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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/24/14

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

YES VIRGINIA, COCA-COLA HAD A HAND IN CREATING SANTA CLAUS!!!







 Most people can agree on what Santa Claus looks like---jolly, with a red suit and a white beard.  But he didn't always look that way, and Coke advertising actually helped shape the modern day image of Santa.
   2006 marked the 75th anniversary of the famous Coca-Cola Santa Claus.  Starting in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola featured St. Nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit.  Because magazines were so widely viewed, and because this image of Santa appeared for more than three decades, the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on their advertising.






1931 Coke Santa Ad




 Before the 1931 introduction of the Coke Santa Claus, created by artist Haddon Sundblom, the image of Santa ranged from big to small and fat to tall.  Santa even appeared as an elf and looked a bit spooky.
   Through the centuries, Santa has been depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to an elf.  He has worn a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin.  The modern day Santa is a combination of a number of the stories from a variety of countries.





Santa Claus, 1936




  The Civil War cartoonist, Thomas Nast, drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was shown as a small elf-like figure who supported the Union.  Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years and along the way changed the color of his coat from tan to the now traditional red.  Though some people believe the Coca-Cola Santa wears red because that is the Coke color, the red suit comes from Nast's interpretation of St. NIck.
   The Coca-Cola Company began the Christmas advertising in the 1920's with shopping related ads in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post.  The first Santa ad used a strict-looking Claus, in the vein of Thomas Nast.






Santa, 1937




   At this time, many people thought of Coke as a drink only for warm weather.  The Coke Company began a campaign to remind people that Coke was a great choice in any month.  This began with the 1922 slogan "Thirst Knows No Season", and continued with a campaign connecting a true icon of winter---Santa Claus---with the beverage.
   In 1930, artist Fred Mizen painted a department store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke.  The ad featured the world's largest soda fountain, which was located in the department store of Famous Barr Co. in St. Louis, Mo.  Mizen's painting was used in print ads that Christmas season, appearing in The Saturday Evening Post in December 1930.





Santa, 1938





 Archie Lee, the D'Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coke Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic.  In 1931, The Coke commissioned Michigan born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images using Santa Claus--showing Santa himself, not a man dressed as Santa, as Mizen's work had portrayed. him.
   For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas", or what it's commonly known to day as "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  Moore's description of St. Nick led to an Image of Santa that was warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human.  For the next 33 years, Sundblom painted portraits of Santa-an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of people of all ages, all over the world.






Haddon Sundblom, 1931

Haddon Sundblom, some 30 years later








  














  From 1931 to 1964, Coke advertising showed Santa delivering (and playing!) with toys, pausing to read a letter and enjoy a Coke, playing with children who stayed up to greet him and raiding the refrigerator's at a number of homes.  The original oil paintings Sundblom created were adapted for Coke advertising in magazines, store displays, billboards, posters, calendars, and even plush dolls.  Many of those items today are popular collectibles.
   The Coke Santa made its debut in 1931, in The Saturday Evening Post and appeared regularly in that magazine, as well as Ladies Home Journal, National Geographic, The New Yorker and others.  The instantly popular ad campaign appeared each season, reflecting the times.  One ad even featured Santa in a rocket!




Santa, 1941






  Sundblom continued to create new visions of Santa through 1964.  For decades after, Coke advertising has featured Santa's image based on Sundblom's original works.
   These original paintings by Haddon Sundblom are some of the most prized pieces in the art collection of the Coke Company's Archives Department, and have been on exhibit around the world, including at the Louvre in Paris, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Isetan Department Store in Tokyo and the NK Department Store in Stockholm.






Santa, 1951





   The Coca-Cola Santa has had a powerful, enduring quality that continues to resonate today.  Many of the original paintings can be seen on display at "World of Coca-Cola" in Atlanta, Ga. or touring during the holiday season.

Did You Know?

   People loved the Coke Santa images and paid such close attention to them, that when anything changed, they sent letter to The Coke Company.  One year, Santa's large belt was backwards.  Another year, Santa appeared without a wedding ring, causing fans to write asking what happened to Mrs. Claus.

   In the beginning, artist Haddon Sundblom painted the image of Santa using a live model-his friend Lou Prentiss, a retired salesman.  When Prentiss passed away, Sundblom, used himself as a model, painting while looking into a mirror.  After the 1930's, he used photographs to create the image of St. Nick.

   The children who appear with Santa Claus in Haddon Sundblom's paintings wee based on Sundblom's neighbors.  However, the neighbors were both girls, and Sundblom simply changed one to a boy in his paintings.  He also used the neighborhood florist's dog, a gray poodle in one of his paintings, but painted the animal with black fur. To make the dog stand out in the holiday scene.












Santa, 1953


     The image of Santa Claus has appeared on cartons for bottles of Coke since 1931, when artist Haddon Sundblom first created his version of St. Nick.  Early cartons completely covered the bottles of Coke--almost as if they were inside a box--and had a handle at the very top.  The carton itself was created--and patented--by the Coca-Cola system.  Introduced in 1923, it allowed people to take home more bottle of Coke.
   The Coke Polar Bear stars with Santa on the 2006 advertising for the U.S. Hispanic market.  The Coke Polar Bear was introduced in 1993 as part of the "Always Coca-Cola" campaign.  The first commercial featuring the bear showed was called "Northern Lights" and showed a group of bears watching a "movie" (the Aurora borealis) and drinking from bottles of Coke.





Santa and Spriteboy





   The "Sprite Boy" character, who appeared with Santa and was used in Coke advertising in the 1940's and 50's, was also created by artist Haddon Sundblom.  Though the Coke Company does have a drink called Sprite.  The Sprite Boy character was not named for the beverage.  Sprite Boy's name came because he is a sprite--an elf.  Sprite Boy first appeared in ads in 1942, while the drink Sprite was no introduced until the 1960's.

   In 2001, the artwork from Haddon Sundblom's 1962 original painting was used as the basis for an animated TV commercial staring the Coke Santa.  The ad was created by Academy Award-winning animator Alexandre Petrov.






7 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT OLD SAINT NICK!


The history of Santa Claus: 7 interesting facts


   From why he wears a red suit to when he got hitched to Mrs. Claus, a look at the myth making behind jolly old St. Nick

Santa Claus's jolly, rotund appearance and his ability to slide implausibly down chimneys are relatively recent additions to his mythology.


1. He was real... sort of 
As Christmas approaches, children around the world have Santa on the brain. They're anxiously wondering if they've been overly naughty or sufficiently nice, and eagerly daydreaming about their potential gift hauls. But exactly how did the jolly, bearded North Pole resident evolve into the cultural icon we know today? Here, seven interesting facts about his evolution:
Folklore may have turned Santa Claus into a toy distributor who mans a sleigh led by eight flying reindeer, but he is actually based, loosely, on a real person. Born around the year 270, St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, a town in what is now Turkey. He earned a reputation as an anonymous gift giver, by paying the dowries of impoverished girls and handing out treats and coins to children — often leaving them in their shoes, set out at night for that very purpose. Since his death, Nicholas has been canonized as the patron saint of children.

2. He's only been 'Santa Claus' for 200 years
A Dutch tradition kept St. Nicholas' story alive in the form of Sinterklaas, a bishop who traveled from house to house to deliver treats to children on the night of Dec. 5. The first anglicizing of the name to Santa Claus was in a story that appeared in a New York City newspaper in 1773.


3. Satire first sent Santa down a chimney
In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving did away with the characterization of Santa Claus as a "lanky bishop," says Whipps. Instead, Irving described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving's story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney, says the U.K.'s Independent.


4. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" introduced the reindeer
Clement Moore's 1822 poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas — which is now more commonly referred to as "Twas the Night Before Christmas" — was first published anonymously in the Troy, N.Y., Sentinel on Dec. 23, 1823. The 56-line poem introduced and popularized many of Santa's defining characteristics — chiefly, that he drove a sleigh guided by "eight tiny reindeer."


5. Coca-Cola created the modern Mr. Claus
When Father Christmas first began showing up in illustrations, he wore many different colored robes: Green, purple, blue, and brown, among others. Beginning in the late 1800s, it became popular to outfit Santa in a red suit. Artist Louis Prang depicted him that way in a series of Christmas cards in 1885, and The New York Times reported on the red garments in 1927. But the modern image of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit was seared into American pop culture in 1931, when artist Haddon Sundblom illustrated him that way for a widely-circulated campaign for Coca-Cola. 


6. The department store Santa is a 120-year-old tradition
In 1890, Massachusetts businessman James Edgar became the first department store Santa, according to The Smoking Jacket. Edgar is credited with coming up with the idea of dressing up in a Santa Claus costume as a marketing tool. Children from all over the state dragged their parents to Edgar's small dry goods store in Brockton, and a tradition was born.


7. Santa was a bachelor until the late 1800s
The first mention of a spouse for Santa was in the 1849 short story A Christmas Legend by James Rees. Over the next several years, the idea of Mrs. Claus found its way into several literary publications, like the Yale Literary Magazine and Harper's Magazine. But it wasn't until Katherine Lee Bates' widely-circulated 1889 poem Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride that Santa's wife was popularized. ("Goody" is short for "Goodwife," or "Mrs.")

CHRISTMAS IN GREECE!!





 If you still haven’t decided where to spend this year’s Christmas holidays, Greece will offer you amongst the most unforgettable holidays of your life! Even if Greece may not represent a classical destination for Christmas holidays, you will be surprised to experience its local traditions, religious customs and festive spirit.



