Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Wishes Blog Hop!

 The Curious World of Christmas Traditions By Karen Michelle Nutt
Billions of people celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, but even those who do not celebrate know about the traditions associated with the celebration. Some of the traditions date back centuries. 

Santa Claus owes his existence from the Dutch settlers when they settled in the New World with their stories of St. Nicholas (Sinter Klass). There are many engravings of the eighteenth century saint wearing a hat and robe. The engravings depict the saint stuffing stockings, hanging on the fireplace, full of gifts, and fruits. The original St. Nicholas may have been Nicholas of Myra, an ancient bishop honored for his holiness. A classical scholar and American Episcopalian minister, Clement Clark Moore wrote the famous “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on December 23, 1822. He wrote the piece for his three daughters. Moore’s image of the jolly old man with a long white beard has been the Santa Clause we recognize today.

The Yule Log was once an ancient sun worship ritual. The Vikings burned the log in honor of their god Thor. The Druids selected a large tree bearing fruit or an oak tree. They would bless the log and light the piece with a scrap from the last year’s Yule Log to symbolize the log was ‘ever-burning’. The Druids believed this ritual would promote bountiful crops, provide light and warmth for the dead and cleanse the fire by burning up all the evil of the past year.

Ice skating has become a holiday tradition, too. We can date ice skating back to 3000 B.C.  Leg bones from large animals were used as the blades and skates were tied on with leather straps. The Dutch word for skate is ‘schenkel’ which means leg bone. The oldest pair of ice skates were found at the bottom of lake in Switzerland.

Druid priests used mistletoe in their sacred rituals over two hundred years before the birth of Christ. They revered the plant with no roots and the ability to remain green during the winter months. The Celts believed mistletoe had magical healing powers. They used it as an antidote for poison, infertility and to ward off evil spirits. They also thought of the plant as the symbol of peace. Scandinavians associated the plant with their love goddess, Frigga. This perhaps is where we derive out custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe would have happiness and good luck for the next year.

I'm giving away a Ebook pack of Holiday themed tales to one lucky commenter who answers: What are some Christmas traditions you follow or find interesting? Don't forget to leave your email so I may contact you if you should win. Good Luck!! 

And that's not all...

****Pick up a copy of Autumn Moon FREE at Amazon 
(Offer good Dec. 7 to Dec. 11th) Enjoy!:  

Jairec’s holiday in San Francisco turned into a living nightmare when he’s attacked by a chiang-shih, a Chinese vampire. He has until the end of the Moon Festival to convince Autumn, an herbalist, to hand over the elixir of life. Without it he will become the white-haired demon for all eternity.

Visit participating blogs for more prizes at: Christmas Wishes Blog Hop

Enter the Grand Prize Rafflecopter:  

Contest: 9 Ebooks for the Holidays. Pack includes:

WANTED- JoBeth’s stay in the lumber town is meant to keep Shane Maverick, the leader of the outlaw gang from finding her and breaking her out of jail before the authorities have time to devise a plan to capture him.

JoBeth finds the Kellys a strange lot. A little girl, who believes her dreams are tales of the future and the rugged sheriff whose kindness proves a distraction. She’s an outlaw for heaven’s sake, but Jace is bound and determined to steal her heart.

THE SPIRIT OF LOVE- A tragic accident leaves Brynna and Travis devastated. Instead of turning to each other for comfort, they drift apart. However, they must complete one more assignment—set on an old ship, The Queen Mary, during Yule, one of the most haunted times in the Celtic calendar. It is believed souls of the dead prevail and anam cara—soul friends can visit.
Will Travis and Brynna confront the spirit of love, allowing them a chance to heal and find their way back to each other?

My story is: Mistletoe, Stakes and Yuletide Cheer
What’s a hunter to do when she’s fallen for the vampire she’s been sent to stake?
Cassandra Hayes has been dating Tremayne Graystone, the vampire she’s been sent to eliminate. To stake or not to stake is the least of their problems when masked men kidnap them and hold them hostage. They realize all they want for Christmas is a chance to make their relationship work. Kisses under the mistletoe may not make this holiday merry, but they’re willing to give it a shot.

