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  1. 5 points
    Raymond Joseph "Jim" Yellig Santa Claus, IN February 18, 1894 - July 23, 1984 One of the most beloved and legendary Santas of all time, Raymond Joseph Yellig (better known to his friends as Jim), was known as the Real Santa from Santa Claus, Indiana. Born in the small village of Mariah Hill, Indiana, just a few miles north of Santa Claus, Yellig would become the face of Santa Claus, Indiana, for 54 years. He served in the United States Navy prior to and in World War I. While aboard the U.S.S. New York in 1914, Yellig started the career for which he would become world-famous. While docked in Brooklyn, New York, the crew of the ship decided that they would like to do something nice for the underprivileged children of the area. A Christmas party was planned and since Jim was from the Santa Claus area, he was selected to be the jolly old elf. Yellig was so touched by the children’s happiness that he prayed, “If you get me through this war, Lord, I will forever be Santa Claus.” Yellig stayed in the Navy after World War I for a short time, serving over 17 years. After leaving the service, Yellig married his childhood sweetheart, settled in Chicago briefly, and worked for Commonwealth Edison. He returned to Mariah Hill in 1930 to open a restaurant. During this time Yellig would drive the short distance over to Santa Claus and talk with his old friend, postmaster James Martin. Over the years, Martin had begun answering the letters of children addressed to Santa Claus; he soon enlisted Jim's help. In 1935 Yellig organized the Santa Claus American Legion Post to act as Santa's helpers. He also started to dress the part of Santa Claus and became a fixture in and around the town of Santa Claus. Yellig appeared at Santa's Candy Castle and Santa Claus Town, the nation's first themed attraction, in the late 1930s and continued to answer letters from children who wrote to Santa. As an active Legionnaire, Yellig added to his fame by appearing in American Legion Christmas parades in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In 1946, Yellig became the resident Santa at Santa Claus Land, the world’s first theme park. At Santa Claus Land, Yellig was the main attraction. He was in costume over 300 days a year and his deep voice and hearty "Ho, Ho, Ho," is remembered fondly by all who met him. He wrote his own book in the late 1940s called, "It’s Fun to be A Real Santa Claus." Yellig also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, from "What's My Line" to "Good Morning America," and in many print ads. Yellig spent 38 years at Santa Claus Land. Even into his late 80s, Yellig would drive over to Santa Claus Land from his home in Mariah Hill to spend four to five days a week visiting and greeting children of all ages. Even in the months prior to his passing at the age of 90 on July 23, 1984, Yellig was still Santa at the park and continued to answer letters from children. Without a doubt, no Santa before or since has visited so many children in person as Jim Yellig. To many a generation he is simply Santa Claus. Source Phillip L. Wenz See also... Santa Claus Museum Holiday World Town of Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus Oath Map of Santa Claus, IN
  2. 4 points
    Though my avocation is storyteller, as many of you know, in "real life" I am a Financial Advisor. Recently I had opportunity to talk with some storytellers about the business aspects of what they do. Most of it is easily transferable to all of us as Santas. this is the first of several. I would ask if you comment, try to stick to the topics here. Other topics I will mention and we can discuss later. First all, determine if this is a business or hobby. If this is all you do, that is easy to determine. If like me you do several types of "entertainment", it can be either. In my case, I do not track Santa income and expense separately, but as line items in my overall "business". Therefore, if I have income from Santa or from doing a gig as a storyteller or even as a motivational speaker, it is still income from my business I categorize as "entertainer" on my tax forms. The easiest way to make a good determination is to talk to your tax man. Unless you are pretty good at tax law and changes, obtain the help of someone who actually deals with entertainers. It is really worth it because they know all the things to look for. Several things to remember; if you are going to claim it is a business, you can't claim to lose money every year. It can be helpful to your tax situation, but you do not want the IRS to view it as a planned loss each year. If you do plan to claim it - KEEP EVERYTHING!!! More on this later. Office: Do you have a specific room set aside for your Santa business? I do have an office in my home for my real job. I alsoou use that room for my storytelling business, so there is not an issue for me. If you do claim a portion of your home for your business it must be dedicated. This is NOT a bedroom with a closet for suits and "stuff" and maybe a desk in a corner. It can be a bedroom dedicated to your business... no bed, no dresser, unless it is for storing Santa stuff. Keep it honest. If you have a 2,000 square foot home - traditional space, and you use a room that is 10'x20', then that 200 square feet would be 1/10th of your home. Then it would follow that 1/10th of the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, electric and other utilities. Remember that cable TV really is not a utility you should count. Telephone is different and I'll mention it later. Again, KEEP records to prove your deductions. What usually does not fly is counting space all over your home... a little in the basement, a little in the garage, a little in the bedroom. Count one space as your business space.
  3. 3 points
    The following was posted on January 11, 2009 in Santa Rielly's blog, A Right Jolly Old Elf Well, it was bound to happen. Christmas 2008 will be the year I remember as the year I told my daughter that I was Santa Claus – or rather, to be exact, one of Santa Claus’s Ambassadors. I guess I should be thankful I got this far. After all, Meghan is almost 11. My son made it to 12! He only found out it was me after reading a newspaper article that mentioned my name. Back in 2006 she was wavering. I decided to see if I couldn’t get at least another year out of her. So I appeared in Meghan’s bedroom at midnight. I woke her up and handed her an American Girl Doll that she really wanted. I told her she had been doing really well in school lately and I wanted to give her something extra special for working so hard. She really wanted that particular doll and they were sold out everywhere, so handing her the doll made me feel especially like Santa Claus. I sat next to her on the bed for a while and we talked about school and her friends. After a few minutes I said that I had better be getting on my way and told her to go back to sleep. I wished her Merry Christmas and told her that I loved her. Meghan said good night and told me that she loved me too. The whole visit lasted maybe 10 minutes. But those 10 minutes got me another 2 years. Fast forward to Christmas 2008 - a few days before Christmas my daughter was looking at a few pictures. Meghan noticed that Santa Claus’s eyes are the same blue as Dad’s and that Santa Claus has a tiny birthmark on his cheek – also just like Dad. She then decides to interview (more like interrogate) everyone in the family. With a pen and notepad she starts jotting down her “clues” and after a thorough investigation, she comes to the conclusion that I must be Santa Claus. Although she cannot explain how I go from whiskers to clean shaven and back again, Meghan was convinced that I was Santa Claus. But Christmas Eve was the clincher. During the Homily at the Christmas Vigil Mass at our Church, Santa Claus made an appearance. Santa came out and greeted Father and wished all the Parishioners a Very Merry Christmas. He went on to discuss the true meaning of Christmas. Meghan and her brother were Altar Servers for the Mass. They sat only a few feet from where Santa delivered his Christmas Eve message. Later at the end of Mass after Meghan changed back into her street clothes, she and her brother met me at the back of the Church. As parishioners exited, a few of them would wink at me or thank me as they exited the Church. At one point my daughter was standing beside me when one of the Parishioners said