What do these eight-legged creepy crawlies have to do with Christmas? In Australia, a country famous for its dangerous spiders, there really is a Christmas spider. Other countries have legends about spiders and Christmas. How many stories will you write that include a Christmas spider?
Why is the oddly shaped arachnid in the picture above called a Christmas spider? There are several species of this spider, and they usually appear in the summer months leading up to Christmas. Remember, in Australia, Christmas occurs during the summer. This timid spider is harmless to humans, but its unusual appearance does tend to frighten.
Spiders and the Creation of Tinsel
There is a legend about a group of spiders that fled to the corner of the attic to escape the broom of a housewife who was diligently cleaning her house.
Soon it was Christmas Eve and the tree was up. The spiders wanted to see it, but because of where they were, it was impossible. Once everyone was in bed, they crept under the door and made their way downstairs to see the tree. The only way for them to get a good look at the beautiful ornaments was to climb up the tree, so up they went. They were so happy that they danced all over the branches, and everywhere they went, a trail of dusty, gray spider web was left behind.
When Santa saw how happy the spiders were he didnít want to make them leave, but neither did he want to cause the housewife to be unhappy when she saw how dusty her beautiful tree had become. So he caused the webs to turn into beautiful, sparkling gold and silver strands.
Ever since, people have hung tinsel on their trees.
The Spider That Saved the Baby Jesus
There is a legend that the cave that Mary and Joseph stayed in when she gave birth to Jesus also had a baby spider as an occupant. This spider overheard Joseph praying to God about how he wanted to protect Mary and Jesus from King Herod and the soldiers he sent after them.
The spider wanted to help but just wasnít sure how. Before long,he came up with an idea - he would spin a web across the front of the cave. He was really nervous about doing this because this would be his very first spider web. He crawled to the entrance of the cave and began to work. It took him all night, but by morning he had created a work of art.
When the soldiers came the across the cave, they simply stared in awe at the beautiful, intricate web. Never before had they seen such a web with such a pattern. Their commanding officer said that since the web was unbroken and must have taken several days for a spider to weave, that it was apparent the cave was unoccupied. The soldiers moved on, and the baby Jesus was spared.
Can you imagine what the spider was feeling until the soldiers decided to move on? What about Joseph and Mary? I'm sure they were holding their breath from fear of making a sound that would alert the soldiers to their presence inside the cave. How did Mary keep her newborn son from crying out? Or did the baby Jesus know to keep quiet?
There are variations of the above legends, but what I wrote above is pretty much what happened in them. Now that Iíve told you about the legends, it is your turn to to write your own version of what happened. Have fun!