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christmas myths legends, and shoes for mama

For those of you who commented or emailed that the modern image of Santa Claus was created by Coca-Cola as a marketing tool, please be advised that you are, as I stated previously, wrong.

This legend is not true. Although some versions of the Santa Claus figure still had him attired in various colors of outfits past the beginning of the 20th century, the jolly, ruddy, sack-carrying Santa with a red suit and flowing white whiskers had become the standard image of Santa Claus by the 1920s, several years before Sundlom drew his first Santa illustration for Coca-Cola. As The New York Times reported on 27 November 1927:

A standardized Santa Claus appears to New York children. Height, weight, stature are almost exactly standardized, as are the red garments, the hood and the white whiskers. The pack full of toys, ruddy cheeks and nose, bushy eyebrows and a jolly, paunchy effect are also inevitable parts of the requisite make-up.

There you have it.

While we are on the subject of Christmas myths and legends, let's -with the help of the ever-reliable Snopes - debunk a few before they make the rounds again:

A Japanese department store did not show a display of Santa crucified on a cross.

The character 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' was created for the Montgomery Ward group of department stores.

A man attempted to surprise his family by dressing up as Santa Claus and entered the house by sliding down the chimney. He got stuck, died, and was discovered by his family after they lit a fire in the fireplace.

That one only happened in Phoebe Cates's award-worthy scene in Gremlins.

And some things that are true are hard to believe, like the fact that this song actually became a hit last Christmas:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Although some of you may remember the story of - who else - DJ and his misunderstanding those lyrics:

So Natalie comes home from school today singing this song. The song is wrong in and of itself. The main lyric is "if momma meets jesus tonight." It's way too sappy, way too depressing and just...wrong. If momma meets jesus tonight.

Now, you know how people sometimes mishear lyrics? And they sing the wrong lyrics so openly, so righteously, because they think that's the way the lyrics go, no matter how bizarre it makes the song? So we were sitting in a restaurant tonight, eating dinner, having a pleasant family meal, when DJ starts singing at the top of his lungs:

What if momma eats jesus tonight....

I didn't stop him.

What if momma eats jesus tonight

Yes, I know. I'm going to hell.

At least I'll be laughing.

Comments

i'm so glad that i never heard that song. but i just went and read the lyrics and i agree, that is so wrong. ick. who the hell thought that one up? what a song to burn into peoples minds at christmas. i like djs version way better. and when you get to hell, i'll be sitting there. we can have a drink. =)

I always loved that scene in Gremlins. Twisted, to say the least. Poor girl, finding out Dad's dead in the chimney in a Santa suit!

That song made me cry. I heard it a few weeks ago.

But back to the topic: All my years of avoiding pop rocks for fear of exploding... just to find out that was an urban Legend all along. Must but pop rocks...

... must BUY pop rocks, I mean.

I heard that song last night for the first time... Holiday music usually makes me feel better about the consumerism that is The Holidays, but that song was just AWFUL.
And they made a made-for-TV movie about it.
bah.

Ah yes, the wonderful phenomenon of misheard lyrics, poetry, advertising jingles and what-have-you. They're called mondegreens, and as you might guess, there are web sites dedicated to cataloging them. Some of the entries are pretty hysterical.

http://www.rulefortytwo.com/mondegreens.htm
http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/monde.htm
http://www.kissthisguy.com/ (this link might be dead)

This site, although not really focused on mondegreens, is pretty interesting in its own right:
http://www.iusedtobelieve.com/

"What if momma eats jesus tonight"

Now if we could just get someone to cannibalize Scott Stapp, everything would be right with the world...

Just a question--Wasn't the definitive image of santa claus espoused in C. Clement Moore's poem "The Night Before Chrstmas" aka "A Visit from St. Nicholas"?

Wouldn't you rather go to hell? I know i do, I'd rather be with my friends than all alone in heaven,hanging out with my holier than thou relatives.

Well, there is that whole communion thing... ???!!!???

Small wonder our kids are so confused.
Best to keep them that way(!)

yeah, well, whether Coca Cola invented him or not, he is still and only a marketing tool.
Hey, what about that urban legend about St. Nicholas giving gifts to the Good kids, and brutally breating the Bad ones?

HI, MY NAME IS CATHY IM FROM BROOKLINE N.H. AND I MUST SAY I HEARD THE CHRISTMAS SHOES SONG LAST YEAR AND EVEN AS I FOUND MYSELF ALONE IN MY CAR CRYING MY EYES OUT I THOUGHT WHAT A INSPIRATION FOR PEOPLE TO REMEMBER WHAT X-MAS IS ALL ABOUT ! i give the song a 10, and to let you know i play it on my keyboard its a song i hear myself humming now.THINK GIVING IT MAKES NO-ONE HAPPIER THEN ONESSELF. MERRY X-MAS EVERYONE.

I really don't understand why anyone would think this song isn't a firm reminder that not everyone has it as well as you do. I am only 14 years old, even I know that the song wasn't made to be the brunt of many a cruel and sarcastic joke. I just hope you all get what you want out of it, hell or otherwise, because I did. I was in the car coming home from dinner at a resturant, and my parents were having a spat over how much they would have to spend this Christmas, when Christmas Shoes aired. We stopped fighting over something that would just help the economy and listened to this tearjerker. I was touched, and I believe my family was also, it gave me a new respect for Christmas.

Farethewell

Marie

I am completely and utterly on Marie's side. I love this song. No song is made up just to have comments and jokes said about it. I am so totally sorry for you for not getting the message I did and am sure Marie did.

I have to log in on the "mama meets jesus" question. I believe that this song is shameless emotional manipulation for profit. Yes, I cried, but is Xmas about grief? Not for me. Now when I hear that music, I change the station.

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