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Found 19 results

  1. On this day ten years ago (11/6/2010), I had the privilege of gathering with many distinguished Santa Claus portrayers in Santa Claus, IN for the Final Santa Claus Oath Ceremony. The Santa Claus Oath is a set of principles that promote brotherhood and the highest ideals for portraying Santa Claus. The oath is the brainchild of Santa portrayer and Christmas archivist, Phillip L. Wenz. During its signatory period, the oath garnered over 2,500 original signers from around the world. The final oath ceremony marked the end of the signatory period, and the book of signatures was placed in a pla
  2. Drosselmeyer

    The Mistletoe Bough

    The Mistletoe Bough "The Mistletoe Bough," lyrics by Thomas Haynes Bayly, music by Sir Henry Bishop, is a ballad composed around 1830 retelling a traditional tale about a newlywed bride who accidentally locks herself in an old oak trunk while playing hide-and-seek with members of her wedding party, who then spend a long night searching for her in vain. The Mistletoe Bough The mistletoe hung in the castle hall, The holly branch shone on the old oak wall; And the baron's retainers were blithe and gay, And keeping their Christmas holiday. The baron beheld wi
  3. Michael Rielly

    Brief History of Räuchermänner

    The German Nussknacker (Nutcracker) is a timeless symbol of the Christmas season. Originating near the Erzebirge regions of Germany, decorative Nutcrackers in the form soldiers, knights, and kings have existed since the late 17th century. A close cousin to the Nutcracker is the Räuchermänner. Commonly known as “Smokers” or “Smoking Men”, Räuchermänner are similar to Nutcrackers in that they are both colorful, carved wooden figures and both originate from Erzegebirge. However, instead of cracking nuts, Räuchermänner are used to burn incense known as Räucherkerzchen. Literally meaning "litt
  4. Michael Rielly

    Auld Lang Syne

    Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in. Despite its association with New Years, “Auld Lang Syne” was never intended to be a holiday song. First published in 1787 by Scottish Poet Robert Burns,
  5. 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 th
  6. 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 pros
  7. Lets take a look at Summer Santa/Christmas in July Where does it really stem from? Who came up with idea an made it happen? How to improve it and evolve it? Looking forward to eveeryones input!
  8. 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 UN
  9. Michael Rielly

    The Christmas Pickle Mystery

    For many, decorating the Christmas Tree with a pickle ornament is a beloved holiday tradition; however the origin of the Christmas Pickle remains somewhat of a mystery. Details vary, but the most common explanation is that the Christmas Pickle or Die Weihnachtsgurke is a centuries old German tradition where the last decoration hung on the Christmas Tree was an ornamental pickle; hidden deep within the branches of the Tannenbaum. And the first person to find the briny bauble on Christmas morning would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas or be blesses with good fortune the coming year.
  10. Michael Rielly

    The Story of Good King Wenceslas

    As traditional Christmas carols go, the song Good King Wenceslas is unusual in a number of ways. The song has been used throughout popular culture in countless Christmas related films and television programs. Yet the lyrics make no reference to Christmas. In fact, the song has no connection to Christmas whatsoever. The story told in the carol actually takes place the day after Christmas on December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen. Written in 1853 by the Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866), the lyrics to Good King Wenceslas were inspired by the life history of Wenceslaus I (907–935). Wenceslas
  11. Michael Rielly

    Christmas Trees

    Historians say evergreens are the ancient link between paganism and Christmas. We say they miss the point entirely in this eye-opening chapter in the history of Christmas.
  12. Michael Rielly

    James D. "Jimmy" Rielly

    James D. "Jimmy" Rielly Bristol, RI May 1, 1908 – November 26, 1991 If you ever have the opportunity to visit the beautiful coastal town of Bristol Rhode Island, you may see a few references to one of its most notable citizens – James D. “Jimmy” Rielly. On the east side of town there is a street named Rielly Lane. In Rockwell Park, located on Bristol Harbor there is an unassuming park bench with an engraving that reads: Jim Rielly’s Bench. And at the entrance of the Bristol Town Hall, hangs an oil painting of Jim Rielly as Bristol’s Official Town Crier, appearing to welcome each of
  13. Michael Rielly

    The Three Kings

    The Three Kings by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1858 Three Kings came riding from far away, Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar; Three Wise Men out of the East were they, And they travelled by night and they slept by day, For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star. The star was so beautiful, large and clear, That all the other stars of the sky Became a white mist in the atmosphere, And by this they knew that the coming was near Of the Prince foretold in the pro
  14. Jimmy Durante Plays Santa Claus at Christmas 1961
  15. 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.
  16. 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, commercia
  17. 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
  18. 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 o
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