Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

December 28, 2017

December 28, 2017

While often sung in the lead-up to Christmas, the 12 Days of Christmas actually refers to the twelve days starting Christmas day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (December 26) to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day).  That makes December 28 the 4th Day of Christmas, and the ‘True Love’ gifts 4 colly birds (or calling bird).

The song is often sung, but what exactly is a colly bird? According to Peter Armenti, the literature specialist for the Digital Reference Section at the Library of Congress, a ‘colly bird’ is essentially referring to a Black Bird.

As the song’s recipient receives 7 Swans, 6 Geese, 4 Colly Birds, 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, and a Partridge, here’s hoping they really like birds!


December 25, 2017

December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Oshawa Museum.


From the Oshawa Museum’s archival collection

Did you know, even though Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Jesus by Christians, many historians believe he was actually born in the spring.

Other people who celebrate December 25 as their birthday include:

  • Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian
  • Humphrey Bogart, actor
  • Jimmy Buffet, singer
  • Sissy Spacek, actress
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his brother Alexandre, a journalist. They are sons of former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau and, interestingly, they are not twins, but rather siblings who share a birthday
  • Annie Lennox, singer
  • Cab Calloway,  jazz singer and bandleader

December 24, 2017

December 24, 2017

This is the seventh year we have shared stories on our Victorian Advent Blog.  As we have done since the beginning, on Christmas Eve, we share the classic poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore, originally published in 1823.

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

December 22, 2017

December 22, 2017

On December 22, 1868, Cassius Stone and Clarissa Henry were married.  Clarissa was the 14th child of Rev. Thomas Henry and his wife Lurenda, and Cassius and Clarissa were married in Henry House.


The home of Clarissa and Cassius Stone in Woodville (west of Lindsay, ON)

It was Cassius and Clarissa’s wish to be married on Christmas Day, but because of Elder Tatton having to serve at the dedication service at the Ringwood Christian Church, they decided to have their ceremony performed on December 22 – in the many years that followed, they always celebrated their wedding day on Christmas.

December 21, 2017

December 21, 2017

The ever-popular Elf on the Shelf had returned to stores this holiday season promoting good behaviour in young children. The Elf arrives every December 1st and makes an appearance every morning until Christmas, playing with the children’s toys, and sometimes, making a mess. But where did the Elf on the Shelf tradition begin?

In 2005 a children’s picture book titled “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” was released by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell. The main concept of the Elf is simple, he is sent from the North Pole to watch over children for Santa. Every night the Elf would return to Santa and tell him about the children’s behaviour and before morning return back to take up a new position in the home for the children to find.

Throughout the years, the tradition of the Elf toy has transformed allowing parents to create new themes and concepts for the Elf to promote good behaviour for children all over. In the last decade, the Elf on the Shelf has been awarded the Learning Express’ Best Toy in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

December 20, 2017

December 20, 2017

Festive Coffee: A Modern Christmas Tradition
By Karen A., Visitor Host

I don’t know about you, but for me the excitement of Christmas begins when Starbucks releases their annual holiday drinks in their traditional red cups. It has become a custom for me and my friends to go out grab a festive drink and shop around the Oshawa Centre during the month of December. Starbucks, of course, has their line-up of festive drinks which come out early November lasting until the holiday season ends. My all time favourite is the Caramel Brulee Latte but they also offer a Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, an Eggnog Latte, a Gingerbread Latte and many more.  McDonalds, in competition with Starbucks, has also created their own line of Christmas beverages, which include the Crème Brulee Coffee and the Peppermint Mocha, both drinks are also available as Iced Frappe options. Tim Hortons does not have specialty Christmas beverages but they do sell Christmas mugs, ornaments and holiday donuts, which are just as tasty! Somehow, over the last decade or so, our favourite coffee shops have promoted Christmas to sell us more drinks and merchandise and, in my opinion, it is definitely working. This is my modern Christmas tradition: grabbing a nice hot cup of Christmas joy!


December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017

October 21, 1879 saw the invention of the first light bulb by Thomas Edison.  A mere three years later, the world’s first electrically illuminated Christmas tree appeared.  Prior to this invention, Christmas trees were illuminated using candles.  A rather dangerous practice that meant a bucket of water was always kept nearby to put out any fires that could start.


A colleague of Edison’s, Edward Johnson, decorated his tree with eighty coloured light bulbs.  The bulbs had been hand blown and the tree rotated slowly on a tiny pine box.  The effect must have been breathtaking.  Electricity in the late 1800s was very expensive and was limited to the very wealthy.  Few were able to afford the electricity needed to light a Christmas tree.

December 17, 2017

December 17, 2017

Did you know that in the 1950s, Boston tried to ban the song I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus?  According to Time Magazine:

Boston church leaders tried to have the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” banned in the 1950s because they thought it “promoted physical intimacy.” Singer Jimmy Boyd had to fly to Boston and explain to them why it wasn’t obscene.

Fun fact: Jimmy Boyd recorded the song on July 15, 1952 when he was 13 years old.

December 16, 2017

December 16, 2017

According to Time Magazine, the record for the most recorded Christmas song goes to Silent Night, which has 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978.  It was written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber.


Carollers in Guy House

December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017

Christmas portrait of unknown fire department associate with children and an unknown individual dressed as Santa.  From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum (A012.5.38)