DiBartolomeo Law Offices Dec. 2017

Makin’ It Better NEWSLETTER

December 2017

Oregon Workers’ Compensation | Personal Injury | Social Security Disability

1139 Exchange St., Astoria, OR 97103 • 503-325-8600 • JoeDiBartolomeo.com


to Your Holiday Media Collection

your repertoire with these often-overlooked Christmas-themed choices.

practical. Turns out, Santa helms a high-tech aircraft and employs not only a huge staff of highly trained elves, but also his two sons. Steve is the eldest son. He helps train the staff and create the plan of attack. Arthur, his younger brother, works in the mailroom answering children’s’ letters. But when one kid’s Christmas wishes go unanswered, it’s up to Arthur to save the day in this beautiful CGI adventure that packs in as many laughs for parents as it does for their children. MUSIC: “THIS CHRISTMAS” BY DONNY HATHAWAY AND “WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME” BY STEVIE WONDER Christmas music runs the gamut from festive to melancholy, but it’s all too rarely funky. Nobody wants to spend their entire Christmas party sitting down. As you craft your Christmas playlist this year, break up the Bing Crosby and Michael Bublé with something a little groovier. These two cuts from a pair of soul music masters will have your entire family boogieing faster than Santa can get down a chimney. Donny and Stevie have never failed to deliver rock-solid grooves and beautiful melodies, and their Christmas tunes are no exception. –Joe Di Bartolomeo


William Sydney Porter, who wrote under the pen name O. Henry, is regarded as a master of the short story. One of the most prestigious short story prizes in the country is named for him, and he is still being read today, over a century after his death. Perhaps his most beloved story is “The Gift of the Magi,” which focuses on a couple’s efforts to buy presents for one another. Jim and Della, the story’s main characters, are a young couple with very little money. As Christmas approaches, each goes out of their way to show their love for one another by finding the perfect gift, despite their limited means. Given that O. Henry is known for his unpredictable endings, we won’t spoil how “The Gift of the Magi” turns out, but suffice it to say, the story sends a powerful message about the true spirit of giving.

There’s nothing wrong with the standard Christmas classics. After all, “A Christmas Carol,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” have achieved their status as holiday staples for a reason. Reading the same stories, watching the same movies, and hearing the same songs year after year, though, can get a little boring — especially if your Christmas shopping is done at the mall, accompanied by a loud sound system. If you find yourself growing weary of the same old standbys, change up


Released in 2011, “Arthur Christmas” proves that there are still new ways to explore tried- and-true holiday legends. The movie asks a simple question: How could Santa possibly deliver all of those gifts in one night? Its answer is both comic and surprisingly

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.joedibartolomeo.com

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Santa Tracking Goes High-Tech It’s almost Christmas, and if you have small kids, you know what that means: prepping for the arrival of a jolly man in a red suit and his confusingly named reindeer. Some of us may remember spending Christmas Eve curled on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa as radio reports tracked Santa’s trip around the globe. But these days, kiddos have traditions, and a translation app to “learn the Santa lingo from around the world.” When the eve of the big day finally comes, Google promises a showcase of Santa’s “dashboard, the technology that powers his sleigh during his around-the-world journey.” Featuring “the latest and greatest … in sleigh engineering,” the app displays a Google Maps window that tracks each of Santa’s stops, gives status updates from Old Saint Nick, and tells kids how far he is from their city. It’s a colorful, fun adventure for the whole family.

Of course, Google’s not the only kid on the Santa-tracking block. There’s also NORAD Tracks Santa, operated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the same organization that tracks nuclear missiles for the government. Similar to Google, noradsanta.org includes a variety of fun games and activities leading up to Christmas. But unlike Google, NORAD has a dedicated Santa-tracking app for your phone, where you can see a 3-D view of Santa’s location during his trip. The app also features videos, so you and your little ones can see clips of Santa flying around major landmarks and world cities. Just don’t stay up too late watching them. You don’t want Santa to skip over your house!

gotten a little more high-tech in their search for up-to-date, GPS-driven Kringle updates. First, there’s the Google Santa Tracker (santatracker.google.com), a full-fledged holiday hub for your browser powered by Google Maps, including, of course, an up- to-the-minute GPS tracker for the big man. The application arrived in 2004, and it’s been updated every year since. During the countdown to Christmas, there’s a colorfully animated advent calendar of sorts, where buildings around Santa’s village “thaw out” and reveal a host of fun games and activities. There’s even a section titled “Santa Tracker for Educators,” which ’Tis the season for hot beverages! Sure, Americans love coffee all year long, but as the holidays roll around, hot chocolate sales boom. There’s something satisfying about sweet, rich chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows. It’s a classic combination, but who says the classics can’t be updated? Broaden your hot chocolate horizons this holiday season with some truly unique recipes! Aztec Hot Chocolate This spicy drink pays homage to those original chocoholics, the Aztecs. Cacao beans are native to Mesoamerica, and the ancient Aztec loved to grind the beans and serve them in a bitter, frothy liquid. In this recipe, dark chocolate, chili pepper, and cinnamon blend into a rich treat, but you’ll also have access to a couple ingredients the Aztecs didn’t have: sugar and milk. Learn how to make the perfect winter drink at theendlessmeal.com/spicy-aztec-hot- chocolate. includes kid-friendly coding games, information on international holiday

