Saturday, December 17, 2011

Santa – The Elf Behind the Suit

     I know I like to base my blog on real historical figures, but it’s that time of the year and we could all use a little magic to start the winter off with a bang.  I had planned to do a post on Elves and Sprites.    No, not this kind Elf.... 

...But the atmospheric kind, like this. 

      I didn’t want to bore everyone with my high tech rants, so Santa will have to do.  It is believed that this jolly man originated from pre-Christian Alpine traditions, which include Krampus, a demonic creature that accompanies St. Nicholas (Odin) during the winter solstice holiday Yule, a sort of Yin to Santa’s Yang.  Krampus act as an anti- Santa, giving warnings and punishments to the bad children.  Which leads me to ask...How did this little tidbit get left out of tradition?  Really, I have seen the way some kids act, and they could use a little visit from a Krampus or two.  Why have we taken the negative consequence out of this little tale?  

      Let me tell you why.  Apparently, like all good fun loving pagan holidays, Christians have adopted and changed the contents to fit their need to assimilate everyone.  But, in the process felt this goat-like creature traditionally celebrated during this time of year had to go....Kind of like the other hundred or so books that didn’t make it into the bible, thanks to Constantine 

     Now back to the guy in the red suit.  A lot of our modern concepts of Santa Clause come from a poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (The night before Christmas) by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston, of which there is controversy over who really wrote the poem, most give credit to Moore.  This one poem has been the foundation for the evolution from St. Nicholas – miracle worker, to Santa – the dude with the flying Reindeer and magical elves. 

     Yeah, this jolly elf, the one that Christians would like to leave out of the holiday, because it’s all about Jesus’ Birthday and not the commercialization of  gift giving in the name of a fat man in a red suit.  Hate to break it to you, but the fat guy was here giving gifts first.  So, Happy Birthday Jesus...Odin would have shared his yule log and left presents in your boots...I mean sandals, had you been born to Otzi (the Iceman) instead of Mary...Location, location, location. 

     What is your favorite holiday / Christmas tradition?  I like all the cookies and gatherings.  Am I over rationalizing things here?  Should we bring back the tradition of Krampus?  I’m in favor of this one.  Why can’t Santa wear blue?  Red is not my favorite color.  And one last thing, I think Santa needs a makeover and should look more like David Gandy this time.  I’m just saying!!

(photo removed)

 C.G. Powell
Author of Spell Checked: Book One of The No Uncertain Logic Series
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  1. Hope I didn't offend anyone. If I did, I would still love to hear from you.

    I love getting comments, so please leave one :-)

  2. This reminds me of the Supernatural Christmas episode with the anti-Claus. :-) But you are absolutely correct Christians did adopt many pagan traditions into their own faith. Santa Claus intrigues me as does the story of St. Nicholas.

  3. I think if there was a Krampus the children of the world would behave better lol. My favorite Christmas tradition is getting together with my family on Christmas eve. Great Post, Christine!

  4. Mine too Stephanie. We always let the kids open one present on Christmas eve, after dinner. I'm all for reinstating Krampus into the Christmas tradition...Coal in the stocking is just not harsh enough.