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2009-05-25 18:42:42  

    Christmas Eve, December 24 or January 6, is the night before Christmas Day, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas Eve is seen as the night when Santa claus (or some variant thereof) makes his rounds delivering gifts to good children.

    In the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary, where St. Nicholas (sveti Mikuláš) gives his sweet gifts on December 6, the Christmas gift-giver is the Child Jesus (Ježíšek in Czech,Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovakia), also known to most as Christkind. In Argentina, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay and Sweden, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th, - this is also the tradition among the British Royal Family, due to their mainly German ancestry - while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia mostly on the morning of Christmas Day. In Finland Joulupukki and in Sweden Jultomten personally meets children and gives presents in the evening of Christmas Eve. In most parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland Christmas presents are opened in the evening of December 24th ('Bescherung') and are brought by Christkind or Christchild (or alternatively by the Weihnachtsmann), who leaves the gifts,such as the decoration or candy but is never seen doing so. In Spain gifts are traditionally opened on the morning of January 6, Epiphany day ("Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos"), though in some other countries, like Argentina and Uruguay people received presents both around Christmas and on the morning of Epiphany day; there are also some countries, like the rest of Latin America, where people stay awake until midnight, when they open the presents. In the Netherlands gift giving on Christmas day is a fairly new phenomenon, because of the Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas on December 5th.

How to Open Your Own Hot Air balloon Business
      So, you are a hot air balloon enthusiast and you love to spend as much time as possible with your balloon. Have you thought about making your hobby into a business? There are thousands of people around the world who make a very good living providing hot air balloon rides for customers. If you would like to do this then first you need to do is learn the things you need to do before opening a business.
You will need to find a piece of land, and the land must be zoned for giving hot air balloon rides. If you visit your local municipal building you can find out all the requirements as far as the land is concerned. Of course you will need to be certified by the FAA to fly a hot air balloon and this is achieved by taking an exam and logging a number of flight time hours with a qualified instructor.
You could start off working for someone else and many people start off by giving hot air balloon rides for a company before starting their own business. This way you get to learn and the money you make working for someone else can be used as capital for your own business. A hot air balloon will cost you about as much as a new boat or car -- anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 and then you will need accessories such as extra tanks, repair kits, and other components to make your flights safe as possible. These extras will run a few thousand dollars on their own.
Insurance is crucially important. You will need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of insurance coverage to make sure you do not get wiped out by an unhappy customer. It rarely happens, but if it did and you weren't insured, you'd be in big trouble. Most customers won't even consider a hot air balloon provider who has no insurance.
One more small detail, you'll need a crew! Your crew will help set up and take down the balloon, they also need to follow the balloon on the ground to meet it when it lands and collect passengers and equipment and cart it all back to your base. This is what is called a chase crew. Wages for a chase crew will vary depending on your local area and personal preferences. Pay your crew fairly to ensure you'll get the best workers your money can buy. A happy crew is a successful crew...and a pilot is nowhere without one!
Deciding how much to charge for a hot air balloon ride is entirely up to you! There are many creative ways you can make money, including special package deals for groups, families, and couples. Hot air balloon rides range in price from $100 up to $500 or more per person, depending on the company and amenities offered. Most companies offer post-flight brunches complete with champagne to celebrate a successful flight, and some offer commemorative photographs as well so you can charge a little extra for these or include them in the price.
If you plan it right, get the right training and are prepared for a lot of hard work, you can own and operate a thriving hot air balloon rides business that will keep customers coming back for more!
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