[I originally wrote this in 2014, but decided it was time for an updated version]
Before I start, I wanted to mention that even after I started down the path of witchcraft back in the late
181980s, I never stopped celebrating Christmas. Even though I grew up Catholic, the holiday for me was always about more about flying reindeer, elves, and magic. It made more sense to me to add a Yule celebration, rather than subtracting Santa.
That said, even though the kidlets are well past their toddler years, I still enjoy following The Pooka Pages for Pagan Kids. Back in December 2014, I saw a sweet story about how Christmas tree tinsel came about thanks to a spider, posted on their Facebook page.
I really liked the concept, and decided to research it a bit more. Turns out the origins are a bit murky, but there are many common elements in the different versions I found. My favorite one is this (especially since I got a Brothers Grimm vibe, albeit without the horror, from it) –
According to ancient storytellers, there once was a widow living in her cramped, cold hut with her children. One day, a pinecone dropped from the tree outside and took root. The children, excited by the prospect of a tree for Christmas, tended the seedling and made plans about how they would decorate the tree. Poverty was a way of life for the small family, and when Christmas approached, the widow knew that they would not be able to decorate the tree. The children and the widow accepted their fate and went to bed on Christmas Eve, the tiny tree branches bare.
But the household’s spiders heard the children’s sobs and spun intricate webs on the tree. Early on Christmas morning, the children cried, “Mother, mother wake up and see the tree. It is beautiful!” The widow rose to find that during the cold night a spider had spun its web around the fragile branches. As the rays of the sun crept along the floor and silently climbed the tree, the glow touched the threads of the web turning each one into silver and gold, and, as the story goes, from that day forward the widow never wanted for anything.
I put together a graphic last year, but wasn’t happy with how it came out. This year, I decided it was time to put together a new graphic. I’ve attributed the story to “Author Unknown” because the article I originally cited seems to have disappeared from the interwebz. Please feel free to share!
EDIT December 2020 – I decided to give the infographic another refresh. As always, please feel free to share!