Christmas stockings - The nineteenth door

The Christmas stocking ... to be honest I never wondered before where, when or why this tradition had started. Only when I prepared the post for of Saint Nicholas Day and thought of the shoes the children put in front of the door for Saint Nick to fill them, I suddenly saw the possible connection and set out to find out more.
Indeed the legend that Saint Nicholas who had just inherited something secretly dropped three lumps of gold in a poor man's house seems to be the source for both traditions.
The legend's details change a little depending on where you find it. St. Nick threw the gold through the window, he gave gold coins, he went through the chimney himself to drop the gold into the stockings or threw the gold through the chimney and it landed in the stockings hung up there for drying. The result was always the same, the man's three daughters had enough gold to get married.

Stockings have been a part of Christmas for centuries although there was a time they had to fight for its place with the Christmas tree. I found this fun link on the page of the Smithsonian Mag.
Nowadays there is no fight between the stocking and the tree, they both have their place in the Christmas traditions in some countries.
Stockings come in all sizes, patterns and colors. For some historical pictures have a look at this article in the Smithsonian Mag.

Christmas stocking by Holiday Stocking Company

Do you have your own Christmas stocking tradition? Maybe you still remember your first stocking? Tell us about it!


O Christmas tree - The eighteenth door

Last year I was brave and spontaneously bought myself a little artificial Christmas tree. Although my furry brats are no youngsters anymore, they still know how to take down one or the other thing, especially Ponder in one of his lonely races when he has his five crazy minutes.
It actually went fine. The tree didn't fall and only two ornaments mysteriously left their spots for a short while. The nice thing about my wire knit stars, however, is that you can bend them back. It's a little sad for me that I can't use tinsel, but I guess I can't have everything.

While we are singing "O Christmas tree" ... where does the Christmas tree come from?
Now that is actually a tradition that I knew to be originally German. It was not unusual in different cultures to bring evergreen into the houses, but the first written record of a Christmas tree that still exists is from 1527 although it's possible that there was an earlier one which can't be proved anymore, though.
Since the 1750s the Christmas tree was mentioned more and more often. In the 19th century the custom had spread to Austria, then New England, England, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Russia.
At first trees were decorated with sweets, apples and nuts some of which were painted in silver and gold. The legend goes that a glassmaker in Lauscha, a town which is still known for its glass art and Christmas ornaments, couldn't afford apples and nuts for his tree and made them from glass instead. True or not, the first written record of glass ornaments is in an order book from 1848.

Nowadays many of us can't imagine Christmas without a tree, may it be big or small, real or artificial. After all Linus van Pelt taught us that even the saddest little tree just needs a bit of love ... ;-)
"I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really."


Oldies but goodies "Jewelry and ornaments" - The seventeenth door

This week's JAC Oldies but Goodies Challenge was about ornaments. Yes, we still are a jewelry forum, but have you ever noticed how pretty some jewelry would look in a tree?
So the challenge was to find something that looks good worn and in a tree. You can find the whole thread here, maybe it will surprise you how different the choices are.

As always here's a little sneak peek.

1 Violetmoon's Corner
2 MC Stoneworks
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 The Crafty Chimp
5 Cat's Wire


Happy Hanukkah - The sixteenth door

Today we are going to take a day off from Christmas. Instead I want to wish my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. This year that is the sunset 16th of December until nightfall 24 of December.
It commemorates the rebellion of the Maccabees against the empire of Antiochus IV. When the Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from their oppressors, a miracle occurred. Although the fighters found only enough oil to light the lantern in the temple for one day, the oil lasted for eight days.

There are five traditions on Hanukkah.
There is the lighting of the menorah, a candelabra with nine candles. On the first day one candle is lit, two on the second day and so on. One of the nine candles, the shamash, is set higher or lower than the others and is used to light the other candles.
Hanukkah has its own special songs to be sung with the family.
Traditional food during the festival is oily honoring the miracle in the temple, like latkes (potato pancakes) and  sufganyot (round jelly doughnuts).
It is customary to play with dreidels or spinning tops. Each side of the dreidel is imprinted with a Hebrew letter.
There is also the custom of giving Hanukkah gelt which is either real or chocolate coins.

I don't want you to get this wrong, I don't know much about Hanukkah and had to do some research, then again I didn't much about other topics in this advent calendar, either. If I wrote something incorrect, please forgive me and let me know. I am also aware that this post just scratches the surface.


Zibbet finds of the week "Snow" - The fifteenth door

Even for me who likes to claim she's got a severe snow trauma from childhood it has something calming to look at snow ... if I can sit inside with a cat on my lap and a mug of something hot in my hand.
For me snow is usually only acceptable for Christmas.

So instead of heading out to make a snowman I went to Zibbet to get my snow fix there with these beautiful items.

Fine art giclee print "Snow Girl" by Moxy Fox Designs

Little Snow Queen print by Beneath Northern Skies

Christmas ornament snowman by We Have Wreaths

Holiday Snowman Decoration by Primgals Primitive Palette

Sparkle Victorian quilled snowflake ornament by Joan's Crafts

White snowflake peppermint scented soap by 123 Gemstones Julie's Treasures


Quote of the week - The fourteenth door

Do you remember being a kid and wanting something for Christmas really, really badly. You imagined what it would be like to hold it in your hand, to play with it or to read it or watch it or do whatever you could do with it. You were practically almost there. You had uttered your wish and to doubt that it would be fulfilled would have been jinxing it.

Ralphie, our hero, does want something. He has daydreams about it and he even works out a clever plan how to draw attention to his wish to make sure his dreams come true.

Ralphie as Adult (narrator): Meanwhile I struggled for exactly the right BB gun hint. It had to be firm, but subtle.
Ralphie: Flick says he saw some grizzly bears near Pulaski's candy store.
Everyone is staring at him.
Ralphie as Adult: They looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. I could tell I was in imminent danger of overplaying my hand. Casually I switched tactics.

Will it work? Will Ralphie hold a BB gun in his hands on Christmas Day? Find out for yourself.

A Christmas Story, USA/Canada, 1983


Santa Baby - The thirteenth door

I have always been a fan of Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" although I can't quite agree with everything on her list ....

.... but I never knew that she recorded a followup the next year in which she sings about the stuff she got the year before! Did you? Have fun!