- Wreaths of holly are
universal symbols. The ancient druids and pagans believed
holly was magical because it stayed green all year long; in honor of
that, they wore sprigs and berries. When Christianity expanded, its
leaders declared that the sharp leaves and round shape of the the
plant represented Christ's crown of thorns and the red berries
represented his blood. So really, holly is a holiday tradition that
has been around longer than celebration of Christmas.
- In Scandinavia, the Norse
celebrated Yule (aka the winter solstice) from December 21st
through January. To commemorate the return of the sun,
fathers and sons would return home with massive logs which they
would set on fire and then everyone would party until the log
burned out. Because some logs were so large, a feast could last as
long as 12 days!
- 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms with the other 2% cut from the wild.
- If you have a real Christmas
tree, it's largely edible. In fact, the bark is a
good source of Vitamin C. I wouldn't snack on a fake tree, however.
- December 25th wasn't celebrated as Jesus' birthday until the year AD 440.
- From 1659 to 1681, the
celebration of Christmas was banned in Boston and anyone
exhibiting any sort of “Christmas spirit” was fined five
shillings. Talk about a bah-humbug!
- Despite what you might have heard in the TV special “Santa
Claus Is Coming To Town,” the custom of hanging stockings
originated with the Dutch who left shoes packed with food for St.
Nicholas's donkeys; he would then leave small gifts in return.
- The abbreviation “Xmas” comes from the Greek letter “X”
which is an abbreviation for Christ.
- The song “Jingle Bells” was written in 1857 by James
Pierpont. It was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh” and
was composed for Thanksgiving, not Christmas.
- In the early years of Christianity, the birth of Jesus wasn't
celebrated at all; Easter was the main holiday.
- Bolivians celebrate the “Mass of the Rooster” on
Christmas Eve with some participants bringing roosters to the
midnight mass; this symbolizes the belief that a rooster was the
first animal to announce the birth of Jesus.
- Christmas crackers, which have been gaining popularity in
America, were invented by a candy-maker named Thomas Smith of in
England. They were based on French bon-bons which were almonds
wrapped in pretty paper. Smith's idea of wrapping candy and toys
into small packages didn't become popular until he added a snapper
which made a “crack” when the packaging was pulled.
- After the American Revolution was over, English customs,
understandably enough, fell out of favor. This included the
“English” custom of celebrating Christmas. In fact, Christmas
wasn't declared a federal holiday until 1870.
- Teddy Roosevelt, who was not only an outdoorsman , but a
conservationist, banned putting up a Christmas tree in the White
House during his term. He found the practice so infuriating that
his son, Archie, chose to sneak his own Christmas tree into the
house in 1902 and hid it in a closet.
- It's been hypothesized by Norwegian scientists, who
apparently had some time on their hands, that Rudolph's crimson
nose may be the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory
Note: Sources for this blog post included: www.mirror.co.uk, http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk, www.whychristmas.com, www.history.com, and http://facts.randomhistory.com.
Please check in with me in a day or so. As always, THANK YOU FOR READING!!!