“True Meaning of Epiphany”

#AceHistoryNews says on the 6th January as many other countries and people’s will be celebrating their “Christmas Day” it will be the Day of Epiphany” also, but the real roots of this day was a lot deeper than l first realise.

A Brief History
"Snowy Five Points"The Church of the Epiphany had its beginnings around 1894, in the informal gatherings of like-spirited Atlantans in the city’s first planned suburb, Inman Park. By 1898, the group’s lay services and Sunday school classes had grown sufficiently to warrant mission status. Bishop C. K. Nelson suggested the name Epiphany because it had been the name of his first parish, and because the new mission’s locale was the easternmost suburb of Atlanta—the Magi having come from the East. (Epiphany’s logo, a five-pointed star, serves as an apt, though unintentional, reminder of the parish’s first neighborhood, Little Five Points.) The chapel’s cornerstone of Stone Mountain granite was laid in March of 1898, and the first service was held in the building in May.Ten years later, in December 1908, the Church of the Epiphany was admitted to the year-old Diocese of Atlanta as a parish and called its first rector, the Reverend Russell K. Smith. In 1922, having outgrown its first building, the parish sold the Little Five Points property and moved to nearby Seminole Avenue. Epiphany flourished in this location, growing to 667 communicants in the next seventeen years.

The city’s outward expansion and social dislocations following World War II brought demographic transition to Inman Park, however; by 1953 the number of communicants at Epiphany had dwindled to 165. That same year, The Reverend Dr. Norman Gore was called as Epiphany’s sixth rector. Under his leadership, the congregation moved to its third location, having purchased the current property on Ponce de Leon Avenue from nearby Emory University in 1956. The first services were held in the new chapel in October 1957. An expansion of the church in 1961 increased the length of the nave, and in 1963 a new wing was built to include a parish hall and offices.

1978 The last half-century has witnessed further demographic transition brought on by gentrification in the neighbourhoods surrounding the church. Throughout this period the parish has experienced continual growth and renewal. Membership grew steadily under the leadership of the Reverend Stanley McGraw (1971-79) and the Reverend Benjamin Turnage (1980-84). During this time, women began serving in leadership positions. (Betty Walton, the first woman elected to Vestry, in 1971, became the first female senior warden in 1973). By 1984, about 130 different households, including some 300 adults and children, were associated with the Church of the Epiphany.

In the Spring of 1985, at a time when women were only slowly gaining acceptance in the Episcopal priesthood, the Reverend E. Claiborne Jones accepted the call to Epiphany, the first woman to become rector of an Episcopal church in Georgia. Under her leadership, the parish undertook two major renovations. First, in 1988-89, the nave and narthex were completely renovated and expanded and a memorial garden was dedicated on the east side of the building.

seminoleTen years later, in the wake of burgeoning membership and increased activity, the clergy and leadership recognized the need for room to grow. The resulting 2003-04 construction expanded the Parish Hall, added classrooms and provided room for the dynamic community life of the parish. The first services were held in the new building on Palm Sunday 2004. Membership at that time was 718. At about the same time, adjoining residential property became available, and the parish prayerfully determined to raise funds and take advantage of this rare opportunity to plan for future growth.

The ministries of the Church of the Epiphany have expanded along with, or even ahead of, the parish’s space. The full-time staff has grown to include an organist and choirmaster, an associate rector, and a parish administrator, as well as a facilities manager. In February 2006, Epiphany called The Reverend Benno D. Pattison to be its tenth rector. Benno has an infectious and exuberant enthusiasm for the work God calls. We believe that his leadership and our shared vision will galvanize Epiphany to strive to live out the Gospel’s radical values with gladness of heart. As of December 2012, membership was 1101, representing 469 households.




Courtesy of EP


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“In the Beginning there was St Nicolas today there is Santa Claus”

A medieval fresco depicting St Nicholas from t...

A medieval fresco depicting St Nicholas from the Boyana Church, near Sofia, Bulgaria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says St. Nicholas was born in 280 AD, in Patara, a city of Lycia, in Asia Minor. He became the gift giver of Myra. His gifts were given late at night, so that the gift giver’s identity would remain a secret. St Nicholas was eventually named the patron saint of children, sailors, Russia and Greece.

St. Nicholas was a Christian priest, who later became a bishop. He was a rich person, and traveled the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents. St. Nicholas did not like to be seen when he gave away presents, so the children of the day were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come! Nothing has changed and Santa Claus will not arrive next Christmas unless the children go to sleep early.

A famous story about St. Nicholas, is about a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. St Nick dropped bags of gold into the stockings which the girls had left to dry by the fire. The sisters found the gold and ever since, children have hung up stockings on Christmas Eve hoping that they will be filled with presents by Christmas morning.

Despite being quite young Nicholas had earned a reputation for kindliness and wisdom. In the year 303, the Roman emperor Diocletian commanded all the citizens of the Roman Empire, which included Asia Minor, to worship him as a god.

Christians believed in one god and one god alone, so their conscience would not allow them to obey the Emperor’s order. Angered by their stubbornness, Diocletian warned the Christians that they would be imprisoned. The Emperor carried out the threat and St Nicholas who resisted too was also imprisoned. For more than five years, St Nicholas was confined to a small cell. He suffered from cold, hunger, and thirst, but he never wavered in his beliefs. In 313, when Diocletian resigned, and Constantine came to power Nicholas was released, and he returned to his post as Bishop of Myra. He continued his good works and became even wiser and more understanding by the time of his death on December 6, 343.

In the eyes of the Catholics, a saint is someone who has lived such a holy life that, after dying and going to heaven, he or she is still able to help people on earth. They often become the patron to different groups of people – one such was children and many legends sprang up to explain his presence.

By 450, churches in Asia Minor and Greece were being named in honor of him. By 800, he was officially recognized as the a saint by the Eastern Catholic Church.

In the 1200’s, December sixth began to be celebrated as Bishop Nicholas Day in France.

Visit from St. Nicholas. Illus. by Louis Prang

Visit from St. Nicholas. Illus. by Louis Prang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By end of the 1400’s, St Nicholas was the third most beloved religious figure, after Jesus and Mary. There were more than 2000 chapels and monasteries named after him.

In the 1500’s people in England stopped worshipping St Nicholas and favoured more another gift giving figure Father Christmas. Over the centuries, St. Nicholas’ popularity grew, and many people in Europe made up new stories that showed his concern for children. The name Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch Sinter Klass pronunciation of St. Nicholas. Early Dutch settlers in New York (once called New Amsterdam) brought their traditions of St Nicholas. As children from other countries tried to pronounce Sinter Klass, this soon became Santa Klass, which was settled as Santa Claus. The old bishop’s cloak with mitre, jewelled gloves and crozier were soon replaced with his red suit and clothing seen in other modern images.

Santa Claus History in the USA begins 4 centuries ago: 

The History of Santa Claus in America-
A story of its own.  In America the History of Santa goes back four centuries. The  evolution of the character as we know him today is a remarkable one with world-wide implications.
Santa Claus History in the USA begins 4 centuries ago
1600’s: The Puritans made it illegal to mention St. Nicolas’ name. People were not allowed to exchange gifts, light a candle, or sing Christmas carols.
17th century: Dutch immigrants brought with them the legend of Sinter Klaas.
1773: Santa first appeared in the media as St. A Claus.
1804: The New York Historical Society was founded with St. Nicolas as its patron saint. Its members engaged in the Dutch practice of gift-giving at Christmas. 
1809: Washington Irving, writing under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, included Saint Nicolas in his book “A History of New York.” Nicolas is described as riding into town on a horse.
1812: Irving, revised his book to include Nicolas riding over the trees in a wagon.
1821: William Gilley printed a poem about “Santeclaus” who was dressed in fur and drove a sleigh drawn by a single reindeer.
1822: Dentist Clement Clarke Moore is believed by many to have written a poem “An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicolas,” which became better known as The Night before Christmas.” Santa is portrayed as an elf with a miniature sleigh equipped with eight reindeer which are named in the poem as Blitzem, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donder, Prancer, and Vixen. Others attribute the poem to a contemporary, Henry Livingston, Jr. Two have since been renamed Donner and Blitzen.
1841: J.W. Parkinson, a Philadelphia merchant, hired a man to dress up in a “Criscringle” outfit and climb the chimney of his store.
1863: Illustrator Thomas Nast created images of Santa for the Christmas editions of Harper’s Magazine. These continued through the 1890’s.
1860s: President Abraham Lincoln asked Nast to create a drawing of Santa with some Union soldiers. This image of Santa supporting the enemy had a demoralizing influence on the Confederate army — an early example of psychological warfare.
1897: Francis P ChurchEditor of the New York Sun, wrote an editorial in response to a letter  from an eight year-old girl, Virginia O’Hanlon. She had written the paper asking whether there really was a Santa Claus. It has become known as the Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus letter. 4
1920’s: The image of Santa had been standardized to portray a bearded, over-weight, jolly man dressed in a red suit with white trim. 5
1931: Haddon Sundblom, illustrator for The Coca-Cola ™ company drew a series of Santa images in their Christmas advertisements until 1964. The company holds the trademark for the Coca-Cola Santa design. Christmas ads including Santa continue to the present day.
1939 Copywriter Robert L. May of the Montgomery Ward Company created a poem about Rudolph, the ninth reindeer. May had been “often taunted as a child for being shy, small and slight.” He created an ostracized reindeer with a shiny red nose who became a hero one foggy Christmas eve. Santa was part-way through deliveries when the visibility started to degenerate. Santa added Rudolph to his team of reindeer to help illuminate the path. A copy of the poem was given free to Montgomery Ward customers. 6
1949: Johnny Marks wrote the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Rudolph was relocated to the North Pole where he was initially rejected by the other reindeer who wouldn’t let him play in their reindeer games because of his strange looking nose. The song was recorded by Gene Autry and became his all-time best seller. Next to “White Christmas” it is the most popular song of all time. 
1993: An urban folk tale began to circulate about a Japanese department store displaying a life-sized Santa Claus being crucified on a cross. It never happened.
1997: Artist Robert Cenedella drew a painting of a crucified Santa Claus. It was displayed in the window of the New York’s Art Students League and received intense criticism from some religious groups. His drawing was a protest. He attempted to show how Santa Claus had replaced Jesus Christ as the most important personality at Christmas time. 7


  1. Barbara G. Walker, “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets.” Harper & Row, (1983) Pages 725 to 726.

  2. St. Nicholas of Myra,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, at: newadvent.org/cathen/11063b.htm 

  3. Father Frost,” at:bobandbabs.com/ 

  4. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” at:stormfax.com/virginia.htm 

  5. The Claus that Refreshes,” at: snopes.com/cokelore/santa.htm 

  6. Rudolph,” at: snopes.com/holidays/xmas/

  7. R Cendella Gallery – Theme: Commentary,” at rcenedellagallery.com

  8. St. Nicholas of Bari (Fourth Century),” Catholic Information Network, at: cin.org/nichbari.html

Thomas Nast (1840-1902)
America’s foremost political cartoonist and the creator of the
image of Santa Claus as we know him today.
In 1863, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began a series of annual drawings in Harper’s Weekly which were based on the descriptions found in the poem and Washington Irving’s work

Thomas Nast the son of a Bavarian army bandsman, was born in 1840 in Landau, in the RefinishThomas Nast Santa engraving 1882 Palatinate. Nast was brought to United States at a age of six in 1846; grew up in New York City. Before he learned English he was able to express himself with simple drawings on his slate. His artistic talent enabled him to enter an art school at an early age, but he had to leave at fifteen in order to support his family. After studying with Theodore Kaufmann and Alfred Fredericks, and in the school of the National Academy . Upon his first interview he was immediately hired as illustrator for Leslie’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper (1855) at four dollars per week.

