media reports, Festivus, the anti-commercialism holiday introduced to America by the sitcom "Seinfeld," is being celebrated in real life. While Jerry Seinfeld's fictional neighbor Cosmo Kramer might have proclaimed it a Festivus miracle, Wake Forest assistant professor of communication Mary Dalton says it's a prime example of the influence of prime time television. "It's hard to downplay the effect TV programs have on us when you see something like the Festivus celebrations," said Dalton, co-editor of "The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed." The book, published in October by State University of New York Press, is one of the first to take a critical look at the sitcom. Dalton says she does not celebrate Festivus, but can see why people are celebrating the holiday by airing their grievances, participating in feats of strength and erecting aluminum poles in their homes. "There is something refreshing about people rejecting the commercialism of the holiday season and embracing the disappointments in their lives. These ad-hoc celebrations smack of accepting and liking ourselves instead of continually trying to measure up to an unrealistic, external standard of success created by Madison Avenue."

    Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    STAY ACTIVE AND DON'T SKIP FAVORITE HOLIDAY FOODS — You don't want to gain weight during the holidays, but that doesn't mean you have to completely bypass the Christmas cookies and eggnog. Gary Miller, associate professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest, says eating foods in moderation and staying active will help you enjoy holiday treats without gaining weight. Miller suggests limiting portions of high fat, high sugar holiday foods rather than skipping them all together, and making the most of time with family and friends by inviting them to participate in activities that will burn calories such as a walk to view the neighborhood decorations or a game of touch football in the yard. Miller says that by focusing on weight maintenance, rather than weight loss, you will give yourself the gift of healthier holidays to come. "Although we only put on a pound or two from Thanksgiving through New Year's, Americans typically never lose that extra weight," Miller said.

    Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    UNIVERSITY 'LIGHTS THE QUAD' FOR THE HOLIDAYS — Students will decorate Hearn Plaza (Quad) in front of Reynolda Hall with a live evergreen tree, greenery and lights beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 1. The interfaith celebration will feature music, singing, speakers and refreshments. The event is free and open to the public.

    Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    STUDENTS' FILMS PREMIERE — Short films produced by Wake Forest students will be screened for the first time from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in Wake Forest's Carswell Hall, Annenberg Forum, Room 111. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the department of communication and the film studies program. A reception will follow. The students produced the films as part of the advanced media production class in the department of communication. Jack Lucido, a lecturer in communication, taught the class and says the screening includes documentary, comedy and drama-style films. For more information, contact Lucido at lucidoj@wfu.edu or (336) 758-3371.

    Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    HOLIDAY CONCERTS MARK SEASON AT WFU — The Wake Forest choirs will perform a holiday concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 in Brendle Recital Hall, Scales Fine Arts Center. The concert will feature performances by the ensembles of the Wake Forest Choral Department. Music will include works by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jeffrey Van, Gustave Holst and Dan Locklair, Wake Forest's composer-in-residence. Audience members will be invited to join the choirs in singing carols. At 8 p.m. Dec. 2, the university orchestra will perform music from Domenico Cimarosa and Jean Sebelius as well as Samuel Barber's working of Christian carols titled "Die Natali."

    Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    GET A GLIMPSE OF AMERICAN INDIAN CULTURE — Wake Forest will present a look into the cultural arts of today's American Indian communities at its first American Indian Winter Festival and Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 in the university's Benson University Center. The festival will feature more than 15 American Indian artists and performers, children's activities, beadwork and pottery demonstrations, arts and crafts vendors, and dance and drum performances. The event, which is free and open to the public, is a collaborative effort between Wake Forest and members of the North Carolina American Indian community.

    Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

    ANNUAL CHRISTMAS LOVEFEAST OPEN TO COMMUNITY — Wake Forest will hold its 40th traditional Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 in Wait Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. The Rev. Sandra Thigpen, pastor of Saint Philips Moravian Church, will assist Wake Forest Chaplain Tim Auman in conducting the service. The Concert Choir, conducted by Brian Gorelick, director of choral ensembles, will provide choral music as well as lead the congregation in the singing of carols and the traditional Moravian song, "Morning Star." Donald Armitage, university organist, will play for the service as well as the handbell and flute choirs. The Messiah Moravian Church Band and carilloneur Matthew T. Phillips and guest carilloneurs Meredith L. Gilbert and Raymond E. Ebert, will play before and after the service. Luminaries will encircle Hearn Plaza.

    Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.


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