Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 15

"Doings of Kriss Kringle" c 1897

Kris Kringle
performed by "The Barnsley Nightengale"
 Kate Rusby

In spite of this little tune being sung by the lovely Kate Rusby, of Yorkshire, England, "Kris Kringle" is a name derived from the German, Christkindl, which means "Christ Child", and has been the name used for the Christmas giver of gifts in many parts of Europe.  Interestingly, the "Christkind" was promulgated by Martin Luther, in an effort to deflect attention from St. Nicholas during the Protestant Reformation.   Rather than bringing gifts on December 6, the Feast of St Nicholas, the little angel would visit the houses of children on Christmas Eve.  The Christkindl was never seen, and the sound of a tiny bell would signal that he had visited, and left gifts under the Christmas tree.

Although the tradition of the Christkindl is still popular in some parts of the world, it continues to face serious competition with Santa Claus.  I would imagine that this is because Santa Claus has a much better publicity department, and gets more press.

The name Christkindl began to change over time, especially after it was introduced to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch community in the early 1800s.  Christkindl eventually became what many people now know as "Kris Kringle":  another name for Santa Claus.  The name "Kris Kringle" became wildly popular with the release of the film "Miracle on 34th Street".  

Nowadays, "Kris Kringle" is widely known as a type of holiday party activity in the United States, and is the equivalent to what we know of in Canada as a "Secret Santa" type of event.

If you have the misfortune to be invited to such an event this year, as I have, allow me to pass along this tidbit of wisdom:

An inexpensive itunes gift card makes a far superior choice for exchange, rather than a wonky coffee mug that lists dangerously to the right, emblazoned "Here comes SLANTA Claus!"


No comments:

Web Analytics