Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The First Day

What Ho wee readers, and a Merry December month to you all.  If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you may be aware that for the last year alongside my writing and blogging, I have been working as a Housekeeper in a Weatherspoon’s hotel. And by extension if you know this you may be aware of just how tired this has left me – in that I never shut up about it, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic I’m currently discussing, I will still manage to slip it in.

This may have left some of you with the impression that I am unhappy with my current day job, which is not true. The work may be hard, but the money isn’t bad for what it is, and I get a free meal on every shift – see this post for proof of that. So, all in all Wetherspoons is a very decent employer.

And I can say all of this with complete sincerity now that I’m getting a holiday.

That’s right for nine days this december – starting today in fact – I will be taking my Christmas holidays. And for eight of those nine days I’m even getting paid for it – happy dance, happy dance happy dance.

So to celebrate this momentous occasion for each day of my holidays I will be releasing one blog post dedicated to the traditions, rituals and beliefs built up around the holiday of Christmas. All in all there will be twelve, like the song, with the last few being released at the end of december in the Wee Mailing List. Remember to sign up if you want to hear how the blogs end.

I think we should get started, don’t you?

So sing it with me Wee Readers.

On the First Day of my Christmas Holidays my employer gave to me…a fat man in a round chimney.

Well let us begin with the big man himself…Santa Claus. While there have been more than several gift giving figures throughout the span of our written human history, and probably even more before that, it is highly likely that this particular figure was first born through the merging of such Christian gift givers like St. Nicolas – an actual historical figure – with the mythical Father Christmas who dated back to at least the 16th century. And who personified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas. After which he was renamed Santa Claus – an anglicized variation of the Dutch figure Sinterklaas – and lost his bishop ropes.

Poems like “Twas the Night Before Christmas” would canonise much of the Santa Clause lore we’re all familiar with. Reindeer, the sleigh full of toys, and the like.

However, there were still a lot of different variations in regards to Santa’s physical appearance, including but in no way limited to a tall gaunt man, an elf, there were even variations that were sinister in appearance. However, in 1931 Coca-Cola commissioned Haddon Sundblom to create a Santa image for their Christmas Adverts; and inspired by the aforementioned poem, the illustrator depicted a happy fat man, with rosy cheeks, a human face and twinkly eyes.

Thus, the most popular and long-lasting image of Santa Clause was cemented.

While I’m certain there is a lot more history to this, including something to do with Odin I’m not entirely sure what – this is a short blog post so I’ll stop here. If I’ve missed anything out, or made any mistakes that you can see tell me in the comments. It’s why I have them after all.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season.