Thursday, December 08, 2016

The History Behind the Holiday

Began a cloudy, damp morning with breakfast and Christmas Past. One of three holiday-themed documentaries Linda Young gave me in 2007, this one details how British Christmas customs came into being. I love the interviews with different people who often lived through the history - landed gentry who enjoyed elaborate Christmases, a female Father Christmas, a woman who had her first nice Christmas when she was evacuated to the country during World War II as a child, the Scottish folks who enjoyed their first Christmases period in the 50's.

Worked on writing for the next few hours. My next three stories will be backlogged Star Wars Original Trilogy fairy tales I've been working on ideas for, beginning with Luke and the Beanstalk. Luke and Leia Skywalker live on a small dairy farm in the Kingdom of Naboo. They took over the farm after their aunt and uncle died. Unfortunately, Naboo is hit with a terrible drought that kills off most of their cattle. Leia insists that Luke sell their last remaining cow Artoo when she no longer gives milk. Luke's heartbroken, but he knows they have no choice. They need the money.

He encounters an old peddler in a brown cloak as he's taking him to town. It's Old Ben Kenobi, a strange old magician. He tells Luke he'll trade Artoo for a bag of magic beans. If he plants them in his garden, something amazing will happen!

Leia's not convinced. She's so angry when Luke gets home, she throws the beans out the window! They both go to bed hungry and upset with each other.

Luke thinks he hears voices and something rustling in the night, but he has no idea why. When he awakens the next day, he finds his room is dark. There's a shadow hanging over the house...the shadow of an enormous beanstalk. The young farmer starts climbing it right away. His sister goes after him to keep an eye on the daydreaming lad.

Broke for lunch around 1. Ran Christmas Unwrapped as I ate. The second holiday documentary of the day is a History Channel special that goes further into the older history behind the holiday and how they inspired many American Christmas traditions, like Santa Claus and trees..and how the holiday is regarded now.

Headed out for a run to the Haddon Township Library around 2:30. The sun was just starting to peek through the clouds as I rode through Newton Lake Park. The trees are all bare now, wispy brown strokes against the green grass and golden leaves. Probably because of the wind and it being the middle of the day, the park wasn't terribly busy either going to or from the library. I dodged a few people out for a stroll or a jog, but most folks were probably trying to avoid the mid-40's temperatures.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't terribly busy when I arrived. The kids' DVDs actually weren't bad. I managed to get them all in with a little room to spare. Had a harder time with the adult DVDs. Couldn't get all the I's and S's in. Did better with the CDs and audio books.

Went straight home across the park again after I finished. Since I really had no other plans for today, I decided I'd get my Christmas cards done. I don't mind doing them. Only about half of mine are going out of town, anyway. Most get handed out to friends and family who live in the area on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was even able to clear out the last couple of cards from several older packs, two of which I've had for at least five or six years.

Did TV Guide Looks at Christmas as I worked. This time, we're learning about holiday traditions on television, from popular animated specials to oft-repeated movies to favorite Christmas sitcom episodes. I especially liked hearing about Christmas holiday variety programs. I was born in 1979, as variety shows were dying out on TV, and remember absolutely nothing about them. (Though I have had the soundtrack to the Judy Garland Christmas special since the mid-90's.) The only major variety special during my childhood was Pee Wee's. While I had heard somewhat about the Bing Crosby shows, Perry Como's trips to Austria and the Alps were entirely new to me.

Moved to Rick Steves' European Christmas as I made tuna salad wraps and honey-glazed carrots for dinner. It's a merry little Christmas all across the continent that gave the US some of its most cherished holiday traditions. I love learning about the different customs of various countries, from making plum pudding in England, to meeting the lovely angel who gives gifts in Germany, to ice skating on the Eiffel Tower, to a living nativity in rural Italy.

Finished the night with more Lego Star Wars. Finally completed the "Escape From Naboo" blue pieces challenge. Didn't have as much luck with "Darth Vader," "Retake Theed Palace," and "Darth Maul." Did better with the Super Story for Revenge of the Sith. I was not only able to complete it in under an hour this time, but I got even more studs than I did previously.

No comments: