The holiday season is upon us.
Christmas is evident in every town across the country, at every corner of your hometown lights are twinkling in the night. Joyous celebrations are getting ready to begin and we all give thanks for a wonderful year as the new one takes onto new adventures in our lives. I miss downtown Lake Mills, the sounds of Christmas are heard 24/7 during December.
The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.
As early as 1773 the name appeared in the American press as "St. A Claus," but it was the popular author Washington Irving who gave Americans their first detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas. In his History of New York, published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving described the arrival of the saint on horseback (unaccompanied by Black Peter) each Eve of Saint Nicholas.
This Dutch-American Saint Nick achieved his fully Americanized form in 1823 in the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas by writer Clement Clarke Moore. Moore included such details as the names of the reindeer; Santa Claus's laughs, winks, and nods; and the method by which Saint Nicholas, referred to as an elf, returns up the chimney. (Moore's phrase "lays his finger aside of his nose" was drawn directly from Irving's 1809 description.)
Santa Claus Legends:
Christmas Tree Legend:
Celebrating Christmas without a richly decorated Christmas Tree would not seem right today. But why do we have a Christmas Tree, and how did it originate?
Back in the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, traveled to Germany to spread the Word of God. Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to the German people. The German people started to revere the Fir Tree as "God's Tree". In the next 5 centuries, the tree became a symbol of Christianity, and was being hung upside-down from the ceiling as a sign of Christianity.
More Christmas Tree Legends:
This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin's perennial, Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn't have much of a story, but what it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen format), and ultrafestive Technicolor! Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who hook up, romantically and professionally, with a "sister" act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include: "Sisters" (Crosby and Kaye do their own drag version, too), "Snow," "We'll Follow the Old Man," "Mandy," "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," and more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas. --Jim Emerson
Voices of Rossano Brazzi, Alberto Rabagliati. Santa and Mrs. Claus must organize a series of fund-raisers to prevent the mean old Mr. Prune from evicting them-and cancelling Christmas! Animated. 1966/color/93 min/G/fullscreen.
Alastair Sim's tour-de-force performance as the ultimate miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, has almost single-handedly made this beloved version of Charles Dickens' story into one of the best-loved Christmas films of all time. Some of Britain's best filmmakers united behind Sim, who was joined by a delightful cast of accomplished and acclaimed English actors; creating what many today believe to be the best and most faithful production of Dickens' immortal tale. Cranky and curmudgeonly Scrooge learns the error of his unkind ways and is taught the
true meaning of the
holidays when he is visited by the ghost of his late business partner and the
spirits of Christmas past, present and future.
A charming and wholesome 1950 holiday film about a New York family (led by Durante) who are down on their luck at Christmas time. Shortly before Christmas, they move into a ground floor
apartment building where Rupert
the squirrel lives in the attic rafters. Just when it seems that the holiday
will come and go without so much as a Christmas tree, Rupert acts as the family's beneficent
guardian angel - not only saving Christmas, but changing their lives forever.
(Originally titled The Great Rupert, the title has been changed to A Christmas
Wish, which more adequately describes the story and showcases the delightful
Alien invaders kidnap everyone's favorite right jolly old elf in this low-budget mixture of children's comedy and sci-fi adventure. Christmas is not far away, and countless children are glued to their family's TV sets, watching reports about Santa Claus (John Call). However, this is happening on Mars, and leaders of the Red Planet aren't sure what to do for their kids who are
pining away for a visit from
the gift-bearing earthling. Martian leader Kimar (Leonard Hicks) dispatches two
of his emissaries, the chronically grumpy Voldar (Vincent Beck) and the
moronically cheerful Dropo (Bill McCutcheon), to Earth to bring Santa back for a
visit. After arriving on Earth, Voldar and Dropo abduct two children, Betty
(Donna Conforti) and Billy (Victor Stiles), and order the kids to show them the
way to Santa's workshop, from which all three are taken to Mars against their
will. As Santa, Betty, and Billy try to find a way back to Earth, Voldar becomes
enraged with the Earth kids, while the children bond more comfortably with the
intellectually-challenged Dropo. Shot on a shoestring budget on Long Island, Santa Claus Conquers
the Martians has developed a rabid cult following over the years, and yes, it's
true, Kimar's daughter Girmar really is played by a ten-year-old Pia Zadora.
--Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year, everyone!
Christmas Tree Photo provided by http://s249.photobucket.com/profile/s8rgurl12