The Christmas Spider & the Legend of Tinsel
By Sienna Wildfield
Why the Christmas Spider? Well, last year she decided that the Christmas Spider would be coming to our house instead of Santa Claus. She explained that the Christmas Spider was Santa’s southern counterpart who gave out presents when Santa was busy. The Christmas Spider wears a hat like Santa, she explained, and likes to give out squishy pretend spiders that hang on the wall, along with books, pencils and sea marbles … Something to look forward to!
I asked her if the Christmas Spider had a sleigh and flying reindeer like Santa and went down chimneys to get indoors. She said that the Christmas Spider actually climbs up houses and then down the chimneys to get inside. Then she (the Christmas Spider is female, evidently!) crawls on towards the next house with her fast skinny legs.
My daughter then proceeded to run around and around the house in her stocking feet at top speed saying that her legs were skinny too, so she could run as fast as the Christmas Spider. That was before she wiped out on the kitchen floor. With a bruised elbow and a tear-stained face she snuggled up on my lap. She looked up at me and told me that the Christmas Spider wasn’t allowed to snuggle with me when she came to our house. I reassured her that she was the only spider I’d ever snuggle.
A friend of the family made a Christmas Spider hat for her to wear last year, and the Christmas Spider quickly became her obsession. So I did a little research and discovered that there were several legends about the Christmas Spider, often explaining the origin of tinsel or lace. And last year we discovered the perfect book to read to her, Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo & Jane Manning. You can also read about the legend on a variety of sites, including over at myteacher.net.
Other books available on the Christmas Spider include:
- A Christmas Spider’s Miracle by Trinka Hakes Noble. Illustrated by Stephen Costanza
- The Spider’s Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story by Eric A. Kimmel. Illustrated by Katya Krenina.
- The Christmas Cobwebs by Odds Bodkin. Illustrated by Terry Widener.
- by Nancy Valois.