I'm not a fan of Christmas. Not the American Commercialized version anyway. I have this whole love/hate relationship with Santa Claus. The Hubby and I were talking the other day and I tried to explain why Santa bothers me so much.
All About Snownsidc.org/snow
Sponsored by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this website is especially nice for people who live in warm weather states to use when they want to capture that snowy feeling around the holidays. As it clearly states, "All About Snow brings you, well, everything about snow." Want to know the difference between a blizzard and a squall? Ever wonder why snow is white? There are lots of questions, answers, and bits of trivia about snow, storms, and other snow-related things (like glaciers and avalanches)to chill out the warmest heart. I especially recommend "Have Snow Shoe, Will Travel," an interesting history of snow removal in the U.S. And don't forget to click on "The Gallery" for some beautiful and impressive photographs of snow and snowy things.
"They didn't create Santa Claus." He said.
"They created the one that is plastered all over everything - the fat man with the beard." I said.
"Prove it." He said.
So, guess what folks you get to read about me proving it with the internet. Ain't technology grand?
I used Google as my starting point and typed in Christmas History. I scan the first few results and noticed that HistoryChannel had what looked like a one stop spot. Turns out maybe I should have typed in Santa instead. The history described on HistoryChannel.com did support my theory that it is mostly an invented holiday. While we Christians now celebrate it as the birth of Christ, this wasn't always the case. Seems, according to this site, before Christ, there was the winter solstice celebrations - a day to celebrate because the worst days of winter were behind them. Saturnalia and Juvenalia were celebrated by the Romans, the upper class celebrating the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on Dec. 25. Initially Easter was the main holiday for Christians. Celebration of Christ's birth came later at the choosing of Pope Julius I. The common belief is that he chose Dec.25 in an effort to absorb the pagan holidays thus gathering up all the popular celebrations in one blow. I think maybe it worked.
The site goes on to follow the Christmas holiday story, but what I want to know is about the fat guy. Lucky for me I notice a link to the side of what I'm reading - evolution of Santa. Jackpot!
Seems St. Nicholas is where the root of Santa begins. He was a kind monk, best known for saving three sisters from being sold into prostitution or slavery by their father. St. Nicholas provided the girls with a dowry to they could wed. He also became known as the guardian of children and Sailors (that explains a few things) and the anniversary of his death, Dec. 6, became a lucky day for big purchases and weddings. St. Nicholas's Dutch name Sinter Klaas became well known in New York in the late 1700's. Then Washington Irving helped pushed ole Sinter Klass into the lime light. Quote from the site:
In 1809, Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. As his prominence grew, Sinter Klaas was described as everything from a "rascal" with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a "huge pair of Flemish trunk hose."
Looks like I might be getting warmer with my Coca-Cola theory every minute, folks. I haven't seen a yellow-stockinged Santa ever. I read on to find that it was Clement Clarke Moore who first referred to him as a "right jolly old elf" and that is was cartoonist Thomas Nast that drew the first images we see today of a fat man in a suit. Looks like I might be wrong, but I'll keep pushing forward.
Once again Google gave me a helping hand. Look what I found! A site showing the images I knew I had read about somewhere. According to this site, the popular images we see today were first drawn by a Haddon Suldblom for Coca-Cola. Hmmmm. Which is it then? Was it Thomas Nast, political cartoonist, or Haddon Suldblom artist for Coca-Cola?
Well, we don't have to tell the Hubby right? Santa Claus is a legendary figure that has delighted children and adults alike for generations. We more recent generations have just done a bang up job of promoting him commercially.
Now if you'll excuse me I think I might have some making up to do.
I know I sound like an incredibly grumpy person, with my vocal dislike of many things, and I am. Something else I really don't like is shopping. To me shopping is like slowly ripping my eyeballs out while making me try on bad clothes and smell funky perfume in public.
Even outdoor malls make me want to curl up into the fetal position and suck my thumb. Which is why when it comes to shopping I'd much rather shop online or out of a catalog. No audience to be seen anywhere, just me and the screen or possibly the page. Thought I'd share a few of those sites with you today.
Burt's Bees - Earth Friendly Natural Personal Care Products. I really enjoy these products. I'm very sensitive to chemicals and funky smelling things. I was lucky to find this company a few years ago. They really do have the world's very best lip balm. Another really nifty thing is their kits. You can buy a small sample kits - each with its own area of focus - to try their products before you buy the larger sizes. I also think their story is pretty cool.
The Container Store - The Original Storage and Orginization Store. Some of you may already know about this place but I really wanted to mention it. Someday I just know I'll be organized and when that happens I'll be able to credit my ingenuity, the Hubby's paycheck and this place. Who doesn't need something to keep their ice cream as fresh as possible? This seriously is a site for your average organizational wannabe, like me. I think I could browse there for hours making the ultimate wish list.
Vita Cost - Top Brand Vitamins at Wholesale Cost. A very health conscious woman raised me. In today's world of processed foods and McDonalds, most everybody can use a daily vitamin. I don't know about your local store but I can't seem to find anything worth buying at a reasonable price tag. I love this site. Their prices are great. Their stock is enormous. And their service is wonderful. They also have a neat service called Ask the Doctor.
Ex Libris Anonymous I found this site through a link somewhere who-knows how long ago. While initially the former want-to-be-librarian cringed at the thought of turning old books into journals, I was intrigued. I bought a couple for the Hubby before his last deployment and have since bought a few more. This is a Mom-and-Pop sort of a operation, but I've never had to wait for an order longer than a week. The prices are wonderful and it is really interesting to see what they have showing up month-to-month. Check them out if you are looking for something a little bit different than your average journal.
Harvest Book Company - Books of Merit Bought and Sold since 1988. Being an avid book lover (despite my support of the above site) every now and then a book I want is out of print. I found this book site when I was managing a book store of my own. Every now and then a customer would come in and ask for something not on my shelves. My searches almost always led me to this company. Harvest is a great company for finding what you want and giving you a choice in terms of condition and price. There is a title search on the very first page. Their story is pretty nifty too.
Crafty Bitch - 100% handmade bags While I've never actually bought from this site, I enjoy looking at their stock. One of these days I really am going to break down and buy their Baker Bag. They accept PayPal or Money Order and they offer gift-wrapping with an insert card. Check them out for an unusual gift for the women in your life.
That's all for now folks.