Posts Tagged ‘Santa Claus’

Frosty

December 14, 2014

The other night I watched the Christmas classic Frosty the Snowman on television. I hope any reader is familiar with the Rankin-Bass animated production of the snowman who came to life via a magic hat. It is a silly story, but it is silly in a rather charming way and it is still entertaining.

Frosty the Snowman (TV program)

Skip Frosty Returns (TV program) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following Frosty the Snowman, they aired Frosty Returns, a more recent production made in 1992. Rankin-Bass, producer of many Christmas shows, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer dissolved in 1987, so Frosty Returns was made by Broadway Video, and was not exactly a sequel to the original Frosty. It featured a snowman named Frosty,voiced by John Goodman, but all of the other characters were different, and Frosty’s personality was somewhat different.

I had never seen Frosty Returns before, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that it entirely lacked the charm of the original. It was simply silly. I actually couldn’t watch it all the way through so I will have to rely on Wikipedia to provide a summary of the plot.

The special begins with a musical number showing that Beansboro Elementary School is canceled for the day due to a seven-inch snowfall. While the adults incessantly complain about the problems snow and ice cause, the children enjoy the opportunity to play in it.

We then see Holly DeCarlo (Moss), a relatively lonely young girl and aspiring magician with only one friend, a tone-deaf, somewhat geeky character named Charles (Carter) who has a knack for climatology. While practicing a magic act with Charles, Holly’s hat blows off her head, out the window, and onto a snowman who comes to life as Frosty (Goodman), thus revealing that Holly’s hat was “that old silk hat” featured in the original song and previous adaptations.

Meanwhile, evil Mr. Twitchell (Doyle-Murray) is the inventor of “Summer Wheeze”, an aerosol spray that makes snow instantly disappear He hopes to use the product to win over the people of Beansboro so that he will be crowned King of the Beansboro Winter Carnival, apparently believing that the title will give him actual dominion over the townspeople. When one of the members of the town council voices concern about the environmental impact of the untested product, Mr. Twitchell has her dropped through a trapdoor.

To Twitchell’s delight, and Frosty’s dismay, the town of Beansboro falls head over heels for “Summer Wheeze” which makes Frosty concerned about his safety. Although many of their classmates rally for the elimination of snow, only a day after singing about its virtues, Holly and Charles take on the duties of protecting Frosty, including hiding him in a freezer and securing refuge for him in an ice castle built for the Carnival. Later, Holly gets Frosty to appear at the Winter Carnival in an attempt to persuade the townspeople to rethink their hatred of snow. Singing about the joy of winter, Frosty is unanimously declared king of the carnival. In the end, Frosty and Holly make amends with Mr. Twitchell (now realizes that he’s no match for Mother’s Nature) and let him wear the crown and cape and ride in the sled of the carnival king. Frosty must leave Beansboro, but assures Holly that he will be back someday.

Notice that the villain is an inventor who has created a product that many might consider very useful. Snow may be fun to play in but it is dangerous to drive in. Imagine how much labor could be saved by a product like Summer Wheeze, or how many lives could be saved if roads could be instantaneously cleared. Is this an example of Hollywood’s anti-capitalist bias, or promoting an environmentalist agenda? The Wikipedia article adds that, unlike the original, there is no mention of Christmas or Santa Claus in Frosty Returns. The people are celebrating a “Winter Carnival”. The Frosty song is altered to eliminate references to Frosty’s corncob pipe, and, needless to say, the new Frosty didn’t have one.

The article describes the plot as being “more political and/or socially conscious” than the original and that really is the problem. Back in 1969, Rankin-Bass wanted to make animated Christmas specials and perhaps a profit. The makers of Frosty Returns felt a need to insert socially conscious messaging. Political correct indoctrination has infected our Holiday Specials and we are all the worse for it. Imagine a Christmas show that can’t mention Christmas!

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

December 23, 2013

Well, there was, at any rate. He was not a “jolly old elf”, he did not live at the North Pole, and he never made any toys or drove a sleigh with eight reindeer. He didn’t look like this.

He actually looked more like this.

Of course, I am talking about Saint Nicholas of Myra, the historical person on which the legends of Santa Claus are based.

Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch “Sinter Klaus”, and it was Dutch immigrants who brought over many of our ideas of Santa, including the idea of a man who gives out presents to well behaved children. Another influence was Father Christmas from Britain. And, of course there was the poem “The Night Before Christmas” which introduced the whole idea of the reindeer, going down chimneys, etc.The cartoonist Thomas Nast is believed to be responsible for the first portrayal of Santa in his red suit, and also the idea that he lives at the North Pole.

