CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
FOR ALL CLIMATES
SINCE 1759
 
Google
 

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:

JOIN ME AT MY BULLSHIT SITES

Life on 200 Words a Day
Santa's Exile
December 25, 2005

Before boarding his sleigh as the world’s first Frequent Flier, the original Saint Nicholas sixteen centuries ago was a bishop of Myra, on the Mediterranean shores of southwest Turkey. Why he’d want to leave such a balmy retreat for a world of rugrats and sweatshopping elves is one of history’s great unanswered questions. But so is the flu. Saint Nick first appeared in the New World, so tells us Diedrich Knickerbocker, somewhere over New York, when he was still slim, svelte, a bit Dutch and very much of a pipe smoker. America would redden him, fatten him, and turn him into a milk-drinking, cookie-munching, chimney sweeping smokeless puritan. Thomas Nast gave him girth, retail gave him consumption, Virginia gave him self-affirmation. Woolworth invented the Christmas bonus in his name in 1899, but only to keep employees from going on strike. Jews promoted Chanukah in the mid-1940s, until then a minor Jewish holiday, into a gift-giving affair lasting eight days. And a genius of hooks, lines and sinkers turned Santa’s knee into every mall’s photoshop as parents now endure cues worthy of Soviet-era shortages to get their little monsters photographed with him, be he a hobo or an outlaw. By the first week of January thoughts of Santa will have been discarded like so many Christmas trees, their purposes served. And yet in millions of family photographs, on mantles, on bedsides, in albums, here they’ll be, one’s beloved children and the world’s most beloved stranger, Myra’s exile, a refugee in every home.

—L.D. Amabed Jr.

Bookmark and Share

 


THE DAILY JOURNAL
Read Pierre’s Latest at


 
The Latest Comments
 
GOOGLE GOOGLE NEW YORK TIMES NEWSPAPERS NETFLIX UK INDEPENDENT NETFLIX
 
  
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: NOTEBOOKS ORIGINALS
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: CRUMBS & CRIBS

   
 
Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary