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BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  Our BetterMost Community  |  The Holiday Forum (Moderator: Meryl)  |  Topic: When is it too early to put Holiday lights/decorations up? 0 Residents and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: When is it too early to put Holiday lights/decorations up?  (Read 13885 times)
belbbmfan
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 07:41:19 am »

so tell me what Sinterklaas is then guys!


okay, Kelda. This is from Wikepedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas Now you all know where Santa Claus came from!  Smiley

Sinterklaas (also called Sint Nikolaas in Dutch) and Saint Nicolas in French) is a holiday tradition in the Netherlands and Belgium, celebrated every year on Saint Nicholas' eve (December 5) or, in Belgium, on the morning of December 6. The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children.

It is also celebrated to a lesser extent in parts of France (North, Alsace, Lorraine), as well as in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic. The traditions differ from country to country, even between Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas' Eve, (December 5) is the chief occasion for gift-giving. The evening is called pakjesavond ("presents' evening"). Traditionally, presents are ingeniously wrapped, and are therefore called surprises. Also, presents are traditionally accompanied by a poem from Saint Nicholas.

Sinterklaas is the basis for the North American figure of Santa Claus; the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam maintained a Sinterklaas tradition, long after it was occupied by the English and renamed New York City. The name Santa Claus is derived from older Dutch Sinte Klaas.

Sinterklaas

The Sinterklaas feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas (280-342), patron saint of children. Saint Nicholas was bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey and became the patron saint of children based on various legends that include resurrecting children from death and saving them from prostitution.

Sinterklaas has a long white beard, wears a red bishop's dress and red mitre (bishop's hat), and holds a crosier, a long gold coloured staff with a fancy curled top. Sinterklaas carries a big book with all the children's names in it, which states whether they have been good or naughty (zoet of stout) in the past year.

He also rides a white horse called Amerigo over the rooftops. In Belgium, the horse's name is "Slechtweervandaag", meaning "Bad Weather Today". The story told to children in Belgium is that Sinterklaas had just gotten the horse, and couldn't think of a name. When Zwarte Piet entered Sinterklaas' winter castle, Sinterklaas immediately asked if Zwarte Piet knew a name. Not having heard the question, Zwarte Piet said "Slecht Weer Vandaag", commenting on the weather. Sinterklaas thought Zwarte Piet was actually naming the horse, and the name stuck.

Zwarte Piet

Sinterklaas is assisted by many mischievous helpers with black faces and colourful outfits, modelled after 16th century Spanish clothing. These helpers are called Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) in Dutch (see below for names in other languages). During the Middle Ages, Zwarte Piet was a name for the devil. Having triumphed over evil, it was said that on Saint Nicholas' eve, the devil was shackled and made his slave. Although the character of Black Pete later came to acquire racial connotations, his origins were in the devil figure.[citation needed] This racialisation is reflected in the reworking of the characters' mythos. From about 1850, Pete was said to be an imported African servant of Saint Nicholas. Today however, a more politically correct explanation is given: Pete's face is said to be "black from soot" (as Pete has to climb down chimneys to deliver his gifts). Nevertheless, the tradition has been accused of being racist, and attempts have been made to introduce Gekleurde Pieten (Coloured Petes), who are coloured blue, red, etc., instead of black. This phenomenon of "Coloured Petes" was introduced nationally in 2006 in the Sinterklaasjournaal (a TV news bulletin about Sinterklaas, which runs from the end of November until December 5). The explanation given for this was that "Sinterklaas passed through a rainbow with his boat".

Traditionally Saint Nicholas only had one helper, whose name varied wildly. "Piet" or "Pieter", the name in use now, can be traced back to a book from 1891. The idea that Sinterklaas has not one but many helpers was introduced by Canadian soldiers who had liberated the Netherlands during World War II and helped organise the first post-war Sinterklaas celebration.
In other regions where Sinterklaas is celebrated, like southern Belgium or Northern France, Saint Nicholas has different companions.

Arrival

Sinterklaas traditionally arrives each year in November by steamboat from Spain, and is then paraded through the streets, welcomed by cheering and singing children. Invariably, this event is broadcast live on national television in the Netherlands and Belgium His Zwarte Piet helpers throw candy and small, round ginger bread-like cookies, kruidnoten or pepernoten, into the crowd. The children welcome him by singing traditional Sinterklaas songs. Sinterklaas also visits schools, hospitals and shopping centres. After this arrival all towns with a dock have their own intocht van sinterklaas (arrival of Sinterklaas)

Shoe

Traditionally, in the weeks between his arrival and the 5th of December, before going to bed, children put their shoes next to the chimney of the coal fired stove or fireplace, with a carrot or some hay in it "for Sinterklaas's horse", sing a Sinterklaas song, and will find some candy in their shoes the next day, supposedly thrown down the chimney by a Zwarte Piet or Sinterklaas himself. However, with the advent of central heating children put their shoes near the boiler or even just next to the front door.

Typical Sinterklaas candy is the first letter of the child's name made out of chocolate, chocolate coins, a figurine of Sinterklaas made out of chocolate and wrapped in painted aluminium foil, and coloured marzipan shaped into fruit, an animal or some other object.

Children are told that Black Pete enters the house through the chimney, which also explains his black face and hands, and would leave a bundle of sticks (roe) or a small bag with salt in the shoe instead of candy when the child had been bad.

Children are also told that in the worst case they would be put in the gunny sack in which Black Pete carries the presents, and be taken back to Spain, where Sinterklaas is said to spend the rest of the year. This practice however has been condemned by Sinterklaas in his more recent television appearances as something of the past.

Pakjesavond

Traditionally Saint Nicholas brings his gifts at night, and Belgian children still find their presents on the morning of December 6th. Later in The Netherlands adults started to give each other presents on the evening of the 5th; then older children were included and today in that country even the youngest on the evening of December 5 (Saint Nicholas' eve), known as Sinterklaasavond or Pakjesavond (present evening). There will be a loud knock on the door, and a sack full of presents is found on the doorstep. Alternatively - some improvisation is often called for - the parents 'hear a sound coming from the attic' and then the bag with presents is "found" there. Some parents manage to "convince" Sinterklaas to come to their home personally.

Presents are often accompanied by a simple poem, saying something about the child or with a hint to the nature of the present.

When the presents are too bulky in size or when the quantity of presents is too large, they have to be snuck into the house while the kids are distracted.
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 09:54:17 am »

I said "any time after Thanksgiving." Seems reasonable to me--though I certainly get the point that it's easier to put up outdoor lights when the weather is still a little on the warm side.

Personally, I don't care for illuminated figures (Santas, snowmen, choristers, carolers, Nativity scenes). I think they look a little cheesey.

I once had a professor who was a real old-fashioned Anglophile. He put up his Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and took it down on Epiphany (Jan. 6).
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2007, 11:18:19 am »

Oh and for us non USa folk - when exactly is labour day and thanksgiving!?!



Kelda,

Labor Day is the first Monday in September. Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November.

Here's a little Thanksgiving trivia:

President Franklin Roosevelt tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November, in part to extend the holiday shopping season by one week and give a boost to the economy during the Great Depression. There was huge public protest. Some referred to the newly positioned Thanksgiving Day as "Franksgiving." Roosevelt's decision was quickly politicized, with some people in some states celebrating the holiday as the "Republican Thanksgiving" on the fourth Thursday in 1939, and others celebrating the "Democratic Thanksgiving" on the third Thursday.

I got that from: http://www.godweb.org/thanksgivingdate.htm

In the movie, "Holiday Inn" they show the calendar and a turkey keeps walking back and forth from one date to another (between the third and fourth Thursday), poking fun at this controversy.

L
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 11:19:58 am »

They've been running those damned Christmas ads on TV for the past two weeks! And the stores put their Christmas trees up in SEPTEMBER! I'm sick of Christmas already!  Angry

Pretty soon they will be doing this whole Christmas deal year round, don't you think?

It feels that way sometimes. Personally, I think Christmas should be like the Olympics: just celebrate it every four years, in a leap year. Take all the other years off.

L
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2007, 11:45:48 am »

It feels that way sometimes. Personally, I think Christmas should be like the Olympics: just celebrate it every four years, in a leap year. Take all the other years off.

L


I kind of do that, as the spirit moves.  Some years I get big yearnings to be with extended family, and we fly across the country and I make sure we all have red turtlenecks or something to increase the holiday spirit.  Other years, meh.  This is a quiet year.  MiniMeno saw a little Christmas stuffed bear in Starbuck's yesterday, and glommed on to it and cried to leave it.  "Honey, I agree, it's totally adorable, but we can't buy every cute stuffed animal we see."  Then all of a sudden, she brightened and said, "Can I get it as a Christmas present?"  Oh!  I was startled, because I forget to think that way, even in November.  "That sounds like a good possibility," says me.  Now I have to go buy one, and I think she might actually be satisfied with something like that again this year. 

I don't mean to make it sound like she hardly gets anything - the contrary, she gets good stuff whenever during the year seems right.  We just left one of my favorite kids' stores "Math n Stuff" two weeks ago with about six things.  (I just noticed that the lame name sure indicates it isn't "English n Stuff.")
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2007, 03:56:06 pm »

Hey Friends,

I added dates to the list in the poll and added an "other" option for those of you with other traditions and deadlines you like to follow.  I've made it so that you can change your vote following this little change to the original poll.

cheers!
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2007, 01:43:40 am »

Jeff, I put her lights up for 2 reasons--it was warm, and I do NOT want her climbing over the damned fence to put them up herself. Which she would undoubtedly do. For Christmas we are going to have ironwork done on her house. What iron work? Have the fence cut and a small gate put in so my 77 year old mother doesn't cliumb over the damned fence and kill herself  doing things like collecting wind-blown trash or putting up the holiday lights.

My brother can make the connections later, and light them when the window is rewady, but at least the lights themselves are in place.

Here in Denver,  at Thanksgiving we will hang garland outside and I'll put up lights. It's coming FAST!!!!!! Hell, I am still planting in the garden. Only about 700 bulbs to go, and 40 bags of mulch.

Last year I bought reindeer [aka: ELK] and a cowboy. Goin a have a brokie display. Now I just have to find the damned cowboy........
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« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2007, 07:29:46 pm »

My cousin -- who hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas because she loves to and we love for her to -- has a very big comfortable home. She begins to decorate the first week in November. She takes everything down on or by New Year's Day. She puts up 4 trees in her living room, 3 in her dining room, and at least one in every other room in the house. I have a little decorated tree that sits in the closet all year. I take it out in December and put it up before the new year. I usually leave my wreath up all of January because I get a live one, and it stays green. If I want to enjoy Christmas ambience -- I am welcomed any time at my cousin's house which also smells like cinnamon and sugar cookies at this time of year!  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2007, 12:27:00 am »

I usually leave my wreath up all of January because I get a live one, and it stays green.  Grin

I think that's nice, actually, to have that greenery up through the depths of winter.  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2007, 05:02:57 am »

If I want to enjoy Christmas ambience -- I am welcomed any time at my cousin's house which also smells like cinnamon and sugar cookies at this time of year!  Grin

Sounds like a plan!
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