Wonder Wednesday: The Origin Of Christmas Elves

Merry Christmas! 😀 I know it’s not Wednesday yet, but I wanted to post this on Christmas, so here it is a day early. 🙂

Image Credit: Pixabay

I had this post in mind for a while, and I couldn’t decide which part of Christmas I wanted to focus on. Last year, I researched holly, mistletoe, wreaths, trees, and yuletide. (I intended to research one, but it turned out they were all related, so I just did one monster post with the info I found.) This year I wanted something different… I had it narrowed down to Santa and the elves but I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do. However, T. R. Noble covered Santa Claus in this post (click to read!) and made my decision for me. (Great job, T. R., I enjoyed that post so much!) So I’m going to focus on elves. 🙂

Forget the little creatures with pointy hats for a moment. The elves of folklore were not like that. They were beautiful and even seductive.

Image Credit – Wikipedia Commons

The picture reminds me more of the Greek nymphs (oreads and dryads specifically) rather than elves… I’ll stop here with that line of thought, I don’t want to digress too much.

Image Credit: Pixabay

They were magical beings credited with helping people or harming them. The good ones were called elves. The bad ones were called gnomes. (Finding this out makes me want to research why it’s common to put gnomes in the yard and such… 🤨) When looking at the research, it seems like they should be associated with Halloween and trick or treat instead of Christmas… 🤪 Anyway. Digressing again.

The small, imp-like beings were made popular by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Nights Dream. The taller ones were made popular by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings.

Image Credit: Pixabay

It seems that the reason elves became associated with Christmas is the same reason for Saint Nicholas becoming Santa Claus – the poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. One line reads, “He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf…”

I can’t imagine Santa as an elf. But if he was considered an elf at the time of the poem, then his helpers were simply the same as he was I guess. Until someone took Santa and made him more grandfatherly and… human.

The reason that elves now work at the North pole might be because of an old story about elves helping a shoemaker. The Elves and the Shoemaker, a story from Grimm’s Fairytales, also talks about leaving a gift for the elves for their help, sort of how milk and cookies are customarily left out for Santa.

Image Credit: Pixabay

One thing during my research that I found disturbing is that some early accounts of the word were used as a replacement for demon… here, it talked about in 900 when elf was used as a replacement for Satan. Looks like some theorize that good elves were actually angels and bad elves were actually demons. 😲

Didn’t expect to find that in my research. Seems like I almost always find out something surprising in my research lately.

Before I sign off, I want to give a shoutout to  Diana at La Petit Muse: Was Jesus Born On The 25th? and T. R. Noble: Holiday Traditions… An idol? who also wrote about Christmas traditions and such. 🙂

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas! ❤

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Happy 14th Birthday, Angel!

I don’t know exactly when she was born. But I know when we got her – it was at the end of August. Our best guess is that my dog carried her here from somewhere. I never found the mother cat or anything, so we kept her.

We took this in the back of our truck on 8 – 22 – 04. My parents said we would never have a cat inside. That lasted until it rained a couple of days later. She was only going to come inside until the rain was over. But… she never went back outside.

She figured out quickly that her favorite place to sleep is my dad’s back. 😆

She would climb straight up his jeans and shirt and sit on his shoulder. (She’s getting too old to do much climbing like that now.)

This was only September, as you can see. She was so hilarious as a kitten. Still is sometimes.

 

She discovered my dollhouse and really liked playing in it. 😂 And playing with those board games in the background was nearly impossible. I spent more time chasing her to get the pieces back than actually playing the game.

She is always so mischevious. She explores everything, gets into everything, is always curious about everything… I love that quality about her though. 🙂

 

Here she is inside a dog treat bag. She got stuck inside. I wish I could have videoed that. It was hilarious watching her spin in circles and then finally just… not caring that she was trapped inside with dog treats. 😆

She likes clothes and clothes baskets. And pretty much anything new. Even…

Paper sacks. They are ingenious cat toys.

