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Posts Tagged ‘santa claus’

The holiday season has started slowly for us. The household just was not ready for the onset of lights, decorations, and cheer! For instance: last year, I decided that if my neighbors were not going to play along, I was done with over 15 years of putting up outside lights and decorations. It takes a lot of work to do even the modest amount that I was doing, and so I boxed it all and dropped it off at a thrift store in January.

This year, 6 of my neighbors decided to put out Christmas lights in their yard or windows. Some of those neighbors have been subjected to my annual display and never once bothered to play along until I got rid of all the outdoor stuff. As Rodney Dangerfield would say, “I ain’t got no respect!”

We were late going out to get the tree, partly because of company over the Thanksgiving weekend, and – well, the loss of the family patriarch on my husband’s side. We would have gone into the mountains, but… Darn! The snow levels dropped to 3500 feet, making it impossible to get up to where wild noble firs grow. We were left with finding a tree lot with fresh trees or a U-Cut lot with wild-looking noble firs. There’s a tree shortage, and prices have skyrocketed. Oy vey, as my mother would have said.

We crossed that bridge with a very nice (but rather huge) noble that cost us $40 less than we expected to pay (whew! and thank God for short measuring tapes in the hands of those who charged us!).

Tree is up and the house (inside) is over-decorated as per usual. All the Santas, the snowmen, the ornaments, the Nativities (yes, I have more than one or two), and the wall hangings are up. We even hung our stockings, but it is a sad display without Harvey’s and Murphy’s stockings. Darn dogs!

Therefore, I made plans for us to attend an “Irish Children’s Christmas” at our favorite brew pub & tap house: Feckin’ Brewery.  We arrived early (no surprise) and locked in a first-class seat to watch the festivities. My grand plan was to stay long enough to see the Irish dancers, listen to some music, and watch the dog show (“best Christmas sweater on a dog”).

I dressed up these two over the years:

They were never very willing, especially not the dog on the right (Murphy, the German Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, who preferred to eat anything I tried to dress him up in). Harvey just looked sad, which was pretty much his default setting: looking sad and put-upon by his human family. Murphy always managed to look quite cheerful, especially as he demolished whatever costume I attempted to dress him up in.

There were seven dogs at Feckin’ today, which is possibly a record low. Usually, the number of dogs vs. children in the pub is about equal, but considering the Santa Claus draw, the children easily outnumbered the four (and three-) footed crowd. (Yes, one dog had only three legs. It gave me a doggie hug early on.) I tried to take photos, but the crowd was standing room only and I could not get close to the stage. Suffice it to say that the Standard Poodle should have won, the three-legged dog did well, and the dog that did win was a sweetheart.

Then Santa Claus arrived and even children who no doubt do not believe got into line to shake his hand and take a gift. Then, again, maybe all the little ones present believed, unlike my own children and grandchildren.

My daughter told her entire kindergarten class that Santa wasn’t real. That was in 1991. Yes, I am the mother that received THAT phone call. I assured the Kindergarten teacher that it was an anomaly, because *I* believe. Somehow, I never could pass that faith in the jolly old fellow on to my descendants. Just this last November, the four Alaska grands informed me that Santa is not real.

“How do you know that?” I asked. They couldn’t provide an answer, so I stand by my belief in Santa Claus.

I miss them so much at holiday time, and my Georgia grands as well. Hanging out at the pub amid a crush of young families, small children, and a few brave doggos is my compensation. I’m happy my husband was a willing conspirator (even though he also does not believe).

Oh, what are we to do with all these nay-saying folks whilst Santa and his elves are loading up the sleigh?

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!”

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A Fox News Anchor (Megyn Kelly) recently made the statement that Jesus was white and so is Santa Claus. I have been thinking about her assertions for the past two days. My gut reaction was to make fun of her. I’m not going to take Megyn Kelly apart here. She’s being vilified in enough places. And I find myself agreeing with Reza Aslan on the subject: Megyn’s Christ probably is white. (Follow the link and read the article on the Washington Post site). Instead, I think I’d just like to take the moment to share my own multi-cultural collection of historical figurines (yes, figurines – I’ve never actually seen Jesus or Santa).

