Posts Tagged "Santa Claus"

Santa and Spiders (the Good Kind)

Dear Kid,

Dad and I went to the crafts fair at the high school yesterday. As always, it was mobbed and various school bands and orchestras played in the background. (Stick with me, you’re going to like this one.)

We wandered around looking at various crafts, purchasing a few pieces of jewelry, sampling various homemade yummies, and basically having a good time.

My friend Ann was there selling chocolate covered treats (hi Ann!).

Near the end of our wanderings, we rounded a corner and I said, “Oh, my.”

The two ladies sitting at the table burst into laughter. “That’s the best response we’ve had all day,” one of them told me through her giggles. It must have been my tone of voice. Or possibly the reaction they’d gotten from other visitors.

The thing is, they were selling spiders.

Yep, spiders.

And you know how I feel about arachnids.

But these were glittery spiders and they came with a story (an 1800s German folk tale to be precise). A little bling and a good story go a long way in my book.

I’ve lifted the pix from their website (visit it here) because I took a great shot of their table that came out as nothing but blur. (We’ve discussed how not-good I am at photography. Where’s Beth when you need her?)

Here are the photos:

Santa Spider. Comes with a great story.

Santa Spider. Comes with a great story.

And here is the story (which makes the spiders much, much better):

Once upon a time (because all the best stories start that way), a mother was busy cleaning her home for Christmas. The spiders (not being stupid) skedaddled (not a German word) out of the way of her broom and up to the attic to hide. Apparently, the mother wasn’t too concerned about the cleanliness of the attic. Truth be told, neither am I.

When the house was quite, the spiders slowly crept downstairs to see the beautiful tree. (Ooooh, ahhh.) Being excited and being spiders, they scurried up the trunk of the tree and out each of the branches.

This suggests that there were more than the usual number of spiders but since this is a fairy tale we shall overlook the mother’s infestation and move on.

The spiders were filled with happiness at being in the tree and it leaked out in the form of spider webs. The spiders spun and danced through the night, leaving their webs everywhere.

At his appointed time, Santa showed up with gifts for the children. (Can anyone explain how he manages to scoot up and down chimneys without getting soot anywhere? Dad can’t even come in from outside without tracking mud into the house.)

When Santa saw the tree covered in spider webs, he smiled at the happiness of the spiders. Apparently, he was a fan of the eight-legged. But he knew that the mother would be upset if she saw her beautiful tree covered with dusty webs (not sure how they got dusty so quickly, but in this story, they did). So, being Santa and therefore being magic, he turned the webs into silver and gold.

The tree sparkled and shined and was even more beautiful than before (well, duh–if you had magic silver and gold all over you, you’d sparkle and shine too).

And that’s why we have tinsel on our trees and why every Christmas tree should have a Christmas spider in its branches.

I told you it was a good story.

Love, Mom 

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Super Bowl, Commercials, and Getting Ready for Groundhog Day

Dear Kid,

Happy February! Happy Super Bowl Sunday! And Happy Groundhog Day (one day early)! Or maybe it’s Getting Ready for Groundhog Day…

That’s a lot of happy for one cold Sunday morning, and I for one plan to make the most of all this joyousness.

As you may recall, I love all things Punxsutawney Phil. I still have “Talk Dad into going to Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day” on my to-do list.

I love the top hats and I love that little groundhog face and I love the hope that spring may be on its way sooner than we thought. I love the idea that Punxsutawney Phil lives forever (like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy only furrier).

Today I love the idea of a commercial with puppies and Clydesdales and Phil. I’m not holding my breath, but it would be pretty fun don’t you think?

It's all you little football. Well, you and the commercials. Happy Super Bowl! DearKidLoveMom.comEveryone in the land (and by “everyone in the land” I mean some people) are very busy getting ready for the Big Game. Personally, I read one column in today’s paper. Beyond that, I’m pretty sure that for me “getting ready” means making sure the Puppy’s walked and fed before game time and finding the remotes (not always the easiest thing to do in our family room).

Perhaps I should train the puppy to sniff out TV remotes. Dogs are trained to sniff out all sorts of incredible things—why not TV remotes?

In other news, today Dad discovered that Trivia Crack exists. He discovered this by reading a small article in the USA Today section of the newspaper.

