With ‘the most wonderful time of the year‘ right about the corner, it’s only right to commence the glorious festivities with some Christmas facts.
Chances are you didn’t know half of this stuff because people rarely ever explained why certain holiday traditions exist…we just sort of follow suit like well,
So here’s your opportunity – sit back and enjoy the following over a cup of hot cocoa.
We’ve been told and expected to believe that December 25th marks the birth of Jesus but the lie detector test determined that that was a lie. Truth be told there is no mention of this specific day in the Bible.
In fact, historians believe Jesus was born some time in the spring…
Although, a pagan festival known as Saturnalia, celebrated the agricultural god of Saturn (a ‘Sun’ and not the Son of God). The 25th day of December happens to fall in and around the same time of year as Saturnalia and is usually celebrated with partying and gift-giving. Go figure.
Other popular Christmas traditions that were birthed out of Saturnalia include the presence of an evergreen tree. During winter solstice, evergreen branches were used to symbolize the growth of green plants in the spring.
The strong green branches stood as reminder that the sun gods would faithfully yield harvest.
Germans were the first people to bring the traditional Christmas tree (that we know and love today) into their homes. As apart of holidays customs they would decorate evergreen trees with cookies and lights.
However, the Christmas tree frenzy didn’t arrive in the Americas till the mid 1800s when Prince Albert (of Germany) married Queen Victoria. The two were sketched in front of a Christmas tree and the rest is history.
But the Christmas tree phenomenon doesn’t stop there.
To date, there are nearly 21, 000 Christmas tree farms in the US alone. Roughly, 45 million evergreen trees were planted, adding to the 400 million trees that were already there. And each year, approximately 30 to 35 million real, living trees are sold.
People didn’t always observe Christmas the way we do now. In fact, many early Americans were extremely puritanical.
I bet you also didn’t know that in the 16th century, Christmas celebration was considered illegal in Boston. If you were caught celebrating, you could be fined.
Now, as for everyone’s favourite commercial symbol the good ol’ Saint Nick. The Christian bishop was birthed in current day Turkey.
Saint Nicolas inherited a whole lot of wealth and used his riches to help the poor. Eventually, he became the ‘protector of children.’
In Dutch, Saint Nicoloas’ name became ‘Sint-Nicolas’ or Sinter Klaas, which became Santa Claus shortly after.
Now, the whole presents thing came from the Holland, where a celebration of St. Nick was a feast day held December 6th.
As the legend goes, kids would leave their shoes out on Christmas Eve and St. Nicolas would come along and place little gifts in their shoes.
So, how did dropping gifts into stockings come into play? Well, in order to help a poor man who had three daughters and couldn’t afford their weddings, St. Nicolas came to the rescue.
In order to help the poor man and his daughters, good ol’ Saint Nick threw a bag of gold down his chimney shoot. The bag of gold landed in the eldest daughter’s stocking that just so happened to be hanging from the chimney to dry.
And that my friends is the reason why gifts were placed in stockings, that hung from the chimney. Nowadays, they are placed underneath the tree but who knows why that’s a thing?
Most people know St. Nick wore bishop attire and was usually drawn in blue, white or green, and that the traditional Santa Claus we see dressed red is due to that iconic Coca-Cola commercial.
But the Santa Claus flying on a sleigh imagery was created by the artist who created the headless horsemen, Washington Irving in 1819.
There are over 20,000 ‘rent-a-Santa’ stores in The United States. Aspiring Santas undergo training to learn how to manage pressure in public settings all the while maintaining a jolly attitude. Santas even learn how to reject gifts and tips from parents as well as how to deal with children who have been naughty rather than nice.
A department store in is responsible for the marketing of Rudolph to get children to be interested in buying holiday coloring books. Everyone knows reindeer don’t have red noses but a red nose was a sign of partying too hard, so Montgomery Ward believed that Rudolph would appear to be a souse.
Which might be the reason why in many of the old Christmas cartoons, Rudolph did not walk straight rather than because he was a baby reindeer or had a birth defect.
The myth is that Santa Claus just had an extreme sweet tooth and loved cookies, but as this article has proven…there is a reason for everything. During the Dutch feast day, children would leave food and drinks for the pagan Saint.
Leaving milk and cookies though, is specifically related to the German tradition that was decorating the Christmas tree with cookies.
The original poem ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ derived from ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas’. Except the original poem introduced the other 8 reindeers as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner and Blixem.
The names of these reindeer also traces back to the Germany where the terms ‘Duner and Blixem’ translate to thunder and lightning.
Have you ever heard of ‘all the other reindeer’ that use to laugh and call Rudolph names? See, there is a group of other reindeer that are rarely named but do exist in other poems.
There is Flossie, Glossie, Racer, Pacer, Scratcher, Feckless, Ready, Steady, and Fireball. Who knew?
Let’s get into facts about our favorite Christmas songs.
I bet you didn’t know ‘Silent Night’ is the most recorded Christmas song of all time. There are over 700 copyrighted versions of this world renowned Christmas carol since 1978.
Father Joseph Mohr of Austria is often credited with writing the very first version of ‘Silent Night’ which he performed at his annual Christmas service once his organ broke.
The reality is, Mohr was probably just a noted musician at the time, rumour has it that another priest working at a pilgrim church really wrote the song.
The real story behind ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ probably isn’t what you would expect.
The songwriter James Gillespie was going through a pretty hard time as he was broke and jobless. His brother had recently passed away when he was asked to write a Christmas song.
Initially, Gillespie was overcome with grief over the passing of his brother but later found strength in their childhood Christmas memories together. What better way to uplift yourself and others than to write arguably one of the greatest Christmas carols ever? Priceless.
‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’ has got to be top 5 Christmas songs ever. Surprisingly, the original lyrics were ‘Hark! How the Welkin Rings.’ Could you imagine?
I for one am very pleased to know that a preacher thought that sounded as ridiculous as it reads and later changed the lyrics.
Oh and by the way, a welkin is an old English word meaning Heaven.
Apparently Boston has tried or ban a number of things surrounding Christmas.
In the 1950’s, the song ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ was almost banned by church members in Boston as it was thought to promote physical intimacy.
The singer of the original record, Jimmy Boyd had to fly to Boston and explain that the song was obscene at all but innocent.
Did you know that out of all the Christmas movies to date, Jim Carrey holds the title for the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time.
Apparently, The Jim Carrey version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (which is not to be confused with any other subpar version) trumps all.
All the gifts in the ’12 Days Of Christmas’ song we all know and love (hate) would actually amount to 364 gifts.
Which isn’t even a plausible amount of gifts to reward any human being within the span of 12 days…or well, ever.