Monday, December 12, 2011

A Visit from St. Nicholas



Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.













The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.











 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.  And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.  Away to the window I flew like a flash,  tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.




With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!  On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!  To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!  Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.  So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.



 
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.  As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,  and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.  A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,  and he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!  His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!  His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,  and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.  He had a broad face and a little round belly,  that shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself! A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.  And laying his finger aside of his  nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"


Monday, December 5, 2011

Yes, SW Michigan, There Really is a Santa Claus

Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo and yes, we still believe in Santa Claus! We want to share one of our favorite holiday stories with you via photos taken at the store and featuring one of our favorite jolly friends.   

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.  Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'  Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET











VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.











Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.





Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.





You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 








No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.















Virginia O'Hanlon
According to  Wikipedia:

"In 1897, Dr. Philip O'Hanlon, a coroner's assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed.


O'Hanlon suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." He unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question and address the philosophical issues behind it.


Church was a war correspondent during the American Civil War, a time which saw great suffering and a corresponding lack of hope and faith in much of society. Although the paper ran the editorial in the seventh place on the page, below even one on the newly invented "chainless bicycle", its message was very moving to many people who read it. More than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.


Francis Pharcellus Church
In 1971, after seeing Virginia's obituary in The New York Times, four friends formed a company, called Elizabeth Press, and published a children's book titled Yes, Virginia that illustrated the editorial and included a brief history of the main characters. Its creators took it to Warner Brothers who eventually made the Emmy award-winning television show based on the editorial. The History Channel, in a special that aired on February 21, 2001, noted that Virginia gave the original letter to a granddaughter, who pasted it in a scrapbook. It was feared that the letter was destroyed in a house fire, but 30 years later, it was discovered intact.


Some people have questioned the veracity of the letter's authorship, expressing doubt that a young girl such as Virginia would refer to children her own age as "my little friends". The original letter, however, appeared and was authenticated in 1998 by Kathleen Guzman, an appraiser on the Antiques Roadshow, at $20,000–$30,000."


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mattawan Christmas Walk/Open House Weekend Events


Mattawan Christmas Walk 
Open House

Friday, December 2   
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The stores will be aglow with lights, music and holiday spirits.  Warm up with us as you gaze merrily at the twinkling lights and displays throughout the quaint, antique Village of Mattawan.  The celebration continues...



Christmas Open House

Saturday, December 3  11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, December 4  11:00 am – 5:00 pm