Friday, 23 December 2011

Sarah's Fabulously Festive Fun Fact Friday!!

Hello, and welcome to my final Fun Fact Friday of 2011! In keeping with our Christmas theme, find a cosy corner and enjoy....

First of we will start with the man of the moment (and I don't mean JC)- Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, brings gifts to the homes of the good children during the Christmas Eve, December 24. The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which, has a basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. He did not always look that way, and Coca-Cola advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa.

2006 marked the 75th anniversary of the famous Coca-Cola Santa Claus. Starting in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola featured St. Nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit. Because magazines were so widely viewed, and because this image of Santa appeared for more than three decades, the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on that advertising. 

Before the 1931 introduction of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus created by artist Haddon Sundblom, the image of Santa ranged from big to small and fat to tall. Santa even appeared as an elf and looked a bit spooky. 

Through the centuries, Santa Claus has been depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to an elf. He has worn a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. The modern-day Santa Claus is a combination of a number of the stories from a variety of countries. 

According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer. Since the 20th century, in an idea popularised by the 1934 song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", Santa Claus has been believed to make a list of children throughout the world, categorising them according to their behavior ("naughty" or "nice") and to deliver presents, including toys, and candy to all of the well-behaved children in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh.

Talking of old school stories shaping our Christmas did you know that Charles Dickens created quite a few of our current Christmas traditions with his book 'A Christmas Carol'? He wrote the book in only 6 weeks yet the impact has truly lasted.....

1) Charity - in the story, Scrooge changes from Mr. Bah Humbug to Mr. Christmas Cracker (not literally, but you know what I mean) - the point is that 'kindness at Christmas' can be life changing, and the hardest hearts can be melted if shown others suffering.

2) Turkey - Until the book came out, the 'upper classes' ate beef at Christmas and the 'poor' ate goose! When Scrooge brings turkey to the suffering family (and little Tiny Tim) a new tradition was invented overnight and turkey became the bird of choice at Christmas! Those turkeys must have really loved Charlie! hahaha

3) The Family Christmas meal - The Crachits' Christmas meal sent out the powerful message that a good meal, good fellowship and the family coming together in spite of the demands of work, is a right for everybody. Home and the comfort and safety it provides are strong themes in the book! And anyone trying to get home this Christmas, we wish you best of luck!

It's actually the bicentury (200 years) of Charles Dickens birth next year and spanning over 50 countries, the British Council will engage audiences overseas with Charles Dickens and contemporary British creative talent through a programme of film, exhibitions, readings, theatre and educational events called Dickens 2012!
Having studied English Literature at A-Level, I LOVE Dickens' stories. Although he's a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens’s work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia. 

Find out what Dickens 2012 events are taking place near you by visiting the Events Calendar and follow them on Twitter for updates on the bicentenary plans.

Chances are you will be seeing 'A Christmas Carol' or a Coca-Cola Christmas advert so enjoy and just think something you do this year could well be a tradition of the future! If you've been reading our blog, you will know it's our first Christmas together this year (yay!) and the traditions we have so far are:

  • Christmas movie Tuesday (for every week in December)

  • Christmas PJ's ready for Christmas Day (they will be worn ALL Day)

  • Stockings hung and ready to be filled (we will take turns to fill them each year - Laura is going first) 
and finally... 
  • 12 presents each for Christmas Day! (We have a set budget, but we have to get 12 presents within that!)

We can't wait to add more but we'll see how this year goes first and if you have any suggestions or traditions you always do let us know!

Merry Christmas!
Sarah (and Laura)

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and I'm sure there will be more Christmas traditions added to your list, especially if Laura has anything to do with it! Merry Christmas girls and have a Very Happy New Year! Love you, Mum xxxx


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