Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsRetro ChristmasVintage Christmas

The Story of A Visit from St. Nicholas

A Visit from St. Nicholas is both a story and a poem that has survived nearly two centuries of Christmas celebration. It is arguably the only published work that can even come close to rivaling Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in both fame and annual reading. But do you know the story behind the story? Picture it: it’s a snowy Christmas Eve around the year 1821 in New York state. Clement …
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The Ghost Story of Mistletoe

The ancient roots of mistletoe have nothing on the 19th century popularity of mistletoe. It was, for all intents and purposes, a great fad of Christmas. It began with a poem, as many things popular with Christmas of the 19th century did. It was 1823 in a book titled “Italy” by Samuel Rogers. The poem was titled “Ginevra”. The poem tells the horrific story of a young bride who got …
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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 …
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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 …
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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 …
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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 …
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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 …
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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. …
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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: …
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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 …
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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 …
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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 seasonal charity for generations. He was born of a wealthy family in the village of …
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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 a “speculative theory”. But even Christian history resources cite pagan roots for the modern Christmas …
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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 evil or the triumph over Christmas disasters. Stewart plays Willie Krueger, a lonely old man …