Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 Winter Holiday Season -- Part 1

The holiday season is here. I was going to say, "What's happened to this year? Where has it gone?" But I think I'll save that for my New Year's blog. :)

As I did with Thanksgiving, I'm doing a two part holiday season blog. Part 1 this week, some miscellaneous holiday season facts and fun. Next Sunday, December 20, I'll post Part 2 – the ancient roots of the Christmas celebration.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away. And, while Christmas seems to get most of the publicity with shopping ads, Mall decorations, movies, and Christmas episodes of television shows, it is certainly not the only holiday of the winter season.

While at the post office the other day, standing in the very long line with all the other people who had set aside an hour to be there, I was looking at the year's available selection of holiday season stamps. There's the generic winter holiday group of four stamps depicting a reindeer, snowman, gingerbread man, and nutcracker soldier. A Christmas stamp of Madonna and sleeping child. A stamp for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah depicting a menorah. A stamp for the Muslim Eid holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. And a Kwanzaa stamp for the week long African American heritage celebration.

And while standing in line, my mind began to wander to some of the miscellaneous tidbits I'd read.

Why do people kiss under the mistletoe? After all, mistletoe is a parasitic plant you find in the forest attached to and gaining its sustenance from its host tree. The entire plant is poisonous, especially the berries which are extremely toxic. Ingesting the berries causes acute stomach and intestinal pains, diarrhea, weak pulse, mental disturbances, and the collapse of blood vessels. Death has occurred within ten hours after eating the berries. Not exactly what first comes to mind when you think of kissing. :)

The tradition of linking mistletoe and kissing started in Europe. According to Norse mythology, Baldur, the god of peace, was shot and killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. After the other gods brought him back to life, Frigga, the goddess of love, transformed mistletoe into a symbol of love and peace. And to this day, everyone who passes under the mistletoe must receive a kiss.

Then there's the Hunky Santa Show held each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through the Christmas season. And where is this event featuring your anything but typical Santa? Where else but Southern California, at Los Angeles' Beverly Center. This is the ninth year for The Hunky Santa Show. This year's reining Hunky Santa is a fitness model. No round tummy or big beard for this guy!

And what about the place where Santas go to learn how to properly Ho Ho Ho? The Santa Claus School is located in Midland, Michigan. The non-profit school has been in operation for decades and turns out both Santas and Mrs. Clauses from around the globe.

So, the next time you see a Mall Santa, remember that he's most likely not just some guy who stuck on a false beard and climbed into a red suit on a whim.

Don't forget to check back here next Sunday, December 20, for the ancient roots of the Christmas celebration.


Mary Ricksen said...

I love these little tidbits of information, if only I could remember them better. I'll remember the kissing part I hope.
Have you ever been kissed under the mistletoe, not just a friend or family member, but a really hot partner long before marriage or commitment?
I never have. Not before getting married and then it was a oh, yeah? Do I have to do this in public? Peck, sigh, married too many years I guess. (grin)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Samantha,
How interesting about the mistletoe being poisonous. I can't recall ever being kissed under the mistletoe, but one can live in hope. Although I think I might have left my run too late. Other than hubby, who wants to kiss an old girl with grey hair and saggy bits?

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: I've been kissed under the mistletoe by someone other than my husband (now my ex-husband), but no one I wanted to throw down on the ground and rip his clothes off. But I still have hopes. :)

Samantha Gentry said...

Margaret: Yeah, mistletoe is very toxic. Hey, don't give up on that kiss from a stranger. There's always hope! :)

susan said...

I have mistletoe every year but I guess it's a waste since just my hubby and I see it. haa He kisses me without and help. ha ha Years ago mistletoe was a center of attention at our house. We had a party and one of the ladies stood under it almost all night..she wanted to be sure it didn't go to waste. I think she did set down after awhile and eat some food but we all had a blast that night and I wasn't even aware we had invited a clown. It sure was fun and lightened up the party. susan L.

Samantha Gentry said...

Susan: Wow...standing under the mistletoe all evening can get tiring. Maybe the thing to do would be to put a mistletoe sprig in her hair so she could take the mistletoe with her wherever she went. LOL