Thomas Nast engravingHe began his career with a cartoon attacking civic corruption. In 1860, at the age of 20, he covered a heavyweight championship in London for the New York Illustrated News. From there he joined the forces of Garibaldi in Italy as war correspondent. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, he returned to the United States, where he married his fiancée Sarah Edwards, a well-educated young lady who contributed in no small measure to her husband’s success. In the spring of 1862 Nast joined the staff of Harper’s Weekly as Civil War correspondent visiting the battlefields in the South and the Border States and sending back on-the-scene sketches. At the end of the war, Nast had become a nationally known figure as political cartoonist. From now on he took up nearly every national issue of political and social significance. Nast was a champion of the underprivileged and a protagonist of equal rights for all citizens – not only for the newly freed Negro slaves, but for other minority groups as well, such as the American Indians. He also took sides with the Chinese after their immigration had been restricted. He criticized the administration, which pretended to serve “the public good”, lampooned bigotry in the Catholic Church, dealt with economic and monetary issues and made Victoria Woodhull and her theories of “Free Love” the receptacle for his stinging irony.

Between 1861 and 1884, Thomas Nast and Harper’s Weekly were considered bulwarks of Republicanism and Nast’s greatest influence was obviously in politics. He was even called the “president maker”, since every presidential candidate whom he supported was elected. Nast popularized several political symbols: the Democratic donkey, the Republican elephant the Tammany tiger. He also gave us our present-day conception of Uncle Sam, John Bull and Columbia. The figure Nast drew, which was based on Pelznikel, the St. Nicholas of his German ancestors, is the famous Santa Claus, now known to everybody in the country. After the death of Nast’s friend and supporter Fletcher Harper, a younger generation of editors changed the policy of the magazine. It became less liberal and Nast’s career declined. Not willing to tolerate any censorship, Nast thought that after more than twenty-five years of work, it was time to travel, to rest and to devote more of his hours to his family. He put together a collection of Christmas drawings, which were published in 1890 under the title, Thomas Nast’s Christmas Drawings for the Human Race. Thomas Nast Santa engraving

When one of his cherished plans, publishing his own magazine, failed, he fell into debt. Therefore he accepted an appointment as Consul General to Ecuador, offered to him by one of his old admirers, Theodore Roosevelt. But the tropical heat and the unsanitary living conditions in Ecuador were too much for the sixty-two-year-old artist. On December 7, 1902, he succumbed to an epidemic of yellow fever – not without having paid back his debts and leaving some money for his family.

“Haddon Sundblom & Coca-Cola”
Born in 1899, Haddon Sundblom dominated the commercial art scene for decades. Often using himself as the model, Sundblom developed the image of jolly Saint Nick for Coca-Cola.

The Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly in 1862; Santa was shown as a small elf-like figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years and along the way changed the color of his coat from tan to the now traditional red.

The Coca-Cola Company began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s with shopping-related print ads in magazines like the Saturday Evening Post. The first Santa ads used a strict-looking Claus, in the vein of Thomas Nast.

Santa Claus made an appearance in our advertising again in 1930. Artist Fred Mizen painted a department store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke®. The ad featured the world’s largest soda fountain, which was located in the department store of Famous Barr Co. in St. Louis, Mo. Mizen’s painting was used in print ads that Christmas season, appearing in the Saturday Evening Post on December 27, 1930.

Archie Lee, the agency advertising executive for The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic. In 1931, The Coca-Cola Company commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images using Santa Claus.

For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clark Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” Moore’s description of the man as “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf” led to an image of Santa that was warm, friendly and human. For the next 35 years, Sundblom painted portraits of Santa that helped to create the modern image of Santa — an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of children of all ages all over the world.

Beginning in 1928, more Coca-Cola was consumed from bottles than in soda fountains. More and more consumers were taking bottles of Coca-Cola home with them to keep cold in their ice boxes. As a sign of the times, the 1937 campaign saw Santa raiding the fridge.

The first appearance of a child in Sundblom’s Christmas creation occurred in 1938, when Santa is shown embracing a youngster in the family living room.

At the outbreak of World War II, franchise bottling operations were located in 44 countries. By the time the war was over, 64 operating plants had been established in war zones, and U.S. military personnel had consumed more than 5 billion bottles of Coca-Cola. Advertising began to reflect this global expansion, and the 1943 Santa said, “Wherever I go…”

What would the holiday season be without children? In 1950, Sundblom painted his next door neighbors in Tucson, Arizona, Lani & Sancy Nason. Yes, they were sisters, but Sundblom changed one to a boy to create more balanced scenes. Sundblom said, “I don’t know whether she liked being a boy or not. I never asked her.” The Nasons also appeared in 1952 and 1953 works.

