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Lights at Night

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
Lights at Night

“The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.”  ~Andy Rooney


Everyone who knows me understands that I am a nature girl. I spend as much time outdoors as possible in all weather conditions. As I meander around my property, I am always investigating the trees, pondering the possibilities for Christmas décor. When December rolls around, there is nothing that gives me more joy than admiring the twinkling lights that illuminate landscapes, glow on houses, and glimmer on Christmas trees.


My family tradition has always been to decorate every inch of the inside and outside with holiday fervor. Growing up, my dad used to joke that for extra excitement, we could watch the electric meter spinning wildly. Our ranch house and surrounding gardens were adorned with thousands of lights, Nativity scenes, sleighs, Santa, elves, reindeer, snowmen, candles, and whatever else was over-the-top festive. Because we lived on a farm in the boondocks, as kids we believed we had to light the night so that Santa would be able to find our house in the deep darkness.




Because my children have flown the coop and have their own homes, I’m not as crazy as earlier in my life with my holiday embellishments, although my extended family still goes all out. My brother’s and nephew’s houses could win awards with for creativity and innovative illumination.


Trimming a Christmas tree is an active sport. Whether we cut a tree, buy a living tree, erect a fake tree, or bedeck a houseplant, festooning our holiday bushes is as varied as our personalities. It doesn’t matter if a tree is perfect or off-kilter. What matters is the meaning of the moment and the joy it delivers during the season. Every year I adorn my aging fiddleleaf fig tree at the base of my stairwell with lights and ornaments as it has grown too large to move. In another room, the Christmas cheer is enhanced with a glistening, garlanded tree as well as freshly cut greenery with flowers from my yard. What makes all trees sparkle and shine are the twinkling lights, clear or colored.


Fresh greenery indoors creates the feeling of Christmas, especially with aromatic boughs of fir, pine, redwood, spruce, and cedar. If you have any conifers in your yard, this is a great time to trim the limbs to use to decorate your porch and patio. Holly is a traditional plant to use in garlands, wreaths, and centerpieces, however, any berry-bearing bush adds color and whimsy to arrangements. All evergreens are welcome to create long-lived wreaths and centerpieces including clippings from boxwood, bay, magnolia, and pepper trees.


In The Art of Living, Wilfred Peterson wrote that “Christmas is not in tinsel, lights, and outward show. The secret lies in an inner glow.”  My feeling about the tinsel, lights, ornaments, and outward show is that these accruements provide the inner glow of joy to my world.


Delight in my photos of these beloved, bejeweled Christmas trees and bright night lights.  Whatever you celebrate, I wish you seasonal sparkle, and happy health.  Glow forth to savor being home for the holidays. There are more than twelve days to celebrate!


Happy New Year!


Photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1622/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Night-lights.html

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now atwww.cynthiabrian.com/online-store  For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at




Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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Santa Claus is in Town!

Posted by Editor on
Santa Claus is in Town!

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Santa Claus is coming to town with Goddess Gardener and Empowerment Architect Cynthia Brian riding shotgun on his sleigh with red-nosed Rudolph at the lead. Get ready for a rocking good time as we jingle, jangle, and ho ho ho through the night sky.

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If your life isn’t merry and bright, we’ll help you shake out your stocking and ignite the lights that burn within. Tune in to our Christmas power party and start ringing the bells of a jolly good time.  In the spirit of love, joy, and happiness, unwrap your StarStyle gifts of health, good cheer, and candy cane laughter!

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Listen at Voice America Empowerment: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/104265/jingle-bell-rock

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StarStyle® is celebrating 19 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting with expert interviews, lively conversations, and lifestyle tips and tricks.  Come celebrate with us!

Shopping on line? #StartWithaSmile at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 . Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc.

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When you are looking for upbeat, life-changing, and mind stretching information, you have come to the right place. Host Cynthia Brian takes you on a journey of exploration that will encourage, inspire, and motivate you to make positive changes that offer life enhancing results. It’s party time on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®. And YOU are invited! Join us LIVE 4-5pm Pt on Wednesdays or tune in to the archives at your leisure. Come play in StarStyle Country.

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

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Buy books by Cynthia Brian at http://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

From all of us at Voice America, may you enjoy a blessed and happy holiday!



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Teen bingeing, How to Curb Christmas Waste

Posted by Editor on
Teen bingeing, How to Curb Christmas Waste

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The first alcoholic drink is consumed at an average age of 12 in the USA. The earlier drinking begins, the greater risk of addiction and greater potential harm is to brain development. The human brain is not fully developed until around age 25.

What can we do to protect our teens for binge drinking?

It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition and about 24,000 people die every day of hunger. 5% of America’s leftovers could feed 4 million people for a day. What else do we waste in America? Water, paper, everything. Santa had it right when his presents came in recycled newspaper. Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany look at the enormous amount of waste in our country with ideas on what we can do about it.

This week people who celebrate get busy making sure that their homes are festive and bright. Find out what the GoddessGals have planned that could spark your ideas.

StarStyle® is celebrating 19 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting with expert interviews, lively conversations, and lifestyle tips and tricks.  Come celebrate with us!

Listen at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/104120/teen-bingeing-waste-in-america-preparing-for-christmas

Shopping on line? #StartWithaSmile at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 . Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc..