to me “nice job”. Meghan immediately gave me a look and said; “I know why she said that!” I was caught. But I had a backup plan. Later in the evening, Meghan put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and lichen for the reindeer. She also wrote a very sweet note to Santa. In the note she invited Santa take a little break cookies and milk break and to please give the carrots and lichen to the reindeer. In the note she also mentioned that she thought that her Dad looked like him and left a little area for a reply. Her note to Santa was very cute and Santa’s reply was perfect! I’ll have to post that next time. Christmas morning came and Meghan ran down from upstairs. The cookies and milk were half eaten and the carrots and lichen were gone. She read the reply to her note that Santa had left on the coffee table next to empty plate of cookies. From there she went over to her stocking. As she reached for the stocking, she noticed something near the hearth of the fireplace. It was a heavy gold button with “SC” in the center and “North Pole” over the top. Attached to the button was some red thread. She reached down and picked it up. She recognized it immediately. "It must be one of Santa's buttons!; she said, “It must have gotten caught on the fireplace! I'm going to take it to school and show it to my friends that don't believe in Santa!” As you can imagine, at this point, I am thinking that I may have just gotten past another Christmas. But by December 26, the little wheels in her head started turning again. She decides to re-open her “investigation”. After several attempts to get me and her brother to admit that I am Santa Claus, she starts to get upset that we won’t tell her what she knows must be true. I can tell she is getting frustrated. So I decide to tell her the truth – that I am one of Santa’s Ambassadors. I tell Meghan that I have something very important to tell her. But before I tell her I make her promise that she cannot tell any of her friends and especially not her younger cousins and that this is our secret. She agrees. I hand her the letter to me from Santa Claus. I tell her to open it and to be careful because it is very old. As we roll it out her eyes widen. It smells old. It looks old. Clearly this was written a very long time ago. It’s dated December 24, 1974. It’s practically a relic! After she reads the letter, I explain to her how Santa Claus has a few men stand in for him when he can’t be there in person and that it is our job to spread joy and happiness to children. I told her that now that she knows, she could come along with me as one of my Elves. She loves the idea! I asked her what she thought. She told me that it was “cool” that I was Santa Claus. She asked me if I had my own sleigh or if I had to borrow Santa’s. She also asked me if I get to go to the North Pole every once in a while to see Santa. Apparently she thought that, that’s where I was going on all these business trips. That one caught me off guard a bit. When I was a boy, I only knew one Santa Claus – my grandfather. My parents never took me to see Santa at the mall or to a party where Santa was appearing. Every year, Santa would visit me and my brothers a few days before Christmas. We always felt honored that Santa would make a special visit to our house. After all, he always arrived with a police car and fire engine escort. Lights flashing and sirens blaring, Santa was usually accompanied by a policeman and my Dad (also a policeman). Santa sat with us for no more than 15 minutes and he was whisked off to another appointment. To this day, my parents never sat down with me and said, “ya know there is no such thing Santa Claus.” In fact, when I moved out of my parent’s house at 19, there were still gifts under the tree and presents in my stocking from Santa Claus. No one ever told us there was no Santa Claus.
  4. 2 points
    Thomas Nast at Maculloch Hall Historical Museum By Black River Santa Where can you find Santa Claus, the GOP Elephant, the Tammany Tiger, Uncle Sam, Ulysses S Grant, and a host of other historical and political icons all under one roof? The Thomas Nast Collection at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum. My wife and I were taken on a festive private tour of Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, in Morristown, NJ, this past Christmas season. This gorgeous federal, Georgian style mansion was built by George Perrott Macculloch (1775-1858), the scion of a wealthy Scottish family and a prosperous businessman, who came to New Jersey with his wife, Louisa, in 1810. The historic home has three floors of period rooms meticulously appointed and adorned with a fabulous selection of European and American furniture, decorative art, porcelain (Including an incredible array of White House China), and a famous antique carpet collection from the Middle East and China dating from the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Almost everything at Macculloch Hall, from the primitive kitchen utensils to the opulent chandeliers, were collected by the museum’s founder, W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976), a mining executive, philanthropist, collector, and former two-time Morristown mayor, who established the museum in 1950. Todd was also responsible for assembling the core of the Museum’s most well-known holding – the Thomas Nast Collection, the largest single collection of American political cartoonist Thomas Nast’s original works in the world. Dubbed “the father of American Political Cartoonists,” Nast was one of the country’s most influential and celebrated illustrators. A German immigrant, Nast came to America when he was five years old. Unable to speak English, he struggled in his classes and spent most of his time drawing with the waxy stubs of reject crayons that were given to him by a neighbor who manufactured crayons and candles. Largely uneducated and with limited artistic training, Nast was nonetheless determined to find a job doing the only thing he thought he was good at – drawing. At 15, he landed a job at Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News, but it was his work at Harper’s Illustrated during the Civil War that made him a household name. Nast and his crusading pencil brought readers stirring, heart-felt, and patriotic sketches so persuasive, that Lincoln referred to Nast as his best recruiting sergeant. Nast also turned his wrath on political corruption in New York, taking on William “Boss” Tweed and his Tammany Hall cronies. It was his feud with Tweed that led Nast to leave New York with his family and settle in Morristown, NJ, in his own stately manor directly across the street from Macculloch Hall, dubbed “Villa Fontana.” Capable of bringing down hard-nosed kingpins or turning public opinion against a political candidate with his venomous caricatures, Nast could also tug at the heartstrings of Harper’s readers with his melodramatic engravings of “Columbia” or tear-jerking visions of Emancipation, and none were more endearing than his “annual gift to the readers of Harper’s Weekly,” published each year at Christmas time. During his tenure at Harper’s Nast produced 76, signed published Christmas engravings including his famous images of Santa Claus. Inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Nast’s early engravings stayed true to Moore’s description and thrilled readers with their first look at Santa, his sleigh, and his “eight tiny reindeer.” Over the years, Nast introduced modern twists to Moore’s conception that have endured as part of the Santa Claus story, such as placing St. Nick’s home at the North Pole; giving him a workshop and elves; having children mail letters to Santa; and the dreaded “naughty or nice” list. Since 1870, many popular American illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, have sketched out their own visions of Santa Claus but they have all been based on Nast’s original depiction. Yuletide is a tough time for Santas to find the time to visit Macculloch Hall, but for anyone dedicated to the Santa Claus tradition, it’s definitely a pilgrimage worth taking any time of year. The museum is open year-round and Morristown offers a myriad of entertainment options and great dining, including museums, music, Revolutionary War sites like the Jockey Hollow encampment and Washington’s Headquarters, as well as great parks and recreation. If you’re interested, you can find more information at maccullochall.org and morristourism.org.
