Raymond Arroyo is the author of the new picture book, “The Spider Who Saved Christmas,” illustrated by Randy Gallegos. He wanted to teach kids about a different take on the Christmas story – traditions he learned while spending time in Eastern Europe. They put spiders in Christmas trees there. The tradition comes from a legend about a spider who runs into Mary, Joseph and Jesus when they’re fleeing Bethlehem on their way to Egypt, and explains the origins of tinsel in Christmas trees.
“If you’re going to have a spider meet Mary, Joseph and Jesus at this moment in the story, why not make it a beautiful spider, the queen of all spiders? So I did. I don’t want to ruin the story, but it plays a pivotal role in protecting this family.”
“She spins webs, Joseph comes into the cave. First thing he does is take the staff and try to stab the spider and rip the web down; that’s a natural reaction. These are feared, horrible things, physically. … But I think sometimes in our fear and in our concern, we miss the goodness and we miss the purpose of other people and things around us.”
“We can all relate to anxiety, living in fear. This family is on the run; they’re running from soldiers who were after their kid and they’re hiding in a cave.”