   Indeed, as an Orthodox country, Christmas represents, after Easter, the second most important cultural and religious event in Greece. Greek Christmas is similar to the Western one, with a highly festive atmosphere, decorations with lights and Christmas trees, while it also includes some specific customs and traditions.
   Usually, the Nativity of Christ is celebrated after a 40 days lent. The beginning of Christmas in Greece starts on December 6th with the St Nicolas day feast, considered as the patron saint of Christmas but also the protector of sailors, and ends on January 6, a date when Greeks celebrate the Feast of Epiphany (Ta Fota).

Decorations & Traditions

   Except from the common to all western countries trees decorations, you will also witness one of the most beautiful and striking spectacle that represent the boats which are decorated with lights in order to honor St Nicolas.
   On Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Eve of Epiphany, children sing the Greek Carols called Kalanda from house to house in their neighborhood, using as instrument the traditional triangle, and are offered treats, presents or coins.
   Another difference is that traditionally in Greece, gifts are not offered on Christmas day but on St Basil Day (Agios Vassilis), on January the 1st, since in Greece, St Basil is the original father of Christmas who gave all he possessed to help those in need and gave presents to the children.
   Also, in many regions of Greece, people usually hang a pomegranate, symbol of prosperity, above their house’s front door until the New Year; then on New Year, they throw it on the ground to break it and enter back in their house on their right foot; according to tradition, that will bring them good luck for the year to come.




Christmas Celebrations

   But most importantly, Christmas in Greece is celebrated through innumerable gatherings of friends and family around the holy holiday table, wishing one another “Hronia Polla!” meaning “I wish you many happy years!” around a great and delicious variety of home cooked meals and sweet delicacies.
   Traditional food includes the Christmas bread called “Christopsomo”, sweets such as “Melomakarona”, “Kourabiedes” or “Diples”. The traditional Christmas day feast usually includes a stuffed turkey, lamb or roasted pork with cabbage and potatoes.
On New Year’s Day, the day of St Basil (Agios Vasilis) name feast, Greeks “cut” their Vasilopita, a cake where a coin covered in foil is placed before it is baked. Each person present, usually family and friends, receives a part of the cake and whoever gets the coin in his piece of cake, will have a new year full of luck!


 

   If you decide to spend this Year’s Christmas holidays in Greece, you will experience a great array of events and festivities in all major cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra or Heraklion where music concerts, artistic performances and a number of other cultural events are organized.
During Christmas season, the greatest hotels of major cities in Greece offer attractive Holidays packages and accommodation proposals for every need, to enjoy your winter holidays in Greece within exclusive accommodation.



   For nature’s lovers, do not miss to visit Greece’s traditional villages located on the mountainsides, especially in Mainland Greece; their picturesque character on wintertime will definitely welcome you in Greece’s most genuine Christmas spirit and traditions! Christmas in Greece is most of all about sharing its joy and love with your beloved ones, family and friends, in the most authentic and welcoming manner; make sure to experience it once in your lifetime and you will for sure discover the true meaning of Christmas Celebration!

O'TANNENBAUM CUPCAKES!



Oh Tannenbaum Cupcakes


Makes12 servings
Serving size: 1 cupcake
Start to Finish: 1 hr 30 mins




O Tannenbaum Cupcakes
Pointy ice cream cones provide the lift in these sky-high cupcakes. A star-tip frosting tool helps create the fir effect.
Ingredients
  • 1
    recipe Creamy White Frosting or two 16-ounce cans creamy white frosting or vanilla frosting
  • 1 1/2
    cupspowdered sugar
  • 12
    Pine Cupcakes or other 2-1/2-inch cupcakes
  • 12
    rolled sugar ice cream cones
  • Green and brown paste food colorings
  • White and/or green edible glitter or sprinkles
  • Small pearl candies or other small candies
  • Fresh thyme leaves (optional)*



Directions


1. In a large bowl mix Creamy White Frosting and powdered sugar. Spread a layer of frosting on each Pine Cupcake.
2. Place an ice cream cone upside down on each cupcake.** Tint remaining frosting forest green with green and brown food coloring. Place green frosting in a large pastry bag fitted with a small open star tip. Starting at the bottom of the cones, pipe short bursts of frosting onto the cones to cover completely.
3. Sprinkle edible glitter around rims of cupcakes. Decorate cones with pear candies and, if desired, thyme leaves. Makes 12 cupcake trees.

