We hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season! In celebration we’re sharing some bonus content from our winter issue–two extra vignettes from our Brief History of the Holidays feature. Please enjoy!
Georgia's Hidden Winter Wonderland
One of Georgia’s greatest treasures is our own Bavarian Alpine style village. Helen, Georgia is tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Gingerbread style architecture offers the perfect backdrop for a Christmas time getaway. The picturesque town glows with icicle lights and is adorned with decorations worthy of a winter wonderland. Enjoy tasting the treats of old fashioned candy kitchens and German bakeries. Shops boast unique gifts such as heritage lace, music boxes and nutcrackers. An array of European and local artisan ornaments and decorations are also treasures found in Helen.
During Alpine Fest Christmas carols play throughout the town. A Festival of Trees showcases a meticulously decorated spectacular of Christmas lights. The traditional German Christkindlmarkt is set up in the middle of town. At the outside market you can find savory foods, candies, and local packaged goods. The model railroad museum, wineries and galleries also present special festivities for the holidays. With all the celebrations it is easy to indulge in the splendor of this quaint, storybook Christmas village.
Santa's Turkish Background
Sinter Klass or Santa, the giver of gifts is actually rooted in Turkish legend. Saint Nicholas was well known for his generosity. He was from a wealthy family in a small town in then-Asia Minor. Saint Nicholas was famous for feeding and aiding the poor. While still very young he became Bishop at a church in Myra, Turkey. It is legend that he spent his entire inheritance taking care of the needy. He dedicated his life to helping others. Still to this day thousands of people travel to Demre, Turkey to visit the Church of St. Nicholas.
From images of Saint Nicholas in brown robes to elfish Kris Kringle sketches of the 1800’s, Santa has surely seen several makeovers throughout the years. In the early 1900s the modern-day depiction of the jolly character with a red coat became standardized. This version of Santa was solidified by Coca Cola’s Christmas campaigns of the 1930s. It has remained nearly unchanged since. Despite the changes of his name or look, tales of Saint Nicholas’s kindness continue to live on in America and around the globe.