Unusual Hot Chocolate Recipes to Enjoy This Holiday Season

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Tired of the dreary, gray winter weather? Is sounds like you could use a dash of sweet pink! Real raspberry puree gives this drink a much-needed burst of fruity delight, especially when you swap out the usual milk chocolate with creamy white chocolate. Toss a few raspberries on top, and you’re sure to be enchanted by the colors and the flavor. Check out the recipe at sugarhero.com/ raspberry-white-hot-chocolate/. Frozen Hot Chocolate If your winter wonderland view is less than snowy, you might be craving a cooler hot chocolate beverage. It’s your standard hot chocolate recipe, but it replaces the pot and stove with some ice and a blender! Yes, you can still top it with whipped cream and sprinkles. Find the full recipe at centercutcook.com/frozen-hot-chocolate/.

Whether you’re a casual cocoa drinker or a true chocolate connoisseur, there’s an incredible recipe waiting for you. The best part? You can keep trying different hot chocolates until you find your new favorite.

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.joedibartolomeo.com

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When you brought home this year’s Christmas tree, you and the family most likely spent an evening decorating it with lights, store-bought and homemade ornaments, a star or angel topper, and maybe even tinsel. If you’re more traditional, you may have even included a popcorn string. But have you ever wondered why we started decorating our Christmas trees in the first place? While the origins of the Christmas tree are uncertain, we’ve used the evergreen fir to celebrate winter festivals, both pagan and Christian, for thousands of years. The tree has represented many things, including the winter solstice, Saturnalia, and everlasting life with God. During the 1500s in Germany, people brought full pine trees, called paradise trees, into their homes to celebrate the Name Day of Adam and Eve on Dec. 24. The families decorated the tree with apples and gingerbread. Before long, glassmakers began crafting small ornaments to hang on the trees. In Victorian times, trees were even decorated with candles!

Over time, paradise trees evolved into Christmas trees. In the 18th and 19th centuries, when many Germans immigrated to the United States, they brought the tradition with them. However, the practice of decorating a pine tree with apples didn’t quite catch on. Then, In the winter of 1841, Queen Victoria of England requested a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle for her husband, Prince Albert, who was of German descent. The Queen thought the tree would be a nice gesture, and the London News published a story about the royal Christmas tree in 1848. The tradition quickly spread throughout Europe and North America.

When Christmas trees first rose to prominence in the United States, they were often decorated with homemade ornaments, while many German-Americans continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined later, dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. And with that, Christmas trees quickly became an American tradition.



• ¾ cup dry white wine • 1 tablespoon cornstarch • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced Swiss cheese • 1 clove garlic • Salt to taste • Foods to dip (apple slices, bread cubes, roasted vegetables, etc.) 1. In a large bowl, whisk together wine and cornstarch. 2. Chop cheese slices into small, uniform pieces. 3. Rub clove of garlic all over the sides and bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot, then discard. 4. Heat wine mixture over medium- low heat in the pot until thick and bubbling. Add some cheese and slowly whisk. When nearly smooth, Directions

add more cheese and whisk gently. Repeat until all cheese is melted. If mixture seems too tight, add 1 tablespoon wine.

5. Season with salt and serve

immediately. Keep pot on low heat to keep the fondue dippable.

(Recipe inspired by PinchofYum.com.)

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.joedibartolomeo.com

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Hidden Christmas Gems


Santa Tracking Goes High-Tech Unique Hot Chocolate Recipes You Need to Try Christmas Trees Are German? Easy Holiday Recipe



The Origin of Santa Claus


Santa Claus wasn’t always a husky, omniscient gift-giver who circumnavigates the world once a year, propelled by flying caribou and backed by an army of friendly elves. Though the historical St. Nicholas had many of the same generous tendencies as our contemporary “King in the North,” he lacked a high-tech sleigh that could exceed the speed of light. To be exact, St. Nicholas was a renowned Bishop of Myra — an old Roman town near modern-day Demre, Turkey — way back around A.D. 300. Even before he became the bishop, St. Nicholas was known for his generosity. The most famous tale of his charity involved a poor man who could not afford a proper dowry to marry off his three daughters. In those days, this generally meant the daughters would remain unmarried, making it likely that they’d fall into prostitution.

Wanting to help, but also wanting to spare the family embarrassment, St. Nicholas traveled to the house at night and threw three purses packed with gold coins through the window. After his death, St. Nicholas became a beloved patron saint, but during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, the respect that many Catholic saints received diminished, and his popularity dwindled across Europe. One area where he remained popular was the Netherlands. There, he lived on as “Sinterklaas,” a mythical figure who went house to house on the eve of St. Nicholas’s nameday, December 5, leaving treats and gifts for children. Sinterklaas traditionally wore red bishop’s clothes and employed elves, and he traveled with horses that could walk across rooftops.

When the Dutch emigrated in droves to America during the 17th and 18th centuries, they brought this kindly icon to the new colonies. Over time, notably through Clement Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and a famous 1930s depiction by Coca-Cola ad illustrator Haddon Sundblom, Santa evolved into the figure we see today.

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.joedibartolomeo.com

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