  5. 2 points
    The Santa Claus Oath I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries of bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people that I encounter in my journeys and travels. I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults. I understand that the true and only gift I can give, as Santa, is myself. I acknowledge that some of the requests I will hear will be difficult and sad. I know in these difficulties there lies an opportunity to bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion. I know the “real reason for the season” and know that I am blessed to be able to be a part of it. I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be supportive, honest, and show fellowship to my peers. I promise to use “my” powers to create happiness, spread love and make fantasies come to life in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend. I pledge myself to these principles as a descendant of Saint Nicholas the gift giver of Myra. All words, contents, images, and descriptions of the Santa Claus Oath including the Santa Claus Oath Crest are copyrighted under an attachment with Arcadia Publishing 2008 by Phillip L. Wenz. ISBN # 978-0-7385-4149-5 and LCCC # 2007925452 - All rights reserved.
  6. 2 points
    As a Financial Advisor I also often get questions this time of year about what is deductible. Although I will mention things in broad terms, it is always best to ask your tax advisor about your specific items. Here is a good rule of thumb: If it cannot be used for other purposes and is purchased specifically and exclusively for your Santa business, it is usually deductible. Some examples: Santa suit - yes, can't be worn to work or church or anything "normal" Santa belt - yes Wig and beard - yes Boots - this one is tricky - do you wear them to ride your motorcycle? Do you wear them everyday? With Jeans? Might not be deductible. If they are exclusive to Santa then yes. Bells, toys, stickers or candy to give away - yes Eyewear - another tricky one. Do you use them exclusively for Santa? yes if exclusive, no if you wear them everyday. Santa's chair - yes, if it is decorative and not used for other purposes. Memberships to Santa organizations - yes Books for Santa or your Santa business - yes Here are some tricky ones: Domain name and hosting - yes if exclusive for Santa Internet service - usually you can deduct a portion. Speak with your tax advisor Home phone or cell phone - same as internet service Mileage - a qualified yes. Speak with your tax advisor, keep good records. It can get a little complicated - donated time as a volunteer, for example can count as a donation. Get advice. KEEP RECORDS Hair care products, bleach, etc - complicated. If you bleach year round it may not be deductible. Storage containers - yes, if used only for Santa stuff. Software, computer equipment, cameras, electronics - mostly no, but qualified. You must prove the equipment is dedicated and cannot be used in every day life. Talk to your tax advisor. Most of all, with everything, keep good records! I often recommend that clients buy a 3-ring binder and fill it with paper. Tape receipts to the pages and make notes beside the receipt as to what was purchased and the use. I also recommend that business purchases be made separate from personal purchases. Keep the receipts separate; it is easier that way. Keep your mileage in a small notebook in your car - or even better, if possible do a MapQuest directions printout for your mileage and place in the same 3-ring binder.
  7. 1 point
    Nicholas the Wonder Worker A Look At Our Patron Saint A few weeks ago now a group of Santa Clauses met in a little town in the Smoky Mountains. As they met they took a pledge, a pledge that their brothers from all over the globe join them in taking. One of the lines reads as follows: “I pledge myself to these principals as a descendant of St. Nicholas the gift giver of Myra.” -- The Santa Claus Oath, Phillip Wenz They made a pledge to ideals that should befit every Santa Claus, closing that this pledge was made as a descendant of Saint Nicholas of Myra/Bari. These men have dedicated their lives to uphold the character of a man that truly very little is known about, yet his life has touched the world in a special way. Who was he? Why was he special? How does this one figure remain alive after 1700 years after his natural life has ended? Who is Saint Nicholas? What Did Saint Nicholas Look Like? If you would see him you would never think of the jolly, plump Santa that we all know and love. In contrast, Nicholas was a rather tall and slender man. His beard was more likely cut in the fashion of the times, being cropped close to the jawbone. This is much different than the long, flowing beard of our Santa. Saint Nicholas Icons, Author’s Collection A study performed on the remains of Nicholas in the 1950s by Luigi Martino, the University of Bari, described a man who had a bent back, worn shoulders, and a broken nose. The study also revealed that the Saint had lived on mainly a meatless diet. Nicholas would have been dressed in the clerical vestments of the day, carrying a long shepherd’s staff (crosier). Indeed the picture of Saint Nicholas is far different from that of our beloved Santa. However, the two share the common bond that became the seed of the Santa Legacy – a deeply rooted love and generosity to children of all ages. Left: 2004 Facial Reconstruction, by Anand Kapoor. Right: 2014 Updated Facial Reconstruction What was Saint Nicholas’ Early Life Like? Imagine the small Mediterranean village of Patara, in modern Turkey, between the years of 260-280AD. This was the hometown of Nicholas, who was born to Theophanes and Nonna. By accounts Theophanes was a prosperous merchant, and both he and his wife were very active in the Christian community. They had spent much time in prayer asking for a son. Then came Nicholas (which means the people’s victor) as an answer to that prayer. The stories about him begin at this point. One account says that the baby was standing on his own and talking at the instance of his birth. As Nicholas grew into his early teens we see the picture of a devout young man who fasted every Wednesday and Friday – a practice he continued all his life. It was said of Nicholas that he excelled in his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and in the daily virtues of the Christian life. He especially held to a strict code of chaste thinking, abstinence, and temperance. He was also said to spend long hours in prayer to his Heavenly Father, sometimes for an entire day and night. This raised the attention of his uncle, who some accounts say was the bishop of Patara at the time. His name was Nicholas as well, and he realized that his nephew had a true calling for the service of God. It was at this point that, with the help of his uncle, he entered the monastery of Sion. He excelled in his ministerial studies, and when Nicholas was ordained, the elder Bishop Nicholas prophesied: “I see, brethren, a new sun rising above the earth and manifesting in himself a gracious consolation for the afflicted. Blessed is the flock that will be worthy to have him as its pastor, because this one will shepherd well the souls of those who have gone astray, will nourish them on the pasturage of piety, and will be a merciful helper in misfortune and tribulation.” As time went on and the old bishop decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, he left the care of the congregation to Nicholas. It was said that the future saint took the work very seriously, spending much time in fervent prayer and fasting. His care for the congregation was every bit as strong as that of his uncle. Also around this time came a great tragedy to not only Patara but also to Nicholas. A plague had swept through the town leaving no family untouched. Nicholas was left an orphan. However, Theophanes and