Christmas Legends

Christmas legends range from Jesus Christ to Charles Dickens to Santa Claus. Christmas legends are born, made, crafted and passed on. Some are real while many grow in reality with each passing season. From Santa Claus to St. Nicholas, from Abraham — the father of the nations — to Abraham Lincoln, from George Bailey to Irving Berlin, the heroes and legends of Christmas are many and diverse.

Christmas legends are also sometimes not people but also traditions — the Yule Log, mistletoe, and even Christmas trees are born of legends of Christmas in antiquity.

Of Christmas legends come great debate. Which is more important on your tree — the angel or the star? Which came first and why? Both are legendary elements of the season and both have a place in Christmas.

Christmas legends are a fascinating part of the history of Christmas.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 — […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

The Misunderstood Legend of Krampus

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 […]

St. Nicholas

The legend of Santa Claus, the image of Father Christmas, and the basis for most legendary Christmas gift bringers of old world Europe all has their genesis in the real-world figure of Saint Nicholas. His story as a benevolent religious figure and giver of gifts has led to a centuries old reputation that has influenced […]

A Different Kind of History of Christmas Trees

Pick a history resource out there and you will find a history of Christmas trees that dates back to pagan traditions of the Winter Solstice. The History Channel says Christmas trees took root from ancient use of evergreens as an end-of-year ritual of hope and eternal life. Wikipedia, to its credit, admits that is purely […]

Jimmy Stewart’s Other Christmas Movie

In a 1980 production of a low budget and not-so widely distributed film directed by Academy Award winning director Keith Merrill, Jimmy Stewart gives the holiday performance of a lifetime. Unlike that other Christmas movie (It’s a Wonderful Life) starring Stewart nearly forty years before this one features neither the predictable sub-plots of good versus […]

History of the American Santa

Santa Claus, much like Christmas itself, is a symbol of all things sacred and secular related to Christmas. From classic Coca Cola ads from early 20th century print still remembered and revered today to modern Hollywood creations like Bad Santa that we’d rather forget, the American evolution of Santa Claus just never seems to be […]

The Story of Black Peter

By Mac Carey Before elves and eight tiny reindeer, St. Nicholas had a much more menacing assistant. Named Black Peter, this companion was the physical opposite of St. Nicholas. Tall and gaunt with a dark beard and hair, Black Peter was associated with the punitive side of Christmas. Traditionally St. Nicholas would hand out presents […]