But the real Saint Nicholas was a bishop of the city of Myra in Asia Minor, or present day turkey. He lived from around 270-343. He was a Greek Christian whose parents died of an epidemic when he was very young. From his childhood he was religious. His uncle, also a bishop, raised him and when he was old enough made him a monk. Eventually he was made a bishop by the Christian community of Myra. There he stayed until his death in 343.

Nicholas apparently was quite a zealous bishop. He was imprisoned during the last great persecution of the Emperor Diocletian, but was released when Constantine became Emperor. He debated against and fought the pagans and the Arians, a heretic branch of Christianity, and participated in the great Council of Nicaea, where he lost control of his temper and actually slapped Arius. He was imprisoned for this but released after three days.

He was most famous for his acts of charity, many of which are probably legendary.The most famous story is that passing by a house he heard three daughters lament because their father could not afford a dowry for any of them. Without a dowry they could not get married and would probably have to resort to prostitution to survive. (Somehow this story never made into the children’s specials.) He threw a bag of gold into their window as each girl became old enough to marry. In one variation of the story, by the time of the third daughter, the father lay in wait to discover the identity of his benefactor. When Nicholas saw this, he threw the bag into their chimney.

After his death, Nicholas was buried in Myra, but in 1087, with Asia Minor being overrun by the Turks, some Italian sailors stole the remains and brought them to Bari, where they remain to this day.

Nicholas is a Saint in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches His feast day is December 6, today, and he is the patron saint of children, sailors, repentant thieves, pawn brokers, and others.

So, now you know the true story of Santa Claus.

If you want to know more about Catholic saints see here.

 

Christmas Carols

December 7, 2013
English: The last verse of The Twelve Days of ...

English: The last verse of The Twelve Days of Christmas. The Song was published in 1780, so it is public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I spend most of my time working as a merchandiser for a soft drink
company in grocery stores and WalMart, around this time of year, I am
exposed to a lot of Christmas music. Most of the time, it is just in the
background as I work, but for the last couple of days I have been
listening more closely and this has cause me to wonder a little about
some of these Christmas Carols. Don’t get me wrong. I like the songs. I
am just wondering.

Consider Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

Santa Claus works for the NSA? I always did have my suspicions about that jolly old elf. How did he afford all those toys, not to mention upkeep for the reindeer, etc. He must have been selling information to the government for years.
What does Silver Bells have to do with Christmas? Is it a custom somewhere to ring bells on Christmas? Maybe it is a reference to the bells on Santa’s sleigh, or the bell ringers for the Salvation Army. According to Wikipedia, the composer originally intended the song to be Tinkle Bells, until his wife reminded him that tinkle could mean urination.
Deck the Halls has been ruined by changes in slang. I imagine that “Don we now our gay apparel” must have once meant the festive clothing one might wear to a Christmas party. Now it evokes an image of attending the party in drag.
The Twelve Days of Christmas refer to the twelve days between Christmas and the Feast of Epiphany on January 6. I have to wonder who in the world would give their true love 12 partridges in pear trees, 22 turtle doves, 30 french hens, 36 colly birds, 40 gold rings, 42 geese a laying, 42 swans a swimming, 40 maids a milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming, and where the true love could keep them all.
Why would you want to Let It Snow? There are more people traveling around Christmas time than at any other time of the year. You would have to be some sort of sociopath who wants to ruin Christmas to want the delays and accidents that snow brings. The same could be said of White Christmas.
I happen to know the Latin lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful.
Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes
Venite, venite in Bethelhem
Natum videte
Regnum angelorum
Venite adoremus
Venite adoremus
Venite adoremus
Dominum
I find Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer to be slightly disturbing. All of the other reindeer laugh, call him names, and refuse to let him play any reindeer games, until his deformity is found to be useful. Then, they all love him. It seems the lesson here is that it is acceptable to bully those who happen to be different, unless they are useful.
My favorite carol is Silent Night. I love the melody and the lyrics. For some reason, that particular song evokes Christmas in me more than any other. I used to know the German lyrics but I have forgotten them. I also like We Three Kings Orient Are, O Little Town of Bethlehem, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Joy to the World and Angels We Have Heard On High. I don’t like some of the newer songs as much. I mean songs like Jingle Bell Rock, Feliz Navidad, and a few others. I like Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas and Frosty the Snowman, but they seem to play songs like that too much and they tend to get on my nerves.
Christmas is my favorite time of the year in good part because of the cheerful music. It is always something of a letdown after Christmas. The gloom of the winter seems all the greater compared the the cheer before and I would have to say that January is my least favorite month.
Well, I hope everyone has a holly, jolly Christmas.

