The Xmas Factor


Surely the facts are not in dispute.

“How Did Christmas Come to Be Celebrated on December 25?

A. Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

B. The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).

C. In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

D. The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

E. Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia. As Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, writes, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.” The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.

F. The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.” Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681 However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.

G. Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”
H. As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.”[6] On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.”


No wonder such depravity was replaced with –


“Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and simply “Santa”, is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric aspects who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24. The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which, in turn, may have part of its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas. A nearly identical story is attributed by Greek and Byzantine folklore to Basil of Caesarea. Basil’s feast day on January 1 is considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots (images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache). This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children’s books and films. The North American depiction of Santa Claus as it developed in the 19th and 20th century in turn influenced the modern perceptions of Father Christmas, Sinterklaas and Saint Nicholas in European culture
According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer. Since the 20th century, in an idea popularized by the 1934 song “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”, Santa Claus has been believed to make a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior (“naughty” or “nice”) and to deliver presents, including toys, and candy to all of the good boys and girls in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh”

While HE pulled something else

Needless to say we all have different feelings about Santa

Of course Christmas isn’t all Happiness.

How’s about splitting the difference?

And leave us not forget

which put her in the perfect mood for —

A little “Too Much Christmas”?

One can always spend it with the Schmenges




This time of year some people are awfully bitter



“Scott Farkus is the yellow eyed bully that pushed little Ralphie over the edge in the holiday favorite, ‘A Christmas Story’. When actor Zack Ward signed on, they switched his lines with another actor, but never upgraded his contract.
According to Yahoo, Ward wants to cash in on money he feels that he is owed. His face is all over the place, and on for 24 hour every Christmas thanks to TBS. ‘A Christmas Story’ has evolved beyond just a film. There are toys, ornaments, and various other collectables.
Ward is crying foul play, and is suing because he think that they tricked him into signing away rights to things such as action figures and dolls. His attorney is calling it an emotional violation of his publicity – whatever that means. It looks like after Christmas, this case is going fully to court.”

By Contrast

“Scott Schwartz (born May 12, 1968) is a former child actor best known for his roles in The Toy and A Christmas Story Schwartz co-starred opposite Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason in 1982’s The Toy directed by Richard Donner. In 1982, Schwartz filmed Kidco directed by Ronald F. Maxwell. In 1983, he featured in the Christmas film A Christmas Story as Flick, who got his tongue stuck to a frozen pole. In 1985, Schwartz co-starred with Liza Minnelli, Corey Haim, and Jeffrey DeMunn in the television film A Time to Live.
Schwartz attended high school in 1982/3 and 1985/6 at Bridgewater Raritan HS West in Bridgewater, NJ, with future professional basketball player Eric Murdock. He moved on to attend the Professional Children’s School from 1983 to 1985.
Since 1987, he has managed a sports and movie memorabilia collectibles store, Baseball Cards – Movie Collectibles Etc. with his father Dan Schwartz in Woodland Hills, California. Schwartz’ father was Elvis Presley’s US Army company clerk in Germany from 1958-1960
In the 1990’s, Schwartz worked in the adult film industry in minor, non-sexual roles, and behind the scenes in numerous administrative roles. After appearing in more than a dozen films. he quit in 2000 because he “got tired of the industry”.
Since 2006, Schwartz has pursued his acting career, and helped create a line of celebrity-based trading cards for Donruss Trading cards, now known as Panini called “Americana”. He has also obtained celebrity autographs for companies such as: Upper Deck, Razor, Leaf & In The Game.[citation needed] In 2008, Schwartz began writing for the sports card magazine Beckett, and was featured on the cover of the September 2008 issue of Sports Card Monthly alongside Darren McFadden and Josh Hamilton.
In the wake of his former castmate Corey Haim’s death in March 2010, Schwartz sold Haim’s personal belongings on Ebay at the behest of the Haim family.
Scott has recently stated that he will be working on his memoir, to be published in the future”

But then there’s THIS sad story


“Earlier today, TheBlaze announced a new reality series being co-produced by TheBlaze, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Production, and Go Go Luckey Entertainment. The series will bring together twenty selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea. On radio this morning, Peter Billingsley, star of A Christmas Story and part of Wild West Productions, joined Glenn to discuss the new series.
“Thank you so much for doing this with us,” Glenn said as he welcomed him to the program. Glenn explained that they had been working on getting the project off the ground for some time, and that both he and the other producers were inspired to create the series in order to find passionate filmmakers who could really inform and change minds.
Billingsley told Glenn,”We all were kind of at that same starting point where we were looking at a lot of the documentaries in journalism as well and saying where did real investigative journalism go? Where did people where are the people who are making movies that are actually changing points of view? Where are the people that care about something?”
“I think we were all having this idea at the same time and we said, well, what if we created a mechanism not only where we gave funding to people, which is so hard to come by to make their film, and real funding, but also create a system where we can vet ideas and filmmakers, have them compete for these ideas and, boy, we’ll wind up with not only a new emerging filmmaker or someone who’s made some films to win this competition but a great movie and we can set up a new system. And nothing like this has ever been done before.”
Both Billingsley and Glenn agreed that documentary films too often come across as preachy, agenda-driven, and even conspiratorial. Those are not the kinds of films that will be evolving from “Pursuit of The Truth”.
We’re looking for great filmmaking, entertaining, truthful filmmaking that comes from good filmmakers that can get the message out to everybody,” Billingsley said,
“This is not an American Idol kind of show where the first four episodes are watching someone fall on their face,” he said. “We’re not interested that. We’re getting past that. We’re here to do something special and make a movie.”
Billingsley emphasized that people who have never made a movie will still be eligible, but they have to be able to show that they are capable of producing an amazing documentary film.”


Right Jimmy Jules?

But here’s a reminder of the True Spirit of Chistmas, and that things needn’t get funky after all.


  1. Mugsy December 25, 2012 7:28 am 

    Interesting about Saturnalia, though a few notes:

    The selection of “December 25th” wasn’t quite as aribrary as the story suggests. While off by a couple of days, it is actually the date of The Winter Solstace, the point at which the days start growing longer, suggesting “birth” or “regrowth”.

    The “person shaped biscuts” referred to in the story still available in German bakeries today are Gingerbread Men.

    On the depiction of Santa, there was no one generally accepted color for Santa’s costume until Coca Cola dressed him in a red & white suit in their 1900’s advertising campaign to match their labeling. In much of Europe, a Santa dressed in green is not uncommon.

    The origin of Santa’s name: “Kris Kringle” is actually German for “Christ Child”, a title bestowed upon “Saint Nicholas”, the Patron Saint of Children from Asia Minor in the 4th century. “Santa Claus” (and “Sinterklas”) are simply corruptions of the name “Santa Claus” as spoken by a child (try it. Say “Saint Nicholas” over & over, sluring your speech like a small child, and eventually it comes out “Sa-Nick-las”.)

    Love Xmas trivia. :)

  2. Mugsy December 25, 2012 7:30 am 

    (oops, correction: “Santa Claus” (and “Sinterklas”) are simply corruptions of the name “Saint Nicholas” .) Please correct.

  3. nodzou December 25, 2012 9:14 am 

    Yes, but no – the 25th is not only known for saturnalia, but also as the day on which Mithras was born, and is reborn. RE:
    Warning: whenever talking about religion, misinformation rules. Roman Mithraism is loosely connected to Persia, but not India. And there is no significant claim that Jesus is Mithra repackaged (as has variously been claimed). But clearly the date of Christmas was also influenced by the success and influence of Mithraism in the 3rd and 4th centuries – particularly as this influence was centered in the Roman military and governmental bureaucracy.

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