Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jack Frost.

So as you probably already guessed, in this post I want to discuss a very delightful and pompous character known as Jack Frost. It's almost the first day of winter and I thought, what could be more appropriate than a post about Jack Frost? The myth of Jack Frost is traced back to Scandinavian folklore and originates from Norse mythology. But what is Jack Frost? Who is Jack Frost? 

Just the other day I was in the kitchen and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause was on TV. If I'm being 100% honest, Jack Frost is the most interesting and entertaining character in the whole film. And seeing him portrayed by Martin Short, it got me thinking about Jack Frost - not the character in the film, but the mythological figure. 

Supposedly Jack Frost is the personification of - you guessed it - frost. He is the imaginary creature responsible for the cold nipping at your nose, fingers and toes. He is responsible for the fernlike patterns of frost you see on your window and on the bare tree branches.

Originally, he was never a person or anything that you could see or touch for that matter. Jack Frost was just a title given to the cold winter ice, snow, and frost. The name was used in countless poems and songs and tales. In such stories as Alice In Wonderland where the personification of Time is used and in tales by Hans Christian Anderson where the wind is referred to as "he", you can't picture these characters as physical beings. It's sort of the same thing with Jack Frost.

In some old Norse tales though, he was thought of as this Old Man Winter figure. Picture this huge giant of a man, pale complexion, light hair, blue eyes, extremely muscular, and wearing animal skins. Maybe he looks like a Scandinavian warrior in your mind. Throughout history people have thought of ways to explain the weather and natural occurrences of the earth. In Greek Mythology, Boreas, the North Wind, was the father of Chione, the goddess of snow. Perhaps Jack Frost (originally Jokul Frosti) was also some sort of god-like figure in Scandinavian folklore.

In the late 1800's, tales arose of Jack Frost depicted as a sprite. Imagine my excitement when I found that out!! But unlike a "typical" sprite, Jack Frost doesn't paint the leaves in the autumn. He's different. Whether he paints the icy patterns or uses his cold breath, he creates the frost.

As we see in different stories and films, his character is just as complex as his being. Is he ever consistent? Is he nothing more than the cold? Is he a man? Is he a snowman? Is he a fairy? Is he a villain? Is he the hero? Is he a Guardian? Is he charming, yet mischievous? Is he an adventurous and loving youth? Is he old and gruff? Sometimes he would have the characteristics of a sweet loving sprite. Sometimes he seems to have the characteristics of a mischievous pixie who will behave only if he can resist the temptation to play a foul prank for his own amusement.

He would seem like a delightful character either way, like the kind of guy one would love to write about and even more so, the kind of guy one would want to hang out with. I've been writing about a pillywiggin named Shaylee, a pixie named JuJuBee, and a beautiful sprite named Hollyhocks. I wonder what it would be like if there was another fairy; one called Jack Frost... ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What I love about Christmas!!

Christmas is just around the corner!! Who else is excited? And who else feels that Christmas just sort of snuck up on us this year? I'm one of those people who says that it's ok to start listening to Christmas music after Halloween. Sadly though, most people don't begin doing any of that until AFTER Thanksgiving - including my family.

On Sunday, November 29th, my sister and I pulled out all of our Christmas boxes from our garage and listened to good old music (stuff from the 60's, 70's, and some 80's) as we decorated the house with our mom. Some decorations, no matter how simple or ugly or broken they are, we HAVE to put up because it just wouldn't be Christmas without it. We have a victorian Christmas village that we put up, and most of the little people in the village are broken and missing legs. Why is this? Because my mother was crazy enough to let my sister and I play with them when we were little. What sane person would let her kids play with glass decorations?! Anyhow, on Monday we got our Christmas tree and decorated that while watching reruns of Doctor Who. Tenn is the best - just saying...

Every year my mom buys everyone a Christmas ornament. My
favorite is an ornament I got 2 years ago. It's Clara or Marie from the Nutcracker. Last year, for Christmas, I asked for tickets to see the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. It was an amazing experience to be able to see professional dancers telling an amazing classic story. The whole thing was so beautiful. And then of course my mom felt bad because I would have nothing to open on Christmas Day - which I was ok with. But I told her, "If you really want to get me something, then get me the New Oxford American Dictionary 3rd Edition." Yes, I'm the nerd who asks for a dictionary for Christmas. But I got it!! :D

There are several reasons Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. 
(1) It's a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. It's a time to be surrounded by family and loved ones to remember Him, not as a baby, but as a humble deity. It's a time of peace and love (not to sound like a hippie or anything).
(2) The music. Who doesn't love Christmas music? The carols themselves are enough to get one in the Christmas spirit. You hear a song, you long for those cold days around the fire, you long for precious moments with those loved ones, you long for the tree and the lights and the glitter (that's for you sis!). Just a random fact, What Child Is This is my favorite Christmas song. If you don't know that song, I suggest you look it up by Josh Groban. That man has the voice of an angel.
(3) The decorations. Particularly the Nutcrackers. I love Nutcrackers in case you haven't guessed yet. I began collecting them in 2007 I think? Or maybe it was 2008..? I currently have 16, soon to be 17 hopefully because I haven't gotten one this year yet. Also, the tree. I mean, how often do we get to put a tree in the house and cover it with lights and tinsel and ornaments? And the lights. Let's not forget the lights. Particularly the lights people put outside their houses. A fond memory I have is seeing the lights. Every Christmas we would all get in the car and Dad would drive down Christmas Tree Lane. Every single house was ablaze with lights. It looked beautiful. It felt magical. And it was fun going "oooh" and "aaah".
(4) The movies. Christmas movies are just really good, whether you like sad stories that make you cry, funny movies that make you laugh till your gut hurts, classics like A Christmas Carol or It's A Wonderful Life, or maybe love stories. Whichever it is, when it revolves around Christmas, it's almost guaranteed to be good. If you're like me, you're even excited about watching the cartoons like Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, and Frosty The Snowman. Some of my favorite movies though include Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before ChristmasThe Christmas Shoes, and of course The Santa Clause movies.
(5) The presents. Let's be real with ourselves. You can't tell me you don't just love the presents you give to people and the ones you receive. I don't really care about this that much anymore, but Christmas comes not long after my birthday and I used to think that was the best thing ever!! That's a lot of new stuff, and whatever I didn't get for my birthday I was bound to get for Christmas - if I still wanted it that is.
(6) And last but not least is the feeling. I'm always talking about feeling something. Books, music, photos, memories. The only reason certain things mean so much to us is that we felt something or we feel something. I can search any picture on the internet of any landscape. And it will be pretty. But if it's a picture that I took, it holds so much more meaning. I remember when I was there. I remember who I was with. I remember the feeling that crept over me as I saw the beauty of the earth. It's that same feeling with anything. Even Christmas. It's not just a holiday. It's not just the food or the family or the lights or the snow (for some of us anyway). It's the feeling. I don't care much for snow. But when I wake up on Christmas morning and there's snow on the ground, it's perfect. Christmas and snow go together like 10 and Rose, like peanut-butter and jelly, like like my sister and glitter. You see one, and you picture the other. They just go together. Why? The glistening white blanket of snow outside, the burning fire inside. It's almost magical. It's all about that feeling.

What are some of your favorite things about Christmas? I would love for you to share them in the comments! As always, thanks so much for reading, and have a Merry Christmas!! ;)