She would hide in them and pop out like a jack-in-the-box. Except instead, a cat-in-the-bag.

She would shred the bag when she was done, of course. And leave me the mess to clean up.

But it was fun anyway. 😅

It was so amusing. 😂 Sadly, as she gets older, she gets less energetic. But this also means less shredded stuff to clean up.

Anyway…

Here she is in a drawer! My parents bought baby locks for the cabinets and drawers because she would open them and sometimes try to see how much she could remove before we could stop her. 😆 Or sleep on whatever was inside.

She likes my bed. Back when we first got her, I had a lot of stuffed animals in my room. I still have some but not this many on the bed.

I got the idea that I could stack stuffed animals around her and it might be a fun photo.

And then it was like a hidden object game. So as if this wasn’t enough… can you find her in the next photo? Maybe I went a little overboard. Just a little…

I’m surprised she put up with me. 😆

We didn’t realize that it would be different having a Christmas tree.

I remember one Christmas, she almost was strangled in the tassel. 😱 Thankfully, my dad saved her. We haven’t used that stuff or a string of Christmas lights on the tree since.

And fragile ornaments? Not a good idea. Especially balls. They were removed and then played with as toys. 😄

Angel made it clear that we would no longer have a star on top of the tree. We would have an Angel. 😆

The star would be pushed aside as she took her place at the top.  I’m sure she felt like a queen up there.

She makes Christmas interesting!

She also has gotten herself banned from most rooms in the house (still is allowed in them if she has close supervision) because of her mischevious nature.

But now that she is older, she doesn’t get into as much.

But I love her personality. 🙂 She’s a lot of fun.

It’s hard to get a good photo of her. She moves around a lot and that causes her to blur. This was the best I could do yesterday. 😅

Anyway, I guess this is it. The birthday girl is calling. 😁

Review: Black (The Circle #1) by Ted Dekker

Black: The Birth of Evil (The Circle, #1)Black: The Birth of Evil by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What is a dream? What is the reality? Reality is a waking dream… or is it? For Thomas Hunter, distinguishing the two is difficult. In one, he is in Denver and has a sister, and there is a deadly virus that could wipe out the whole Earth’s population. In the other, there is a beautiful girl, a colored forest, and the presence of Elyon – and a sinister entity named Telah…

But which is real? Or could both be real? Could it be two worlds? And could they be connected somehow?

The plot thickens when in one he finds out that all he holds dear in both worlds is in jeopardy. However, he thinks he may be able to change events in one from things he finds out in the other. Will he be successful? Or will one or both come to an abrupt end?

This is the first book in The Circle series. A friend gave it to me two years ago for my birthday and I enjoyed it so much! (Obviously, I am behind in writing reviews; though technically, I wrote the review last year and forgot to post it… oops. 😅) The writing style was great. Thomas is very entertaining. And the dream // world switching was done nearly flawlessly. I really felt the urgency that the character had, and I appreciated the detail that Dekker gave to the Colored Forest and the Black Forest. I also saw a bit of symbolism in the Colored Forest from the Garden Of Eden, which made me enjoy it all the more!

I loved this book so much that when my parents asked me to pick out a book for Christmas, I asked for the next in this series, Red! It’s been sitting on my to-read shelf for the past six months, and I’m looking forward to reading it. My friends keep saying that it was better than Black. 🙂

View all my reviews

Born To Die

One lonely star hung in the night,
A tiny point in the dark sky of light…

Wise men sought to give Him offerings,
Which of His death were foreshadowing.

Entered the world with a cry,
This Holy Child, born to die…

Wrapped in swaddling cloth,
And laid in an eating trough,

This Little Infant in the smelly stable,
Would grow up and be more than able –

To fearlessly fight the battle of death and sin,
To die to have the victory, yet rise again!

 

“Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

**Thanks to T. R. Noble for mentioning in her post that the gifts from the Magi were for Christ’s death. I didn’t realize that’s what they were used for! 🙂