December 29, 2006

New Classic Christmas Poetry page

ASLaN is glad to announce a new:
Classic Christmas Poetry page.
Milton, Chesterton, Donne, Longfellow, Livingston, Herbert, Piper, and your's truly Sinter Knicker.

Please e-mail us with more suggestions (which need to be in the public domain, or have author's permission) We'll be adding more, especially a link to Ephrem the Syrian's Hymns to the Nativity, an ASLaN favorite.

Xmas Traditions in France

...and Canada. Very nice link to historic holiday information. Check out ASLaN's Link page for more great sources of information on all things ASLaNdian. Always feel free to e-mail new and suggested links.

December 28, 2006

Gerald Ford on Christmas

Thanks to my friend William Federer, in whose fine book "Treasury of Presidential Quotations" this quote can be found:


"Merry Christmas! These two words conjure up all of the good feelings that mankind has ever held for itself and its Creator: reverence, tenderness, humility, generosity, tolerance-love. These are the stars we try to follow.

These are the most enduring treasures we can bring to our world. I can remember a few Christmases in my own youth when just about the only thing we had to offer each other as a family was the love we shared, and the faith that together we could see things through to a better future. And it did. It made us work harder, study harder, try harder-and it brought out qualities and depths of strength and character that none of us in those days thought we had.

The spirit of Christmas is ageless, irresistible and knows no barriers. It reaches out to add a glow to the humblest of homes and the stateliest of mansions. It catches up saint and sinner alike in its warm embrace. It is the season to be jolly-but to be silent and prayerful as well. I know this will be a particularly happy Christmas for me. I celebrate it surrounded by those I love and who love me.

I celebrate it by joining with all of our citizens in observing a Christmas when Americans can honor the Prince of Peace in a nation at peace. The Ford family wishes you and your family a Christmas that brings all of the joy, the fulfillment, and the inspiration of this most precious of seasons. May God's blessings be with you all."

December 23, 2006

Bush Christmas Address Praises Christ

Some folks threw a tizzy-tandrum when the 2006 White House Christmas Card did have the words "Merry Christmas" on it, even though it did quote Psalms 119:105:

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

President Bush's Christmas Radio address today should make the critics happy. It makes many ASLaNdians glad (except for the fact that we are at war in Iraq). Here are excerpts:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. As families across our Nation gather to celebrate Christmas, Laura and I send our best wishes for the holidays. We hope that your Christmas will be blessed with family and fellowship.

At this special time of year, we give thanks for Christ's message of love and hope. Christmas reminds us that we have a duty to others, and we see that sense of duty fulfilled in the men and women who wear our Nation's uniform. America is blessed to have fine citizens who volunteer to defend us in distant lands. For many of them, this Christmas will be spent far from home, and on Christmas our Nation honors their sacrifice, and thanks them for all they do to defend our freedom....

At this special time of year, we reflect on the miraculous life that began in a humble manger 2,000 years ago. That single life changed the world, and continues to change hearts today. To everyone celebrating Christmas, Laura and I wish you a day of glad tidings.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas."

Indeed, have a Mary Christmas Mr. and Mrs. Bush

Arkansas Governor Gets ASLaN A+

We don't know what the Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, thinks about the merits of believing in Santa, but his Christmas card sure gets an A+ from ASLaN!

"The Christmas Season is a time for the Message of the Messiah, the Making of Miracles, and the Magic of Music - music that warms the heart, stirs the soul, and reminds us that we are truly blessed! A True Symphony of Christmas! From our family to yours, may you experience the best of Christmas."

Yo Go Governor!

In a highly-entertaining and informative article for Christmas-watchers and worshippers like those of us ASLaNdians, reporters from have investigated the official "Season's Greetings" from State capitols.
"Gov. Bob Riley's (R) greeting card features a Gilbert Stuart portrait of the Alabama Territory's first governor on the front. But the "Governor" mentioned in the card's message refers to the prophecy of Christ's birth:

"Out of [Judah] shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel," the card quotes from the New Testament book of Matthew.
The articles has lots of pictures from the various Christmas, or "Holiday" cards, which the 50 US governor's sent to supporters this Advent. A related story by the same writers reports that:

Forget Red state vs. Blue state. For governors, the split that’s in vogue this season is between those offering “Christmas” wishes and those sending “holiday” tidings in their annual greeting cards.

A survey found that 37 of the 50 state leaders – 18 Democrats and 19 Republicans -- are sending wishes for a happy -- nameless -- holiday. Nine governors – two Democrats and seven Republicans -- are explicit in wishing the joy of "Christmas."