In 1951, we see Santa making his list and checking it twice. However, the ads did not acknowledge that bad kids existed. This painting only shows the good boys and girls. It is clear from this year’s art that Sundblom is using his own likeness as a model.

Controversy surrounded the 1954 Santa Claus. As one of the most loved campaigns, the Coca-Cola Santa had many fans. Probably because he was using himself as a model and looking in a mirror, Sundblom painted Santa’s large belt worn backwards. The ads elicited thousands of letters from consumers telling the company about the mistake.

The Santa artwork for 1956 was a cleaned-up version of the 1953 painting; Santa’s work bench and other helpers were removed.

A variety of Santa images were employed for the 1957 holiday season. In one, Santa was poised to blast off to help sell more Coca-Cola. With the subjects of missiles and interplanetary travel on consumers’ minds, Santa traded in his sleigh and reindeer for a rocket ship.

The Santa Claus dolls were an important addition to the 1957 campaign. The dolls were first distributed as promotional items for bottlers by an independent advertising supply house. Newer models of the dolls have been produced over the years.

In 1959, Santa helps himself to some Coca-Cola, but gets caught in the act. This year marked a departure for Sundblom. Most of the Santa art of the past featured Santa as the main subject. But from this year onward, Santa plays an important part of the Christmas scene, but elves, children, pets and toys also have significant roles.

1964 was the last year that an original Sundblom was used in the advertising for Coca-Cola. The paintings for 1965 and 1966 were actually created in 1964 and served as the basis of artwork in 1965 and 1966.

While Sundblom did not create new Santa art for us after 1964, the Coca-Cola Santa had a powerful, enduring quality that continued to inspire future Santas forCoca-Cola. The original paintings by Haddon Sundblom are some of the most prized pieces in the art collection of our Archives Department. Many can be seen on display at World of Coca-Cola Atlanta or touring the world during the holiday season.

English: Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, &q...

English: Thomas Nast’s most famous drawing, “Merry Old Santa Claus”, from the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly. Thomas Nast immortalized Santa Claus’ current look with an initial illustration in an 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly, as part of a large illustration titled “A Christmas Furlough” in which Nast set aside his regular news and political coverage to do a Santa Claus drawing. The popularity of that image prompted him to create another illustration in 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Night Before Christmas
(A Visit From St. Nicholas)
by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that ST. NICHOLAS soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.A visit from St Nick
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,



  1. Barbara G. Walker, “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets.” Harper & Row, (1983) Pages 725 to 726.

  2. St. Nicholas of Myra,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, at: newadvent.org/cathen/11063b.htm 

  3. Father Frost,” at:bobandbabs.com/ 

  4. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” at:stormfax.com/virginia.htm 

  5. The Claus that Refreshes,” at: snopes.com/cokelore/santa.htm 

  6. Rudolph,” at: snopes.com/holidays/xmas/

  7. R Cendella Gallery – Theme: Commentary,” at rcenedellagallery.com

  8. St. Nicholas of Bari (Fourth Century),” Catholic Information Network, at: cin.org/nichbari.html

Yes, Virginia.  There is a Santa Claus-
This classic letter, and response, answers the age-old question.
A must read for everyone.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of “The Sun”:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years form now he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. 

Francis P Church

The Christmas issue of NOAA's Weather Bureau T...

The Christmas issue of NOAA’s Weather Bureau Topics with “Santa Claus” streaking across a weather radar screen, 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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#Christmas Tree’s and Their Past History

English: Candle on a German Christmas tree Deu...

English: Candle on a German Christmas tree Deutsch: brennende Kerze am Weihnachtsbaum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says ” The first retail Christmas tree lots began popping up in various German cities in the 1530’s, a few decades after the practice of decorating Christmas trees began in Riga, Latvia. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the first Christmas tree was decorated by a merchants guild to enliven the local marketplace. In 2010, The Christmas Tree Growers Council of Europe gathered in Hamburg Germany to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the industry”

Though the history of how this all came about, and is a lot more involved and a lot stranger, as the past of growing and cultivating the humble “Christmas Tree” has evolved and it starts with ……

St. Boniface Story

Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.

Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God’s Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

Luther's tree

Christmas Markets

In the mid 16th century, Christmas markets were set up in German towns, to provide everything from Christmas presents, food and more practical things such as a knife grinder to sharpen the knife to carve the Christmas Goose! At these fairs, bakers made shaped gingerbread and wax ornaments for people to buy as souvenirs of the fair, and take home to hang on their Christmas Trees.

The best record we have is that of a visitor to Strasbourg in 1601. He records a tree decorated with “wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barleysugar) and paper flowers of all colours”. The early trees were biblically symbolic of the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden. The many food items were symbols of Plenty, the flowers, originally only red (for Knowledge) and White (for Innocence).


Tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610. At that time real silver was used, and machines were invented which pulled the silver out into the wafer thin strips for tinsel. Silver was durable, but tarnished quickly, especially with candlelight. Attempts were made to use a mixture of lead and tin, but this was heavy and tended to break under its own weight so was not so practical. So silver was used for tinsel up to the mid-20th century.

The First English Trees

The Christmas Tree first came to England with the Georgian Kings who came from Germany. At this time also, German Merchants living in England decorated their homes with a Christmas Tree. The British public were not fond of the German Monarchy, so did not copy the fashions at Court, which is why the Christmas Tree did not establish in Britain at that time. A few families did have Christmas trees however, probably more from the influence of their German neighbours than from the Royal Court.

Decorating a Victorian household

The decorations were  Tinsels, silver wire ornaments, candles and small beads. All these had been manufactured in Germany and East Europe since the 17th century. The custom was to have several small trees on tables, one for each member of the family, with that persons gifts stacked on the table under the tree.

The Victorian and Albert Tree

Victoria and Albert tree

In 1846, the popular Royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were illustrated in the Illustrated London News. They were standing with their children around a Christmas Tree. Unlike the previous Royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at Court immediately became fashionable – not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The English Christmas Tree had arrived!

Decorations were still of a ‘home-made’ variety. Young Ladies spent hours at Christmas Crafts, quilling snowflakes and stars, sewing little pouches for secret gifts and paper baskets with sugared almonds in them. Small bead decorations, fine-drawn out silver tinsel came from Germany together with beautiful Angels to sit at the top of the tree. Candles were often placed into wooden hoops for safety.

Mid-Victorian Tree

In 1850’s Lauscha began to produce fancy shaped glass bead garlands for the trees, and short garlands made from necklace ‘bugles’ and beads. These were readily available in Germany but not produced in sufficient quantities to export to Britain. The Rauschgoldengel was a common sight. Literally, ‘Tingled-angel’, bought from the Thuringian Christmas markets, and dressed in pure gilded tin.

The 1860’s English Tree had become more innovative than the delicate trees of earlier decades. Small toys were popularly hung on the branches, but still most gifts were  placed on the table under the tree.

Around this time, the Christmas tree was spreading into other parts of Europe. The Mediterranean countries were not too interested in the tree, preferring to display only a Creche scene. Italy had a wooden triangle platform tree called as ‘CEPPO’. This had a Creche scene as well as decoration’s.

The German tree was beginning to suffer from mass destruction! It had become the fashion to lop off the tip-off a large tree to use as a Christmas Tree, which prevented the tree from growing further. Statutes were made to prevent people having more than one tree.

Just as the first trees introduced into Britain did not immediately take off, the early trees introduced into America by the Hessian soldiers were not recorded in  any particular quantity. The Pennsylvanian German settlements had community trees as early as 1747.

America being so large, tended to have ‘pockets’ of customs relating to the immigrants who had settled in a particular area, and it was not until the communications really got going in the 19th century, that such customs began to spread. Thus references to decorated trees in America before about the middle of the 19th century are very rare.

By the 1870’s, Glass ornaments were being imported into Britain from Lauscha, in Thuringia. It became a status symbol to have glass ornaments on  the tree, the more one had, the better ones status! Still many home-made things were seen. The Empire was growing, and the popular tree topper was the Nation’s Flag, sometimes there were flags of the Empire and flags of the allied countries. Trees got very patriotic.