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Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

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Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.  ~Andy Rooney

When my children were youngsters, cutting a tree was the big event of the season. We’d don our Santa hats, grab a bundle of rope to tie the tree to the top of the car, put film in the camera, and off we’d go, singing Christmas carols while plotting our adventure. It could take hours walking through a farm, checking out tree after tree, debating the merits of each. Sometimes we’d visit two or three farms before finding the perfect one. Afterwards, at home with our freshly cut treasure, we’d light a fire, drink hot cocoa and eggnog, eat persimmon pudding and Italian panetone, put on the Christmas music, and dance around the house as we spruced the fir with popcorn and cranberry strings, homemade ornaments, tinsel, and of course, plenty of twinkling lights.

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One day my son had the bright idea that we should grow our own Christmas trees in order to have a never-ending supply of Yuletide enchantment. With the best planting season for evergreens between January and March, as soon as the small containers of conifers went on sale for $1.00 post holiday, we nabbed twenty for our forthcoming Christmas tree farm. We chose a prime spot at the top of our hill, prepared the plot, cleared the weeds, planted the seedlings, protected them with wire from marauding munchers, maintained soil moisture, and waited. The kids were very attentive to their trees. By year three, pruning and shaping the trees into conical forms began. Who knew that “Christmas trees” didn’t automatically grow into perfect Christmas specimens? By year seven, they cut their first glorious imperfect tree and by year thirteen all of the trunks were too large for any tree holder. Instead of cutting another tree, we potted a large Norfolk pine, added it to our entrance, where this oxygen producing, carbon dioxide absorber has served as our beloved arbre de Noel.

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History, legend, or a combination of the two chronicles the tales of 16th century Germans bringing evergreens into their homes as holiday decor after Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, witnessed the stars sparkling through the forest trees and cut a tree to enjoy indoors. In 2014, Christmas trees are as significant to American culture as apple pie. But it wasn’t until 1848 that Puritanical America embraced the idea of the “pagan” Christmas tree.  The ever-popular Queen Victoria and her German Prince Albert were sketched with their children gathered around a decorated Christmas tree and East Coast society adopted this new fashionable trend. Currier and Ives jumped on the bucolic family festivity bandwagon by immortalizing vintage America in historic lithographs of cozy Christmas scenes including sleigh rides, crackling fires, candle lit chapels, snowmen, and tree decorating.

Yet, the love of winter evergreens was celebrated long before the arrival of Christianity. In ancient Egypt, the sun god Ra was honored on the longest night of the year,December 21, and the shortest day, December 22 with palm frond decorations to symbolize life over death. The Romans marked the solstice with evergreen boughs in anticipation of a prosperous spring. The Druids used greens as symbols of eternal life while the Vikings believed that evergreens were the chosen trees of their sun god, Balder.

With the advent of electricity, Thomas Edison presented the possibility of twinkling tree lights without as much fire danger from branch tied candles. Europeans preferred small trees of four feet, Americans sought plants that would reach the ceiling. Decorations in the early days included strands of nuts, berries, apples, and popcorn. Today, a fortune can be spent on accessories and unique ornaments fit for a king from hand carved Nativity scenes to hand blown glass angels.

When to buy, cut, and trim the tree vary from country to country. Many American families get into the December spirit immediately following Thanksgiving while many Europeans wait until Christmas Eve to launch their rituals. Evergreen garlands, boughs, ivy, mistletoe, wreaths, poinsettias, and holly join the enticing kitchen aromas of gingerbread, marzipan, and hot mulled wine making our Christmas castles merry and bright.

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Grown in all fifty states, Christmas tree farming is big business, although it is mostly small farmers who do the growing, planting as many as two thousand trees per acre. Seventy seven million trees are planted annually as American consumers purchase approximately 30 million farm grown trees valued at more than $1 billion.  Fresh trees (to me the only way to play) outsell artificial trees three to one. Young families who are starting their own traditions often prefer to cut-their-own at a Christmas tree farm, enjoying a day in search of the perfect tannenbaum, as our family did in years past.

As you banish the blues with the greens of a pine, fur, spruce, redwood, cedar, or cypress, you’ll be rewarded with the fresh fragrance of the wild woods. Remember to keep your cut tree watered as most farmed trees are chopped down in October or early November then trucked to the retailer. While they won’t dry out outdoors, once indoors, your specimen will need a quart to a gallon of water per day depending on the size.

This year, whether your tree was grown on a plantation or in your backyard, bring the botanical brilliance of a live tree into your seasonal festivities and celebrate the magic.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Your branches green delight us!

Wishing you seasonal sparkle, glow forth to enjoy being home for the holidays.


Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

COOK with either fresh or dried herbs. You’ll need more when you use fresh. Dried are more potent. For every tablespoon of fresh herbs in a recipe, substitute 1 teaspoon of dried.

CREATE a stunning DIY holiday table arrangement using a combination of ornamental cabbage, lilies, evergreen branches, white roses, and pinecones.

LOOKING for a last minute gift that will be unique and useful? Check out your local garden retailers for holiday ideas, including a pot of drought resistant kalanchoe or a Christmas cactus in bloom.

TRIM low hanging branches of redwoods, pines, firs, and other evergreens to use in wreaths, garlands, and holiday ornamentation.

CARE for your land and your land will care of you. Our good earth is Mother Nature’s Christmas gift to us.

Happy gardening, happy growing, fa la la la la!

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Cynthia Brian

Read more Lamorinda Weekly.


Cynthia Brian

The Goddess Gardener

Starstyle® Productions, llc




I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

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