The Most Famous Reindeer of All

rudolph flickr cc Fabrizio Pece
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Fabrizio Pece

Hello Lovelies,

Now we wind down from the festivities of the holiday season, the time filled with decorating, gift-giving, spending time with loved ones and eating much more than you should!

There were so many things to do and prepare, so many things we need remember but the question I ask of you today is…

“Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”

There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but it’s Rudolph who is arguably the most famous reindeer of all, with his bright red nose, illuminating the way for Santa’s sleigh in even the worst of all snowstorms.

Last Christmas season, I wrote a post on the story behind “The Night Before Christmas” poem and the origin of the names of Santa’s reindeer. Upon reflecting on that piece I became intrigued as to the origins of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and decided to do a little research.

Now, according to Wikipedia, Rudolph, in all his red-nosed glory, was created by writer Robert L. May in 1939. You see, May was commissioned by the Chicago-based retailer, Montgomery Ward, who had been giving away colouring books every Christmas season, in 1939 they decided it might be cheaper to create their own colouring book, this is where Robert L. May came in.

He came upon the idea when looking out his office window as the fog from Lake Michigan blocked his view, it suddenly hit him, a bright red nose that shone like a spotlight through the fog.

However, the story of the little red-nosed reindeer was initially rejected by publishers, as a red nose was seen as a sign of chronic alcoholism and therefore socially unacceptable as a children’s book character. However Robert L. May persisted with the idea, asking his friend Denver Gillen, an illustrator, to draw a cute reindeer using zoo deer as inspiration.

In it’s first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Robert L. May’s charming Christmas story were distributed by the retailer. 2.4 Million!

This charming story has then evolved into many forms; including the famous song that was adapted from May’s original story in 1949 by his brother-in-law, Johnny Marks! Rudolph has since appeared in film, television, other story books, comic books, games and so on and is one most of the most recognised Christmas characters around the world.

So, whilst you might recall the most famous reindeer of all, can you name Santa’s other reindeer?

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2018). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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A Visit from St. Nicholas

Hello Lovelies,

Apparently ‘Tis the season to be merry and Jolly Old St. Nicholas will soon be making his much anticipated appearance. So I’d thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect a little and even provide you all with some totally useless but interesting facts about perhaps one of the English speaking world’s most famous poems, “The Night Before Christmas” as my little gift to you.

“The Night Before Christmas” was first published anonymously in 1823 and was titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas. It wasn’t until over a decade later, in 1837 that Clement Clarke Moore was attributed with authorship of the poem. However, the authorship is still an ongoing debate amongst scholars, with some claiming there is evidence to suggest that the poem was written by Major Henry Livingstone Jr. This is an interesting debate, especially when you consider that authorship was attributed to Clement Clarke Moore fourteen years after it was originally published and nine years after the death of Henry Livingstone and it wasn’t until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore acknowledged authorship by including it in his own book of poems. Also, Wikipedia cites more recent analysis of the poem stating,

In 2016, the matter was further discussed by MacDonald P. Jackson, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Auckland, a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an expert in authorship attribution using statistical techniques. He evaluated every argument using modern computational stylistics, including one never used before – statistical analysis of phonemes – and found in every test that Livingston was the more likely author.

(Read more on Wikipedia here and here).

Nowadays though, most people recognise the poem from it’s opening line, “‘Twas the night before Christmas…” which is where it’s current title is derived from, without giving thought to the author, which is a bit of a shame. However, what the imagery provided by the poem captures people’s imaginations, young and old, evoking the magic of Christmas even to this day.

Also, the names of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer are derived from the poem. Now commonly written as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, the names over the years (and in different publications of the poem) have differed slight in spelling. For example, Donner and Blitzen have also been written as Donder and Dunder (derived from “thunder” in German and Dutch) and Blixem and Blixen (derived from “lightning”). Interesting but useless information, right!

Now to move on to something different… In the lead up to Christmas, I have been listening to the Pentatonix Christmas album, “That’s Christmas to me.” The title track of this album is one of my absolute favourites and is an original Pentatonix song, which you can listen to here. I think my love of Pentatonix has rubbed off onto my children, as they can name all five members by only listening to them sing and describe pitch in relation to the vocal range of the members. Anyway, when listening to the words of this song, I was thinking what a great children’s book the lyrics would make, looking at the true meaning of Christmas. The song itself even prompted my children to discuss what Christmas really is. They’ve decided it’s not about presents even though they’re really nice), it’s not even about the food (although I really do like the food, perhaps a little too much according to my waist), they’ve decided it’s about being with the people you love. Maybe that’s just one other person, perhaps it’s a house full of people it doesn’t matter as long as you get to spend your Christmas with someone you care about.

What about those who don’t have someone to spend Christmas with you ask? People like mother-daughter team Cassidy and Linda Strickland of local charity Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands are setting their sights on rectifying that. Their annual “Christmas Day Get Together” provides a, “free lunch on Christmas Day with no strings, no questions and no judgement, for everyone to enjoy !!” (quoted from the HHH website, click here for more information).

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, take the opportunity to spend it with your loved ones or perhaps to help those who would normally spend the holiday alone.

And don’t forget to read “The Night Before Christmas”/”A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clare Moore/Henry Livingstone Jr. Whatever the title, whoever the author just remember that the magic that is Christmas is all around, all you need to do is believe.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

snow flickr cc david nagy
                                               Budapest in Winter.                                                          Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Nagy

 

Hello Lovelies,

Ever since I heard Bing Crosby sing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”as a very young child, I’ve always wanted a Christmas with snow. Ever since I heard his warm bass-baritone voice sing the opening lyrics, I too was dreaming of a white Christmas. There’s a;ready something magical about snow covered surroundings and combining that with the magic of Christmas, celebrating with loved ones, would really be something special indeed.

I thought I would have my chance the last time I was in Budapest, 11 years ago. However, on that particular occasion, it was the first time in almost fifty years that Hungary had what they called, “fekete karácsony” or “black Christmas” – a Christmas without snow. In fact, it didn’t really snow until mid-January that year, when I had already returned to the Australian summer.

This time round, I didn’t get my hopes up luckily, because it seems that it is going to happen again and I my white Christmas will still be something of my dreams and I will have to settle for a white mid-January it looks like!

I’m beginning to think it may be my fault, in some strange way I’m bringing a piece of Australian summer with me each time I travel to Europe. Everyone has been commenting on how unusually warm it’s been this year, perhaps it’s global warming or something, either way the chances of a white Christmas are very small indeed.

Perhaps it is better that my dreams of a white Christmas remain as just dreams. Perhaps the reality of a white Christmas, travelling in the bitter cold snow to celebrate Christmas, then trudging back again, might not be as magical as it seems.

For now I am content to settle for the magic of dreams, reality doesn’t always live up to the hype. I’ll be happy to be with my little family, to see the happiness and joy on my children’s faces. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for snow to fall, instead of the few small flurries we’ve had, but if it’s not on Christmas, then I’m OK with that. I’ll just keep on dreaming of a white Christmas, where everything is perfect and magical.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.