The other stories in the collection:

The Wishing Tree by Cheryl Pierson-A war veteran with visible and invisible scars, mostly a loner, meets a special woman and her son. Will he provide their tree for Christmas and change his own life forever?

Holiday Surprise by John Duncklee- Joe and Marge, once high school sweethearts, travel different paths when Joe decides to become a cowboy. Years later, on a special Christmas Eve, Santa Claus brings Joe a surprise.

Snowy Cocoon by Joshua R. Shinn-Ryan Yamada meets his former childhood email pal, Yuki Stanton, during high school. Will their friendship and blossoming love for each other persist despite her domineering father?

Gifts by Stephanie Burkhart-Will Christian and Famke's attraction interfere with them earning a spot on the Netherlands Olympic pairs skating team? Must they push aside their feelings to succeed?

Kimberly's Christmas Cake by Chuck Tyrell-The year Kimberly turned eighteen, she made an extra effort to learn lots of woman things. Would baking a special Christmas cake for Russ Taklin help prove she had grown up?

Family Heirloom by Gerald Costlow- Alone at Christmas, Marian discovers an antique angel in ornaments from the attic. When she places it atop the tree, she begins a journey through time and her life will never be the same.


Melissa Fox said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen!
I was just on gchat talking with a writing friend who lives in the Netherlands, and she explained the celebration of Sinterklaas. I love hearing of other countries and cultures' traditions and legends, and the basis for those we celebrate. So much fun to hear the tales!

Mary Ricksen said... Best Blogger Tips

I didn't know a lot of that stuff. Very interesting how traditions become one!

ilona said... Best Blogger Tips

My main tradition for Christmas has been in my family for many generations. We raise a glass in a Christmas toast to the family at exactly 11 o'clock on Christmas Day. This happens no matter where in the world we are as my family have been forces people as far back as anyone can remember :D

felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

Heidi Vanlandingham said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen!
My great-grandmother started our family's tradition of eating coffee bread and cinnamon rolls, slathered in rich butter then dipped in hot cocoa (homemade of course). We will go through about 10 loaves of the bread and just as many, if not more, of the cinnamon rolls--and that's just on Christmas morning! This is such a deliciously wonderful tradition that even the little ones want to eat breakfast before opening presents.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Melissa Fox
I love learning about all the traditions, too. Thanks so much for coming by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :) Thanks for coming by for a visit. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


What a very cool tradition. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


I love it! How yummy! I'll be over for breakfast Christmas morning. lol Thanks so much for coming by and sharing.

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the free read! Sounds good.

My immediate family gets together on Christmas Eve to open presents and then Christmas Day we have dinner with the rest of the family-- aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. It's a lot of fun.

cnickol (at) verizon dot net

Raonaid Luckwell said... Best Blogger Tips

Hubby and I like setting up the tree. The boys are the one responsible on decorating them

Raonaid at gmail dot com

laurie said... Best Blogger Tips

thank you very much for the wonderful blog hop and great giveaway


Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Fascinating factoids. I really didn't know much about the yule log tradition and history. Ironic that the oldest ice skates were found at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland.
I like your stories and your Christmas themed stories I know will be terrific.
all the best

BLHmistress said... Best Blogger Tips

I love getting together all our extended family Christmas Eve , open some presents that we drew names for(the adults only). and we have dinner and watch Christmas movies.


bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Fascinating information. The yule log tradition is interesting.


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

You're welcome. Your Christmas sounds like fun. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Raonaid LuckwellMy husband decorates the trees. I set up the all the stockings and the decorate kitchen. We like to watch a holiday movie while we decorate. :) Thanks so much for coming by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@laurieYou're so welcome! Happy Holidays!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Sarah J. McNealThank you so much.

I love those tidbits, too.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@BLHmistressSounds like a lot of fun.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@bn100So glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks so much for coming by. :)

Natasha said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the chance to win!
We open presents and have a big dinner.
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@NatashaYou're welcome. Thanks for coming by. :)

Hywela Lyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen, what a fascinating post. Certain preparations for Christmas have become something of a 'ritual' for my husband and I, and an indication that Christmas is on its way. WE like to visit Redwings Horse Sanctuary at the beginning of November to see the rescued horses and purchase some cards and gifts to help funds for their care, then in December there is a special Christmas area at our local garden centre, with models of reindeer and polar bears, and again the opportunity to buy gifts and decorations. We don't put our decorations up until a week before Christmas and a few days before we pay a visit to the Christmas tree farm, to pick out our Christmas tree. It's then I know Christmas is truly on its way.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Hywela Lyn I'd love to have a real tree, but I'm allergic to them. I've heard if we brought in a live tree (perhaps in a pot) I wouldn't have a problem.

