Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I've got some catching up to do, with a few articles back in the queue, but first:

What would Christmas be without NORAD tracking Santa?

The "live cam" coverage of Santa's visits around the globe has already started. Go to to see all of them via YouTube. also includes ways to follow him on Google Earth. According to a BBC article today, they also have a live twitter feed (@noradsanta) so kids know when to expect his visit.

For any film buffs out there, I also stumbled on this clip from an 1898 film called "Santa Claus". The special effects are impressive, but it is also interesting to see Santa portrayed before the Coca Cola version provided a common version for American culture. Even as Snopes debunks this story, they confirm it. Their text from 1927 (four years before the Coke ad appeared) clearly says the standard Santa wore a hood. Notice the hoodie on Santa in that 1898 film? But the Santa in the first Coke ads wore a hat and all Santas wear a hat today. (Read the Coca Cola company version of this history here.)

In other news, a priest is in trouble in Italy for telling children that Santa is not real. What was that guy thinking? Well, he said what he was thinking: that kids should only believe that Jesus is real. Odd way to treat a patron Saint of the Church, but he clearly does not appreciate the role of mythology in human culture. (I once heard a fascinating sermon drawing a parallel between the two, concerning belief in the unseen based on hearsay evidence that might be centuries old.) Of course, plenty of evangelical churches try to do away with the mythology of Halloween (the eve of All Saints Day), so maybe they will take on the commercial mythology of Santa next. Not. Santa serves too many purposes to do that.

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