The Controversy of Who Wrote A Visit from St. Nicholas

The Controversy of Who Wrote A Visit from St. Nicholas

One of the more romantic notions associated with Santa Claus and Christmas comes in the form of an early 19th century poem titled A Visit from St. Nicholas. As the legend goes, college professor and devout church man Clement Clarke Moore was out delivering Christmas turkeys on a snowy Christmas Eve at the behest of his wife when he composed a poem to present to his children later that evening before they went to bed. Using the snowy elements surrounding him and the image of his rotund, jolly sleigh driver who accompanied him, Moore was inspired to compose the poem of Santa’s visit that would one day craft the very image of the modern Santa. The poem was submitted toRead more

Great Debates: Is Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas Movie?

Great Debates: Is Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas Movie?

It is one of those Christmas debates that just did not exist a generation ago: is the 1993 stop motion animated classic Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas movie…or a Halloween movie? The clever movie does little to settle the question by itself. The movie tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. In that role, Jack organizes Halloween year after year to the great delight of the residents who just love the holiday of Halloween. But one year Jack tires of the routine and while on a walk in the woods he slips into a portal that takes him to Christmas Town — and Jack can’t help but liking what he sees: Jack can’t wait toRead more

Great Debate: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Great Debate: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

By Jeff Westover (Author bias: I’m completely neutral in this debate –honestly. If given the chance, I’d gladly scream ‘Merry Christmas’ at the most ardent anti-Christmas freak out there, especially if I knew it would turn them purple with rage. It is not that I enjoy making people angry but rather that in my own sick, twisted way I enjoy seeing people get angry at the silliest things. But at the same time, I hold no ill will for the phrase “Happy Holidays”. I find it funny that some people do.) Ebenezer Scrooge once famously said: “If I could work my will every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding,Read more

Great Debate: To Baste or Not to Baste?

Great Debate: To Baste or Not to Baste?

By Jeff Westover (Author bias: I’ve never basted our turkey. After he is stuffed we give him a light rub down with vegetable oil to give him that overall toasty look and then lightly cover him in foil. That foil stays on until the last hour and then it is removed. The habit of opening the oven to squirt the bird in his own juices seems to be a little cruel to the bird and a good waste of some serious football time). While at the grocery store buying my Thanskgiving provisions I heard a man and his wife discussing a display of very high-tech looking turkey basters. He wanted to buy one and she thought it was a monumentalRead more

Christmas Debate: Real or Artificial?

Christmas Debate: Real or Artificial?

By Jeff Westover (Author bias: We use an artificial tree in our home every holiday season but we do so under protest. If I could, I would use a real tree. But our choice of tree has nothing to do with environmental consciousness. The simple fact is that we live in a desert and real trees can’t be home grown and never last five days if imported. In my heart, I’m a Christmas purist, which means I believe a season of peace and goodwill is only properly celebrated by hacking down a living tree and drying it out to the point of combustability.) Only the modern Christmas could present such a dilemma: should one use a completely recyclable resource (realRead more

Great Debates: Christmas in Stores Before Halloween?

Great Debates: Christmas in Stores Before Halloween?

By Jeff Westover (Author bias: I’ve worked in retailing for 32 years. I also manage 30+ Christmas websites, which likely exposes my full pro-Christmas bias. But on this piece I lay claim to a purely American and capitalistic stance: if I can sell ice to eskimos, I will. I’m in favor of Christmas merchandise in stores year round, the more the merrier). The Consumerist.com, an online off-shoot of Consumer Reports, launched a campaign in late October 2011 encouraging their readers to “fight back against retailers who put out holiday merchandise too soon”. (They broke this “story” on October 25th, a week before Halloween. Isn’t that a little late to party? I’m just sayin’…) What they want readers to do isRead more

Re-Gifting: Yes or No

Re-Gifting: Yes or No

By Jeff Westover (Author Bias: None. Zippo. Zero. Zilch.) When we married we received all kinds of wonderful gifts. But the one that caught the most attention, the one that drew the biggest reaction and the only one remembered from those many years ago was the gift that was re-gifted to us. It was a simple saucepan, brand new in the box, of 1970s vintage color and design. Aside from the obvious look of the item indicating it’s age we also knew how long it had been around because it was a wedding gift the giver had received at her wedding. The card addressed to her and her husband was still inside the box – from nearly 25 years before.Read more

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