Believing in Santa Not that Bad?

So says a short editorial in the Arkansas-based Clanton Advertiser

A recent poll released by The Associated Press said that 86 percent of all people believed in Santa Claus as a child despite all the odds. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

The historical Saint Nicholas was venerated in early Christian legend for saving storm-tossed sailors, defending young children and giving generous gifts to the poor.

In recent years, church leaders have shied away from Jolly Old St. Nick because of how commercial the holiday has become. It also has some negative connotations because it may take some emphasis off the birth of Jesus.

However, having Santa Claus around as a symbol for the holiday season shouldn't be a bad thing. We should remember that he is a symbol of giving generously to the poor, not commercialism. If we remember that and teach our children about that, then we shouldn't worry about children believing in Santa Claus."

If it were only this simple......

Without launching into lengthy sermons, cognizant that many potential ASLaN members are atheists, Jews who don't accept Christ's messiahship but do honor Moses and the Prophets, and secularists of various stripes who are sick to near death of all the Santa hype, let your humble founder merely say that what one believes in his heart is eternally important!

It isn't so much that believing in Santa as a kid is going to hurt you (the sociology and psychology lit do not give a definitive answer to this valid concern) -- but not believing in Jesus Christ can damn you! (Please don't send spam, or ham, or Shem, etc...these are His teachings, not mine.)

C.S. Lewis on ExMas, #1

I have been meaning to post something about the fascinating ways in which CS Lewis wrote about Christmas, but have been too busy with my own shopping, and singing, and website building. Once again, Mr. Patterson, a journalist from Melbourne, Australia has come to the rescue in his excellent essay "Santa Gets Heave-Ho-Ho." ASLaN will delve into these writings in future posts, and at our website, but for now Mr. Patterson gives a worthy introduction to an aspect of Lewis that his estate's marketing team does not wish to promote!

C.S. Lewis wrote a fantasy about Christmas titled Exmas and Crismas.

One of the customs of the Exmas festival was sending cards and gifts.

Every citizen had to guess the value of the gift a friend would send him and send back one of equal value, regardless of whether he could afford it.

On the big day of the festival, the citizens would eat too much and become drunk.

Then they would feel ill and worry about the money they had spent.

There was also a non-commercial festival called Crismas, on the same day as Exmas. A few kept Crismas sacred, but they were greatly distracted by Exmas.

Culturally significant holidays develop both a religious meaning and a secular meaning.

ASLaN will try to get permission from the CS Lewis estate to publish the entire original essays. They are posted illegally online, but we don't wish to break any copyright laws. That is a crime worthy of the (mostly) American creators of the Santa Cult, who copied all the good things from Nicholas, but stripped him of his core -- a preacher and lover of Christ and a servant of men.

Santa Gets Heave-Ho-Ho

If ASLaN had a prize for the best article each Advent season, then certainly Bryan Patterson, of the Australian Sunday Herald Sun, would be a contentder this year.

His excellent article, entititled "Santa Gets Heave-Ho-Ho," which outlines some of the ways Santa has been derided in popular culture, inculdes these gems:

Christmas can be a confusing mix of religious and hedonist symbols. So whose birthday is it, anyway?

Sometimes it's hard to tell. A Dutch survey a couple of years ago found that a third of the population did not know Christmas celebrated the birth of Jesus...

So, I have sympathy for the Melbourne pastor who has accused Santa of being a blasphemous stand-in for God.

Anti-Santa pastor Steve McNeilly, of the New Life Christian Church, has naturally copped it for this view.

He's been called a Scrooge. One psychologist slamming the pastor said Santa was a "crucial part" of children's Christmas celebrations....The fat bloke in the red suit has as much to do with the Christmas story as the Easter Bunny...

Christmas celebrates the birth of a man who told the rich to tone down their opulence.

How does that sit with the overweight Santa delivering mountains of overpriced plastic toys to Western children? Their counterparts in Africa, Asia and Latin America are wasting away from AIDS and starvation.

So, why do we celebrate the birth of a Christ who told us to give everything to the poor by giving each other PlayStations and expensive trinkets?"

There's more, so read the whole essay. Bravo Mr. Patterson, you are in the running for our 2006 ASLaN Awards.

Just Say No to the Santa Claus Drug

That is the title which the Times Record (Brunswick Maine) used when they were the first US paper to publish the 2006 ASLaN Christmas Essay on Friday, Dec 22.

