The lighter side of Christmas
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.
Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.
A little trivia too — Reindeer and caribou are the same genus and species — the same animals. They’re just called different names in different parts of the world.
A favorite Christmas book for me is Christmas in the Old West: A Historical Scrapbook by Sam Travers. The stories of fur trappers, pioneers and how Christmas was celebrated no matter where a person happened to be. A great chapter on recipes of the time give directions such as in one recipe, that called for a piece of butter the size of an egg. That would have been a typical sense of measure on the trail or the homestead. Now a recipe would list one-quarter cup of butter to equal that amount. An “old-time tablespoon” full up yielded four of our current teaspoon measuring devices. However, it only takes three modern teaspoons to equal a tablespoon with today’s measuring spoons.
The book is chalk full of old photos, historic menus from places like the Irma in Cody, Wyo. Vintage advertisements, newspaper articles, Christmas cards and a nice tribute to Charlie Russell are included. The book was published in 2003 and it can still be found online for sure. When she wrote the book, Travers had a Christmas store in Cody and she is now in Tucson, but that isn’t a problem. Her website http://www.northpolewest.com features her online Christmas company from ornaments to stockings. “Western Christmas” is the company’s motto.
The three wise men, also known as the Magi, are said to have followed the star of Bethlehem to bring three gifts to baby Jesus. The three wise men’s gifts of gold, a precious metal; frankincense, a sap from a Boswellia tree that emits a pleasant aroma when it is burned and myrrh is also a tree sap that is used as a spice. Do you know the Bible only says there were three gifts and we don’t actually know how many wise men came to the manger?
What if it had been wise women who followed the star? They would have asked directions, arrived on time, assisted with the birth, cleaned the stable and made a casserole.
Two Quick Ones
We should have known … ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.
It was Christmas Eve at the meat counter and a woman was anxiously picking over the last few remaining turkeys in the hope of finding a large one. In desperation she called over a shop assistant and said, “Excuse me. Do these turkeys get any bigger?” “No, ma’am, “ he replied, “they’re all dead.”
Merry Christmas! ❖