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Friday
Nov092007

Is It Too Early to Send Holiday Cards?

Pilgrims Celebrating Christmas Before Thanksgiving by Artist Andrew Shaffer

Is it too early to send holiday greeting cards? Yes, unless you have a terminal disease or are very old and may not make it all the way through December.

But is it too early to buy your cards? Not with Order of St. Nick's spectacular pre-Thanksgiving sale!

To celebrate the Web site's official launch, all single greeting cards are $1 off the regular price of $3.99 through Wednesday, November 21. Holiday cards are also available in packs of 10 for $18.99.

Wednesday
Nov072007

The Evolution of Santa Claus

The Evolution of Santa Claus by Artist Andrew ShafferThe name "Santa Claus" evolved from the Dutch "Sinter Klaas," a shortened form of St. Nicholas. Born around 280 A.D. near modern day Turkey, St. Nicholas is said to have traveled the countryside helping the sick and poor...much like a certain other religious icon.

Although St. Nicholas and the birth of Christ are now intertwined in American culture, this wasn't always the case. A feast in his honor was originally celebrated by the Dutch on December 6th, the anniversary of his death. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as the modern Christmas celebration began to take shape in the New World, the legend of the gift-bearing St. Nicholas spread across the North American continent.

Santa Claus and Christmas became officially wed in the public mind when Clement Clark Moore penned "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" for his three daughters in 1822. Most people know the poem by another name: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." According to the History Channel, "political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on Moore's poem to create the first likeness that matches our modern image of Santa Claus[...]a rotund, cheerful man with a full, white beard, holding a sack laden with toys for lucky children. It is Nast who gave Santa his bright red suit trimmed with white fur, North Pole workshop, elves, and his wife, Mrs. Claus."

Monday
Nov052007

Do Atheists Celebrate Christmas?

Charles Darwin as Santa Claus

Two of the most prominent modern-day atheists respond:

“It seems to me to be obvious that everything we value in Christmas — giving gifts, celebrating the holiday with our families, enjoying all of the kitsch that comes along with it — all of that has been entirely appropriated by the secular world in the same way that Thanksgiving and Halloween have been.” – Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation”

“…[Christmas] has long since ceased to be a religious festival. I participate for family reasons, with a reluctance that owes more to aesthetics than atheistics… So divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as ‘happy holiday season.’ Understanding full well that the phrase retains zero religious significance, I unhesitatingly wish everyone a Merry Christmas.” – Richard Dawkins, author of “the God Delusion”