7.12.07

#133 Dear Santa



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Dear Santa,

This year I'm again asking for World Peace, Love and Harmony.


My grown up Christmas list includes extra love and hugs for my family, friends and the special guy that makes me so happy--Clay Aiken.

I have been good this year and promise to do better in the next.

Thank you Santa,
Hugs, Me


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wallpaper:







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Gorgeous Clay photos by: Toni7babe; Fivegoldens; All about love;
Snix; ClayizzaQT and Scrpkym


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Christmas Customs Around the World


Our Christmas holiday owes a lot of its fun and joy to celebrations around the world with roots that extend far back in history.

Do you hang stockings by the mantle or display a nativity scene, also called a crèche, depicting the birth of Christ? During the month of December, churches may be hung with evergreens, and often children perform in nativity plays. Many churches will hold special services both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The original Santa was Saint Nicholas, a bishop who lived in 4th-century Myra, now in the country of Turkey. He was famous for his generosity, and he became the patron saint of children.

Legend says that he heard of a poor man whose three daughters could not afford to marry. Saint Nicholas is said to have tossed bags of gold down the chimney and into their drying stockings so the girls would be able to wed. This may be the origin of our own custom of hanging stockings for Santa Claus. Let's look at some other ways the holiday is celebrated around the world:

In England, the jolly elf is called Father Christmas as well as Saint Nicholas. There he sports an extra long coat and beard. The English people enjoy eating plum pudding, drinking wassail, and carolling in their neighbourhoods.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas brings presents to children on the eve of December 6. He rides through the streets on a white horse and is assisted by Swarte Piet (Black Pete).

The Dutch who settled in New Amsterdam, later New York, called him Sinter Klaas from which we get our name, Santa Claus. He was described in Washington Irving's book, Knickerbocker's History of New York (1809), as a rotund, jolly figure wearing a wide-brimmed hat and smoking a long-stemmed pipe. The most famous poem about Santa is Clement C. Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas (1823).

Christmas trees are not so common in Italy. The Italians' focus is on the nativity scene or presepio as they call it. Presents are brought to children on Epiphany (the 6th of January) by Befana, a kindly witch. La Befana will leave only ashes for naughty children!

Children love breaking a piñata to get toys and sweets in Mexico. People re-enact the search for lodging in Bethlehem by Mary and Joseph in posada processions that wind through the streets.

After attending midnight mass at church, families in France gather for a special supper called Le Réveillon. Their traditional Christmas cake is called the buche de Noel. Children look forward to the visit of Pere Noel and leave shoes by the fireplace for him to fill with goodies.

Jultomten, the Swedish Santa, has elfin helpers called tomtar. For the Swedes, St. Lucia Day on December 13 begins the Christmas season. On this morning, the eldest daughter of the house, dressed in white and wearing a wreath of candles on her head, serves coffee and sweet rolls to the rest of the family.

On December 6, St. Nicholas' Day, German children leave their lists of wishes for the saint to fill on Christmas, and traditionally they receive candy or twigs, depending on whether they have been naughty or nice. Also according to German legends, on Christmas Eve, rivers may turn to wine, animals may speak to each other, tree blossoms may bear fruit, and mountains may open to reveal fantastic gems. The Christmas tree, originally a German custom, is not revealed to the children until Christmas Eve, when it is shown to them decorated with marzipan, fruits, nuts and chocolate. After the great surprise of the magical tree is revealed, gifts are opened, carols are sung and sometimes sparklers are lit.

Did you know?

~ Eating mince pie on Christmas is supposed to bring good luck.

~ The Puritans banned Christmas carols.

~ St. Francis of Assisi is given credit for making the first crèche.



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Thank you all from far and near for visiting, Happy Holidays!


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