History of the Tradition of Elves

History of the Tradition of Elves

Lost in the romance, fantasy and some would say mystery and myth of Christmas is the concept of elves. Most folks today think of Santa’s helpers, often in the form of little people, who work at the North Pole busily making toys for good children everywhere. But elves in that vein are a relative recent invention, stemming from 19th century minds full of fantasy as the modern character of Santa Claus was developed in the Americas. Elves have their origins deeply staked in ancient mythology and their history, unlike St. Nicholas, is completely lacking any relation to deity or the divine. In fact, most elves with ancient pedigrees in Scandinavian folklore are downright naughty, if not outright evil and nasty.Read more

Christmas at Sea

Christmas at Sea

When thinking of Christmas at sea one immediately turns to the traditional carol “I Saw Three Ships”. The song, repeatedly made popular by interpretations in modern recording ranging from Sting to Amy Grant to traditional orchestras, is a happy tune dating back to the 17th century. But for all of its age and history, nobody really knows who wrote it or even what it entirely means. The lyrics have confounded historians for centuries and it is believed the song’s connection to Christmas is merely a sailor’s song of hope. After all, the song talks of three ships sailing into Bethlehem – a little town some 20 miles removed from the nearest body of water. Biblical stories abound of ships inRead more

Friendly Beasts

Friendly Beasts

There are tales and legends aplenty of the animals present at the Nativity. In a great telling of some of those legends in song is Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, star of stage and a voice known from many films. Dubbed “The Last Leading Man” by The New York Times, Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway and television and in film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls. His musical versatility has kept him in demand by some of the country’s finest conductors and orchestras: Please follow and like us:

Legend of the Christmas Orange

Legend of the Christmas Orange

Nicholas, as you know, was a Bishop long before he ever was a Saint. This story is but one of many that make up his legend and it is sacred to those who consider him a saint. He had heard of a family that lived closed by — not even members of his faith — who were very poor. So poor, in fact, that the father of this family was considering selling his oldest daughter into slavery, so that he might have funds for his other children. Word of this reached Bishop Nicholas who, in the dead of a cold night, donned his red Bishop’s robes with the white fur trim, and paid an anonymous visit to the poor family.Read more

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

Animals in the Story of Christmas

Animals in the Story of Christmas

Animals play a prominent role a Christmas, regardless of whether or not religious beliefs are behind it. The story of Rudolph is but one example of an animal that has become an icon of the season. The truth is that there are many animals are central to the story of Christmas and reindeer especially are the consummate Christmas animal. As with all things Christmas we turn back to ancient history to find out why this is so. According to Viking lore, the northern Germans and Scandinavians celebrated Yule, a pagan religious festival heralding the arrival of the winter solstice from mid-December to early January. During this time, many believed that Odin, disguised in a long blue-hooded cloak, would travel toRead more

The Legendary Bing Crosby

The Legendary Bing Crosby

He was born the middle of seven children in the great American northwest. His father was an English-American bookkeeper and his mother a second-generation Irish American, making young Harry about as American as apple pie. The rest of his story is classically American as well as he grew to become one of the grandest figures in Christmas history, touching a variety of American industries to become the first multimedia superstar. Harry was born in an era predating airplanes, radios and automobiles. By the time he would pass from this world he mastered the emerging technologies of the 20th century to make him rich beyond his wildest dreams and famous and respected all over the world. Growing up in Spokane, Washington,Read more

A Masterful Telling of Luke 2

A Masterful Telling of Luke 2

There is not a Christmas lover anywhere who does not know well the text of the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2, from the New Testament. But never have you heard it with such precise storytelling ability as we see in this video of John Rhys-Davies with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: For as great as that telling is on stage, listen to Rhys-Davies explain why this story is so important: Do you think he knows and understands the meaning of Christmas? Please follow and like us:

The Misunderstood Legend of Krampus

The Misunderstood Legend of Krampus

High in the snowy back country of Germany children everywhere look forward to the early December feast day of St. Nicholas, that kindly gift bringer of ancient origin. But unlike other children German kids have not only to be on the lookout for St. Nick – but also for his alleged dark opposite known as Krampus. St. Nicholas is for the nice kids – Krampus is for those who are challenged with the concept of being nice. Krampus’ image is anything but merry — or like anything else associated with Christmas. He is a beast that looks like half a goat with horns and a bifurcated tongue. He is hairy. And when it comes to Christmas, he is all business.Read more

Clement Clarke Moore Day

Clement Clarke Moore Day

Today is July 15th and there are only 163 days left until Christmas. Today marks the 236th birthday of Clement Clarke Moore, author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” or, as it is better known, Twas the Night Before Christmas. Moore doesn’t get the love that Charles Dickens receives but his Christmas creation is likely more widely read and quoted every Christmas than even A Christmas Carol. It’s too bad because Moore is worthy of celebrating and the story of the creation of A Visit from St. Nicholas is a great Christmas story in and of itself. It is not hard to imagine then what transpired that snowy Christmas Eve in 1822. Catherine sent her husband out into the elementsRead more

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