I also want to confess that I thought the Virgin Mary was a blond-haired blue-eyed young woman for the first two decades of my life. Joseph, of course, always looked rather Jewish, with his long nose, tanned skin, and dark hair. It was only when I actually became a Christian and read the Bible in the context of the Middle-east that I realized Mary was most definitely not Aryan. She probably had a long nose, too, not the pert little nose of my childhood icon. And dark brown eyes, like my sister’s eyes.

Enter my collection of figurines representing the icons of debate:

I collect Nativities. Some of them are truly corny Nativities. But each is unique. I currently have 5, and each one shows a very different Jesus.

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This is my oldest set. The two Wise Men were added to it last year (a gift from a friend at the office). My maternal grandmother painted Joseph, Mary, and the Babe and fired it at one of those pottery places.

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In this Nativity, there is no telling what color skin Jesus had. Everything is brown. The only outstanding feature is that Jesus has lost both hands somewhere over the years. He’s at a disadvantage in life. I kind of like that message, and so I keep Him (besides, Grandma signed the pieces).

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My department store Nativity set. My husband built the manger. The cow and the ass are not the same scale as the rest of the set. The shepherd boy is as tall as the Magi.

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Jesus is a blonde-haired, pale white Babe. Mary, however, has darker skin and hair.

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Here, Jesus is depicted as a Mowgli-sort of Babe, abandoned in the jungle and surrounded by the Animals who will protect and raise Him. He’s definitely African with dark skin and black curly hair.

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This is the dorkiest Nativity (and so I just love it): Jesus is an Inuit Babe.

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And here, the entire family looks to be very Palestinian.

Sadly, all my Santas are white.

017Especially the Lenox china ones. Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus.

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A short, white Santa.

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Not sure what skin color this Santa is. He almost looks more like a wizard.

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And this Santa is more into catci and hot peppers than he is into icicles and holly.

I researched Saint Nicholas. He was born in Patara, which is part of modern-day Turkey. I suspect the original man who became the legend was probably a dark-skinned man with black hair. He lived in 200-343 AD, so there are no photographs available (imagine that). However, his legend was quickly adopted by the Dutch (Sinter Claus), and he began to morph into a rather Dutch-looking fellow. After he came to the Americas, he was immortalized in Clement Clark Moore’s poem (A Visit from St. Nicholas) as a “fat, jolly” soul. And, finally, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew him in a red suit with white fur trim. I don’t really think it matters who wears the red suit or what color his skin is (aren’t the elves Green?), as long as he can get in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer who fly? And the lead reindeer had a red nose that glows. (That last reindeer, by the way, was discriminated against for the first few verses of his life – he is now “The Most Famous Reindeer of All”.)

 

(Gene Autrey – the best version EVER)

The one thing I think all people can agree on is this:

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All SNOW MEN are WHITE (unless they are yellow, and then… well, nevermind).

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It starts the day after Thanksgiving.

No, it isn’t Black Friday.

It’s Christmas Decorating Time. And I think I may have a problem.

No, the problem isn’t my incredibly small storage space. (This is what it looks like when all the Christmas boxes have been pulled out. Before the boxes are pulled out, you can’t see into it.)

And that is the problem. I have TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS STUFF for this house!

Pretty much every square inch of available space is taken over by Christmas. And while I am deeply spiritual about Christmas, a lot of my stuff is about Santa Claus.

I picked up this set of Lennox figurines depicting Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus for very little money at a charity auction one year. I absolutely love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each figurine is beautiful, but I really like the one of Santa and the little girl.

 

I even have retro Santa in plastic “stained glass” – I found these at a yard sale for a quarter. You can imagine my husband rolling his eyes.

