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As Long as We Remember...

December 15, 2005

Considering a Christmas Moose?

Edward Lulie III

As Christmas approaches Frederick County is ablaze with lights and outdoor displays. Some are in the form of white and yellow icicles and others in nets of shifting multi colored lights covering trees and bushes.

In the last few years animated animals have become commonplace. You can easily find Santa’s sled and reindeer outlined in white lights. Yet recently there has been a new and different creature celebrated through light and animation – the Majestic Moose. The animated version either shakes his head from side to side or nods. I haven’t come across any that tap-dance yet, but surely they must be in the planning stages.

How the moose came to be a Christmas animal is something of a mystery. Perhaps it was the name; or maybe the fact that around here there just aren’t any. Having never actually seen a moose up close and alive, it is easier to regard the large antlered creature with much fond amusement.

I have no idea if they smell bad, attract clouds of flies, or eat all the shrubbery and small trees in your yard. I really don’t care if the moose came to be part of the holiday spirit because of the “Merry Chris-Moose” cards of a few years ago; or if some nearsighted card designer couldn’t tell the difference between a moose and a reindeer.

Then again there is a chain of stores south of here called the “Christmas Mouse;” I’ve always thought they’d have more success if they renamed it the “Christmas Moose.”

I like moose. Not some dainty fragile creature, but a solid large antlered and stubborn moose; now that’s a sight to display on your front yard. I doubt that Santa could ever harness eight moose together and get them to propel his sled; more likely they’d unionize against him on the spot.

It might be that the moose as a Christmas animal came to us from Canada. Apparently in Quebec the majestic moose has been hunted to near extinction and the hunters frequently cross the borders in search of moose.

I know that some people eat moose, wear moose-hide slippers and gloves. Seems a harsh fate for a Christmas icon, doesn’t it? Of course, barn animals were all present at the birth of Jesus, but I don’t believe that they had a herd of moose grazing peacefully nearby.

Perhaps it won’t be long before moose catches on as a great symbol for a sports franchise. Just imagine the Baltimore Moose instead of the Ravens. Okay, maybe you can’t; I’m still not sure why we picked “Ravens” anyway unless the Cleveland fans got in on the decision making. Still the sound that a moose makes greatly reminds me of the noise that Ravens fans have been making most of this season.

You just might consider running out now to buy one while supplies last; they’ll probably sell out quickly. It may be that the novelty could account for their popularity or perhaps Bullwinkle has had more of a following than we suspected. Perhaps it is more in the spirit of “Hey Honey, let’s skip sending the neighbors that Christmas card. They just put up a lighted moose out on their front yard!”

If you could only get a moose with glowing red eyes, it would be prefect. Imagine it growling alongside a Halloween jack o’lantern and scaring kids and neighbors (maybe the family too!). Then afterwards you could replace the red with blue and leave him out on the lawn until after the Super Bowl.

How did it happen that moose suddenly rate status on your lawn along with Santa, reindeer and elves? Are there any Victorian era Christmas cards showing Santa riding in a moose-drawn sleigh? Did someone poll the citizenry for the most unlikely creature you’d want to represent Christmas?

Man’s best friend doesn’t make it. No cute kittens normally appear, nor aardvarks, turtles, hawks, eagles, foxes or pandas. Although I suspect the panda might be next on the list.

There are some bears used as Christmas symbols; fondly regarded teddy bears are pretty much everywhere this time of year. But when exactly did the moose wander in to join the party. Then again who among us would try to keep him out? Pretty much moose go where they want.

I haven’t bought one yet; somehow the dire threats from my wife over the purchase don’t sound like idle ones. My sons are enthusiastic, however; for some reason they seem to be looking forward to seeing if Mom really will make Dad sleep out on the lawn with the moose.

I think the moose just needs a catchy Christmas song of his own. Something about how he saved Santa and Christmas. Maybe even a movie and mini-series.

Until then I think I will pass on buying one as a lawn ornament; it gets to be pretty cold out there these winter nights.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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