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Found 33 results

  1. Jimmy Durante Plays Santa Claus at Christmas 1961
  2. Michael Rielly

    Bah! Humbug!

    Most are familiar with the phrase “Bah! Humbug!” made famous by the miserly character Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens: “A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. “Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!” He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again. “Christmas a humbug, uncle!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t mean that, I am sure.” “I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.” “Come, then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.” Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, “Bah!” again; and followed it up with “Humbug.” Many people mistake Scrooge’s use of the term “humbug” as an expression of his disgust or displeasure towards Christmas. But the word actually has a different meaning and provides a key understanding into Scrooge’s actual feeling towards Christmas. The word “humbug” dates back to the mid-1700s, long before Dickens penned A Christmas Carol in 1843. There are many theories on its exact origin, but they all point back to a meaning of deception. According to the Online Entomology Dictionary Etymonline, “humbug” was often used to describe fraud or hoax. humbug (n.) 1751, student slang, "trick, jest, hoax, imposition, deception," of unknown origin. Also appearing as a verb at the same time, "deceive by false pretext" (trans.). A vogue word of the early 1750s; its origin was a subject of much whimsical speculation even then. "[A]s with other and more recent words of similar introduction, the facts as to its origin appear to have been lost, even before the word became common enough to excite attention" [OED]. Meaning "spirit of deception or imposition; hollowness, sham" is from 1825. Christmas joy made no sense to Scrooge. As far as he was concerned, the poor had no reason to be happy. So when Scrooge exclaims, “Bah! Humbug!” he is pointing out what he believes to be hypocrisy. Scrooge believed that those who speak of the love and charity of the Christmas season are pretentious and insincere in their beliefs, deceiving themselves and others. For Scrooge, Christmas was a true “humbug”; a time for fake joy and celebration with no real substance or purpose. A Christmas Carol is not the only literary use of the term “humbug” by Dickens. The word can be found in The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, and other novels. In L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), the word is used often. In the book, the Wizard describes himself as just "a humbug." “No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.” “Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a Great Wizard?” “Hush, my dear,” he said. “Don’t speak so loud, or you will be overheard–and I should be ruined. I’m supposed to be a Great Wizard.” “And aren’t you?” she asked. “Not a bit of it, my dear; I’m just a common man.” “You’re more than that,” said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; “you’re a humbug.” “Exactly so!” declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. “I am a humbug.” Perhaps the best example of “humbuggery” is the celebrated showman and entertainer, Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum. Barnum proudly described himself as the "Prince of Humbugs”. Barnum was a master of humbug, a point he makes in his book Humbugs of the World (1866): "[A]s generally understood, 'humbug' consists in putting on glittering appearances -- outside show -- novel expedients, by which to suddenly arrest public attention, and attract the public eye and ear". Barnum always maintained that his customers were not “suckers” but rather willing participants in his lighthearted pranks and hoaxes. “The people like to be humbugged”, he once said. So the next time you wish someone a "Merry Christmas" and some Scrooge replies with: “Bah! Humbug!” just smile and say: Christmas is no hoax!
  3. More info about travel to Europe: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe From England to Norway, Burgundy to Bavaria, and Rome to the top of the Swiss Alps, Rick Steves' European Christmas gets you a seat at the family feast; saves you a pew up in the lofts with the finest choirs; and hands you a rolling pin in grandma's kitchen as she labors over her best-kept holiday secrets. You'll join Romans cooking up female eels, Parisians slurping oysters, Tuscans tossing fruit cakes, and Norwegian kids winning marzipan pigs. Exploring the rich and fascinating mix of traditions — Christian, pagan, commercial, and edible — you'll see Christmas in a new light.
  4. Name: Rick Steves European Christmas Category: Christmas History and Traditions Date Added: 2016-02-01 Submitter: Michael Rielly More info about travel to Europe: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe From England to Norway, Burgundy to Bavaria, and Rome to the top of the Swiss Alps, Rick Steves' European Christmas gets you a seat at the family feast; saves you a pew up in the lofts with the finest choirs; and hands you a rolling pin in grandma's kitchen as she labors over her best-kept holiday secrets. You'll join Romans cooking up female eels, Parisians slurping oysters, Tuscans tossing fruit cakes, and Norwegian kids winning marzipan pigs. Exploring the rich and fascinating mix of traditions — Christian, pagan, commercial, and edible — you'll see Christmas in a new light. Rick Steves European Christmas
  5. Michael Rielly

    The Children’s Friend

    Published by William B. Gilley in 1821, “The Children’s Friend. Number III. A New-Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve”, is believed to be the first book published in America to include lithographic illustrations. This book includes a poem about “Santeclaus” along with eight colored illustrations. However, what makes this book significant is the poem and illustrations are thought to be the earliest known visual representation of Santa Claus in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. The poem also marks Santa’s first appearance on Christmas Day rather than December 6, the feast day of St. Nicholas. The Children’s Friend. Number III. A New-Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve by William B. Gilley, 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 seem’d for pigs intended. Where e’er I found good girls or boys, That hated quarrels, strife and noise, 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
  6. Legendary Santa Claus