Nonna had left a considerable inheritance to their son. Some of the priests admonished Nicholas that he should give it to the Church. But Nicholas had other ideas. He would use it to bless the needy. In his late teens to twenty in age, Nicholas was making his first steps to what he would forever be remembered for – a selfless giver to all. What Are Some Early Stories About Saint Nicholas? One of the earliest stories regarding his generosity actually took place when he was very young. A man in the village was unable to supply dowries for his daughters and was about to sell them out as slaves or prostitutes, as he was unable to give them a future. When Nicholas heard of the need of this very poor father, he came at night when the family was asleep and dropped a bag of gold either through the window or the chimney. Some accounts have this bag of gold actually falling into a stocking. Nevertheless, when the family awoke the next morning they were amazed and happy to find this gift. The father wept and thanked God. When it came time to marry off the man’s second daughter, Nicholas did the same thing. He secretly left another bag of gold in the night, which was received the next morning with great happiness and thanksgiving. Finally, when it came time to marry off the third daughter her father decided to find out who their benefactor was. So, Nicholas came once again in the night and left the bag of gold. This time the father chased Nicholas down and found out the identity of his benefactor. Nicholas made him swear that he would never tell the truth. Do you think that the poor man kept this promise? Nicholas Gives the Dowries, Author’s Collection How Did Nicholas Become a Bishop And What About His Early Miracles? At one point in Nicholas’ early life he went to Alexandria and the Holy Land to study. Upon the return home, the ship that carried Nicholas entered a mighty storm. The ship was tossed, causing a man to fall from the mast to the deck of the ship. He was pronounced dead. Legend has it that Nicholas, in the name of Jesus Christ, calmed the seas and then went to kneel beside the fallen sailor. After a prayer Nicholas told the man to, “Raise in the name of Christ our Lord.” This the man did, and it was this act that caused Nicholas to be revered by seamen unto this day. Upon his return to Myra, Nicholas happened to just walk into the Church and be pronounced the new bishop. Here is how he received this station. While in sleep the night before, one of the priests had a vision from Heaven that the first man to enter the Church the next morning would become the new bishop. To prove this fact the man would be named Nicholas. Having no knowledge of this Nicholas entered for prayer early in the morning. When the priests asked his name, they fell to their knees in thanksgiving. Nicholas was in his early twenties at this time. Bishop Nicholas took his duties very seriously, and brought much good to his flock. It is said that he loved all, especially children and those who were in need or afflicted. He was constant in prayer and led his congregation wholly in the faith. Was Saint Nicholas Ever In Prison? Sadly, Bishop Nicholas lived in a time when the Christian faith was not approved. The Romans did all they could to squelch this new faith and not only caused problems for but also killed many Christians. The Emperor, Diocletian, was the Roman ruler at that time and called for an empire wide persecution of all Christians. Though many died, many others (including Nicholas) were beaten and taken to prison. What happened to him while there we do not know, but one thing is known – Nicholas raised above all the pain that he had to endure and remained forgiving and friendly to his tormentors. Legend has it that while in prison, Bishop Nicholas would make small toys for the children of his guards. This in turn caused some favor with them. Even in the strongest of persecutions, our Nicholas stayed the course for Christ, and with the coming of Emperor Constantine was released after four long years of imprisonment. His back a little more crooked, Nicholas returned to his Church in Myra to much rejoicing from the people. What Were Some of Saint Nicholas’ Biggest Achievements for the Church? By far there are two major acts that Bishop Nicholas performed which must be considered his greatest contribution to the Christian faith besides just his noble character. In fact, both took place not too far away from his home in Myra. You see, during this part of history there was still the influence of idolatry among the people. Too, Christianity was still in its formative years and there were still conflicts to be fought. Not far away in the town of Ephesus there was an altar to the goddess Diana. Nicholas launched a religious crusade to destroy paganism. In so doing Nicholas won many converts to Christ. One account tells of how Nicholas called the false spirits out of the actual shrine and claimed it for Christ. Truly this act of faith should not be forgotten. Another great event took place in 325 AD in the town of Nicea. An ecumenical conclave was held be Emperor Constantine, as the teachings of Arius were to be debated. Was Christ truly divine? That was the question raised by this teaching, which held that Jesus was but a mere man. Upon hearing this, Nicholas went to Arius and struck him in the face. Arius and his supporters appealed to the Emperor that Nicholas be removed from the proceedings. He was jailed. Stripped of his position, many of the bishops and Constantine dreamed that night of Nicholas and were told to release him and restore his position as he was indeed working for the will of God. Legend has it that an angel came down to Nicholas in his cell and delivered a special book to his hands. One account says that it was a book of the Gospels while others contend it was the Book of Life. Nevertheless, Emperor Constantine released Nicholas and restored him to his place in the conclave. It was said of Nicholas by John the Monk, “He was animated like the prophet Elias with zeal from God, putting Arius at the council to shame not only by word but by deed.” In the end, the teachings of Arius were condemned and a new creed was established within Christianity proclaiming the true and full divinity of Christ. Of the 318 leaders that were at this conclave, Nicholas had proven to be the most zealous for the cause. After this Christian triumph he returned to Myra and cared diligently for his flock. Are Their Any More Stories Regarding Saint Nicholas? The stories concerning Nicholas are too numerous to fully write down. Many have become legend. However, there are three that must be remembered which took place during his life. It is said that upon his way to Nicea that Nicholas stopped at an inn for the night. Though the land was in drought and famine, Nicholas was treated to a dinner of roasted meat. This intrigued Nicholas and he went into the kitchen to inquire of the Innkeeper of where this meat had come. As he entered he found that the Innkeeper had actually kidnapped, killed, and dismembered three young children and had placed them in three barrels of brine. It was the thigh of one of these that he had served Nicholas. Nicholas rebuked the Innkeeper and stressed that he should repent before God. He then turned to the barrels and prayed for the children to be made whole through Christ. The three children came out of the water whole and unharmed. The Innkeeper repented and asked for forgiveness. Nicholas forgave him and called for God to do the same. Nicholas Saved the Children, Author’s Collection Nicholas Rescues the Innocent Soldiers, Author’s Collection In another instance, three soldiers had been condemned for a crime that they had not committed. In fact the three had been on the road with Bishop Nicholas at the time. The sentence was death, and when Nicholas heard the news there was little time for a formal pardon