Tag Archives: Santa Claus

Santa ‘s Getting Tough

I heard this on a local radio show yesterday.  I thought it worth sharing with you.Santa gets tough

Abbotsford police in British Columbia, Canada, have sent this card to all the local criminals.  It’s gone out to all known prolific offenders, gang members and drug dealers to encourage them to make a law-abiding New Year’s resolution.

The card features the force’s Police Chief as Santa dressed in tactical gear with the accompanying message ‘Which list will you be on next year?’: ‘You are always only one choice away from changing your life’.

An additional greeting continues: ‘We believe it is never too late to make a better choice for your life.  ‘For the sake of your family & for your own sake, consider 2013 the year you choose a new & better life.  ‘Make your New Year’s resolution now! We’re here to help.’ There’s even a phone number they can call.

The Christmas greeting hasn’t gone down well with everyone though and several complaints have been posted on the police Facebook page.

As for effectiveness? Word is, police are well on the way to halving Abbotsford’s crime since 2008 by 2013 and  Canada’s ‘murder capital’, is becoming one of the safest cities in the country. Looks like it’s working.  So what do you think?

And how many days, hours and minutes until Christmas Day – To see how long where you live click here.  It’s 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes, 17 seconds  and counting

And for no good reason except that I sometimes, well quite often,  have trouble parking and think some assistance would be helpful I am sharing here the Spanish version of car parking – hilarious

And now girls take a look at this Christmas gift list just to make sure you get what you want.  Leave it in a prominent place so that he can’t miss it.  And you fellows take note too.

Wish list

or, on second thoughts, you might want to read my recent post – You Bought Me What!
Here ends yet another scrappy post  today.

Just Thinking About Christmas

Santa at the beach

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is still strange after 40 plus years living in New Zealand.  I have told of how the first Christmas we were here my then 7-year-old daughter, asked in her piping Scottish accent “When is it going to snow Mummy”.  That first Christmas we had a fantastic summer.  All the promises that were made in the coloured brochures provided to us by the NZ High Commission in London proved to be true.  Long lazy days at the beach but at Christmas?

Even after all these years setting up a tree with lights and putting decorations around the house still doesn’t feel quite right.  And reindeer – where’s the snow?  Another vexing question for my daughter and her younger brother all those years ago was how would Santa get here if the reindeer didn’t bring him?  And more importantly, would he know that they had moved from Lenzie in Dumbartonshire, Scotland to Auckland, New Zealand?  And of course, there was no chimney – so how would he get in?

That first Christmas, the day dawned hot and humid and of course, having been brought up in the Northern Hemisphere I did the traditional dinner with all the trimmings.  Everybody ate in their bathing suits.  Another strange thing for us to contemplate (and add to the list of strange things).

Things went back to normal when we lived in Montreal and Christmas was once again in the winter.  And if you have ever been to Montreal in the winter you will know that there was no shortage of snow.  And there were two chimneys in our house so that solved the problem of access and the snow solved the reindeer question but by this time my children were 9 and 7 and Santa Claus (or Father Christmas as English and Scottish children knew him then) was relegated to the arena of fairies and fairy tales.

But now we are used to the upside-down seasons and accept that it will be warm and hopefully sunny on Christmas Day.  My son will no doubt cook a barbecue and we will relax on a patio with a cold drink in hand, surrounded by family and friends.

And as I write this post on Saturday, December 8 at 1pm I find that there are only 16 days 10 hours 58 minutes and 26 seconds to Christmas.  Is that sufficient time to do all the things on my Christmas To Do List?   Well, it will have to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..

Christmas Again!

holly

“Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you!”
Nursery rhyme and Christmas carol (frequently sung as a round)

Well Christmas with all the excitement and busyness is almost upon us.  No doubt you are looking forward to many parties and celebrations culminating in a special time with your family and friends.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of the facts and fallacies surrounding Christmas as we now celebrate it.

Did you know?

  • Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was the catalyst for the reinvention of St Nicholas into the jolly, fat image of Santa we now know?
  • Also invented by Moore, Santa’s travels are invariably connected to reindeer.  In the poem they are pictured charging through a winter sky complete with strong, elaborate horns.  But in winter reindeer lose their horns so are Santa’s reindeer all female or are they castrated males?
  • Moore omitted to tell us that St Nicholas was Turkish.  He was real and was born in Patara, Turkey.  He was an early Christian and in the 4th Century he became bishop of the district of Demre where some of his bones can still be visited.  Little fact is known of him, only oral legends relating to his goodness and kindness to children.
  • Another poem, this one by Frank Baum (who wrote The Wizard of Oz) told that Santa lived in a valley called Ho Ho Ho.  American marketers quickly picked up on the poem and Ho Ho Ho became Santa brand’s catch cry.
  • The song Jingle Bells never mentions Christmas and has no connection to Christmas.  It was originally composed for America’s Thanksgiving festival in 1857.
  • Nobody knows when Jesus was born or died. For many centuries people in the northern hemisphere celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day and the turning point in the long, often hard, cold winter.  Some 300 years after Jesus’ (guessed at) death date, Pope Julius I announced that 25th December would be the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  As Christianity spread around the world, this date took over the existing festivities and became “Christmas”.  The word Christmas didn’t come into being until 1032 AD.
  • The bible doesn’t say that three kings visited the baby Jesus but refers to “Wise men from the east”.  They may well have been astronomers (they did follow a star) or Zoroastrian priests and the fact that the three gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are mentioned is the possible basis for assuming there were three visitors.
  • And the gifts they brought.  Gold and Frankincense would be acceptable but in ancient times Myrrh was very expensive and used in embalming dead bodies and was burned at funerals to disguise the smell of bodies that hadn’t been embalmed.  Why would it be brought to a newborn child?
  • And everybody’s favourite – Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.  There have been 14 versions of this story.
  • Four Calling Birds in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  Originally it was four colly birds, colly being the ancient word for black (as in collier and coal) so colly birds were black birds.  As time went by colly fell out of use and didn’t make sense so people started saying four calling birds.  This doesn’t make sense either.
  • Decorated evergreen trees have been part of December celebrations in Europe for many centuries reminding everyone that spring is just around the corner.  The decorated Christmas tree became accepted in the UK when Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the children were depicted in the “Illustrated London News” standing around a lavishly decorated Christmas tree.
  • The use of X as in Xmas is not at all invalid or disrespectful.  The word Christ was never part of Jesus’ name, it is a title assigned by later worshippers in Greek meaning ‘the anointed one’.  In ancient Greece the letter chi was written with a symbol very like an X and the title assigned to Jesus was Xristos and was frequently abbreviated to just X.  So writing Christmas as Xmas has been considered acceptable for some 1000 years.  Note early publications were charged by the number of letters so using X in Xmas was encouraged.
  • The wassail ritual was an ancient pre-Christian custom of drinking a toast to the sun after the northern mid-winter approximately 25 December and hopes for a bountiful harvest in the coming warmer months. Hence the song ‘Here we come a-wassailing’ was a gathering of friends drinking a toast.  “Waes hael” in ancient English means “Be healthy” and the usual drink was a mixture of spices, apple juice and eggs.  (Give me a G&T any time).
  • Christmas was cancelled in England in the 1640s when Puritan law forbade churches to open on Christmas Day and banned home decorations, celebrations, carol singing and the creating of Nativity scenes.  December 25 was declared a day of everyday work and fasting.  The outraged populace made Christmas observances in secret until the Monarchy was restored in 1660 and King Charles II restored Christmas.
  • And finally, a horse named Santa Claus won the Epsom Derby in 1964.

So there you have my list – as my son always says I have a fund of useless information.  Enjoy it anyway.

Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
Charles Dickens.

Related Posts

Another Six Word Saturday

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

One More Sleep: Santa’s Here Tomorrow

So now I would  like to wish you all a very, very Happy Christmas. Thank you for reading and following my blog; thank you for your kindness and your friendship which has developed and grown over the preceding months.

  • May you be with those you love and love those you are with.
  • May your memories of those who cannot be with you be warm and loving,
  • May the true spirit of Christmas descend into this warring world and may peace be known and felt around this world.
  • May all your wishes come true or if not all of them, then most or some of them.

Happy Holidays