Mosaic offered me a wonderful opportunity to explore with its guests a 1-hour presentation on Christmas: Stories & Symbols on November 25th, 2016.
We looked at the roots of the Christian tradition of Christmas, understood how the pagan elements in Scandinavian, Germanic and Celtic cultures were fused into this creating our current full array of symbols (from candy-canes to mistletoe), how the Restoration period actually cancelled Christmas for English-speaking people (such killjoys!) and how it was all brought back again (yay!). Lastly, we finished off with an look at the evolution of Santa Claus–and were even treated to a composited picture of St. Nicholas–the real Santa Claus!–whose bones and image have forensically analyzed and reconstructed by scientists.
Symbols are an important part of learning and retaining information. But symbols are useless if we don’t use them to our benefit. As for Christmas today, I often hear people say, “Christmas is for kids”. I don’t think that’s true at all. Christmas is for everyone–everyone should be part of time in the year where we remember to hopefully be kinder, warmer, friendlier, and more willing to spend time with each other.
Lianne Harris currently works as a Social Studies Resource Specialist Consultant with the Toronto Board of Education and curriculum advisor for Upper Canada College.
Lianne’s e mail contact: firstname.lastname@example.org