from the Emperor. So, off he went to their rescue. He found them on the field of execution with the blade of the headsman raised high above the first soldier’s head. Nicholas ran to the man and stopped the sword between his own hands. Unscathed, he proceeded to tell the officials of his presence with the soldiers at the time of the crime. The three were released. Famine was a reality in the area around Myra. So many stories deal with Bishop Nicholas feeding the hungry. One such legend finds Nicholas doing just that. The people were starving and they called upon the good bishop to help them. Far out on the sea was a ship filled with grain. As the captain slept he began to dream. In his dream he envisioned Nicholas beckoning him to come to Myra where he could sell his grain. This the good captain did and upon the morrow the town was saved from hunger. The captain also received the price he was asking. Some stories tell that when the captain returned to the ship it was miraculously filled with grain once again. When Did Saint Nicholas Die and Where Are His Remains? Nicholas continued doing great works for Christ until he was advanced in years. He had devoted his life to the ministry of Christ, and on December 6, 343, was called home to be with his Lord. His last words came from Psalm 11, “In the Lord I put my trust.” He was laid to rest in great honor within the small cathedral in Myra where he had served so long. He was buried there by much monastic pomp and by a countless crowd of mourners. All grieved for this beloved leader. He remained within his tomb there for nearly seven centuries, until a group of sailors from Bari, Italy, took the remains and carried them back home with them in the 1070s. There are many stories as to why they did this, but it appears that the most plausible was to protect the remains of Nicholas from the raiding Muslims who had just before destroyed many of the Christian sites of the area. He now lays within the Basilica di San Nicola di Bari in Italy. Upon opening the tomb the nostrils of the thieves were met by a very sweet and wonderful fragrance. It was discovered that myrrh, one of the gifts given to Christ at His birth, actually exuded from the remains of Nicholas. This myrrh, called “manna” is said to have many healing properties. Every May there is a festival in Nicholas’ honor. His feast day is honored as well, with the tradition reaching all over the world. Miraculous stories of Nicholas still are carried and his tradition and teachings are well remembered. When Did Nicholas Become a Saint? We really have no date to an official canonization of Saint Nicholas. The official canonization process would not be in effect until the 1000s. But, it is believed that he was called Saint Nicholas as early as the 500s when Justinian I built a church in his honor. Accounts from as far back as the 800s tell of him as Saint Nicholas as well. We definitely have proof that by 1100 he was perhaps the most beloved and powerful of the Saints. More churches and more monasteries were named for Saint Nicholas than for anyone else other than the Holy Family. Knowing this, it was a group of French Nuns that are said to have been the first to begin the practice of giving gifts on December 5, the night before the Saint Nicholas Feast in his name and honor. Each was done in secret, as was the method of the Saint. Statue outside of Saint Nicholas Church In Myra depicts Nicholas “Noel Baba” With children, Author’s Collection From this point on the legend of Saint Nicholas grew and expanded from Turkey to cover the entire world. Vincent A Yzermans wrote, “The evolution of Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus, embodying goodness and love, good cheer and virtue, heartiness and holiness was really not a hard one.” Stories of his generosity and especially his kindness for children, intermixing with various regional influences, have created the modern Santa Claus. As Santa Claus, we have a wonderful line of heritage that truly began in many ways with this man, the Wonder worker of Myra. As we all strive to be the best Clauses that we can be, let us never forget Saint Nicholas, his life, teachings, and example to all who believe in the wonders of childhood. ### Santa John Johnson © 2009 - All rights reserved. Updated: Michel Rielly, 2015 Source: Saint Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas by Joe Wheeler & Jim Rosenthal, Nelson Reference and Electronic, 2005 Wonderworker: The True Story of How Saint Nicholas Became Santa Claus by Vincent A. Yzermans, Assisting Christians To Act Publishing 1994 There Really Is A Santa Claus: The History of Saint Nicholas and Christmas Holiday Traditions by William J. Federer, Amerisearch 2003 Santa Claus: A Biography by Gerry Bowler, McClelland and Stewart 2005 Stories Behind The Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins, Zondervan 2003
  8. 1 point
    “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" has been a popular Christmas carol for nearly 150 years. Originally a poem by Henry Longfellow titled “Christmas Bells”, the text was set to music by composer John Baptiste Calkin (1827-1905) in 1872. Born in Portland, Maine on February 27, 1807, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was a 19th century scholar, novelist, and poet, known for works like 'Voices of the Night,' 'Evangeline' and 'The Song of Hiawatha.' On the morning of Christmas Day 1863, Longfellow was inspired to write a poem as he listened to church bells ringing throughout the town. The poem titled “Christmas Bells”, addresses Longfellow's deep despair at the time over the loss of his wife years earlier, his son who was wounded in the American Civil War, and the horrors of war. However, despite his sadness, in the end, Longfellow expresses his belief in God and innate hope that: God is not dead; nor doth he sleep The Wrong shall fail; The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men! Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men! It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth," I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
  9. 1 point
    On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, a national day of Thanksgiving. In it, Washington called upon all Americans to express their gratitude for a happy conclusion to the nation's war of independence and the successful ratification of the United States Constitution. Especially this year, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we should reflect on the full meaning of the day. Let’s strive to be truly thankful in our hearts this Thanksgiving. What better way to enter the holiday season? By the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES of America, A PROCLAMATION. Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. Go. Washington
  10. 1 point
    Born in Germantown Pennsylvania, Henry Jackson van Dyke (1852-1933) was an American author, clergyman, and English literature professor. He authored numerous books of poetry and devotion. Among his popular writings are two Christmas stories: The Other Wise Man (1896) and The First Christmas Tree (1897). One of his more notable books was,The Spirit of Christmas (1905); a collection of Christmas themed writings that includes short stories, prayers, and the following sermon entitled, Keeping Christmas. Keeping Christmas By Henry van Dyke It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas. Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness--are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas. Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open--are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas. Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world--stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death--and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you keep it for a day, why not always? But you can never keep it alone.