Dad: Do you know about Trivia Crack?
Me: Yeah
Dad: Do you play Trivia Crack?
Me: Um, yeah.
Dad: Are you addicted to Trivia Crack?
Me: Somewhat
Dad: Really?
Puppy: Banana!

Hope you get lots of work done before you get sucked in to All Things Super.

Love, Mom


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Other Fun Santa Facts |More History About Santa Claus (Part II)

Dear Kid,

There are many different Santa Claus traditions.

Santa’s first appearance in the media was in 1773. Santa’s first appearance in the Macy’s Day Parade was in 1924 (the year the parade first appeared).

Speaking of appearances, there’s a lot of controversy around that. You might not think so since Santa is (currently) typically portrayed as large, white bearded, red robed, and sitting in a mall. Early photo evidence of the real Santa (circa 1202 BCE) shows him as a tiny little elf – small enough to easily slide down chimneys, even the ones that haven’t been cleaned in a while. Today’s depiction of The Santa requires more magic and more imagination to make the physics work.

Thomas Nast is probably responsible for Santa’s look. In 1863, his illustration of Santa post-weight gain appeared in Harper’s Weekly magazine. And as we know, if it’s in print, it must be true.

Further solidifying (pun intended) Santa’s hefty image, the Coca-Cola company began using Santa in its Christmas advertising in the 1930s. The images were drawn by Haddon Sundblom and showed him looking much like he does now. There a lovely urban legend (and by “lovely urban legend” I mean “a bunch of hooey”) that says that Santa wears red and white to promote the Coke brand. I’m sure Coca-Cola doesn’t object to the colors, but that’s not the origin of the red and white (read this post if you’ve forgotten already).

In the United States and Canada, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies; in Britain and Australia, he is given sherry or beer and mince pies. In Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, children leave him rice porridge with cinnamon sugar. In Ireland, people generally put out Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding or mince pies. Guess where Santa likes traveling best? And regardless of The Big Man’s preferences, dieting is not easy if you’re The Claus.

As we know, Santa lives at the North Pole (it turns out that Thomas Nast may have been the inventor of that too). According to the Canadian postal system, Santa lives just within the Canadian North Pole-ish border (postal code H0H 0H0). Speaking of Canada, the Canadians have officially given Santa citizenship so he can reenter the country at the end of his annual trip. The US postal service says the zip code for Santa’s North Pole house is 99705. Points to Canada for cleverness.

Dear Santa, Define Good. DearKidLoveMom.comThe folks in Norway claims Santa lives in Drøbak. The folks in Denmark say he lives in Greenland (near Uummannaq). The folks in Finland say Korvatunturi is Santa’s home. Folks in other parts of the northland are too cold to weigh in on the subject. To the best of my knowledge, no one on the equator claims Santa resides nearby.

Mrs. Claus was created in 1889 by Katharine Lee Bates (a poet) who cleverly wrote about her in a poem. I have not yet found any reasonable documented evidence that they have ever had children. Perhaps I can create their children in a blog and become famous. Perhaps not.

The most famous (and by “famous” I mean people know about it and it had a huge impact) poem about Santa Claus is “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas”) published 1823. The poem may have been written by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston, Jr, but it might have been (and by “might have been” I mean “probably”) was written by the aforementioned Thomas Nast. This is where we are first introduced to flying reindeer (but you probably don’t know their original names).

In the 1860s, President Abraham Lincoln asked the ubiquitous Thomas Nast to draw Santa with Union soldiers. As you might imagine, this didn’t exactly make the Confederate soldiers feel all warm and fuzzy. Santa as psychological warfare is a weird concept if you ask me.

And we couldn’t talk about Santa without talking about Francis P. Church, Editor of the New York Sun, who in 1897 wrote an editorial in response to a letter from an eight year-old girl, Virginia O’Hanlon. She had written the paper asking whether there really was a Santa Claus (because as we all know, if it’s in print it must be true) and he responded with the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial.

The whole “naughty or nice” concept seems to have come from the 1934 song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Anything more recent than that is pure speculation and heaven knows I include nothing but fact here.

Love, Mom

The reindeer were originally named: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem (Dunder and Blixem came from the old Dutch words for thunder and lightning, which were later changed to Donner and Blitzen).

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