Santa is everywhere in my little Christmas Village.

Santa even makes it to my front yard – with a couple of his reindeer and a sleigh full of toys.

Then there are Boy Scout tins. My son grew up and quit Scouts, but I can’t bring myself to discard the tins that popcorn came in.

(Okay – I store lights and ornaments in the tins)

The snowman has nothing to do with Scouts, but he fit in the corner with the tins.

I like Nativity sets, too. Even tacky ones, like this Eskimo Holy Family. I assume the eagle, the moose and the husky are the Magi and the baby seal is the equivalent of a lamb?

How about an African theme? No Mary or Joseph here, just a miraculous Baby Jesus/Mowgli in a land where lions lay down with zebras, giraffes and elephants.

Another African Nativity, but one that is not so tacky as it is simply stated.

You can’t see it in the photo, but the Babe has no hands.

It was a Nativity that my Grandmother Melrose hand-painted. When I inherited it, Jesus had been broken. I should just toss it, but it has my grandmother’s name etched under each piece.

A friend gifted the two Magi to me last year. I think they sort of round out the whole scene.

I do have a big Nativity scene, but it isn’t up yet. It takes up a lot of room and these days it is relegated to the loft, safe from dogs’ wagging tails.

I will set it up next weekend when we get the tree and put it up.

I really do not have room for everything. I couldn’t photograph it ALL because it is strung out through out the house.

I think I need help. I think maybe I have too much Christmas stuff.

Is that even possible? To have too much Christmas stuff?

(Don’t answer that.)

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You probably all thought I lost my mind the other night when I posted about Troll Hunting. I really didn’t. I just discovered the best Horror Film in recent years and it was subtitled in Norwegian. Better: my husband picked it out. He doesn’t watch movies with subtitles and he certainly is not into cryptozoology. Don’t ask me what his take is on Bigfoot.

It’s unforgivable. He’s an Unbeliever.

I’m not blogging about cryptids tonight, much as I would like to. I don’t have any good new information on strange creatures.

Does Santa Claus fall under cryptids? Maybe flying reindeer do. Hmmm. Something to think about. I believe in Santa.

Which brings me to a terrible confession. You know how every year you read some story about some mother who coerced her Kindergarten-aged child to tell other children that there’s no Santa Claus? And all these children went home with their dreams destroyed and the PTA had to call up the unrepentant parent?

Arwen was 5. I thought she was the light of the world and I knew she was dazzling the rest of her public Kindergarten world. That is, until I got The Call.

Mrs. Bates (yes, her Kindergarten teacher’s name was Kathy Bates. Scary, huh?) called me to inform me that Arwen had announced to every kid within earshot that Santa was NOT real.

Oh. My. God. I was suddenly The. Parent.

The only difference between myself and all those other parents was this: *I* believe in Santa. Arwen regularly received presents from Santa at Christmas. She merely chose to *not* believe.

That’s my oldest child for you: her mind is made up. She isn’t swayed. The positive side to this is that when all the neighborhood kids decided to ride their bikes off the edge of a cliff, Arwen was the one child who would refuse to follow the crowd. The down-side to this was: she told all of her Kindergarten classmates that Santa didn’t exist and her mother had to personally apologize to all those parents. Well, not all of them: I let Mrs. Bates be the middle person.

I’m a coward that way.

I tried to introduce Arwen to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, too. She was having none of it. I think she told her little brother, too.

My revenge? I make certain that Santa Claus brings presents to Arwen’s children. And to Levi’s children.

Arwen probably doesn’t believe in trolls or Bigfoot, either. She’s her father’s daughter.

I love her anyway. (And she’s my favorite daughter. She and Chrystal think that Levi is my favorite. They’re wrong. Levi is my favorite SON. Arwen is my favorite DAUGHTER. Chrystal is my favorite DAUGHTER. It happens. I challenge any parent of more than one child to pick a favorite.)

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