The Santa Blog

The Santa Blog is my attempt to highlight some of the most interesting stories about Santa and his fellow midwinter gift-givers with articles designed for publication on important dates through the Christmas season.  The topics range from the light (Thanksgiving recipes and postcards) to the serious (why humans celebrated the winter solstice) to the silly (Catalonia’s “poop log”).  Some of these are stories from the book while others cover more diverse subjects.

Night Before Christmas 2021

Night Before Christmas 2021

How “The Night Before Christmas” Arrived in The Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel On December 23, 1823 In 1821, a printer and bookseller named William B. Gilley and an illustrator named Arthur Stansbury published an eight-page booklet titled The Children’s Friend: A New-Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve.

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The Other Furry Gift-Givers: Pelzmartin and Pelzmärtle

The Other Furry Gift-Givers: Pelzmartin and Pelzmärtle

Most American Christmas fans are probably familiar with Belsnickel, the rough-hewn gift-giver of nineteenth-century Pennsylvania, and a reasonable portion of us probably know that Belsnickle is essentially a misspelling–or, one could say, an alternative spelling–of Pelznickel,

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What Halloween and Christmas Have in Common

What Halloween and Christmas Have in Common

Le Befana, Italy’s Christmas Witch, supposedly spurned a request from the three Magi to visit the newborn Christ child and, upon realizing her mistake, spent the next two thousand twenty years trying to make up for it by delivering gifts to the children of the world.

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Why Early Humans Celebrated the Winter Solstice

Why Early Humans Celebrated the Winter Solstice

Those who study the history of Christmas, which includes historians, archeologists, anthropologists, and folklorists, agree that the genesis of the modern holiday was celebrations of the Winter Solstice that occurred centuries, or millennia, before the birth of Christ.

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Saturnalia: The Pagan Christmas

Saturnalia: The Pagan Christmas

The Roman God Saturn presided over Saturnalia, the first of three midwinter festivals—a harvest celebration, the birth of the sun god, and a new year’s observance—that collectively formed the Roman celebration of midwinter.

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The Catalonian Tradition of Tió de Nadal

The Catalonian Tradition of Tió de Nadal

In the Catalonian region of northeastern Spain, residents have what is probably the strangest Christmas tradition in the world, the Tió de Nadal (“Christmas log”) or Caga Tió.  Tió de Nadal is a log about two feet long and six inches wide, with stick legs, a painted face, and a red hat,

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Welcome to A Collection of Santas

Welcome to A Collection of Santas

My fascination with the winter solstice gift-giver that Americans call Santa Claus–particularly the diverse ways in which has been depicted over some five thousand years.  My interest began some thirty-five years ago as a collector of Santa Claus figurines.  When my collection got so large

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