Tuesday, December 16, 2014

... the legend of the Christmas spider and why I embrace it...



Old World Christmas

While I won’t even try to argue that my Christmas tree is in any way traditional, my choice in Christmas ornaments is probably more traditional that one would imagine.


This spider ornament is from Old World Christmas. My last name is Polish and it means “the child from the land of spiders”. Because of that and because I’m a gardener,  I feel I simply must embrace this legend from Germany.





from TheDustyRaven on Etsy
The Legend of the Christmas Spider

A folk legend from Germany

On Christmas Eve, a very long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year... Christmas day, the day on which the little Christ child would come to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner on the ceiling to the farthest corners of the attic.

The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated. The poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the little Christ child's visit. Then the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone went to bed and then get a closer look.

When the house was dark and silent, the spiders crept out of their hiding place. As they neared the Christmas tree, they were delighted by its beauty. The spiders crept all over the tree, up and down, over the branches and twigs and saw every single one of the pretty things. They, too, were in complete wonder of its beauty.

Terry's Village
The spiders so loved the Christmas tree that all night long they danced in the branches, leaving them covered with spider webs. In the morning, when the little Christ child came to bless the house, he was disheartened. He loved the little spiders for they were God's creatures, but he knew how hard the mother had worked to make sure that everything was perfect. He knew that she would not be pleased when she saw what the spiders had done.

With love in his heart and a smile on his face, the little Christ child reached out and gently touched the spider webs. Each started to sparkle and shine as they transformed into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold.

According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees. It has also become a custom to include a spider among the decorations. 

Have you put up your tree? Are there any spider ornaments on it? 

Some of my favorite Christmas Spiders can be found on Etsy including these delicate spiders created from old transparent Christmas light bulbs and wire from thedustyraven. I love repurposed items.  I also found these Jingly-Jangly Spider Ornaments made from metallic-colored jingle bells from Terry’s Village

And of course for the craftier types, here are instructions to make your very own Christmas spiders.

What interesting holiday legends or traditions do you embrace?




20 comments:

  1. What a wonderful last name! Child from the land of spiders!

    I just learned this story on Facebook yesterday, it's so lovely!

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    1. There should be a Christmas cartoon about it!

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  2. Omg I love this, definitely adding a spider or two to my tree now.

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  3. You, Polish? Pffffttt ... (insert sarcasm here). ;) Says one Polish gal to another. My family embraced the spider tradition as well. Mom made a whole bunch of spiders for everyone's tree, but I don't think everyone got them. Hmmm ...

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  4. What a lovely story, and such a great surname.

    My tree is going up today, later than usual due to being poorly. It's a mishmash of ornaments, mostly inherited from various family members, and the angel's lost her wings but can't be parted with. As yet there are no spiders, but that may be rectified soon!

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    1. "the angel's lost her wings but can't be parted with"... there's a story in there :D And don't forget about the Velveteen Rabbit:

      "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

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  5. I seem to recall hearing that story a long time ago. Thanks for reminding me. In a way it also reminds me of when we got our two rescued greyhounds, a boy (Trigger) and a girl (Holly) they had never been in a house before, at the time I was working at a Garden Centre and so had a big real Christmas tree in the room. As soon as Trigger came in and saw it he sniffed it then wet on it! If we are daft enough to bring trees into our houses………

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    1. Ha! I've never had a *real* tree, just plastic or my wrought iron one. My late dobie was usually a little leery of the fake trees and the ornaments as if they were going to come alive and get him.

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  6. What a lovely story!! Now, of course, like everyone else on here, I must find spiders for my tree... Oh, wait, I don't HAVE a tree. Too many cats, too little space. :-( Well, if I DID have a tree, I'd put spiders on it. Hmmm, maybe one for the front hall wreath would work... :-)

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    1. You could knit a little web and hang it in a corner... and then you could add the spider to that! Look at me adding little projects to your life :p

      As a new cat step-mom, I was both amused and concerned when Nikita was sitting by one of our trees and then in a burst of energy swapped the ball across the room. I come to this marriage with some mighty pricey ornaments and I'm so grateful he knew to hang the inexpensive ones low. I should probably note that I haven't allowed children in my home when the tree is up for at least a decade.

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  7. I've got a pickle ornament that's supposedly traditional to someone…..

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    1. That made me snort. I could totally hear your tone :D

      Doesn't the tradition go that the first person to notice the pickle receives an extra present... Or the first present?

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    2. Indeed. I have no idea where my family picked up the pickle thing. The internet is equally as confused about the whole tradition.

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  8. Your last name is so cool, having a meaning like that! :) I did not know of this Christmas spider, that is an interesting story, it sounds like a touch of old folklore and Christian traditions all melted together.

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  9. I just found your blog and this was fascinating! Thank you! I'd never heard this story and it's lovely!

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