Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Final Visit

Hello for the last time. It has been a great year. I hope following this blog has given you the opportunity to keep the Christmas spirit throughout the year. Mr. Nelson Robertson, Tom’s father, once said that Santa never stops talking to us, we just quit listening. Keep listening and I look forward to seeing you soon, if not in Tom’s shop, then somewhere, sometime, before Christmas. May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Νικόλαος, Bishop of Myra

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in “The Sun”, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis P Church

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our next to last visit

German - Froehliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr!

All that is left is for Tom to sign and date me. Each figure he carves carries the date of completion and is given a number beginning with 001 for that particular year.

Here I am 2010-001. I hope you have enjoyed following me the past 36 weeks. It has been my pleasure to guide you through my creation. I promised some more pictures so here they are. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Christmas Village Festival in Birmingham in November. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions. I thought you might enjoy one last Holiday tradition.

Until our next visit, I remain your friend,


PS. Several of my friends left yesterday for Sue’s house in Abernathy, Alabama.

According to legend, on Christmas Eve in Germany rivers turn to wine, animals speak to each other, tree blossoms bear fruit, mountains open up to reveal precious gems, and church bells can be heard ringing from the bottom of the sea. Of course, only the pure in heart can witness this Christmas magic. All others must content themselves with traditional German celebrating, of which there is plenty. As a matter of fact, there is so much celebrating that is has to begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The end is near.

Choctaw - Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito.
The waxing is done and Tom will be here soon to buff and polish me one more time. He uses a special mixture of waxes to achieve the smooth finish that characterizes the collection and hand rubs each figure with a cotton cloth. This finish will last for years. The softer sheen of the waxed figure allows the beauty of the wood to show. Tom says the finish is “in the wood not on the wood”. How do I look? I am not the only Holiday Visitor carved this year. Here is a class picture. Were you able to pick me out? I am still the good looking one in the middle. Tom has done some different things this year, nativities, birds and several sets of Wise Men. Here are pictures of his new carvings. I found some interesting things about Advent. I thought you might enjoy them.

It cannot be determined with any degree of certainty when the celebration of Advent was first introduced into the Church. The preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was not held before the feast itself existed.

One of the earliest references to Christmas being celebrated on December 25 appeared in Antioch in the middle of the second century. At that time, Christians were still persecuted. An official determination was made in the fourth century, when the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, thereby ensuring the legality of Christmas celebrations. The Council of Tours in 567 established the period of Advent as a time of fasting before Christmas. They also proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany a sacred, festive season.

According to present usage [1910], Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays. The first Sunday may be as early as November 27th, and then Advent has twenty-eight days, or as late as December 3rd, giving the season only twenty-one days.

The popular idea that the four weeks of Advent symbolize the four thousand years of darkness in which the world was enveloped before the coming of Christ finds no confirmation in the Liturgy.

The familiar carol "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" belongs to the Advent season since it celebrates the expectation of Christ's coming rather than His actual birth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A cautionary tale

Tom's friend Gene sent this note yesterday. As we enter the Holiday Season, the lesson in this note is something we all need to remember.

The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. 'We must do something about father,' said the son. 'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.' So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up. ' The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day,the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life.'
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about.

I just did!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am getting older.

Brazil (Portuguese) - "Feliz Natal" or "Boas Festasantique

Hello. It has been a long week. I have been waiting for my final finish. Tom has applied a special antiquing medium to me. I must dry for 5 days to make sure that the paint will not be rubbed off after he applies the wax. He will begin to wax all of us within the next 24 hours. I can hardly wait to see my new waxed surface. It is getting closer to the end.

A well known English plant, the Christmas rose, is a true Christmas flower. It is sometimes called the Snow or Winter Rose. It blooms in the depths of winter in the mountains of Central Europe. Legend links it with the birth of Christ and a little shepherdess named Madelon.

As Madelon tended her sheep one cold and wintry night, wise men and other shepherds passed by the snow covered field where she was with their gifts for the Christ Child. The wise men carried the rich gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense and the shepherds, fruits, honey and doves. Poor Madelon began to weep at the thought of having nothing, not even a simple flower for the Newborn King. An angel, seeing her tears, brushed away the snow revealing a most beautiful white flower tipped with pink - the Christmas rose.

Also in central and northern Europe it is the custom to break off a branch of a cherry tree at the beginning of the Advent and keep it in water in a warm room; the flowers should burst into bloom at Christmas time.

Some more of my friends at Sue's house.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The eye is the jewel of the body - Thoreau

French - Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!
I just love my brown eyes. Tom uses a toothpick to paint my iris and pupils. He must wear jeweler’s loops since my eyes are only 1/8 of an inch wide and 1/16 of an inch high. This is the most tedious part of the entire painting process, but it also the most important. The eyes give my friends and me our personalities. The small white dots in my eyes bring me alive. Tom sands the toothpick to a smaller point to place them at just the right place. I am now ready for the final finishing process to begin. I hope you like my new “look”.

In Mexico, a heart-warming story explains the origin of the poinsettia:

On a Christmas Eve, long ago, a poor little boy went to church in great sadness because he had no gift to bring the Holy Child. He dared not enter the church, and, kneeling humbly on the ground outside the house of God, he prayed fervently and assured our Lord, with tears, how much he desired to offer him some lovely present --"But I am very poor and dread to approach you with empty hands." When he finally rose from his knees, he saw springing up at his feet a green plant with gorgeous blooms of dazzling red.

Throughout the world, in every nation, from every heart, one prayer....

that all people live in freedom and peace reign everywhere.

A Christmas wish for you and all the world... PEACE

--- artist Brummett EchoHawk