    Santa Claus Convention History

    The first Santa Claus Convention, held in 1939 in New York City, New York, was a 2 day affair that brought more than a dozen Santas to the Hotel St. George. It was held by the Benevolent Order of Santa Claus, which was founded two years earlier in 1937, to promote a positive image of Santa with guidelines such as clean costumes, personal hygiene, and knowing the reindeer names. The convention was to organize Santas and present to department stores an ever endearing code of conduct and the proper appearance of the profession. The slogan of the convention was “Santa Claus is a living cause.” During the conference portion of the convention discussion, a foundation was laid for the code of conduct that included; Santa will never smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or use any language unbecoming of a saint, be physically and mentally healthy, never break character, incorporate folklore and legend, and use the best available costuming. After the convention, the Benevolent Order of Santa Claus continued for a few more years. In 1942 the Order was dissolved. There would not be another convention until 1950 that was held by the newly organized, Ancient and Mystic Order of Kris Kringles in St. Louis, Missouri. The Ancient and Mystic Order of Kris Kringles was organized in 1949 for the purpose of “Placing Santa Claus on a Higher Plane and to Promote Good Will, Fellowship and the True Christmas Spirit in the Hearts of All People.” Santa Sam Caress, President of AMKK, was very instrumental in laying out a 2 day conference that held seminars taught by Santa Frank Lais of New Orleans, Louisiana and Santa Charles W. Howard of Albion, New York. In the convention’s symposium, 12 important topics were open for discussion. The symposium used “Roberts Rules of Order” and was presided over by Santa Francis A. Kirby of Silver Springs, Maryland. There would be a few more conventions in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Then not another until 1985…but that is another story.
  7. Michael Rielly

