Christmas DecoratingChristmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Legends

The Christmas Pickle

It is a quaint tradition that nobody wants to claim. And its story would not be the first tradition of Christmas born of a total fabrication. It is the little-known tradition of the Christmas pickle. The Christmas pickle is not really a pickle at all. It is a pickle-shaped ornament that is the last one hung on the tree on Christmas Eve. The first child to find the Christmas pickle …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas Legends

Legend of La Befana

By Jeff Westover Of the many images of Halloween none can be scarier for a child than that of a witch — an ugly, stern, mean old woman with a broom. It is an element of Halloween that defies explanation, a betrayal of both history and tradition. The image of the woman-flying-on-a-broom is actually born of a legend of Christmas — and a tradition still widely celebrated in a figure …
Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsSacred Christmas

The Real First Christmas

By Jeff Westover There is a saying common among Christian believers: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This saying speaks to the eternal nature of the soul and that thought is at the very center of Christmas. In countries around the world Christmas is observed with diverse tradition. There are family gatherings, parades, secret gift giving, church services, prayers, …
Christmas at WarChristmas HistoryChristmas Legends

The Christmas Legend of Abraham Lincoln

By B. Francis Morlan Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked as the greatest American president. But at the same time his place in history is frequently debated for a variety of contrasting reasons: Constitutional scholars claim that Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War were so drastic that he consolidated authority in the executive branch of government illegally, upsetting the balance of powers. Religionists say that Lincoln was no Christian because he …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Music

The True Story of Silent Night

The story has become yet another chapter in the book of Christmas legend. The year was 1914 and soldiers on both sides of the battlefield somewhere in France were enduring a dark and frozen Christmas Eve night. World War I — the Great War, as it was called — eventually took the lives of more than 10 million people. But it is doubtless that the mostly-young men of that Christmas …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas LegendsChristmas Television

Mythical Beginnings of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

By Jeff Westover It is a sad story. As his wife lay terminally ill on the couch next to the family Christmas tree Robert May held his young daughter in his lap as they gazed upon a snowy December scene out the window of their Chicago apartment. Barbara, at four years old, knew all too well that things were not normal for her family. “Why?” she asked her father, Robert. …
Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Traditions

The Evolution of Christmas

By Jeff Westover Which came first: the chicken or the egg? That is the seeming dilemma when discussing how Christmas began. Most define Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ. Historians tie the tradition of a December holiday around ancient celebrations of the Winter Solstice that pre-dates Christ. Theologians claim Christ was celebrated and predicted long before he was born into the world. Which came first then? Christ….or …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Legends

Charles Dickens: A Merry Old Soul

By Jeff Westover Life and times were hard in London of 1824. For one boy in particular, the second of seven children, life was especially difficult. At the age of twelve, his father was tossed into a debtor’s prison, leaving an already poor family utterly destitute. The entire family moved into the prison with the boy’s father. And the boy set out to work — twelve hours a day, as …
Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Past

The True Story of Santa Claus

Santa Claus is real. And this is his true story. Born nearly 2000 years ago, not too long after the days that Jesus Christ walked the earth, Nicholas was born to wealthy parents in a tiny village in the country we today call Turkey. Though Nicholas was a child of privilege, he was raised a Christian and at a very young age was devoted to the faith. Nicholas’ parents died …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Legends

Clement C. Moore: Father, Patriot, Poet

By Jeff Westover Clement Clarke Moore was one of New York’s wealthiest men. And clearly, one of it’s most highly educated. He was born in 1779 to Benjamin Moore, a patriot and and Episcopalian minister. His mother was Charity Clarke, a fiesty and ardent supporter of the American cause. He inherited from her side of the family a good portion of land that would someday become the Chelsea District in …
Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Music

Handel’s Messiah

By Jeff Westover On August 22, 1741 George Frideric Handel sat down and began to compose music to Biblical texts compiled by his friend Charles Jennens. Handel was, by all accounts of the time, a typical creative eccentric. Known for varied mood swings, Handel was prone to excessive eating, a boisterous sense of humor and an intense sense of musical propriety. He could be stern and irritable, especially with musicians …