Thursday, December 07, 2006

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Many people do not realize how closely The Wizard of Oz is associated with Christmas. True, the story itself has nothing to do with the holiday, but Oz has become a Christmas tradition in countless households. What follows are just a few examples.

L. Frank Baum met his wife, Maud, at a holiday party. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a best seller during the 1900 holiday season and generations after were overjoyed to find an Oz book under the tree Christmas morn. In 1902, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was published and in a later Oz book, The Road to Oz, Santa Claus was an honored guest at Ozma's birthday party. The telefilm The Dreamer of Oz based on Baum's life first aired during the 1990 holiday season. (More on the Life and Adventures of Santa Claus )

Eventually the MGM film became something of a Christmas staple. W.L. Stensgaard's window and department store displays dotted cities across the country in late 1939. Oz Christmas displays based on both the book and the movie continue to be popular attractions. The Spring 1996 issue of the Baum Bugle features a fantastic example of awe inspiring animated vignettes from Dayton's Department Store.

The MGM film was a holiday favorite on television creating many fond childhood memories. On Christmas Day in 1950, Judy Garland re-created her role as Dorothy for the Lux Radio Broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. Stage adaptations of the film are frequently mounted during the holiday season.

Christmas ornaments made by companies such as Kurt Adler, Hallmark, Christopher Radko, and Sterling, to name a few, are perennial best sellers.

Earlier this week I went to Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon for the first time. If anyone should find themselves in the area during the holiday season it's well worth the trip. The lights are just beautiful. The Zoolights also features train rides, costumed characters, performances from school choirs and fun activities on the weekends. You might even get a glimpse of some of the zoo animals who don't mind the cold weather.

While browsing Ebay I came across these darling Snowman Wizard of Oz figures and ornaments.   You can find more information about Debbie's Snow Folk at the following link.

Possible Dreams makes Clothtique Santa Claus figurines with remarkable detail in a variety of themes. This year a Life and Adventures of Santa Claus figurine was introduced in an edition of 1500.

More Christmas coming soon! Stay tuned!!