They were imported into America around 1880, where they were sold through stores such as FW Woolworth. They were quickly followed by American patents for electric lights (1882), and metal hooks for safer hanging of decorations onto the trees (1892)

High Victorian Trees

The 1880’s saw a rise of the Aesthetic Movement. At this time Christmas Trees became a glorious hotchpotch of everything one could cram on; or by complete contrast the aesthetic trees which were delicately balanced trees, with delicate colours, shapes and style. they also grew to floor standing trees. The limited availability of decorations in earlier decades had kept trees by necessity to, usually table trees. Now with decorations as well as crafts more popular than ever, there was no excuse. Still a status symbol, the larger the tree – the more affluent the family which sported it.

The High Victorian of the 1890’s was a child’s joy to behold! As tall as the room, and crammed with glitter and tinsel and toys galore. Even the ‘middle classes’ managed to over-decorate their trees. It was a case of ‘anything goes’. Everything that could possibly go on a tree went onto it.

By 1900 themed trees were popular. A colour theme set in ribbons or balls, a topical idea such as an Oriental Tree, or an Egyptian Tree. They were to be the last of the great Christmas Trees for some time. With the death of Victoria in 1903, the Nation went into mourning and fine trees were not really in evidence until the nostalgia of the Dickensian fashion of the 1930’s.

The American Tree

In America,Christmas Trees were introduced into several pockets – the German Hessian Soldiers took their tree customs in the 18th century. In Texas, Cattle Barons from Britain took their customs in the 19th century, and the East Coast Society copied the English Court tree customs.

Settlers from all over Europe took their customs also in the 19th century. Decorations were not easy to find in the shanty towns of the West, and people began to make their own decorations. Tin was pierced to create lights and lanterns to hold candles which could shine through the holes. Decorations of all kinds were cutout, stitched and glued. The General Stores were hunting grounds for old magazines with pictures, rolls of Cotton Batting (Cotton Wool), and tinsel, which was occasionally sent from Germany or brought in from the Eastern States. The Paper ‘Putz’ or Christmas Crib was a popular feature under the tree, especially in the Moravian Dutch communities which settled in Pennsylvania.

The British tree in the 20th century

After Queen Victoria died, the country went into mourning, and the tree somehow died with her for a while in many homes. While some families and community groups still had large tinsel strewn trees, many opted for the more convenient table top tree. These were available in a variety of sizes, and the artificial tree, particularly the Goose Feather Tree, became popular. These were originally invented in the 1880’s in Germany, to combat some of the damage being done to Fir trees in the name of Christmas.

In America, the Addis Brush Company created the first brush trees, using the same machinery which made their toilet brushes! These had an advantage over the feather tree in that they would take heavier decorations.

After 1918, because of licensing and export problems, Germany was not able to export its decorations easily. The market was quickly taken up by Japan and America, especially in Christmas Tree lights.

Britain’s Tom Smith Cracker Company which has exported Christmas goods for over three decades, began to manufacture trees themselves for a short while.

In the 1930’s There was a revival of Dickensian nostalgia, particularly in Britain. Christmas cards all sported Crinoline ladies with muffs and bonnets popular in the 1840’s. Christmas Trees became large, and real again, and were decorated with many bells, balls and tinsel, and with a beautiful golden-haired angel at the top. But wartime England put a stop to many of these trees. It was forbidden to cut trees down for decoration, and with so many raids, many people preferred to keep their most precious heirloom Christmas tree decorations carefully stored away in metal boxes, and decorated only a small tabletop tree with home-made decorations, which could be taken down into the shelters for a little Christmas cheer, when the air-raid sirens went.

Large trees were erected however in public places to give morale to the people at this time.

