25 February 2012

Rudolph Day, February 2012

"Rudolph Day" is a way of keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long. You can read a Christmas book, work on a Christmas craft project, listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie.

Here are three humorous Christmas videos to set the mood:

Cartoon “White Christmas”

Santa’s Stuck Up the Chimney

Funny "Jingle Bells"

Pagan Christmas, Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling
If you are looking for a "unique" Christmas book, you wouldn't have to look much further than this volume. Described as "an ethnobotany of Christmas," it traces the background and the use of all the plants we think of as traditional to the holiday—mistletoe, holly, fir trees, poinsettias, etc. However, it chronicles all the plants over the years having been traditionally associated with the holiday, including the white-spotted mushrooms (the fly agaric) so commonly duplicated as ornaments on European trees, yews, and all the fragrant herbs and spices, i.e. rosemary, bay, ginger, anise, etc., most of which trace back to pagan antecedents and some to drug use to obtain "visions." For that reason, I strongly suggest this book is definitely not for children, as there are reference to sexual practices as well. However, as a book for adults I did find it quite entertaining, reading about customs from the past, some which even dated back to near-prehistoric times. And, indeed, many of the images we think of as "Christmassy," the Scandinavian "julebok" and the Julenissen, St. Nicholas' white horse, the smokers of Germany, the colors red and white, hark back to far older solstice and Yule celebrations. As a plus the book is illustrated with not only photos of the plants, but liberally illustrated with Christmas imagery that goes back to early Victorian chromolithographs, of delightfully pagan-based postcards, advertisements, and greeting cards that were sold freely in Christian countries. Just a very neat book, but not for everyone.

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