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This review is from: Christmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark, and Forgotten Christmas (Hardcover)
Christmas history has always fascinated me, and John Grossman's array of antique Yuletide greetings yields wondrous insight as to how the season was celebrated in yesteryear.
From the creepy bats bearing happy-looking (!) tots to the frozen-to-death songbirds (they apparently served as reminders to Victorians that impoverished children often froze to death around the holidays [!!] ), the illustrations are both bizarre and wonderful. The evil counterparts to the benevolent St. Nicholas--Krampus, Pelznickel, etc.--are brought vividly to life. Too vividly, at times. Krampus is literally a demon, and in some cards he's seen gleefully dragging naughty tykes toward some conflagration of doom. Yay!!!
I have become obsessed with the arcane figure of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, an erstwhile companion to Britain's Father Christmas. The author describes her as a cross between a cheerful witch and Mother Goose. Decked out in a panniered skirt of bright red and bearing a Christmasy wand (but not looking all that merry or bright), Mother Christmas apparently assisted in the distribution of gifts. Unfortunately her tenure in the pantheon of Christmas personalities was quite brief--which I find a real shame.
Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Frosty, Rudolph, Ebenezer Scrooge and Jack Frost are all male. Only Mrs. Claus (who gets negligent mention in most cases) stands out as a female figure at Christmas.
So I say bring Mother Christmas back. Imagine the merchandizing opportunities! Give her a 21st century makeover and all shall adore her!
YAY MOTHER CHRISTMAS! OH GOD!!! PLEASE BRING HER __BACK__!!!