Postwar Britain saw a revival of the nostalgic again. people needed the security of Christmas, which is so unchanging in a changing world, as one of the symbols to set them back on their feet. Trees were as large as people could afford. Many poorer families still used the tabletop Goosefeather trees, Americas Addis Brush Trees were being imported into Britain, and these became immensely popular for a time. But the favourites were still real trees. The popular decorations were all produced by a British manufacturer, Swanbrand. and sold by FW Woolworth in Britain. Translucent plastic lock together shapes, Honeycomb paper Angels, ‘glow-in the -dark icicles; also Polish glass balls and birds In South Wales, where real trees were often difficult to find in the rural areas, Holly Bushes were decorated.

The mid-1960’s saw another  change. A new world was on the horizon, and modernist ideas were everywhere. Silver aluminium trees were imported from America. The ‘Silver Pine’ tree, patented in the 1950’s, was designed to have a revolving light source under it, with coloured gelatine ‘window’s, which allowed the light to shine in different shades as it revolved under the tree. No decorations were needed for this tree.

Decorations became sparse. Glass balls and lametta created an ‘elegant’ modern tree. Of course, many families ignored fashion and carried on putting their own well-loved decorations on their trees!

America made a return to Victorian nostalgia in the 1970’s, and it was a good decade later that Britain followed the fashion. By the at first this was a refreshing look, and manufacturers realising the potential created more and more fantastic decorations. Some American companies specialised in antique replicas, actually finding the original makers in Europe to recreate wonderful glass ornaments, real silver tinsels and pressed foil ‘Dresdens’.

Real Christmas Trees were popular, but many housewives preferred the convenience of the authentic looking artificial trees which were being manufactured. If your room was big enough, you could have a 14 foot artificial Spruce right there in your living room, without a single dropped needle – and so good that it fooled everyone. There are even pine scented sprays to put on the tree for that ‘real tree smell’!


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“History of Christmas Pagan Religions”

#AceHistoryNews says according to ChristianPost every holiday has a past. Christmas is no different. The day now known for manger scenes,

English: Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, &q...

English: Thomas Nast’s most famous drawing, “Merry Old Santa Claus”, from the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly. Thomas Nast immortalized Santa Claus’ current look with an initial illustration in an 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly, as part of a large illustration titled “A Christmas Furlough” in which Nast set aside his regular news and political coverage to do a Santa Claus drawing. The popularity of that image prompted him to create another illustration in 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Claus, and gift-giving during the peak of winter was not always celebrated in said manner.

Many of the traditions connected to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ have nonChristian origins. Items like the Yule log, the Christmas tree, and the very placement of the observance during the darkest time in the calendar year stem from pre-Christian religious observances.

Bruce Forbes, professor of religious studies at Sioux City, Iowabased Morningside College explained to The Christian Post in an earlier interview that many current Christmas rituals emerged during the difficult winters pagans often encountered.

Candlelight conquered darkness and evergreens were prized for remaining green in even the brutal winters. Festive activities like drinking and dancing reduced isolation and kept people positive, noted Forbes.

Some in the modern-day still adhere to the pagan meanings of the pre-Christian aspects of the Christmas holidayreported Jefferson Calico of kentucky.com.

“Groups of people who follow contemporary pagan religious traditions will be gathering to celebrate the old/new holiday of Yule: the Festival of Light in contemporary pagan nature religion,” wrote Calico.

“Groups of people who follow contemporary pagan religious traditions will be gathering to celebrate the old/new holiday of Yule: the Festival of Light in contemporary pagan nature religion,” wrote Calico.

“In Pagan spirituality, December is the transition to the new year and is thought of as a time of upheaval as well as new beginnings.”

Scholars attribute the usage of pagan celebratory aspects to Christianity’s spread throughout Europe and the Roman Empire. Christian missionaries sought to convert non-Christian populations and were willing to adapt certain festive attributes to their own observances.

“Christians of that period are quite interested in paganism,” said Philip Shaw, researcher of early Germanic languages and Old English at Leicester University to LiveScience.

“It’s obviously something they think is a bad thing, but it’s also something they think is worth remembering. It’s what their ancestors did.”

Another reason in pagan characteristics entering into the Christian holy day was the sense by most in the early Church that the birth of Jesus was not an important holiday to observe.



#acehistorynews, #history2research, #ilovehistoryandresearch-2, #bruce-forbes, #christianity, #christianpost, #christmas, #jesus, #livescience, #santa-claus, #yule