Iron Mouse a la D.L, a Candy Cane, and Grammy’s Plates
As a Jewish girl with a former Christmas line, I have often been asked what Christmas means to me. It means a lot… of warm memories… with my mom, who made stockings by hand for us, and at lively parties with extended family and friends. As a designer, of course I love the velvets and glitter. I wonder: where does the secular Christmas come from in all its festive glory? Well, after doing some D.L. digging, I was able to find that Christmas is a hodgepodge of traditions from different countries.
Santa Claus, in charge of all those fabulous reindeer (eight plus Rudolph), is a combination of the Danish Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaus), the English Father Christmas, and the Scandinavian elf “Tomte” who delivered presents beginning in the 1840’s. As tradition states, Saint Nicholas (a flesh-and-bones man) arrived by steam boat from Spain from November with a list containing the names of children who had behaved, well… “nice.” Santa Claus, as he is today, with his suit and beard, was born in New York, as an answer to people’s cry for a symbol that was non-English following the American Revolutionary War. Ho ho ho!
Dating back to the 15th Century, Londoners at Christmastime decorated their flats with ivy leaves, holm, and anything green they could find, to represent the green of the Earth. Holly was put out as protection from pagans and witches- yes that’s right, Jess Young, pagans and witches! Trees were first seen in Germany in the 18th Century, and poinsettias come from Mexico originally!
Ornaments Galore at D.L.
What about gifts? Being in retail, we know, well, this is the busiest time of year. The tradition of gift-giving is rumored to date back to ancient Roman times; there was a celebration in late December called Saturnalia. Prego! Gift-giving was banned at Christmas by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages; but they retorted later, which they rationalized because of Saint Nicholas’ association with the custom- and gold, frankincense , and myrrh was given to the baby Jesus. Thank God!
Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!
Lots of Love,