The Christmas Spider

Christmas spider, flickr

Christmas spider, flickr

What does an eight-legged creepy crawly have to do with Christmas? In Australia, a country famous for its deadly spiders, a Christmas spider really does exist. This timid spider is harmless to humans, but its unusual appearance does tend to frighten.

Why is the oddly shaped arachnid called a Christmas spider? There are several species of this spider, and in Australia, they usually appear in the summer months leading up to Christmas. Remember, in the land down under, Christmas takes place during the summer.

Other countries also have legends about spiders and Christmas. How many stories will you write that include a Christmas spider?

Spiders and the Creation of Tinsel
This is a German 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 didn’t 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 that day, people have hung tinsel on their trees.

The German legend is told in the below video. Enjoy!

The Spider That Saved the Baby Jesus
Legend says that the cave that Mary and Joseph stayed in while they were on their way to Egypt to escape Herod and his soldiers also had a baby spider as an occupant. This spider overheard Joseph praying to God about how he wanted to protect his wife and son from King Herod and the soldiers he had sent to find them.

The spider wanted to help but just wasn’t sure how. Before long, he came up with an idea—he would spin a web across the front of the cave. This would be his very first spider web, so he was really nervous. 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 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 the 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 because they were afraid 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?

Writing Prompt
There are variations of the above legends, but what I wrote above is pretty much what happened in them. Now that I’ve told you about the legends, it is your turn to write your own version of what happened.

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