NORAD Santa Tracker

December 24, 2012

Once again NORAD is tracking Santa Claus as he makes his yearly trip around the world delivering presents. Right now he is in the Balkans. He’s already covered all of Asia and Australia.

Here is a story on NORAD’s Santa tracking facilities. There seem to be quite a few grinches (or trolls) in the comments section.

Update 5:45 The jolly elf is on his way to Poland.

Update 6:30 Santa has just left Paris..

Update 7:30 Santa is in Senegal right now. I think he is getting ready to make the jump across the Atlantic.

Update 7:45 He’s going through the Sahara. It looks like he hasn’t reached Spain or Britain yet, so we still have some time here in America.

Update 8:10 I was right. Santa is over Spain now.

Update 9:00 Santa is flying over Greenland now. I had better get to bed.

Tracking Santa Claus

December 24, 2011

If you want to see how far along Santa is on his route check out NORAD‘s official Santa tracking website. It looks like he has already lifted off and is busy delivering presents in China. I guess it is already December 25 over there. I hope everyone is on his nice list.

Update 2:00 PM EST Santa is in Uzbekistan.

Update 4:25 PM EST Santa just entered Moldova.

Update 5:10 PM EST He is in central Africa. The old guy sure moves fast.

Update 6:30 PM EST He just left Monaco. Delivered over a billion gifts.

Update 8:00 PM EST Santa is heading to Iceland. It looks like he’s finished with the Eastern Hemisphere.

Update 8:30 PM EST Santa is making his way across the Atlantic Ocean. I had better go to bed soon.

Update 9:00 PM EST Santa is in Argentina. We’re going to bed. Wouldn’t do to be up when Santa arrives.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

December 6, 2011

Well, there was, at any rate. He was not a “jolly old elf”, he did not live at the North Pole, and he never made any toys or drove a sleigh with eight reindeer. He didn’t look like this.

He actually looked more like this.

Of course, I am talking about Saint Nicholas of Myra, the historical person on which the legends of Santa Claus are based.

Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch “Sinter Klaus”, and it was Dutch immigrants who brought over many of our ideas of Santa, including the idea of a man who gives out presents to well behaved children. Another influence was Father Christmas from Britain. And, of course there was the poem “The Night Before Christmas” which introduced the whole idea of the reindeer, going down chimneys, etc.The cartoonist Thomas Nast is believed to be responsible for the first portrayal of Santa in his red suit, and also the idea that he lives at the North Pole.

But the real Saint Nicholas was a bishop of the city of Myra in Asia Minor, or present day turkey. He lived from around 270-343. He was a Greek Christian whose parents died of an epidemic when he was very young. From his childhood he was religious. His uncle, also a bishop, raised him and when he was old enough made him a monk. Eventually he was made a bishop by the Christian community of Myra. There he stayed until his death in 343.

Nicholas apparently was quite a zealous bishop. He was imprisoned during the last great persecution of the Emperor Diocletian, but was released when Constantine became Emperor. He debated against and fought the pagans and the Arians, a heretic branch of Christianity, and participated in the great Council of Nicaea, where he lost control of his temper and actually slapped Arius. He was imprisoned for this but released after three days.

He was most famous for his acts of charity, many of which are probably legendary.The most famous story is that passing by a house he heard three daughters lament because their father could not afford a dowry for any of them. Without a dowry they could not get married and would probably have to resort to prostitution to survive. (Somehow this story never made into the children’s specials.) He threw a bag of gold into their window as each girl became old enough to marry. In one variation of the story, by the time of the third daughter, the father lay in wait to discover the identity of his benefactor. When Nicholas saw this, he threw the bag into their chimney.

After his death, Nicholas was buried in Myra, but in 1087, with Asia Minor being overrun by the Turks, some Italian sailors stole the remains and brought them to Bari, where they remain to this day.

Nicholas is a Saint in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches His feast day is December 6, today, and he is the patron saint of children, sailors, repentant thieves, pawn brokers, and others.

So, now you know the true story of Santa Claus.

 

If you want to know more about Catholic saints see here.


%d bloggers like this: