Latvian winter solstice celebration

In this painting, you can see one of the best-known Latvian
winter solstice traditions, ķekatas, a form of mumming. There you can see
the festive atmosphere in a room full of costumed dancers who wear traditional
masks of wolves, bears, goats, horses, storks, fortune-tellers and Death.
Mummers were extended hospitality at each homestead they 
visited, as they feasted and drank through the night. 
The painting by Evald Dajevskis

Lilita Postaža (1941-): 'Ķekatas', 1983

 Latvian winter solstice called Bluķa vakars (Log's evening)
Ancient Latvian traditions are not only kept up by ethnographic museums. 
On winter solstice, the yuletide log is dragged around Old Riga, after which 
there is dancing, singing and burning the log on a bonfire to symbolise g
etting rid of all things negative. People also participate in ķekatas

The heavy Yule log...

Yule-tide greetings 1900-1910

Where There's A Will There's A Way, 1870

Bringing home the Yule Log', 1883. Father Christmas driving a team 
of cart horses pulling a timber wagon. Headpiece by Heywood Sumner 
in The English Illustrated Magazine, London, 1883

From 'Aunt Louisa's Alphabet book - Alphabet og Games and Sports', London, 1870
The Parker Collection of Children's Books, Library of Birmingham

Bringing Home the Yule Log, 
from 'Illustrated Londow News', Christmas 1881 

Happy Solstice to All....


Newgrange and Winter Solstice sun

Newgrange passage tomb is one of Ireland's most important and
 oldest archaeological sites. This photograph was taken before the excavation
 that uncovered the roof box through which the Winter Solstice sun 
lights up the ancient tomb,  ca. 1904 - 1910 

Christmas card, ca. 1900

Handmade knitted long socks

Handmade knitted long socks in size 38,  UK size 5 or US size 7½. 
Very warm, cozy, natural and lovely, made from 100% Latvian wool .
These socks are a wonderful Christmas gift!

Purchase the socks here: LINU POGA, Etsy

...and animals will talk...

From 'Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine'. no. 48, November 1880

I think we all know that animals talk Christmas Night...!
According to legend, Christ's birth occurred at exactly midnight. 
Inside the stable, the animals watched in wonder as the new-born babe was 
lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. Suddenly, God gave 
voice to the animals and immediately they began to praise God for the miracle they had 
just seen. This went on for several minutes and, just before the entrance of the shepherds 
- who had hurried to the stable because angels had told them the Christ had been born 
there - the animals again fell silent. The only humans who had heard them 
were Mary, Joseph and, of course, the new-born Christ child

by Mili Weber

A detail of Lorenzo Lotto's 'Adorazione dei pastori'
In  the words of Beatrix Potter from 'The Tailor of Gloucester':

'But it is in the old story that all the beasts can talk, in the night 
between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the morning (though there are 
very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is that they say)...'

And the the tailor's cat Simpkin talked (he was so hungry...when
the tailor was ill and didn't feed him...)...and then of course the mice that 
made the wedding cloth for the Mayor of Gloucester. talked...and 
they sangold Christmas rhymes with 'a thousand merry voices'

Go read 'The Tailor of Gloucester' here:

The cat Simpkin by Beatrix Potter

' Arrives the Snow; and, Driving O'er the Fields, Seems Nowhere to Alight'
'The American Agriculturalist For The Farm Garden & Household'. 
no. 45. from January 1886


From Czechoslovakia...

A Czech Christmas card, 1919

Edible Czech advent calendar

Vanilkové rohlíčky cookies from Hořkosladká 

Vanilkové rohlíčky are crescent shaped biscuits.
They are usually made with ground almonds or hazelnuts. They get 
their typical flavour from a heavy dusting of vanilla sugar. These cookies are also 
widely baked in Germany and are common in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia as a 
part of the typical Christmas baking. Unlike other pastries, this particular kind is 
difficult to bake. The batter used when hardened is very fragile. It takes a 
skilled pair of hands to create the vanilkové rohlíčky or the horse-shoe 
shape without breaking the biscuit

 by M. Fischerova Kvechova, 1946

Jos. Lada, 1955 - woman selling a carp -
for the traditional Czech Christmas dinner

Handmade Czech glass Christmas topper 
and silver silver Christmas tree ornaments, from 1950s

Purchase them here: Bohemian Stars Ltd., Etsy

...and sweet Czech Christmas cards

Wooden tree candle holder - Ash

This festive wooden tree candle holder would beautifully light 
your table this holiday season. Or use it to light your birthday tables, 
at storytime, circle time and every night for dinner.  Would make
 a sweet little teacher gift or stocking stuffer or...

purchase the tree candle holder here:

The TALL Book of Christmas

'The tall Book of Christmas'.
Illustrated by Gertrude Elliott Espenscheid.
New York/London: Harper and Brothers, 1954

Dog LIFE in Postwar St. Moritz

 'Privileged dog gets through whisking 
when he returns to hotel from snowy streets'

Photos taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt of the rich at play 
in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1947

Thick coats, like those of Isabelle Nicole and her dogs, 
protect them from the 17-degree cold

A chihuahua gets more attention on street than 
the on street than the conglomerate costume of his mistress.  

Santa is smiling...

Santa boot ornaments

 Vintage Christmas decorations. Pair of 'silver' Santa...or cowboy...boot 
ornaments decorated on both sides with reindeer and bells. A great addition
 to your vintage holiday decor or Western themed Christmas tree

Purchase the booties here: 
Elfine Gifts, Etsy

Anton Pieck (1895-1987)