With the jolly fat man in red scheduled to visit tomorrow night, I have the holidays on my mind. We were listening to some holiday music today and this line from the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” caught my ear (note the line in bold):
There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago.
“Okay kiddies, it’s time for bed! Get comfy, tuck yourselves in and try to sleep. Santa’s coming tonight! However, before I tuck you in and turn out the lights, I’d like to read you a few chapters from The Shining, to help put you in the mood for dancing sugarplums!”
I did some digging on the net and it turns out that it used to be a tradition during the Victorian times that ghost stories were told around the fire at Christmas. Allegedly, that is one of the things that inspired Charles Dicken to pen his classic “A Christmas Carol”, which of course featured the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
So I started thinking about Christmas in general.
Of course, Santa must be scary. 99% of kids cry a river of tears the first time they have to sit in his lap.
Oh yeah – that looks like fun, Virginia.
Then, of course, there is the Grinch. Remember him? He’s the scary-ass looking “thing” that actually stole Christmas from an entire village of other scary looking people:
I then began thinking about my own childhood. Of course, we read the Grinch and A Christmas Carol. But we went a step further. We were told that if we weren’t good throughout the year, this jolly fat elf named Santa wouldn’t bring us toys and goodies, but a bag of coal, or switches, or whatever else our parents wanted to scare us with.
Our parents actually told us this (I’m not making this up). We were told that if we didn’t stay asleep on Christmas Eve – that if we woke up in the middle of the night, snuck into the living room prematurely, and caught Santa in the act of dropping off the loot, he would “throw pepper” in our eyes. WTF?
I told this story to a friend of mine and he laughed. When I asked why he was laughing he said “that’s nothing. Our parents told us that if we caught Santa in the act we would turn to stone.” STONE?! WTF?
Whatever your individual beliefs, I do wish you all a happy holiday season, and a prosperous, healthy 2007.