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen; Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. But do you recall how the most famous reindeer of all came to be? Surprisingly, many are unaware of the fact that the character of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer actually began as a story book from Montgomery Ward. While working for Montgomery Ward, copywriter Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939 as an assignment for the company. May penned the story of Rudolph in the style of the poem by Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit From St. Nicholas (T’was The Night Before Christmas). Over 2.4 million copies of Rudolph's story were distributed by Montgomery Ward in its first year. Sadly, because May created the story of Rudolph as an employee, he did not own the license. However in 1946, in one of the most generous decisions ever made by the head of a large company, Montgomery Ward Chairman Stewell Avery, gave all rights back to Robert May. A year later the mass-market release of the book made the Montgomery Ward copywriter a rich man. Learn more about the Creation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Here is the original poem by Robert L. May: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer By Robert L. May ‘Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the hills The reindeer were playing, enjoying their spills. While every so often they’d stop to call names At one little deer not allowed in their games. “Ha ha! Look at Rudolph! His nose is a sight! It’s red as a beet! Twice as big! Twice as bright! While Rudolph just cried. What else could he do? He knew that the things they were saying were true! Where most reindeer’s noses are brownish and tiny, Poo Rudolph’s was red, very large, and quite shiny. In daylight it sparkled (The picture shows that!) At nighttime it glowed, like the eyes of a cat. Although he was lonesome, he always was good- Obeying his parents, as good reindeer should! That’s why, on this day, Rudolph almost felt playful. He hoped that from Santa, soon driving his sleighful Of presents and candy and dollies and toys For good little animals, good girls and boys, He’d just get as much (and this is what pleased him) As the happier, handsomer reindeer who teased him. So as night, and a fog, hid the world like a hood, He went to bed hopeful; he knew he’d been good! While way up North, on this same foggy night, Old Santa was packing his sleight for its flight. “This fog,” he called out, “will be hard to get through!” He shook his round head. And his tummy shook, too! “Without any stars or a moon as our compass, This extra-dark night is quite likely to swamp us. To keep from a smash-up, we’ll have to fly slow. To see where we’re going, we’ll have to fly low. We’ll steer by the street lamps and houses tonight, In order to finish before it gets light. Just think how the boys’ and girls’ hopes would be shaken If we didn’t reach ‘em before they awaken!” “Come, Dasher! Come, Dancer! Come, Prancer and Vixen! Come, Comet! Come Cupid, Donder and Blitzen! Be quick with you suppers! Get hitched in a hurry! You, too, will find fog a delay and a worry!” And Santa was right, as he usually is. The fog was as thick as a soda’s white fizz. He tangled in treetops again and again, And barely missed hitting a huge, speeding plane. Just not-getting-lost needed all Santa’s skill – With street signs and numbers more difficult still. He still made good speed, with much twisting and turning, As long as the streetlamps and house lights were burning. At each house, first checking what people might live there, He’d quickly pick out the right presents to give there. “But lights will be out after midnight”, he said. “For even most parents have then gone to bed.” Because it might wake them, a match was denied him. Oh my, how he wished for just one star to guide him. Through dark streets and houses old Santa did poorly. He now picked the presents more slowly, less surely. He really was worried! For what would he do, If folks started waking before he was through? The night was still foggy, and not at all clear. When Santa arrived at the home of the deer. Onto the roof, with the clouds all around it, He searched for the chimney, and finally found it. The room he came done in was blacker than ink, He went for a chair, but it turned out a sink! The first reindeer bedroom was so very black, He tripped on the rug, and burst open his pack. So dark that he had to move close to the bed, And peek very hard at the sleeping deer’s head, Before he could choose the right kind of toy – A doll for a girl, or a train for a boy. But all this took time, and filled Santa with gloom, While feeling his way toward the next reindeer’s room. The door he’d just opened – when, to his surprise, A soft-glowing red-colored light met his eyes. The lamp wasn’t burning; the light came instead, From something that lay at the head of the bed. And there lay – but wait now-what would you suppose? The glowing, you’ve guessed it, was Rudolph’s red nose! So this room was easy! This one little light, Let Santa pick quickly the gifts that were right. How happy he was, till he went out the door, The rest of the house was as black as before! He went back to Rudolph and started to shake him, Of course very gently, in order to wake him. And Rudolph could hardly believe his own eyes! You just can imagine his joy and surprise At seeing who stood there, a paw’s length away, And told of the darkness and fog and delay, And Santa’s great worry that children might awaken Before his complete Christmas trip had been taken. “And you,” he told Rudolph, “may yet save the day! Your bright shining nose, son, can show us the way. I need you, young fellow, to help me tonight, To lead all my deer on the rest of our flight.” And Rudolph broke out into such a big grin, It almost connected his ears and his chin! He scribbled a note to his folks in a hurry. “I’ve gone to help Santa,” he wrote. “Do not worry.” Said Santa, “Meet me and my sleigh on the lawn. You’d stick in the chimney.” And flash he was gone. So Rudolph pranced out through the door, very gay. And took his proud place at the head of the sleigh. The rest of the night…well, what would you guess? Old Santa’s idea was brilliant success. And “brilliant” was almost no word for the way That Rudolph directed the deer and the sleigh. In spite of the fog, the flew quickly, and low, And made such good use of the wonderful glow That shone out from Rudolph at each intersection That not even once did they lose their direction! At all of the houses and streets with a sign on ‘em. The sleigh flew real low, so Rudolph could shine on ‘em. To tell who lived where, and just what to give whom, They’d stop by each window and peek in the room. Old Santa knew always which children were good, And minded their parents, and ate as they should. So Santa would pick out the gift that was right, With Rudolph close by, making enough light. It all went so fast that before it was day, The very last present was given away. The very last stocking was filled to the top, Just as the sun was preparing to pop! The sun woke up the reindeer in Rudolph’s hometown. They found the short message that he’d written down. Then gathered outside to await his return. And were they surprised and excited to learn The Rudolph, the ugliest deer of the all, Rudolph the Re-Nosed, bashful and small, The funny-faced fellow they always called names, And practically never allowed in their games, Was now to be envied by all, far and near. For no greater honor can come to a deer Than riding with Santa and guiding his sleigh. The Number One job, on the Number One day! The sleigh, and its reindeer, soon came in to view. And Rudolph still led them, as downward they flew. Oh my, was he proud as they came to a landing Right where his handsomer playmates were standing. The same deer who used to do nothing but tease him Would now have done anything, only to please him. They felt even sorrier they had been bad When Santa said, “Rudolph, I never have had A deer quite so brave or so brilliant as you At fighting black fog, and at steering me through. By you last night’s journey was actually bossed. Without you, I’m certain, we’d all have been lost! I hope you’ll continue to keep us from grief, On future dark trips, as Commander-In-Chief!” While Rudolph just blushed, from his head to his toes, Till all of his fur was as red as his nose! The crowd clapped their paws and then started to screech, “Hurray for our Rudolph!” and “We want a speech!” But Rudolph, still bashful, despite being a hero, Was tired, His sleep on the trip totaled zero. So that’s why his speech was quite short, and not bright, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” And that’s why-whenever it’s foggy and gray, It’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed who guides Santa’s sleigh. Be listening, this Christmas, but don’t make a peep, ‘Cause that late at night children should be asleep! The very first sound that you’ll hear on the roof That is, if there’s fog, will be Rudolph’s small hoof. And soon after that, if you’re still as a mouse, You may hear a “swish” as he flies ‘round the house, And shines enough light to give Santa a view Of you and your room. And when they’re all through, You may hear them call, as they drive out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
  8. Legendary Santa Claus

    Charles W. Howard

    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
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