From the Test Kitchen
  • Tip *Test Kitchen Tip:If you choose to use fresh thyme on your Christmas trees, you will probably want to remove the herb before eating the Christmas tree cone.
  • Tip **Test Kitchen Tip:If you prefer not to pipe frosting, use only 3 cups Creamy White Frosting or canned frosting. Frost cupcakes as directed in step 1. For step 2, tint the remaining frosting forest green with green and brown food coloring. Place green frosting in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on 100 percent power (high) until smooth and melted but still a little thick. Holding each ice cream cone upside down over bowl, spoon melted frosting over outside of cone to coat completely, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Place coated cones, pointed sides up, on a wire rack set over waxed paper. Let stand until set. Place cones on top of cupcakes. Continue as directed in step 3.




Pine Cupcakes
Makes24 servings
Serving size1 cupcake
Ingredients
  • 1
    2-layer-size white cake mix
  • 1
    tablespoonfresh snipped rosemary


Directions
Grease and flour twenty-four 2-1/2-inch muffin cups (or line with paper bake cups). Prepare cake mix according to package directions, except stir in fresh snipped rosemary. Fill muffin cups and bake according to package directions for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 (2-1/2 inch) cupcakes.
  • Servings Per Recipe 12

Creamy White Frosting
Yield: about 3 cups            
Ingredients
  • 1
    cupshortening
  • 1 1/2
    teaspoonsvanilla
  • 1/2
    teaspoonalmond extract
  • 4
    cupspowdered sugar
  • 3 - 4
    tablespoonsmilk


Directions
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. Gradually add milk until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.

    DAZZLE YOUR FRIENDS WITH YOUR POINSETTIA EXPERTISE!!!








     Are you a trivia buff?  If so, perhaps you'd be interested in knowing a little bit more about the poinsettia plant you buy every Christmas season.  This knowledge should really impress your friends and family at the holiday dinner table.
       Did you know that the poinsettia's main attraction is not its flowers, but its leaves?  The flowers of the plant are the yellow clustered buds in the center.  The colored leafy parts are actually bracts or modified leaves.
       Red is the most popular color, accounting for roughly tow thirds of all sales nationwide, followed by white, pink, marble and peppermint candy.   Poinsettia's also come in a variety of other shades of salmon, apricot, yellow and cream.  There are also unusual speckled or marbled varieties like "White Glitter".  New varieties are introduced yearly with even more variation in height and colors.











      How many poinsettias do you think are sold each year?  Would you believe over 5 million!  In Canada, Poinsettia's accounted for one third of sales of all flowering potted plants.
       Because of the plants dislike of traveling long distances, there are growers of poinsettias in  almost every state and in Canada they are in every Providence.
       In the wild, the poinsettia can reach heights of 12 feet with leaves measuring six to eight inches across?  It is actually a small tropical tree belonging to the Euphorbia plant family.  Its botanical name is Euphorbia.  A native of southern Mexico, the poinsettia blooms in December and has been used in that country to decorate churches for centuries.









      In the 14th to 16th centuries, the Aztecs used the poinsettia leaves to dye fabric for clothing and the sap for medicinal purposes, including to help control fevers.  They also considered the red color a symbol of purity, and so poinsettias were traditionally part of religious ceremonies.
       Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an amateur botanist and first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, introduced the plant that became known as the poinsettia to this country.  He discovered a shrub with brilliantly colored red leaves growing by the side of the road in Taxco,Mexico.  In December 1828, he sent cuttings home to his plantation in Greenville, South Carolina.
       However, most botanists at that time dismissed the poinsettia as a weed.  Fortunately, Poinsett continued to study and breed this plant in his greenhouse, sharing plants with his horticulturist friends.  It soon gained acceptance as a holiday plant, despite its very short bloom time.  It wasn't until the 1960's that researchers were able to successfully breed plants to bloom more than just a few days.





    
    Some painted poinsettia's




       True or False?  The poinsettia is a poisonous plant.  If you answered false, you're correct.  The plant has been tested repeatedly and cleared of this charge by the National Poison Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and the American Medical Association.  The POINSINDEX Information Service reports that even if a 50 pound child consumed more than 500 poinsettia bracts--the amount tested in scientific experiments--the consequences would not be fatal.  Even at this high level, no toxicity was found.
       However, this doesn't mean that poinsettia's are meant to be eaten.  If ingested, this plant can cause stomach irritation and discomfort.  Cats and children also may choke on the fibrous parts, so be sure to keep these plants out of their reach.  The sticky white sap also may cause skin irritation for some people.









     Do you know the best way to prolong the life of this Christmas plant?  Avoid hot or cold drafts, keep the soil moist not soggy, and place in a room with sufficient natural light and temperatures of around 60 to 70 degrees F.  Water when the soil begins to dry.  Once the leaves begin to wilt, it's too late.
      Above all, protect it from exposure to wind or cold on the way home from the garden center.  Poinsettia's are highly sensitive to cold temperatures and even a few minutes of exposure to 50 degree or lower temperatures will cause them to wilt.  But when care for properly, poinsettias usually will outlast your desire to keep them.