On Christmas Eve, a long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year... Christmas day, not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner on the ceiling. They had fled to the farthest corner of the attic. The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated. The poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for Santa's impending visit. Then the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone went to bed and then get a closer look. When the house was dark and silent, the spiders crept out of their hiding place. When they neared the Christmas tree, they were delighted with the beauty of it. The spiders crept all over the tree, up and down, over the branches and twigs and saw every one of the pretty things. The spiders loved the Christmas tree. All night long they danced in the branches, leaving them covered with spider webs. When Santa Claus came with the gifts for the children, he saw the tree covered in spider webs, and smiled to see how happy the spiders were, but he knew the mother, who had worked so hard to make everything perfect, would not be pleased when she saw what the spiders had done. With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, Santa reached out and gently touched the spider webs. The spider webs started to sparkle and shine! They had all turned into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold. Ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees. It has also become a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the Christmas tree.
Isn't it lovely! This folklore story originates from Germany and the Ukraine. There are many different versions of it which you can find online...the other popular version replaces Santa Claus with the Infant Child Jesus who comes to bless the house. I have never come across these folklore stories before and I love both of them.
I received this wonderful beaded spider from my mum. She bought it from a friend who was selling them at her school Christmas Fair. I was thrilled to bits to receive it - it looks quite at home on my daughter's very pink and bejewelled Xmas tree. Not in a million years would I have ever associated spiders with Christmas!
Looks like I just can't get away from them lately. Spiders have been a permanent fixture hanging on my Autumn bunting for the last few months (which I'll be sorry to see go this week in favour of something a little more festive), and I also mentioned them recently on this post. I'd created tiny crocheted spiders for my bunting but I wanted one a little more appropriately festive to adorn the main Christmas tree in the living room. The first one I made was more like a huge hairy tarantula! The yarn, although very pretty and glitzy looking on the tree resulted in a bulky looking spider...just look at it - it's a beast!
I did have much more success with the legs though. Crocheted legs didn't work with this yarn - they were just too floppy. So I strengthened them by cutting a length of silver pipe cleaner, threaded it through the body of the spider to form two legs, then simply wrapped the yarn around it till it was sufficiently covered. Getting them to bend into the right shape was a doddle.
This one is a much better size. Not too big (or hairy!). If you want to crochet yourself a Christmas Spider you can find the pattern on my spider web bunting post.
This is such a lovely tradition that I think we'll be hanging a Christmas Spider on the tree every year from now on. Will you be doing the same? Not so scary now are they?! XX