CHAPTER I. YULE-TIDE OF THE ANCIENTS "There in the Temple, carved in wood,The image of great Odin stood,And other gods, with Thor supreme among them." As early as two thousand years before Christ Yule-tide was celebrated by the Aryans. They were sun-worshipers and believed the sun was born each morning, rode across the upper world, and sank into his grave at night. Day after day, as the sun's power diminished, these primitive people feared... more...

INTRODUCTION “Once upon a time,” in the winter season suggests happy, young faces grouped about a blazing fire. A heavy snowstorm promises plenty of sport for tomorrow, but at present the cosiness indoors is very attractive, especially now that the evening story hour is at hand. And while the story-teller is slowly choosing his subjects he hears the children’s impatient whispers of “The Snow Man,” “Prince Winter,” “The Legend of... more...

THE FACT Something has happened to Christmas, or to our hearts; or to both. In order to be convinced of this it is only necessary to compare the present with the past. In the old days of not so long ago the festival began to excite us in November. For weeks the house rustled with charming and thrilling secrets, and with the furtive noises of paper parcels being wrapped and unwrapped; the house was a whispering gallery. The tension of... more...

“Lo! now is come our joyful'st feast,Let every man be jolly.Each room with ivy leaves is drest,And every post with holly.Now all our neighbors' chimneys smoke,And Christmas blocks are burning;Their ovens they with bak't meats choke,And all their spits are turning.” The celebration of Christmas, which was considered by the Puritans to be idolatrous, has for many centuries been so universal that it may prove of interest to contrast the... more...

The sky is dull and grey, Piercing and chill the blast, Each step resounds on the frosty ground, Winter is come at last. Mamma sits by the fire Her little ones round her knees. "How cosy we are, Mamma," they cry, "Tell us something, if you please." "Tell us about King Winter, And about Jack Frost, his man; We'll not be noisy or naughty at all, But as good as ever we can." "Well then;" says mamma, "you, Jenny, May knit and... more...


PREFACE. In the third quarter of the nineteenth century, it fell to my lot to write an article on Christmas, its customs and festivities. And, although I sought in vain for a chronological account of the festival, I discovered many interesting details of its observances dispersed in the works of various authors; and, while I found that some of its greater celebrations marked important epochs in our national history, I saw, also, that the... more...

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The Origin and Purpose of Festivals—Ideas suggested by Christmas—Pagan and Christian Elements—The Names of the Festival—Foundation of the Feast of the Nativity—Its Relation to the Epiphany—December 25 and the Natalis Invicti—The Kalends of January—Yule and Teutonic Festivals—The Church and Pagan... more...

Christmas Entertainments. Time for Santa Claus. By M. NORA BOYLAN. (To be sung to the tune of "Ta-ra-ra, boom-de-ay.") Now's the time for Santa Claus;Christmas comes with loud huzzas.Hark! the bells! Oh, hear them ring!Ting-a-ling-ling ting-a-ling.Cho.—Ting-a-ling-ling ting-a-ling,Ting-a-ling-ling ting-a-ling,Ting-a-ling-ling ting-a-ling,Ting-a-ling-ling ting-a-ling.See his prancing reindeer brave,Hear him tell them to... more...

I. An Age of Wonders e live in an age of wonders. Great discoveries and startling events crowd upon us so fast that we have scarcely recovered from the bewildering effects of one before another comes, and we are thus kept in a constant whirl of excitement. The heavens are full of shooting stars, and while watching one we are distracted by another. So frequent is this experience that our nerves almost refuse to respond to the shock of a new... more...

The day on which Jesus Christ died is plainly distinguishable, but the day of His birth is open to very much question, and, literally, is only conjectural; so that the 25th December must be taken purely as the day on which His birth is celebrated, and not as His absolute natal day. In this matter we can only follow the traditions of the Church, and tradition alone has little value. In the second and early third centuries of our æra, we... more...