A Month of Christmas: Ho! Ho! Ho! The Modern Image of Santa Claus

It is now nearing the end of Christmas Day in Thailand where, for the previous twenty-four days, I have posted articles dealing with different aspects of the Yuletide holiday season each featuring an appropriate stamp. Since I just spent the past four days donning a (very hot) Santa Claus suit for party appearances at various local kindergartens, I thought an examination of the most widely … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Ho! Ho! Ho! The Modern Image of Santa Claus

A Month of Christmas: Santa’s Around-the-World Journey by Sleigh on Christmas Eve

As I write this, it’s almost 8:00 p.m. Christmas Eve here in Thailand and Santa Claus has already begun his long series of flights delivering gifts to all of the good boys and girls in every corner of the world. This journey, via his technologically-advanced sleigh pulled by a total of nine reindeer (including the famous guide, Rudolph) will cover an estimated  316,899,308 miles (510,000,000 … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Santa’s Around-the-World Journey by Sleigh on Christmas Eve

Japan - Scott #3386c (2011)

A Month of Christmas: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town & Christmas in Japan

Earlier this week, I wrote that my favorite rock Christmas song is the live version of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” as performed by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in 1975 and released as the B-side of a single in 1985. The song was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie and was first sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town & Christmas in Japan

A Month of Christmas: The Elf

An elf (elves in the plural) is a type of human-shaped supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore. In medieval Germanic-speaking cultures, elves seem generally to have been thought of as beings with magical powers and supernatural beauty, ambivalent towards everyday people and capable of either helping or hindering them. However, the details of these beliefs have varied considerably over time and space, and have … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: The Elf

A Month of Christmas: Navidad en México

México, officially the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 770,000 square miles (2,000,000 square kilometers), … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Navidad en México

A Month of Christmas: Holiday Gifts & Gift-Bringers

The tradition of gift-giving is an old one, but it became associated with Christmas more recently. It is a relic of a pagan custom, namely, the winter solstice which in Europe occurs in December. This was celebrated in ancient Rome with gift-giving during the Saturnalia holiday, which took place that month. As Christianity became increasingly widespread in the Roman lands, the custom of gift-giving continued. … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Holiday Gifts & Gift-Bringers

A Month of Christmas: Ornaments

A Christmas decoration is any of several types of ornamentation used at Christmastime and the greater holiday season. Christmas ornaments, baubles or “Christmas bulbs” are decorations usually made of glass, metal, wood, or ceramics that are used to festoon a Christmas tree. Ornaments take many different forms, from a simple round ball to highly artistic designs. Ornaments are almost always reused year after year rather … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Ornaments

A Month of Christmas: Rudolph & Santa’s Other Reindeer

In traditional festive legend, reindeer pull a sleigh through the night sky to help Santa Claus deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve. The commonly cited names of the eight reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, based on those used in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly called “The Night Before Christmas”) by Clement Clarke Moore. The … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Rudolph & Santa’s Other Reindeer