We decorate two artificial trees-- one with Hallmark ornaments we've collected in our 27yrs of marriage and the other tree we decorate with homemade ornaments. We plan to decorate this weekend.

LisaRayns said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh my gosh those books look good! Hehe. I find that Christmas spider one I just heard about interesting.
lisarayns at gmail dot com

kimberly holgate said... Best Blogger Tips

we decorate our christmas tree on the bay after thanksgiving
kaholgate at ymail dot com

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@LisaRayns Thanks, Lisa. I love the Spider legend, too. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@kimberly holgateMy parents decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving, too. :)

Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen, mistletoe is the state flower or plant of Oklahoma (can't remember which) and when I was little, I remember several kids my age, and a little older, coming around door to door with sprigs of mistletoe wrapped in plastic saran wrap that they were selling to get Christmas money. A couple of them lived on an acreage outside of town and they'd climb up into their trees and get the mistletoe down then wrap it and sell it.

We usually decorate our tree the day after Thanksgiving but it seems like as I've gotten older and the kids have moved out, I'm getting slower and slower about it. LOL Great post--I really enjoyed reading about all the different traditions.

Ann Montclair said... Best Blogger Tips

Such fun finding new authors. Great hopping with you!

--Ann Montclair

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Cheryl PiersonI know what you mean-- We've been a little slow decorating, too. We plan on decorating tomorrow. lol

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Ann MontclairIt's fun meeting new authors and and chatting with readers. :) Thanks for popping in for a visit.

katsrus said... Best Blogger Tips

Those are very interesting. I have never heard any of those. We always had a big meal on Christmas Eve and than opened presents. And when my kids were small we would cut down a Christmas Tree after Thanksgiving. Or favorite was after it snowed. The trees were so pretty on the tree farm. Thanks for the giveaway.
Sue B

K. April Holgate said... Best Blogger Tips

My fav holiday tradition is the decorations and lights. I take long trips home just to look at them!

Thanks for the giveaway!!


Brenda Jean Hyde said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite tradition probably doesn't seem that exciting, but I love it all the same. Every Cmas Eve my kids, my husband and I play board games, listen to Cmas music and eat fun food. We make up a buffet just for us and munch all evening. It's great! They are 12, 18 and 19 this year.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@katsrusI'm glad you enjoyed the post.You actually cut down your own tree? Wow.

Thanks for coming by and sharing.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@K. April HolgateMy husband loves putting up the lights and coordinating the music to go with them.

Thanks so much for coming by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Brenda Jean HydeI actually think playing board games is a lot of fun. Great tradition!!

Jeanette Platt said... Best Blogger Tips

well A tradition in my house is Santa Jammies... My mom said my grandma started it there were 9 kids in her family... 5 in ours... and I have two boys lol... But the tradition is every christmas Eve you get to open a gift (Santa Jammies)... Which is a new set of Jammies so Santa can find you... I buy my husbands and boys and they pick out mine... You never know what your Santa Jammies are until you open them.... Kinda nice having new PJ's for Christmas.


CBarton said... Best Blogger Tips

The tree, lights, cookies, presents and family get together, these are ours. Thank you for the giveaway and for being a part of the hop.

Sassy Chassy said... Best Blogger Tips

Our only family tradition is spending as much time as we can with as many family members as possible over the holidays!


desitheblonde said... Best Blogger Tips

we sued to go to grand we had a big family gating nw i d not have any one here so i d do not hing but blog

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Jeanette PlattI like the Christmas PJ Tradition. :) Thanks so much for coming by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@CBartonThanks for hopping with us!!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Sassy ChassyLove spending time with my family as well! My daughters and I went shopping tonight and bought Starbucks afterward. Fun!!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@desitheblondeThanks so much for coming by. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

And the winner is...Jeanette Platt!

Thanks everyone for coming by and hopping with us!!