Friday, November 12, 2010

A Candlelight Christmas

A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS is an all day event held in Pittsboro, NC. Recapture the spirit of Christmas past amid the charming downtown of Pittsboro. Brought to you by the good folks at the Pittsboro Merchants Association, local artists, and people like you.

Our first event will be held on Saturday December 11th, 2010. There will be numerous (perhaps humorous) activities to experience throughout the day. Dressing up is highly encouraged.

The downtown will be filled with the sights & sounds of an old-fashioned Christmas - carolers, carriage rides, jugglers, magicians, musicians, bell ringers, and quite possibly a visit from the man himself, Santa Claus.


Throughout the day, we will have a variety of musicians & performers busking around the downtown area & stopping at local shoppes for some impromptu indoor entertainment.

11am to 5pm: Get a free handmade ornament from Liquidambar when you buy $50 or more.

12pm to 2pm: Carriage Rides - Take a little jaunt around the town.

12pm to 2pm: Gregory Blaine (of Rootzie) will be playing music at the Joyful Jewel.

2pm to 4pm: Avis Autry will be playing music at Urban Sampler.

2pm to 3pm: Jay Cartwright will be playing music at Davenport & Winkleperry.

3pm to 5pm: John Kincheloe will be playing music at Liquidambar.

4pm: "Fictitious History" Walking Tour; Join Emmett Davenport at the corner of Hillsborough & Salisbury for a rousing tale of Pittsboro's "History".

12pm to 6pm: OPEN HOUSE @ Starrlight Mead; Mead tasting $5.

1pm to 4pm: Thunder & Spice (a cappella medieval ballads, pub songs, holiday music) will be performing in the Tasting Room at Starrlight Mead.

2pm: Make Your Own Organic Bath Salts at Pittsboro Toys.

7pm - 11pm: LIVE MUSIC

Beginning @ 7pm, several downtown businesses will be playing host to some wonderful live music & performers.

The City Tap:
• Dave Quick

Davenport & Winkleperry:
Glitter & Doom: the Davenport Follies

• Silver Kitsune & Ginny Tonic (of Big Mamma's House of Burlesque)
• Sarah Shook & the Devil
• Kitty Box & the Johnnies

more festivities to be announced...

The Pittsboro downtown is an often overlooked wonder. One where a historic town with a tradition of small town atmosphere has challenged the concept of total modernization. It has continued to maintain its charm in a growing urbanized world. The shops are very up-to-date in their ability to service locals and visitors alike, with charming arts, clothing, services and eateries that rival larger areas. It truly is a community with a proud past and an exciting future.
Admission is free.

*If you are interested in getting involved with the event, please contact us*

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Victorian Christmas

For thousands of years people around the world have enjoyed midwinter festivals. With the arrival of Christianity, pagan festivals became mixed with Christmas celebrations. One of the leftovers from these pagan days is the custom of bedecking houses and churches with evergreen plants like mistletoe, holly and ivy. Apparently, as well as their magical connection in protecting us from evil spirits, they also encourage the return of spring.

No era in history however, has influenced the way in which we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians.

Before Queen Victoria's reign started in 1837 nobody in Britain had heard of Santa Claus or Christmas Crackers. No Christmas cards were sent and most people did not have holidays from work. The wealth and technologies generated by the industrial revolution of the Victorian era changed the face of Christmas forever. Sentimental do-gooders like Charles Dickens wrote books like "Christmas Carol", published in 1843, which actually encouraged rich Victorians to redistribute their wealth by giving money and gifts to the poor - Humbug! These radical middle class ideals eventually spread to the not-quite-so-poor as well.

The holidays - The wealth generated by the new factories and industries of the Victorian age allowed middle class families in England and Wales to take time off work and celebrate over two days, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Boxing Day, December 26th, earned its name as the day servants and working people opened the boxes in which they had collected gifts of money from the "rich folk". Those new fangled inventions, the railways allowed the country folk who had moved into the towns and cities in search of work to return home for a family Christmas.

The Gifts - At the start of Victoria's reign, children's toys tended to be handmade and hence expensive, generally restricting availability to those "rich folk" again. With factories however came mass production, which brought with it games, dolls, books and clockwork toys all at a more affordable price. Affordable that is to "middle class" children. In a "poor child's" Christmas stocking, which first became popular from around 1870, only an apple, orange and a few nuts could be found.

Father Christmas / Santa Claus - Normally associated with the bringer of the above gifts, is Father Christmas or Santa Claus. The two are in fact two entirely separate stories. Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival, normally dressed in green, a sign of the returning spring. The stories of St. Nicholas (Sinter Klaas in Holland) came via Dutch settlers to America in the 17th Century. From the 1870's Sinter Klass became known in Britain as Santa Claus and with him came his unique gift and toy distribution system - reindeer and sleigh.

Christmas Cards - The "Penny Post" was first introduced in Britain in 1840 by Rowland Hill. The idea was simple, a penny stamp paid for the postage of a letter or card to anywhere in Britain. This simple idea paved the way for the sending of the first Christmas cards. Sir Henry Cole tested the water in 1843 by printing a thousand cards for sale in his art shop in London at one shilling each. The popularity of sending cards was helped along when in 1870 a halfpenny postage rate was introduced as a result of the efficiencies brought about by those new fangled railways.

The Tree - Queen Victoria's German husband Prince Albert helped to make the Christmas tree as popular in Britain as they where in his native Germany, when he brought one to Windsor Castle in the 1840's.

The Crackers - Invented by Tom Smith, a London sweet maker in 1846. The original idea was to wrap his sweets in a twist of fancy coloured paper, but this developed and sold much better when he added love notes (motto's), paper hats, small toys and made them go off BANG!

Carolers - Carol Singers and Musicians visited houses singing and playing the new popular carols;

1843 - O Come all ye Faithful

1848 - Once in Royal David's City

1851 - See Amid the Winters Snow

1868 - O Little Town of Bethlehem

1883 - Away in a Manger