Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sam Coplon: A Santa Claus Worth Remembering (Conclusion)

In June 1932, Sam Coplon recognized a second opportunity to cheer Adirondack children. Adding something new to his repertoire, he visited the offices of the North Creek Enterprise, which had advertised his upcoming appearance to distribute cap guns to any and all boys ages 8 to 12, and gifts for girls as well. The noisy guns, which allowed children to join Fourth of July celebrations, were made by the firm he had long represented as a salesman, Riemann, Seabrey Company (the name by then changed from a hyphen to a comma). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nature’s Way: No Fuss X-Mas Tree Recycling

christmas treeIn urban and suburban areas, Christmas tree disposal has come a long way since the bad old days when trees were just compacted with the rest of the household trash and landfilled.

Today, progressive trash hauling companies run special organics routes where they collect and recycle trees, and many solid waste districts have drop-off centers where the trees are chipped. The recycled trees become compost or mulch or bioheat. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Santa Claus Sam’s Adirondack Gift Giving

In 1930, Sam Coplon, the Santa Claus of the Adirondacks, was doing well financially but was by no means wealthy. The house he owned in Brooklyn was worth the equivalent of $230k in 2017, and served as home to his wife Rebecca, son Bertram (13), and daughter Judith (8), along with Rebecca’s mother and sister.

As he did each year, Samuel gathered a huge collection of Christmas gifts that winter and personally bore the cost of shipping them to North Creek. In previous seasons, this constituted upwards of 30 large crates or containers, a number that would soon increase. His employer and several of their clients donated toys and games at Sam’s behest, adding to the joy of children in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Santa Claus Sam’s North Creek Operations

Things appeared to be going well for Sam Coplon, the Santa Claus of the Adirondacks, but major change was in the works. Samuel had begun working as an Albany city clerk, limiting his ability to oversee the two business locations in Warren County. After spending several weeks at Johnsburgh in early 1910, he announced a going-out-of-business sale, offering all the hardware and furniture in his stores along with his horse, rig, and everything else related to operations there. By year’s end, most of the stock was gone. At Christmas time, he loaded a sleigh with toys and other gift items for delivery to homes across the area in what would become an annual tradition.

Years later, he recalled fondly the warm feelings generated by giving openly to beloved friends and neighbors, recognizing that many families, some of them quite large, struggled financially, and that even small luxuries were rarities in their lives. His remedy was to provide toys and games as Christmas gifts to show that someone cared.

In January 1911, he offered special closeout deals to folks in the Johnsburgh area before shuttering both business locations. For the remainder of the year, he made visits of several days each to the homes of friends in Johnsburgh, Bakers Mills, and Garnet, tended to his summer home, and made the gift-giving rounds again at Christmas. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Eve: Two Paintings, Two Realities

Christmas Tree oil 26x35 1976When I was younger, Christmas Eve was always a magical night. We finished off the decorations on the tree, which seemed better every year, in anticipation of Christmas Day and wonderful gifts and visits from relatives, festive food and drinks. But the night itself was a wonder like no other. As I look back, the life-enhancing quality this time of year gave everyone has gradually been replaced by the imposition of something quite different, as the holiday progressively morphed into an orgy of un-affordable acquisition, more and more hideous decorations and music, with “consumers” spurred on by a massive onslaught of greed-driven corporate advertising.

Sometimes I can still sense a glimmer of the original quality that set these days apart from all others, but it takes effort now to evoke the feeling of past Christmas Eves. In the clamor of today’s rushed holiday insistence, it’s hard to remember why we celebrate the great significance, the beauty, and the ultimate tragedy and rebirth of this cyclical myth, whether literally true or not, a story that has been embodied in various forms throughout human history. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Magic Mushrooms and Red Noses: Holiday Bioluminescence

rudolphAs a kid I was enthralled by TV nonfiction shows. Nova and Frontline had great stuff, but my favorites were Christmas documentaries like Frosty the Snowman. Over the years I’ve been disappointed that no further work seems to have been done on the many questions left hanging by the original researchers.

Take the whole glowing-nose thing. First documented back in 1939 by Robert L. May in his book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the story surrounding the phenomenon is well-known. Since no one has come up with a scientific explanation, I have decided to tackle the issue. Bioluminescence is a natural process wherein fungi, microbes, insects or marine animals emit light as a result of chemical reactions which they control, and there are a number of ways a reindeer may have naturally developed a lighted nose. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Poignant to Hilarious: ‘Dear Santa Letters from a Century Ago

Below are actual letters to Santa published in Adirondack regional newspapers a century ago, from 1914 through 1917. (None of the letters have appeared here in past collections.) Those years coincide with World War I, so there are a few references to the war, but for the most part, the letters are just plain entertaining. Some contain tinges of sadness, and they all reflect a simpler time among working-class communities, where gifts often consisted of items that in higher strata of society were common, everyday possessions.

For example, among the hundreds of letters reviewed, including 37 presented here, the most frequently requested Christmas gifts were candy, nuts, oranges, and warm items of clothing. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 4, 2017

‘A Christmas Carol’ At The Grange Dec 10

grange christmas carolThe Whallonsburg Grange Hall in Essex will host a staged reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to support the food pantries in Elizabethtown, Westport and Willsboro on Sunday, December 10.

The Holiday Celebration starts at 3 pm and includes music, refreshments, carol singing and cookie-making and crafts for children. The performance of A Christmas Carol begins at 4 pm. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Buy Local Christmas Trees, Support Local Growers

Christmas Tree PlantationChristmas trees can be seen everywhere during the holiday season. And, because of this, we often think of Christmas tree farming as a seasonal business, which it certainly isn’t.

To be successful, year-round management and maintenance are needed. And the work is often labor-intensive, and/or needing to be completed under adverse weather conditions. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

29th Year for Christmas in Warrensburgh Event

Christmas in Warrensburgh originally started as a one-day event for local children, but has expanded over the years to include a weekend of events and activities showcasing the old fashioned town’s historical and artistic connections.

According to Teresa Whalen, chair of Warrensburgh Beautification, Christmas in Warrensburgh is all about family and welcoming locals and visitors to the area. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Warrensburgh Holiday Wreath Sale Underway

holiday wreathAdirondack balsam wreaths are being sold by Warrensburgh Beautification Inc. in time to decorate for the Christmas in Warrensburgh celebration and the holiday season. The evergreen wreaths are guaranteed fresh, and decorated with locally harvested pinecones and a handcrafted red velvet bow. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Trees of Christmas

christmas treeYou picked it out, maybe cut it down, brought it home, watered it, and decorated it. But do you know what species of tree that is surrounded by presents in your living room?

If you purchased your Christmas tree rather than cutting it out of the woods, chances are it’s either a balsam fir (Abies balsamea) or a fraser fir (Abies fraseri) – these are the two species most commonly grown on Christmas tree farms in northern New England. Balsam fir is found naturally everywhere, from Alberta to Pennsylvania, and has the largest range of any North American fir species. It’s perhaps best known for its aroma – when people say they want a tree that smells like Christmas, they’re talking about a balsam. Fraser fir, native to the Appalachian Mountains, doesn’t have the same trademark scent, but it does have a little more visual flourish in the form of elegant blue-green needles with silvery-white undersides. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Christmas Yule Log Tradition

yule logsApparently, the ceremonial burning of a large chunk of wood on or near the winter solstice (Yule to the old Germanic peoples) may have begun as a Nordic custom in the 6th century, possibly earlier. Known as a Yule clog, Yule block, Christmas log and other variants, the Yule log was purported to bring good luck in the new year if it burned all day long without being fully consumed. A remnant was always saved, and used to light the following year’s log. Though the tradition is much less common today, it has not been completely extinguished (so to speak).

Given the climate there, it is no surprise that the hardy folks in northern Europe thought the best way to observe a winter holiday was to light a tree trunk on fire and gather round it. That’s probably what I would have done, too. The French, on the other hand, put a whole new twist on the thing, inventing a delicious Yule log cake that they never burn, at least not intentionally. It took them a dozen or so centuries to come up with the recipe, but let’s not complain. You don’t have to go to France to check out a bûche de Noël — in Quebec you can find Yule log pastries that are works of art in addition to being delectable. (In an ironic twist, the bûche glacée de Noel, or frozen Christmas log, is gaining popularity in France and its territories.) » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll, Skate and Celebrate Saturday

holiday strollThe village of Lake Placid will host the 8th Annual Holiday Village Stroll, complete with holiday shopping, family fun, arts and entertainment from Friday, Dec. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016.

The Holiday Village Stroll weekend includes activities for kids and families such as a skating party, opportunities to visit with Santa, holiday movie screenings at the Palace Theatre, a tree-lighting ceremony, holiday crafts, story time and cookie decorating. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Adirondack Holiday Events This Weekend

holiday strollThere are a variety of ways to ring in the holidays with quaint Adirondack charm. It can be as simple as viewing the holiday lights throughout Long Lake or as active as this weekend’s Lake Placid Holiday Stroll and Christmas in Essex. With fresh snow in the mountains and holiday bazaars on every corner, it is beginning to look a lot like an Adirondack Christmas.

Over the past 20 years Christmas in Essex has evolved to include a mixture of traditional activities and new events. The event kicks off with a preview party, tree lighting and holiday concert. Adults can learn how to create a special holiday drink with a free lesson with Mixologist Lori Kudelski at the Essex Inn. » Continue Reading.


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