Posts Tagged "Santa"

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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Santa Situation | Facts and History About Santa Claus (Part I)

Dear Kid and Tal (because she asked very nicely if I would explain this to her),

Please note that I am publishing this after Christmas so that anyone who does not wish to have his or her eyes opened has an entire year to erase this from their memory. Also, there is just too much great info about Santa to contain in one blog, so tune in tomorrow for Part II.

Once upon a time there was no such thing as Santa Claus. Then the world was invented and Santa was a byproduct of the Big Bang.

That is one explanation for Santa Claus. (I just invented it, so you know it must be true.)

There are others.

Saint Nicholas of Myra (present day Turkey) was a Greek Christian bishop in the 4th century. He was a very kind and generous soul and was famous for giving gifts to the poor. Nicholas was a wealthy person and did not want people to know where the gifts they received came from (which—as you know—is one of the higher ways of doing good works and repairing the world). As he traveled the country, he delivered gifts to the poor during the night (this is the origin of the phrase “Go to sleep, or the soon-to-be-created Santa Claus won’t come.”)

One famous story about Saint Nicholas (although I have not be able to interview eyewitnesses) is about a poor but pious man who had no money to give his three daughter as a dowry. In those days, daughters without dowries tended to be daughters unwed, and daughters unwed tended to become prostitutes. The daughters had washed their stocking and hung them up (with care) by the fire to dry. Nicholas dropped gold into the stockings and poof! the girls had dowries and the world had a legend.

A tradition sprang up (after Nicholas was dead and had become a saint) of giving children gifts on the evening of his Saint Day (December 6th). As you might imagine, this was quite a popular tradition, especially with the gift recipients. Martin Luther (among others) disapproved of the idea of such a popular interest in saints and thought the focus should be on Christ instead. He managed to move the gift giving to Christmas but St. Nick remained the Bringer of Presents.

If you will travel back with me to the time before Christianity, and if you will hop Over The Pond to Germanic Europe, and if you will look carefully, you will find Odin (remember him?) presiding over Yule time. Look a little to the left—that’s it. See his long white beard? That’s where Santa’s beard came from. And the notion of gift bringing? A little from Saint Nicholas and a little from Odin.

The stockings by the chimney story is partly where the idea of Santa sliding down the chimney came from, but only partly. Odin often visited via Chimney Express. There are other stories too, but they will just complicate the blog so you’ll have to go research them yourself if you’re sufficiently interested.

Santa comes in many shapes. DearKidLoveMom.comThen we have the English Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (which is Dutch for Saint Nicholas) and (see where this is going?) in an interesting stew of Odin/Saint Nicholas/Father Christmas/some good old US merchandising/and a dash of snow and poof! we have Santa Claus.

Not everyone was a fan of Santa-baby. The Puritans (who weren’t fans of anything fun) made it illegal to mention Saint Nicholas’ name, exchange gifts, light a candle, or sing Christmas carols.

There aren’t many people who miss the Puritans.

In 1917 when the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of state atheism was instituted in the Soviet Union, holiday celebrations were prohibited. Exit Santa stage left. Not a lot of people miss those days either.

Today, some people think Santa represents the Worst of All Things (commercialism, selfishness, greed). These are people who give children underwear as presents when children are expecting Anything Except Underwear. This (as you may know) is Absolutely Not OK in the Mom Book of Giving Presents to Children.

Others are HUGE fans of the Man in Red (and not just because of the gifts). Santa is male, doesn’t carry a gun, doesn’t talk down to people, is “peace, love, and joy” personified, and is still married. Also he has a twinkle in his eye.

More fun facts tomorrow.

Love, Mom

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