Down Through the Chimney
At =IcaruS=, we asked each other, what if Santa couldn’t fit into the chimney? In a moment of silliness, we came up with an answer: the Farty Santa. We made two chimney shapes, square and round, and poor Santa must have had too much to eat, because he still doesn’t fit. When his round bum is touched, he breaks wind – you may even see a little puff of odour.
Seriously now, for us, the best part of the holiday season is the anticipation and preparation for the arrival of Christmas. There are many beloved ways to celebrate the season, some dating back to long before the Christian era.
The Jolly Old Elf HimselfThe first incarnation of Santa Claus that we have found does not quite date back to pre-Christian times, but we find him in the late 3rd century born as Nicholas in Asia Minor to Christian parents; he is credited with numerous miracles and as a result became Saint Nicholas.
How did he change from a sainted defender of the Christian faith to a rotund, jolly, bearded elf in red carrying a sack of gifts and chortling, “Ho ho ho!” in good humour? Well, it’s an interesting timeline coming down to us from the 3rd century. Commercialism helped to spread knowledge of Santa Claus in various forms and many places of the world. One tradition tells of Santa arriving in each home through the chimney to leave gifts for children; similar to the pre-Christian stories of the Viking god Odin. And before chimneys, old Saint Nick tossed coins through windows, only resorting to chimneys if the windows were locked.
The advent calendar originated in the late 19th century in Germany, then spread throughout Europe and North America. At first the images on advent calendars were religious in nature, but today many are not.
A typical advent calendar is a poster or card with twenty-four small doors, one to be opened each day from 1st December until Christmas Eve. The presence of an advent calendar is often the first sign of Christmas in a home with children, helping to build excitement and anticipation for the Christmas holiday.
Each morning, children open one door on the calendar, which conceals a pretty picture or small sweet treat. Today, advent calendars can take on many shapes and forms, but they always have 24 slots, pockets, doors, or small bags, each holding little prizes for the children.
And so, in anticipation for the holiday, we do our own little customs at =IcaruS=, putting up and decorating a Christmas tree and adding various decorations to bring a welcoming warmth to the cold halls of stone. In the coming weeks, we would love your comments about the holiday traditions you cherish. Sending warm wishes for a lovely holiday season, with perhaps a little twist of humour.