Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day with Playmobil Set 4890 Santa Claus and Snowman

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their superiors or employers, known as a "Christmas box". Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and some other Commonwealth nations.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed to Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland it is recognised as St. Stephen's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín). In some European countries, notably Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day. [source: wiki]

I had already posted on Christmas (see previous post) but hey, Christmas is more than a day. Some people even celebrate Christmas over 12 days, as the lyrics of a popular song goes. This is the Playmobil set no. 4890 which consists of a 7.5 cm (2.95 inches) tall Playmobil Santa Claus mini figure and a Snowman mini figure. I much prefer Playmobil figures to Lego figures because Playmobil figures are bigger and cheaper, hence more value-for-money than Lego figures which are smaller and while the attire of most Lego figures is mostly painted on, Playmobil figures have costumes that are layered which makes it more interesting :) Scroll down to see more pictures

This Playmobil set 4890 comes with two mini figures - Santa Claus bearing gifts (a doll, a teddy bear and a football / soccer ball which goes inside his sack) and a Snowman. Both are typical Christmas icons. A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus (derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.

The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in modern day Turkey, during the 4th century. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast on December 6 came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.

Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop's attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe.

The modern popular image of Santa Claus, however, was created in the United States, and in particular in New York. The transformation was accomplished with the aid of notable contributors including Washington Irving and the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840–1902). Following the American Revolutionary War, some of the inhabitants of New York City sought out symbols of the city's non-English past. New York had originally been established as the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam and the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was reinvented as Saint Nicholas.

Father Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts. In Victorian Britain, his image was remade to match that of Santa. The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus.

Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States.

A snowman is an anthropomorphic snow sculpture. They are customarily built as part of a family project in celebration of winter. In some cases, participants in winter festivals will build large numbers of snowmen. Because a snowman is situation-specific, it is a good example of popular installation art.

Typical snowmen feature three large snowballs, and some additional accoutrements for facial and other features. Common accessories include branches for arms and a rudimentary smiley face; a carrot can stand in for a nose. Human clothing, such as hat or scarf may even be included. Low-cost and availability are an issue, since snowmen are usually in a cold and / or wet environment, and abandoned to the elements once completed. Melting is a common end-of-life scenario for most snowmen.

In Europe and North America, snowmen are built with three spheres depicting the head, torso, and lower body. The usual practice is to then dress the snowman, usually with rocks, coal, sticks, and vegetables. Carrots or cherries are often used for the nose, as are sticks for arms and stones for eyes (traditionally lumps of coal). Some like to dress their snowmen in clothing (scarves, jackets, hats). Others prefer not to risk leaving supplies out doors where they could easily be stolen or become stuck under melting ice.

Playmobil Snowman mini figure has a pot for a hat, carrot for a nose with painted on eyes, smile and buttons, presumably from lumps of coals or stones. It has sticks for arms and comes with a walking stick / staff and a broom stick as well.

Snowmen are a popular theme for Christmas and winter decorations and also in children's media. A famous snowman character is Frosty, the titular snowman in the popular children's song "Frosty the Snowman", who had a corncob pipe, a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal.

The record for the world's largest snowman was set in 2008 in Bethel, Maine. The snow-woman stood 122 feet 1 inch (37.21 m) in height, and was named in honor of Olympia Snowe, the senior Republican U.S. Senator representing Maine.

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