Fantastic World of GraceWatcher 

Christmas Page


Page created on October 12, 2002
Page updated on October 2009

Christmas Tree, Advent, Wreaths, Jesse Tree, Posadas, St Nicholas, Santa Claus,
The Night Before Christmas, Christmas Music and songs



The History of the Christmas Tree

The tradition of having an evergreen tree become a symbol of Christmas goes back past recorded written history.

The Druids in ancient England & Gual and the Romans in Europe both used evergreen branches to decorate their homes and public buildings to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Over the years, these traditions were adopted by Christians, who incorporated them as part of their Christmas holiday celebration.

Trees used specifically to celebrate Christmas are mentioned in the early 1600's in Germany and surrounding countries. The families would set up these trees in a prominent location of their home and decorate them with colored paper, small toys, food, and sometimes candles. As these people moved or immigrated to other countries, they brought this tradition with them.

Through the years many different things were used to decorate Christmas trees. As the world moved into the 1900's, many trees were decorated with strings of popcorn, homemade cards and pictures, cotton to look like snow, candy in all shapes and sizes, and occasionally, fancy store made glass balls and hand blown glass figurines. Candles were sometimes used, but often caused devastating fires, and many different types of candle holders were devised to try to prevent tree fires. Electric tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison has his first mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879. The early Christmas tree lights were handmade and quite expensive.

Today, Christmas tree ornaments can be found in nearly every size, color, and shape imaginable, and they are used to decorate the millions of Christmas trees used throughout the world.

The History of Santa Claus

Santa Claus has been called by several different names throughout the years. The original tradition and legend of Santa Claus may have been based on the early Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, originating in the 1600's.

Santa Claus really started to get famous when American author Washington Irving published stories about Santa Claus, referring to him as Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas arrived on Christmas Eve bringing presents for children.

Santa Claus changed and became more famous when writer Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem in 1823 about a Christmas Eve visit from Saint Nicholas, better known as "The Night Before Christmas" (listed below). Millions of children now could have a consistent description of Santa Claus and his eight flying reindeer.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."


Santa Claus is Popular!

American magazines picked up on the popularity of Santa Claus, and many different versions of Santa Claus were published over the next 50 years. Santa Claus even began to appear in advertisements for popular products.

The most famous reindeer, red nosed Rudolph started to appear in the late 1930's.

Santa Claus, Rudolph, and the other reindeer would get periodic boosts in popularity when songs, stories, movies, or videos were released about them. Some of the more significant of there were:

Santa Claus is coming to Town

Jolly old St. Nick

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Johnny Marks © 1949

Grandma got run over by a Reindeer

Around the world, Santa Claus is known as:

English - Kris Kringle

Dutch - Saint Nikolaas

Italy - Bobouschka

Germany - Befana

Sites all over the web about
Christmas, Santa Claus and other things about Yule

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  <>Animated Christmas Library
 
 

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