Of course they continue to publish the infamous "Virginia" essay, a tradition of US Journalism which is outlined very well in this intersting article:

The grudging emergence of American journalism's classic editorial: New details about “Is There A Santa Claus?” American Journalism, 22, (2) Spring 2005

That article include references (footnote #18) to older newspaper editorials and articles which have taken the road less traveled, and bashed ole Claws. If readers can track down the original of any of these below, please send them to

To be sure, “Is There A Santa Claus?” has attracted criticism and protest. In 1951, for example, participants at an anti-Santa demonstration in Lynden, WA, complained that the editorial encouraged Virginia O’Hanlon to view her skeptical friends as liars. See “Santa Survives Protest,” New York Times (23 December 1951): 24. A columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, in 1997: “Fie on Francis P. Church! Fooey to Virginia O'Hanlon! One hundred years ago, those two got together and cooked up what is America's best-known editorial. … It’s not that I don't hold stock in Church’s sermon. But allow me to add a little known but highly pertinent fact to the story: Francis Pharcellus Church had no children. If he had, he would have written something like, ‘Ginny, talk to your father.’ Then, he would have jotted down a note to the dad: ‘Nice try, pop. But reconciling lies is your job.’” See Andrew Herrmann, “It’s A Wonderful Lie,” Chicago Sun-Times (9 December 1997): 37.

December 21, 2006

Julnissa, the Norse Santa?

Here's a new one for me, by Andrew Hamilton, at Eureakastreet. I have not heard of this connection and will have no time to this Advent. Maybe someone can put some links in the comments?

"In Christian circles, Santa is often seen as an interloper. He steals space that belongs to Jesus. But Norway the story is more complex. There Christians originally invited Santa Claus in.

Julnissa, the Norse Santa, was originally an elf, one of the original cultivators of family land, who came out to drink at the Jul celebrations. Jul (Yuletide) was a festival marking the transition from winter to spring. In the tenth century, King Haakon 1 of Norway moved the celebration of Jul to December 25. Elements of the older mythology survived, including the Julnissa who later incorporated St. Nicholas and his red and white hat."

There is always something new to learn or think about

True Dat (from Jerusalem)

One "Ruvy," has got something groovy to say about Santa, from Israel. A writer for desicritics online, he grew up in Brooklyn, so he has first-hand memories of the madness of the Santa Cult as it is in the Apple. He writes, in "Ho, Ho, Ho: The Truth About Santa Claus:"

First I explained as well as I could that a commercial is an attempt to make us spend our money on something. After I thought I got that point across, I had to explain what stores do - that is to say that they sell merchandise - and that they use commercials to get people to buy their merchandise. Finally, I had to point out that if stores could not sell their merchandise, the owners would not be able to pay their bills, and they would lose their homes and have to sleep in the streets. Naturally, I also pointed out that the people who work in the stores would lose their jobs, and then they wouldn't be able to pay their bills and that they would also have to sleep in the streets. But, you know how five year olds are. You can't dwell on details too much.

Then I told my son how big department store owners some hundred and fifty years saw how they could make a fortune of money. They turned the Dutch Sinkt Niklaas - a wisp of a legend with a beard and long pipe who was not averse to dropping coal into someone's stocking - into Santa Claus, the jolly provider of gifts for all children. And why did they do this? So that the parents would have to fulfill their children's' expectations of gifts mysteriously coming into the house by Christmas morning. Santa Claus, I told my boy, was the biggest and best commercial ever invented in the last 150 years.

The astute Jew (Jews are people with a detector for false idols in their blood, mind you) then added:

But, if I were a Christian, I'd be infuriated with what big business in America had done to my religion and concepts of what is right, wrong, just and equitable.

But, my only obligation is to my son - to make sure he understands what is in those sweet commercials with Santa Claus in them, so that he never has to get caught up in Christmas madness himself.

Japan Ripe For Santa Reform

It's time to say SAYONARA Santa

The Telegraph is reporting from Japan:

The popularity of Christmas has grown uninterrupted since the end of the Second World War when the tradition, only partially understood, was imported to Japan. One Tokyo department store reputedly included a Father Christmas nailed to a cross among its decorations.

But today Japanese are eager consumers of all the trappings of Christmas and many Japanese cities outdo their British counterparts in their enthusiasm for the festivities.

Hymns and Christmas classics are played everywhere from gymnasiums to neighbourhood shopping streets.

Overtly Christian imagery is widespread and people greet each other with "Merry Christmas" rather than the more politically correct "season's greetings".

Santa Sucks....

These copywriters from the Czech Republic understand how absurd the Santa worship has become! Hoo Raa for their efforts. My title for this strange picture: Santa Sucks!

Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus would definately join ASLaN. Why don't you?

Santa is a Little Alien!

That is the word from the people in Czechoslovakia who helped bring you the Reformation.

"But I'd like to ask Anglo-Saxons to be so kind as to respect my traditions, or Czech traditions. Santa is a little alien here."

Czechs Rock! First they help topple the Soviet Empire --

Now they are setting their sights on the Beast from the North!!! You go Czecks!

Have Yourself a Santa-Free Exmas

From now on, ASLaN and our growing worldwide network of activists and armchair evangelists are here to say, in the words of the merry little song:

"From now on Santa's troubles have only just begun...."
Watch out Santa, ASLaN is coming!!!
Citizens around the globe are waking up to your reindeer games, buddy. As the good folks in Hazleton, PA are poining out to people still slumbering in Santadom:
•Santa is not an American nor is he legally recognized for residency or occupational purposes in this country. Oblivious to this fact, millions of Americans delight in inviting him into their homes and allowing him to work unsupervised every year. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to his costume and demeanor."

Santa is an Alien- Beware!

Reuters is reporting:

By Jon Hurdle PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Santa isn't welcome in Hazleton because he's an illegal immigrant just like all the others the Pennsylvania town is trying to get rid of -- or so someone would have you believe.

A new Web site,, says the town intends to keep Santa out this Christmas because he represents the illegal immigration the town council believes increases crime and burdens local services.

But the site is a hoax, created by someone in a bid to satirize a local law passed in July that has attracted national attention by imposing penalties on businesses and landlords to deter them from hiring or renting rooms to illegal immigrants..."

ASLaN says -- WAY TO GO HAZLETON! Watch the great ad. Punch line:

"This Christmas, Tell Santa He's No Longer Welcome."

(While the reason for this anti-Santa outbreak of sanity is not shared by the founders, board, sponsors, and supporters of ASLaN, the glorious outcome is the same!)

December 20, 2006

Clement Moore, Nevermore!

It is becoming more and more clear to a growing number of poets and scholars that Clement Moore did NOT pen "A Visit From St. Nicholas."

I believe that the true author was one Henry Livingston, Jr., and several papers are going to post the 2006 ASLAN Christmas Commentary, which includes the aside that Clement Moore plagiarized the famous poem. To read the case for Livingsont you can read an excerpt from Chapter 6 ( Yes, Virginia, there was a Santa Claus) of Don Foster's book, which caused quite a stir in the literary world.

The highlight of my St. Nicholas Eve this year (Western calendar...) was an email conversation with Mrs. Mary S. Van Deusen a descendant of Mr. Livingston's. In one of her e-mails she wrote, speaking of why Moore, a Hebrew and Greek scholar at an Episicopalian Seminary, would take credit for something not his own:

As for the point about Moore and his children, my impression is that he loved them deeply. He clearly had a Christmas poem for them every year. I think it's just that one Christmas he slipped up and took credit for something the governess brought along. Then, when it went too public, he didn't know how to get out of the embarrassing situation.

I have no children, so I have no good expertise to bring to this. Apparently Moore's heavy hand didn't result in model children. His sons had reputations for chasing the maids. His daughter adored him, but that's the norm I think for fathers and daughters. And girls tend more to try to be good little girls and meet father's expectations. Clearly when the poem started becoming famous, his children were extremely proud of him. I often think how frightened he must have been of being caught by these loved children. It's actually very sad.
As Frost said (paraphrase/from memory) "Knowing how way leads on to way...."

How easy to continue a little white lie -- except that in this case it has turned into one of history's BIGGEST LIES.

That is the lie of the 20th Century Santa Claus, as he has been portrayed for a least the last 50 years in popular culture and now, due to the adverts and merchandizers of US companies, all over the world.

I wrote in the 2006 essay that Livingston might have destroyed the unknown little poem if he could have seen how the Santa cult has replaced Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the center of Christmas expectations for so many people. If Mrs. Van Duesen, herself a writer, responds to this, I shall let ASLaN fans know.

Sorry, Virginia, You Were Lied To

Here is the ASLaN Commentary for 2006. Much like a White House "Holiday Card," though most of us much prefer to say CHRISTMAS, like John Kennedy did when he was President.
Sorry, Virginia, but you were lied to.

Worse than that, the counterfeit "Claus" that you and millions more were
sold on in the nineteenth century is now more objectionable then when you
were a little girl.

Back then Santa had the same spiritual flaws that his many "incarnations"
still have, but he hadn't been converted into the idolatrous and
secularized patron saint of the Self that he often is today.

Sure, the hucksters of your day prostituted the good myth Santa for
personal greed, but he still retained some humility. Now his favorite
color is certainly cash-green, and he doesn't appreciate alternative
worship on Christmas morning maligning his false profits.

Shockingly, his iconic image is now abused by adverts who want others to
discover the secrets in Victoria's underwear. Even dolls at FAO Schwartz
in New York wear leather straps, garter belts and little else. What, is
Santa now a ho?

He was on a binge when you asked him for gifts, but currently the obese
hedonist is given over to such avarice and gluttony that his co-creator,
Henry Livingston, Jr., would be shocked. (Alas, your generation also
thought that Clement Moore wrote "Twas the Night," but he actually
plagiarized it.) Indeed, if Livingston could have seen the ghost of
Christmas future I think he might have burnt the catchy poem before it
helped to fuel the Santa cult.

True, your era's version of our post-modern perversion was still
associated with the longing for good things like "faith, fancy, poetry,
love, [and] romance," but you were lied to nonetheless.

Yet if you asked me today, Virginia, I would still answer "Yes, there is a
Santa Claus, and his name is Saint Nicholas, from Myra."

Actually, the real Virginia O'Hanlon died in 1971, leaving behind 7
grandchildren. I wonder how many of their grandchildren know that the real
St. Nicholas lives on?

That man was a beloved bishop who was born around 280 AD, in what is now
Turkey, and his love for Jesus Christ and his concern for the poor,
especially children, earned him a sacred place in world history.

The Dutch brought him to New Amsterdam in their wooden shoes as
"Sinterklass," where capitalism and the literary skills of Washington
Irving saved him from near extinction after America's first war on
Christmas. That cultural struggle saw Massachusetts's Puritans trying to
outlaw celebrations on December 25,th and in 12 of the 13 colonies any
veneration of holy Nicholas was a serious Protestant sin.

Numerous websites and books have chronicled Nicholas' long, strange trip
in the new world, and how he was eventually kidnapped to the North Pole by
Madison Avenue. There is a growing, international movement of people,
however, who are learning to just say "No" to the Santa drug.

The latest of these groups is the Czechoslovakian,, started
this year by advertising copywriters who are fighting back against the
"marketing heretics for another crucifixion of Baby Jesus and the
importation of Santa."

"I protest if someone forces his imported implant in a red suit on me
while I'm at my Christmas Eve supper table," says one of the group's
founders, Petr Voborsky.

Regrettably, the modern pagan with supernatural powers was created right
here in the red, white and blue, so resisting him will be much harder, as
he holds a huge and well-guarded chunk of the Christmas market in the
imaginations of many.

The recovery of a true Turkish Christmas doesn't mean doing away with toy
drives or trees, or even eggnog and mistletoe. It also doesn't require
that parents stop reading great stories or fairytales to young children.

But even beloved Aslan's creator, C. S. Lewis, who understood the power of
myth to convey truth, called "Exmas" a "commercial racket," during which
gift-giving guilt trips "were forced upon us by the shopkeepers."

Hmmm...I don't remember those Christmas essays being promoted during the
marketing blitz for Narnia knick-knacks last Advent season?

So, dear Virginia's out there, it is time to ditch "The Claus," and to
follow St. Nick-to the Incarnation, where the Gift of salvation is still
given to man.

Do not seek him at Santa's usurping throne at the mall, in a worshipful
Hollywood account that ascribes glory to Santa, or in the magical but
temporary thrill of a gift under a tree.

Do seek him in the manger of your heart and in a house of worship that
honors the Messiah whom Nicholas adored. There you will find, of course,
sinners, but also bread and wine, gifts and givers, and songs of Christmas
joy: toys around the Tree of Life that will last for eternity.

This counsel should pass muster with the Anti-Christmas Liberties Union,
for it concurs with the Constitution, where the birth and Divinity of
Jesus is affirmed in the official words "The Seventeenth Day of September
in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven."

So friends, have a MARY Christmas, and a very St. Nicholas New Year!

Walter Skold is a librarian and poet from Freeport, Maine and the founder of
the International ASLaN Society.

ASLAN in the News

ASLAN -- the International Anti-Santa Love Nicholas Society -- has been dormant for nearly 5 years. Now that we are coming back out of the chimney it is good that new friends and potential supporters have some background information. Our new website will have more, as time permits, but here is the text of a 2001 Religious News Service article, in which ASLaN was hightlighted:


Dec 22, 2001
Memo to Santa Claus: When packing your sleigh on Christmas Eve, Jim
Rosenthal would prefer that you passed him by. You need not bother with
Carol Myers' house, either. And please, if you know what's good for you,
stay away from Walter Skold's chimney.

No offense, but they would much prefer a visit by St. Nicholas.

It's a conflict as perennial as the shopping mall Santa -- what to do with
the North Pole's most famous resident on Christmas, a holiday that
celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. A small but growing band of
Christians has an answer: Dump Claus altogether and bring back the
original St. Nicholas.

St. Nicholas, a fourth-century Christian bishop in what is now Turkey, was
known for his charity and kind heart. As the story goes, he rescued three
poor women from prostitution by slipping gold coins down their chimney --
landing in their stockings drying by the fire - - so their father could
afford a dowry for each.

The bishop of Myra became the patron saint of seafarers and pawnbrokers,
brides and children. More than 1,200 churches are named for him, dedicated
to his persecuted faith and his good works.

Along the way, the Nicholas legend split into two camps -- one holds
special devotion for the pious priest, especially among Orthodox
Christians; the other thinks of him as just another version of Santa
Claus. Walter Skold wants to change that.

As founder of the "Anti-Santa Love Nicholas Society," Skold literally
thinks Santa should be "sued for consumer and historical fraud, and exiled
to Siberia." His disdain for Santa Claus runs so deep he willingly accepts
the label of "Grinch."

"I'm more than annoyed," Skold, 41, said from his home in Brunswick,
Maine, where Santa has been banned for good. "I honestly hate what Santa
Claus has become. People hear that and they think you're anti-children,
they think you're anti-gifts, anti- commercialism. But those are side
issues. The issue is that Christ isn't getting the glory."

So seven years ago, Skold founded his "loose-knit group of kindred
spirits" while serving as a missionary in China. He concedes he hasn't
made much progress because "anyone who hears anti-Santa thinks I'm some
kind of nut."

But there is an immensely serious side to Skold's campaign, and he is not
alone. A similar, although more serious, St. Nicholas Society was formed
two years ago in London by Jim Rosenthal, press secretary for the
archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey.

Rosenthal's fledgling society has received Carey's blessing -- so much so
that Carey's wife, Eileen, presided at the annual Dec. 6 St. Nicholas Day
festival at Canterbury Cathedral. And devotion to St. Nicholas is catching
on throughout the Anglican Communion.

As Rosenthal sees him, St. Nicholas never rode a sleigh, although he
probably had a beard. The overstuffed red suit is replaced by a bishop's
regalia, complete with miter and shepherd's staff.

"We're not opposed to Santa Claus or Father Christmas or whatever you want
to call him," said Rosenthal, who is originally from Chicago. "But we
believe children should know his real name."

The origins of the modern Santa Claus are murky. Dutch immigrants brought
the tradition of St. Nicholas as "Sinter Klass," which had been grafted
onto the Kriss Kringle and Nicholas legends from Europe. Along the way,
Claus acquired a flying sleigh and reindeer. It wasn't until 1939 that a
certain red-nosed reindeer was added.

By 1822, he was immortalized as rosy-cheeked, "chubby and plump" in "
'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

It's not so much the person of Santa Claus that annoys Rosenthal, but the
commercialism he has come to represent.

"The secular verity compels us to buy and shop 'til we drop," Rosenthal
said, "whereas the Christian verity expressed in St. Nicholas is to enjoy
and share and maybe drop to your knees in prayer."

St. Nicholas in Russia

(Walter Skold)

In Russia, St. Nicholas Day is according to a different calendar than Dec.6. This Interfax report explains a bit about Nickolas and the Russians:

For his modesty and kindness St. Nicholas gained love of ordinary people. Perhaps this is why he is so dear to Russian people and is the favorite saint in Russia. Churches dedicated to him are found in almost every Russian village and there is certainly no corner in Russia where he is unknown....

The winter Day of St. Nicholas is special for Interfax-Religion as two years ago today our website began its work to cover news of religious life.

We wholeheartedly greet our readers on the occasion of St. Nicholas Day, wishing you the help of this holy man of God in your every good initiative.


The International ASLaN Society is pleased to begin our blog. It appears on the day after the Russian people honored St. Nicholas.

Look for our website soon.

Wishing you and yours a MARY Christmas (TM) and a very St. Nicholas New Year!