  11. 1 point
    English-born Canadian writer, Stephen Butler Leacock (1869 – 1944) is best known for his humorous fiction. At the height of his career between 1915 through 1925, Leacock was the most popular English-speaking writer in the world. The Errors of Santa Claus is one of several short stories included in Leacock’s book, Frenzied Fiction (1918). The Errors of Santa Claus by Stephen Butler Leacock It was Christmas Eve. The Browns, who lived in the adjoining house, had been dining with the Joneses. Brown and Jones were sitting over wine and walnuts at the table. The others had gone upstairs. "What are you giving to your boy for Christmas?" asked Brown. "A train," said Jones, "new kind of thing -- automatic." "Let's have a look at it," said Brown. Jones fetched a parcel from the sideboard and began unwrapping it. "Ingenious thing, isn't it?" he said. "Goes on its own rails. Queer how kids love to play with trains, isn't it?" "Yes," assented Brown. "How are the rails fixed?" "Wait, I'll show you," said Jones. "Just help me to shove these dinner things aside and roll back the cloth. There! See! You lay the rails like that and fasten them at the ends, so -- " "Oh, yes, I catch on, makes a grade, doesn't it? just the thing to amuse a child, isn't it? I got Willy a toy aeroplane." "I know, they're great. I got Edwin one on his birthday. But I thought I'd get him a train this time. I told him Santa Claus was going to bring him something altogether new this time. Edwin, of course, believes in Santa Claus absolutely. Say, look at this locomotive, would you? It has spring coiled up inside the fire box." "Wind her up," said Brown with great interest. "Let's her go." "All right," said Jones. "Just pile up two or three plates something to lean the end of the rails on. There, notice way it buzzes before it starts. Isn't that a great thing for kid, eh?" "Yes," said Brown. "And say, see this little string to pull the whistle! By Gad, it toots, eh? just like real?" "Now then, Brown," Jones went on, "you hitch on those cars and I'll start her. I'll be engineer, eh!" Half an hour later Brown and Jones were still playing trains on the dining-room table. But their wives upstairs in the drawing-room hardly noticed their absence. They were too much interested. "Oh, I think it's perfectly sweet," said Mrs. Brown. "Just the loveliest doll I've seen in years. I must get one like it for Ulvina. Won't Clarisse be perfectly enchanted?" "Yes," answered Mrs. Jones, "and then she'll have all the fun of arranging the dresses. Children love that so much. Look, there are three little dresses with the doll, aren't they cute? All cut out and ready to stitch together." "Oh, how perfectly lovely!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "I think the mauve one would suit the doll best, don't you, with such golden hair? Only don't you think it would make it much nicer to turn back the collar, so, and to put a little band — so?" "What a good idea!" said Mrs. Jones. "Do let's try it. Just wait, I'll get a needle in a minute. I'll tell Clarisse that Santa Claus sewed it himself. The child believes in Santa Claus absolutely." And half an hour later Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Brown were so busy stitching dolls' clothes that they could not hear the roaring of the little train up and down the dining table, and had no idea what the four children were doing. Nor did the children miss their mothers. "Dandy, aren't they?" Edwin Jones was saying to little Willie Brown, as they sat in Edwin's bedroom. "A hundred in a box, with cork tips, and see, an amber mouthpiece that fits into a little case at the side. Good present for Dad, eh? "Fine!" said Willie appreciatively. "I'm giving Father cigars." "I know, I thought of cigars too. Men always like cigars and cigarettes. You can't go wrong on them. Say, would you like to try one or two of these cigarettes? We can take them from the bottom. You'll like them, they're Russian — away ahead of Egyptian." "Thanks," answered Willie. "I'd like one immensely. I only started smoking last spring — on my twelfth birthday. I think a feller's a fool to begin smoking cigarettes too soon, don't you? It stunts him. I waited till I was twelve." "Me too," said Edwin, as they lighted their cigarettes. "In fact, I wouldn't buy them now if it weren't for Dad. I simply had to give him something from Santa Claus. He believes in Santa Claus absolutely, you know." And, while this was going on, Clarisse was showing little Ulvina the absolutely lovely little bridge set that she got for her mother. "Aren't these markers perfectly charming?" said Ulvina. "And don't you love this little Dutch design — or is it Flemish, darling?" "Dutch," said Clarisse. "Isn't it quaint? And aren't these the dearest little things, for putting the money in when you play. I needn't have got them with it — they'd have sold the rest separately — but I think it's too utterly slow playing without money, don't you?" "Oh, abominable," shuddered Ulvina. "But your mamma never plays for money, does she?" "Mamma! Oh, gracious, no. Mamma's far too slow for that. But I shall tell her that Santa Claus insisted on putting in the little money boxes." "I suppose she believes in Santa Claus, just as my mamma does." "Oh, absolutely," said Clarisse, and added, "What if we play a little game! With a double dummy, the French way, or Norwegian Skat, if you like. That only needs two." "All right," agreed Ulvina, and in a few minutes they were deep in a game of cards with a little pile of pocket money beside them. About half an hour later, all the members of the two families were again in the drawing-room. But of course nobody said anything about the presents. In any case they were all too busy looking at the beautiful big Bible, with maps in it, that the Joneses had brought to give to Grandfather. They all agreed that, with the help of it, Grandfather could hunt up any place in Palestine in a moment, day or night. But upstairs, away upstairs in a sitting-room of his own Grandfather Jones was looking with an affectionate eye at the presents that stood beside him. There was a beautiful whisky decanter, with silver filigree outside (and whiskey inside) for Jones, and for the little boy a big nickel-plated Jew's harp. Later on, far in the night, the person, or the influence, or whatever it is called Santa Claus, took all the presents and placed them in the people's stockings. And, being blind as he always has been, he gave the wrong things to the wrong people — in fact, he gave them just as indicated above. But the next day, in the course of Christmas morning, the situation straightened itself out, just as it always does. Indeed, by ten o'clock, Brown and Jones were playing the with train, and Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Jones were making dolls' clothes, and the boys were smoking cigarettes, and Clarisse and Ulvina were playing cards for their pocket-money. And upstairs — away up — Grandfather was drinking whisky and playing the Jew's harp. And so Christmas, just as it always does, turned out right after all.
  12. 1 point
    The Empty Workshop by John Gable What’s in Santa’s workshop? Let’s take a look around. They should be busy making toys, But no elves can be found. One should hear tiny hammers, See bouncing balls and bears, But all the shelves are empty, The tables and the chairs. There’s not a doll or train in sight. No jump ropes or toy cars. No Jack-in-boxes, building blocks, Toy drums or toy guitars. Perhaps we should be worried At this toy making reprieve, But for tonight we’ll worry not For this is Christmas Eve! The toys are packed and ready Up there on Santa’s sleigh. Tonight we rest , and then start work For next year’s Christmas Day!
  13. 1 point
    Christmas Trees by Robert Frost, 1916 A Christmas circular letter The city had withdrawn into itself And left at last the country to the country; When between whirls of snow not come to lie And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove A stranger to our yard, who looked the city, Yet did in country fashion in that there He sat and waited till he drew us out, A-buttoning coats, to ask him who he was. He proved to be the city come again To look for something it had left behind And could not do without and keep its Christmas. He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees; My woods—the young fir balsams like a place Where houses all are churches and have spires. I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas trees. I doubt if I was tempted for a moment To sell them off their feet to go in cars And leave the slope behind the house all bare, Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon. I’d hate to have them know it if I was. Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees, except As others hold theirs or refuse for them, Beyond the time of profitable growth— The trial by market everything must come to. I dallied so much with the thought of selling. Then whether from mistaken courtesy And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.” “I could soon tell how many they would cut, You let me look them over.” “You could look. But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.” Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close That lop each other of boughs, but not a few Quite solitary and having equal boughs All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to, Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one, With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.” I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so. We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over, And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.” “A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?” He felt some need of softening that to me: “A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.” Then I was certain I had never meant To let him have them. Never show surprise! But thirty dollars seemed so small beside The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents (For that was all they figured out apiece)— Three cents so small beside the dollar friends I should be writing to within the hour Would pay in cities for good trees like those, Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools Could hang enough on to pick off enough. A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had! Worth three cents more to give away than sell, As may be shown by a simple calculation. Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter. I can’t help wishing I could send you one, In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.
  14. 1 point
    Charles W. Howard Albion, NY June 15, 1896 - May 1, 1966 Charles W. Howard was truly an American Original. Howard's professional Santa career is that of legend. He was born in the house that he would live in his entire life. The small town boy never left Albion, New York, except to venture out to be Santa. Howard first played Santa as a boy in a classroom play. As an adult he found himself asked to help a friend out and play Santa in a store front window in downtown Albion. This experience helped Howard's urge to perfect the role of Santa Claus as much as he could. In his early career Howard caught the train next to his farm in Albion and commuted to Rochester, New York and then Buffalo, New York to be Santa in department stores. It was about this time he started to develop the idea for a "school" for Santas. Howard's first school was in the fall of 1937. Howard also appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1948 through 1965. Oddly, he never worked as Santa in the New York City flagship store. From 1948-1964, Howard flew from New York City to Kansas City, Missouri to be the Santa at the Macy's store there. In 1965, his last Christmas season, Howard worked at Nieman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. In the late 1940's, Howard started to convert the three barns behind his house in to what became "Christmas Park." This small amusement park became known all over the Northeastern United States. The park included the classroom and dressing rooms for the Santa Claus School. Before using this facility, Howard taught his school in his living room of his house. (With some exceptions, Howard's three session school held in Santa Claus, Indiana in 1938 and the schools held at the St. George Hotel in NYC after WWII.) Student from all over came to Albion. Stores like J.L. Hudson's in Detroit, Gimbel's in Philadelphia, Foley's in Houston, and Dillard's in Little Rock all sent students and executives to the school. Howard was even asked to go to Australia in 1965 to teach a special school there. Appearances on television, in magazines and newspapers included: What's my Line, To Tell the Truth, The Tonight Show, Life Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post. He was also hired as a consultant for Miracle on 34th Street. The contributions of Howard's work are embedded in the Santa Claus world today. One of Howard's most memorable quotes sums it up... "To say there is no Santa Claus is the most erroneous statement in the world. Santa Claus is a thought that is passed from generation to generation. After time this thought takes on a human form. Maybe if all children and adults understand the symbolism of this thought we can actually attain Peace on Earth and good will to men everywhere." Charles W. Howard passed away on May 1, 1966 at the age of 69. Source Phillip L. Wenz See also... The International Santa Claus Hall of Fame The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School The Official Charles W Howard Website Santa Claus Oath Map of Albion, NY
  15. 1 point
    Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh-Ride by Katherine Lee Bates D. Lothrop Co., 1889 Santa, must I tease in vain, Deer? Let me go and hold the reindeer, While you clamber down the chimneys. Don't look savage as a Turk! Why should you have all the glory of the joyous Christmas story, And poor little Goody Santa Claus have nothing but the work? It would be so very cozy, you and I, all round and rosy, Looking like two loving snowballs in our fuzzy Arctic furs, Tucked in warm and snug together, whisking through the winter weather Where the tinkle of the sleigh-bells is the only sound that stirs. You just sit here and grow chubby off the goodies in my cubby From December to December, till your white beard sweeps your knees; For you must allow, my Goodman, that you're but a lazy woodman And rely on me to foster all our fruitful Christmas trees. While your Saintship waxes holy, year by year, and roly-poly, Blessed by all the lads and lassies in the limits of the land, While your toes at home you're toasting, then poor Goody must go posting Out to plant and prune and garner, where our fir-tree forests stand. Oh! but when the toil is sorest how I love our fir-tree forest, Heart of light and heart of beauty in the Northland cold and dim, All with gifts and candles laden to delight a boy or maiden, And its dark-green branches ever murmuring the Christmas hymn! Yet ask young Jack Frost, our neighbor, who but Goody has the labor, Feeding roots with milk and honey that the bonbons may be sweet! Who but Goody knows the reason why the playthings bloom in season And the ripened toys and trinkets rattle gaily to her feet! From the time the dollies budded, wiry-boned and saw-dust blooded, With their waxen eyelids winking when the wind the tree-tops plied, Have I rested for a minute, until now your pack has in it All the bright, abundant harvest of the merry Christmastide? Santa, wouldn't it be pleasant to surprise me with a present? And this ride behind the reindeer is the boon your Goody begs; Think how hard my extra work is, tending the Thanksgiving turkeys And our flocks of rainbow chickens — those that lay the Easter eggs. Home to womankind is suited? Nonsense, Goodman! Let our fruited Orchards answer for the value of a woman out-of-doors. Why then bid me chase the thunder, while the roof you're safely under, All to fashion fire-crackers with the lighting in their cores? See! I've fetched my snow-flake bonnet, with the sunrise ribbons on it; I've not worn it since we fled from Fairyland our wedding day; How we sped through iceberg porches with the Northern Lights for torches! You were young and slender, Santa, and we had this very sleigh. Jump in quick then? That's my bonny. Hey down derry! Nonny nonny! While I tie your fur cap closer, I will kiss your ruddy chin. I'm so pleased I fall to singing, just as sleigh-bells take to ringing! Are the cloud-spun lap-robes ready? Tirra-lirra! Tuck me in. Off across the starlight Norland, where no plant adorns the moorland Save the ruby-berried holly and the frolic mistletoe! Oh, but this is Christmas revel! Off across the frosted level Where the reindeers' hoofs strike sparkles from the crispy, crackling snow! There's the Man i' the Moon before us, bound to lead the Christmas chorus With the music of the sky-waves rippling round his silver shell — Glimmering boat that leans and tarries with the weight of dreams she carries To the cots of happy children. Gentle sailor, steer her well! Now we pass through dusky portals to the drowsy land of mortals; Snow-enfolded, silent cities stretch about us dim and far. Oh! how sound the world is sleeping, midnight watch no shepherd keeping, Though an angel-face shines gladly down from every golden star. Here's a roof. I'll hold the reindeer. I suppose this weather-vane, Dear, Some one set here just on purpose for our teams to fasten to. There's its gilded cock, — the gaby! — wants to crow and tell the baby We are come. Be careful, Santa! Don't get smothered in the flue. Back so soon? No chimney-swallow dives but where his mate can follow. Bend your cold ear, Sweetheart Santa, down to catch my whisper faint: Would it be so very shocking if your Goody filled a stocking Just for once? Oh, dear! Forgive me. Frowns do not become a Saint. I will peep in at the skylights, where the moon sheds tender twilights Equally down silken chambers and down attics bare and bleak. Let me show with hailstone candies these two dreaming boys — the dandies In their frilled and fluted nighties, rosy cheek to rosy cheek! What! No gift for this poor garret? Take a sunset sash and wear it O'er the rags, my pale-faced lassie, till thy father smiles again. He's a poet, but — oh, cruel! he has neither light nor fuel. Here's a fallen star to write by, and a music-box of rain. So our sprightly reindeer clamber, with their fairy sleigh of amber, On from roof to roof , the woven shades of night about us drawn. On from roof to roof we twinkle, all the silver bells a-tinkle, Till blooms in yonder blessèd East the rose of Christmas dawn. Now the pack is fairly rifled, and poor Santa's well-nigh stifled; Yet you would not let your Goody fill a single baby-sock; Yes, I know the task takes brain, Dear. I can only hold the reindeer, And so see me climb down chimney — it would give your nerves a shock. Wait! There's yet a tiny fellow, smiling lips and curls so yellow You would think a truant sunbeam played in them all night. He spins Giant tops, a flies kites higher than the gold cathedral spire In his creams — the orphan bairnie, trustful little Tatterkins. Santa, don't pass by the urchin! Shake the pack, and deeply search in All your pockets. There is always one toy more. I told you so. Up again? Why, what's the trouble? On your eyelash winks the bubble Mortals call a tear, I fancy. Holes in stocking, heel and toe? Goodman, though your speech is crusty now and then there's nothing rusty In your heart. A child's least sorrow makes your wet eyes glisten, too; But I'll mend that sock so nearly it shall hold your gifts completely. Take the reins and let me show you what a woman's wit can do. Puff! I'm up again, my Deary, flushed a bit and somewhat weary, With my wedding snow-flake bonnet worse for many a sooty knock; But be glad you let me wheedle, since, an icicle for needle, Threaded with the last pale moonbeam, I have darned the laddie's sock. Then I tucked a paint-box in it ('twas no easy task to win it From the Artist of the Autumn Leaves) and frost-fruits white and sweet, With the toys your pocket misses — oh! and kisses upon kisses To cherish safe from evil paths the motherless small feet. Chirrup! chirrup! There's a patter of soft footsteps and a clatter Of child voices. Speed it, reindeer, up the sparkling Arctic Hill! Merry Christmas, little people! Joy-bells ring in every steeple, And Goody's gladdest of the glad. I've had my own sweet will.
  16. 1 point
    Old Santeclaus by Clement Clark Moore, 1821 Old Santeclaus with much delight His reindeer drives this frosty night, O’er chimney-tops, and tracks of snow, To bring his yearly gifts to you. The steady friend of virtuous youth, The friend of duty, and of truth, Each Christmas eve he joys to come Where love and peace have made their home. Through many houses he has been, And various beds and stockings seen; Some, white as snow, and neatly mended, Others, that seemed for pigs intended. Where e’er I found good girls or boys, That hated quarrels, strife and noise, I left an apple, or a tart, Or wooden gun, or painted cart. To some I gave a pretty doll, To some a peg-top, or a ball; No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets, To blow their eyes up, or their pockets. No drums to stun their Mother’s ear, Nor swords to make their sisters fear; But pretty books to store their mind With knowledge of each various kind. But where I found the children naughty, In manners rude, in temper haughty, Thankless to parents, liars, swearers, Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers, I left a long, black, birchen rod, Such as the dread command of God Directs a Parent’s hand to use When virtue’s path his sons refuse.
  17. 1 point
    Tips on Choosing a Good Domain Name One of the most important things to consider when building your website is the domain name. Here are a few tips that may help. First let's discuss the difference between a domain name and a URL. The following example illustrates the difference between a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and a domain name: Registered Domain Name: clausnet.com URL: http://www.clausnet.com/ A URL can be thought of as the "address" of a web page. The URL is sometimes referred to as a "web address." The URL "points" to a specific location on the website. A Domain consists of two main parts or labels which are separated by dots, such as: "clausnet.com". The rightmost label indicates the top-level domain (TLD). There are a limited number of top level domains. com - commercial business net - generic network gov - government agencies mil - military agencies edu - educational institutions org - non profit organizations Additionally, they are are country specific TLD such as: ca - Canada us - United States uk - United Kingdom au - Australia Each part or label to the left specifies a subdomain of the domain above it. In the case of "clausnet.com", "clausnet" is the subdomain above the top level domain of "com". Typically this is the unique part of the name. This part is normally the business or brand name. And if you are still awake at this point, the "www" label of the domain name indicates the web server that handles Internet request. Your Domain Name Should be Your Website Name Okay, now that we know what a domain name, lets talk about choosing one. Most importantly, be sure that your website (or business) name is the same as your domain name. If you go by "Santa Mike", then that is likely the first thing people with search on or enter in their browser when trying to locate you. When people think of your business, they think of it by name. If your name is also the web address, they will automatically know where to go. (i.e.; santamike.com) Short Domain Names or Long Domain Names A domain names can be up to 67 characters long. So, you don't have to settle for an obscure domain name like vfstnick.com when what you really want to is visitsfromsaintnick.com. However, there is something to be said about a shorter easier to remember and easier to type domain name as well. Longer domain names maybe easier to remember but they are often much more prone to typos. Of course these days it is very hard to get a short and meaningful domain name. I haven't checked recently, but I am pretty sure that "santa.com" and "santaclaus.com" are no longer available. Another advantage to longer domain names is that they have your website's keywords in the domain name itself. This gives the advantage with Google and other search engines. Hyphenated Domain Names I am often asked about hyphens in a domain name. When it comes to hyphens in the domian name there are more disadvantages than advantages. The first is that it is easy to forget the hyphens when typing the name. If eBay used the domain e-bay.com, how many people would end up typing ebay.com? There are thousands of websites set up everyday to profit off of misspelled domain names. Secondly, when people recommend your site to their friends verbally, hyphens in your domain name can potentially lead to errors. How do you think people will refer to your site if it is named "santa-claus-for-hire.com"? They might say, "Hey, check out his website; santa claus for hire dot com." Most people would type into their browsers: "santaclausforhire.com". Only in certain instances do hyphens benefit a website. For example, santa-claus-experts.com instead of santaclausexperts.com... COM, NET, or ORG The most common question on choosing a domain is what TLD to use. There are several schools of though on this. Some say that it is best to have the domain name of your choice, "santaclaus", even if it has a TLD of "dot net" or "dot org" rather than settle for an obscure domain name for the simple reason you can't get your first choice. Thus they would settle for domain names like "santaclaus.org" or "santaclaus.net" -- just so they can have "santa claus" in the domain. Others argue that only the "dot com" extension is acceptable on the grounds that browsers automatically default to the "dot com" extension. Therefore if your site was "santaclaus.net" and someone entered simply "santaclaus" in the browser it would automatically assume "santaclaus.com" My recommendation is to always grab the dot com domain. If the domain name you want is not available, then think about working your name around to fit a "dot com" instead of working domain extensions around to fit your name. However, if you get a domain name with an extension other than " dot com", make sure that you promote your website with the full domain name. For example, if your domain name is "santaclaus.net", make sure that when you advertise your site, call it "santaclaus.net" not "santaclaus". Otherwise people will assume a "dot com" extension. SOURCES Wikipedia
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