Posts Tagged ‘Santa Claus’

December 13, 2017

December 13, 2017

Thunder and lightning? What do they have to do with Christmas? Two of Santa’s reindeer have names that translate to Thunder and lightning – Dunder and Blixem!

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December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017

Santa Claus as we know him today is a jolly man adorned in his iconic red suit.  Our depiction of Santa comes from a few sources.  In 1837 Clement C Moore wrote his poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (commonly referred to as Twas the Night Before Christmas), and in it, he describes Father Christmas as such:

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 pedler 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 of 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 bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

Here, we see Santa dressed in fur with his round belly and bright cheeks.  It was in the 20th century when red became solidified as his signature colour.  While he was dressed in red before the 1930s, it was Coca-Cola’s advertising, created by Haddon Sundblom which truly popularized the depiction of Santa that we know today.  

December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017

Santa Claus parades are held annually in cities and towns all over North America.  These parades often celebrate Christmas, music, culture, and local groups.  One of the largest Santa Claus parades is held closer to home than you may think, being the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.  This parade first began on December 2, 1905 under the name “Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade”, as it was sponsored by the Eaton’s chain of department stores.  This parade consisted of only a single attraction, being Santa Claus arriving at Union Station to meet Mr. and Mrs. Eaton, then travelling together to the Eaton’s Store.  This annual parade soon exploded in popularity, as Canadians from all over would come to watch the parade, or witness it through the many bilingual broadcasts from the 1950s onward.  During these years, Santa has arrived by train, a chariot, a float, and in 1913, Santa travelled through the streets of Toronto in a sleigh drawn by four live reindeer brought in from Labrador.  In 1982, Eaton’s cancelled their sponsorship.  Luckily, a non-profit organization took their place, and the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade was reborn, still continuing to this day.

Much like Toronto, many smaller cities and towns have taken to the tradition of hosting annual Santa Claus parades.  Today Oshawa hosts Santa’s Parade of Lights every November.  Children and adults alike come every year to watch parades of holiday cheer and local culture pass through their towns, just like they have for over a century.

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December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016

This is the sixth 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 19, 2016

December 19, 2016

St. Nicholas was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra in Lycia. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.

Santa became popular in Christmas tradition when Sinter Klaus, Dutch for “Saint Nicholas,” was brought over by Dutch immigrants and they honored his death.  New York newspapers reported on this and his popularity grew!

St. Nicholas is the patron Saint of the Netherlands, and his feast day is observed every December 6, or December 19 in Eastern Christian countries.

December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016

From the Ontario Reformer, December 7, 1922

Santa Claus as a Commercial Factor

Santa Claus has become the world’s greatest commercial factor. More business is transacted in connection with the Christmas season than in all the other seasons combined.

To supply the wants of this friend of mankind, factory wheels turn day and night through the year. Armies of men toil long hours. Trains bear carloads of Christmas supplies. Ships are chartered to scour the seven seas for suitable gifts.  The traffic routes of the world are re-made in order to bring gifts to the yuletide tree….

Christmas time started out as a children’s day with Christmas trees, the giving of toys, candies, fruits, and other good things to the little fold.  It has spread to include the whole family and almost the whole of humanity. At Christmas time, hundreds of millions of dollars are spend in jewelry, perfumes, toilet articles, silverware, pianos, Victrolas, furniture, clothing, furs, automobiles, and almost every article manufactured for man.

Months in advance commercial travellers start out on the road selling supplies for Christmas time.  Factories are speeded up to take care of the requirements of Santa Claus, indeed the whole machinery of the universe is keyed up to take care of the requirements of the ruddy faced gentleman with the white whiskers and scarlet coat who brings joy to the hearts of humanity.  Santa Claus is the world’s greatest commercial factor.  Christmas more than any other season has left its impress upon the commerce of the world.

December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016

In just 24 days, Santa Claus will begin his busiest day of the year, delivering presents to children all around the world.  Scientists in the United States have calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.¹ Good thing he’s magic.

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December 24, 2015

December 24, 2015

This is the fifth 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 20, 2015

December 20, 2015

Up on the Rooftop

“Up on the rooftop, reindeer pause; out jumps good old Santa Claus”

And so opens the second oldest secular Christmas song, second only to Jingle Bells.  It is considered the oldest yuletide song as Jingle Bells, today associated with Christmas, was originally written as a Thanksgiving song.

This familiar carol was written in 1864 by Benjamin Hanby, clearly influenced by the myths and legends popularized by Clement C. Moore in his poem A Visit From St. Nicholas.

The first stanza and chorus are well known:

Up on the housetop reindeer pause,
Out jumps Good Old Santa Claus
Down through the chimney with lots of toys
All for the little ones, Christmas joys

Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go?
Up on the housetop, click, click, click
Down through the chimney with old Saint Nick

From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015

Letters to Santa Claus

Children wishing to write to Santa know to send the letters to Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, his official mailing address, according to Canada Post.

However, in 1898, there seemed to be some confusion, but Canada Post made sure letters were delivered!

From the Evening Star, Saturday, December 17, 1898

A new element, that is, new for the present season, has just made its appearance in the postal service – a stream of correspondence to Santa Claus.  A very genial gentleman at the Toronto Post Office acts as a representative of the much adored Santa Claus, and to him the missives are taken daily, an no doubt they reach their intended destination.  The correspondence is not heavy enough to require the Post Master General, Mr. Mulock, to put on a special Santa Claus Staff, but the ardent youngsters of numerous Toronto homes give living evidence of their abiding faith in the Christmas eve visitant to indite their hopes and wishes to Father Christmas, and to confide their missives to the Canadian branch of Her Majesty’s postal department.

Curiously enough many of the letters are addressed to Santa Clause, Union Station, Toronto. Apparently  the children expect that he will come in modern style by train and receive his mail on his arrival there.  In the United States it is said that letters addressed to Santa Claus are not delivered, but are ruthlessly sent to the dead letter office.  I am able to give Toronto correspondents of Santa Claus the most positive assurance that such is not the course of the Canadian postal officials, who, on the contrary, deliver them in the liveliest  fashion.  The children not only have too much faith in the prerogatives of Santa Claus to register their letters, but they have the curious idea that letters with many old stamps will carry his letters; many even show that they assume that his letters travel free as they are not stamped at all.  Some of the writers either through over-anxiety, or a change of desire, write several letters to the old Saint.

While the letters are carefully addressed to the chosen abode of Santa Claus, they seldom bear the address of the sender.


If you write a letter to Santa today, be sure to include your return address so that Santa can write back to you!  Like in 1898, you do not need postage to send your letter along.

From Canada Post:

All letters to Santa should be mailed before December 16 to give Santa enough time to send a letter back. Postage is not required for letters to Santa – but encouraging proper addressing is a good learning experience for all. Santa’s address is:

Santa Claus
North Pole
Canada HOH OHO

 

So hurry and send those letters!

From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection