It’s nearly Christmas again. I hope you’ve all stocked up on plenty of booze and written your letters to Santa….
And, round these parts, the approach of Christmas can only mean one thing: new festive blog posts.
They’ve become a bit of a tradition on Another Kind Of Mind (indeed, folk read them all year round – you’d be surprised how many people seem to feel Christmassy in the middle of June!), and I try to do something different every year.
So, from next Saturday (that’s the 19th December) until Christmas Day, there will be a brand new seasonal blog post for you every day.
Until then, if you’re looking for some festive reading (and watching), you can find all my previous Christmas posts right here – and I’ll be adding links to the new posts there as soon as they’re published. Enjoy!
Over the years I’ve written a ton of posts on a festive theme, which have all proved to be very popular with you lot – in fact, it’s become a bit of a seasonal tradition round these parts (indeed, one of my long-time readers reckons I should actually write a book on the subject! I might. One day). There’s so many of these Christmas posts now that I figured it was about time I put them all in one place for easy access. So if you’re feeling Christmassy and fancy a good read, click on any of the links below to find out more…
- Dreaming of a White Christmas? – Snow Facts (2009)
- The Little Ice Age and London’s Frost Fairs (2009)
- Christmas Superstitions (2009)
- The Sun Stands Still: the Winter Solstice and other Midwinter Festivals (2009)
- You Better Watch Out!: A Brief History of Santa Claus (2009)
- Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2010)
- How to have a very merry green Christmas (2010)
- A 17th Century Christmas Miscellany (2010)
- A Victorian Christmas Miscellany (2010)
- A Wartime Christmas Miscellany (2010)
- Festive Felonies (2011)
- Mulled Wine: Mulling it over (2011)
- The Solstice Fire (2011)
- Christmas in London: The Geffrye Museum (2012)
- Christmas in London: The Shoreditch Angel (2012)
- Christmas in London: The Natural History Museum (2012)
- Christmas in London: The Trafalgar Square Tree (2012)
- Stir-Up Sunday (2013)
- Charles Dickens and the Story of ‘A Christmas Carol’ (2013)
- Post Early For Christmas… (2014)
- Christmas in London: The Oxford Street Lights (2014)
- World War One: A Home Front Christmas Miscellany (2014)
- Christmas on Film: ‘Making Christmas Crackers’ (1910) (2014)
- Christmas on Film: ‘Scrooge, or Marley’s Ghost’ (1901) (2014)
- Christmas on Film: ‘Christmas Under Fire’ (1941) (2014)
- Christmas on Film: ‘Santa Claus’ (1898) (2014)
- Christmas on Film: ‘New Year Greeting’ (1949) (2014)
- Christmas on Film: ‘Lonely Lightship’s Christmas (1922)’ (2015)
- Vintage Christmas Puddings: A Fourth Helping (2015)
- Under The Mistletoe… (2015)
- The Red, Red Robin… (2015)
- Christmas in London: The First Trafalgar Square Tree (1947) (2015)
- Christmas on Film: ‘A Christmas Carol’ (1914) (2015)
- Merry Christmas to you all! (2015)
- Christmas on Film: ‘Christmas Greeting’ (1946) (2016)
- Christmas on Film: ‘The Mistletoe Bough’ (1904) (2016)
- Post early for Christmas – with some canine help! (2017)
- Christmas in London: A 17th Century Update (2017)
- Christmas on Film: ‘The Insects’ Christmas’ (1913) (2017)
- Christmas in London: Lighting the Darkness on Oxford Street (2017)
- Christmas in London: Snow Joke! (2017)
- A Thoroughly Modern Santa? (2017)
- Happy 2018! (2018)
- Post Early For Christmas… in Christmas!? (2018)
- Beware the Yule Cat! (2018)
- Football at Christmas: Sam Bartram in the Fog (2018)
- Please Mr Postman: A Brief History of Christmas Cards (2018)
- A Thoroughly Modern Santa Returns! (2018)
(I’ll also be adding links to any future Christmas posts as they’re published, so watch out for those too…)
The Bad News:
Just a quick post to let you know that as of today, I have mothballed the Another Kind Of Mind Facebook page. Sadly, the stats are telling me that it is hardly reaching anyone and that this situation is only going to get worse now that new rules for pages have been introduced by Facebook.
The page will continue to exist but it will no longer be updated. If you were one of the few that the Facebook page was reaching and you wish to continue being updated about new material on Another Kind Of Mind, please subscribe to the blog directly (you can find the details at the very bottom right of this page), or follow me on Twitter.
Incidentally, I have removed as many references to the Facebook page as I can find – but with more than 250 posts on here, trawling through them all will take some time! If you do spot any that I have missed, please leave a link to the relevant post in the comments here or on the Feedback page.
Thank you to all the people who liked, commented on and shared the page – I am sorry to see it go, but it is no longer worth my while to continue updating it, especially as I am using Facebook less and less in a personal capacity.
The Good News:
There are some brand new Christmas blog posts coming soon! I will also be speculating about the end of the world (or not) and – assuming we’re all still here by December 31st, obviously! – exploring New Year’s celebrations through history. Watch out for those in the next few weeks – but if you can’t wait until then, you can find some of my previous seasonal posts here.
Also watch out for some more weird history (even weirder and darker than before), some excellent news from Syon Lane Community Allotment, and whatever else I turn up in the meantime…
So, who is he, this mysterious man in red? And why does he do what he does? At any other time of the year these days, a fat jolly bearded stranger (with several known aliases) landing on your roof and sliding down your chimney would result in a slap on the wrist from the Civil Aviation Authority, and a breaking and entering charge for the bearded one at the very least (if not an ASBO).
And, with cries of ‘animal cruelty’ ringing in his furry ears, poor Rudolph would probably be sent packing to a reindeer sanctuary somewhere in Scotland, and the sleigh would end up clamped and impounded by over-zealous traffic wardens. But before the nightmare of this horribly politically correct eventuality really does come to pass (and because I wouldn’t want any of you to wake up on Friday morning to an empty stocking), let’s find out exactly what’s going on here…
Santa Claus as we know him today is actually an amalgam of a number of different figures and archetypes, some real, some legendary. The first of these is probably the most important of all in the development of the Santa myth…
The 4th century saint
The first of the origins of the Santa legend can be found in a rather unexpected place. Not in the ancient nomadic tribes of Lapland or the North Pole, as we might expect, but in 4th century Turkey with the part-real/part-mythic St Nicholas. Like an increasing number of people during this early period in the development of the Christian church, Nicholas was a deeply religious man. In fact, the real Nicholas was a bishop in the Greek Orthodox Church. He was bishop of Myra, which is now in Turkey but was then part of Byzantine Anatolia, a position which meant he had a certain amount of power and influence.