Five Dying Christmas Traditions

Five Dying Christmas Traditions

Once upon a time Christmas was celebrated with tinsel on trees. Tinsel is an ancient product with roots more than 400 years old where it was crafted to represent ice. Originally placed on statues and made from actual silver, tinsel has morphed over the ages to be made from other, cheaper materials. Once quite popular during the 20th century it hasn’t found a lot of love in the 21st century. In fact, it is a Christmas tradition that is dying. And the reason seems to be nothing more or less than convenience. There are so many other choices in ChristmasRead more

Racism and Christmas

Racism and Christmas

Christmas has endured many controversies over the course of its history. Most usually center on religious disputes or how much Christmas imposes of itself on parts of society that do not want it. But in recent years Christmas has seemingly become embroiled in an important ongoing societal dialogue: racism. The biggest story in Christmas and racism centers in the Netherlands. The United Nations recently again declared the Dutch tradition of Black Pete racist. Every year from mid-November until the traditional feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6th many communities in the Netherlands celebrate what is commonly known as aRead more

The Story of Black Peter

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 to good children, while it fell to Black Peter to dole out coal (and sometimes knocks on the head) to children who misbehaved. Black Peter, or Zwarte Piet in Dutch, began in Holland in the 15th century. His dark appearance is supposed to suggest aRead more