Sunday, July 24, 2011

Last Day of Christmas in July Event

Welcome to the final day of our Christmas in July celebration. Thank you to everyone who participated and all who merrily joined in and got into the Christmas Spirit. 

Regardless of how or why each of us celebrates this holiday, it truly is about the Spirit of the Season -- giving of ourselves, sharing home and hearth, love and togetherness, and joy.

When we think of it, that is exactly what authors do year round. They give of themselves, of their imagination, their creativity, and their love so that others may enjoy and share in the fruit of their labors. The gifts they receive in return may seem small to the world. But authors rejoice and are inspired to continue on when their work is well received through a wonderful review, an email from a reader who loved a story, and by the followers who buy their books.    

In the Spirit of fun, I'd like to share some facts about Santa Clause.

The Origins of Santa Claus

It is commonly believed that the inspiration behind Santa Claus – at least in terms of character - was 4th century Greek Christian bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra (a province of Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey). Saint Nicholas was famous for his generous dowries and offerings to the poor.

In terms of Santa Claus’s flight through the sky on Christmas Eve, many have traced his image and actions to that of the pre-Christianity Germanic/Norse god Odin. The god was often recorded as an elderly man with a white beard and large hat, seen to be leading a great hunting party through the skies at the native Germanic holiday of Yule - which similarly occurred during the first day of winter, December 21st – riding an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir (similar to modern day’s Christmas reindeers).

Phonetically, the name Santa Claus was possibly derived of the Dutch “Sinterklaas” – a folkloric depiction of Saint Nicholas. Like Odin, he was also seen wearing a large beard and riding a grey horse through the skies. He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas’ eve (5th – 6th of December).
(Thank you to for this information)

Here in the United States we know this jolly old elf as Santa Clause.  Carrying a bag filled with toys and wearing his bright red suit, he makes the rounds on Christmas Eve night so all good little boys and girls will wake up to presents and over-flowing stockings on Christmas morn.
 According to tradition in France, on Christmas Eve children leave their shoes by the fireplace filled with carrots and treats for Père Noël's donkey, Gui (French for "Mistletoe") before they go to bed. Père Noël takes the offerings and, if the child has been good, leaves presents in their place.
 When December comes, the boys and girls in Spain and Latin America write their letters to the Three Kings or to their favorite King: Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar. The Spanish Christmas continues for a few weeks after Dec. 25th. On the Eve of Epiphany, January 5th, children place their shoes on the doorstep, and in the secret of the night, the Three Wise Men pass leaving gifts. 
Weihnachtsmann - This old gentleman, a 19th. century German equivalent of Santa Claus, traveled on foot throughout Protestant areas of Germany on Christmas Eve. For naughty boys and girls, he left switches. Gifts were left for the good children.  

In Great Britain and many English speaking countries, the gift giver is called Father Christmas. He wears a long red or green robe, and leaves presents in stockings on Christmas Eve. However, the gifts are not usually opened until the following afternoon. Father Christmas delivers them during the night before Christmas. The Children leave an empty stocking or pillowcase hanging at the end of the bed. In the morning they hope it will be full of presents. In England the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day because boys used to go round collecting money in clay boxes. When the boxes were full, they broke them open.

We all hope you have enjoyed Christmas in July as much as we have and that you've grabbed the free stories and the free VTP recipe book. Please remember to leave a comment and your email address either here or at to be entered in the drawings for various prizes. I'll announce our winners on my blog on Monday to be sure our International friends have time to enter.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks, Rebecca, what a perfect round-up of the Christmas week! I loved reading about all the different customs.

Thanks to Bekki and you and everyone who took part and commented on this event.

Good luck to everyone!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I always wondered about boxing day so now I know how it started. a terrific blog about all the little factoids we wanted to know about Christmas or thought we knew and didn't.

Savanna Kougar said...

Rebecca, thanks to you, and Bekki, and to everyone who commented.

Rebecca, that was a splendid look at Christmas traditions, and did my heart good.

cheralyn said...

I enjoyed reading about the different customs. Thanks for sharing!

Jacquie Rogers said...

I love reading about Santa Claus and how we got from St. Nick to teh jolly old elf of today. :) Thanks, Rebecca. :)

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks, Rebecca. What a wonderful post about the different customs.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you all had a grand time.