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The tradition of Christmas trees goes all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who marked the winter solstice with evergreens as a reminder that spring would return. So if you decorate with a green tree, wreaths or evergreen garland, you're throwing it back – way back.
You might want to brew a cup o' tea when trimming your tree this year to pay homage to its origins. When Prince Albert of Germany introduced a tree to his new wife, Queen Victoria of England, it really took off across the pond. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas tree appeared in Illustrated London News in 1848 and as we say, the idea went viral.
You probably already knew that the idea of Santa Claus came from St. Nicholas, but the real saint wasn't a bearded man who wore a red suit. That all came much later. According to legend, the fourth-century Christian bishop gave away his abundant inheritance to help the needy and rescued women from servitude. His name was Sinter Klaas in Dutch, which later morphed into Santa Claus. The rest of the trappings followed.
Before Coca-Cola got in on it, Santa used to look a lot less jolly — even spooky. It wasn't until 1931, when the beverage company hired an illustrator named Haddon Sundblom for magazine ads that we got the jolly old elf. Now, kids won't get nightmares when they dream of Christmas eve. Santa Claus has worn many colors in his time including Blue, Green, white and Red. The red suit came about when Coca-Cola had an advertisement campaign in the 30’s.
According to legend, we hang stockings by the chimney with care thanks to a poor man who didn't have enough money for his three daughters' dowries. Generous old St. Nick (remember, that's his trademark!) dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night, where the girls had hung their stockings to dry. That's where the gold ended up, and how the tradition began.
The Christmas wreath originated as a symbol of Christ. The holly represents the crown of thorns Jesus wore at his crucifixion, and the red berries symbolize the blood he shed. So when you see a wreath this season, you'll remember the reason for the season.
Turns out, we were originally dashing through the snow for an entirely different holiday. James Lord Pierpont wrote a song called "One Horse Open Sleigh" for his church's Thanksgiving concert. Then in 1857, the song was re-published under the title it still holds today, and it eventually became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
By the time the Puritans settled in Boston, celebrating Christmas had been outlawed. From 1659–1681, anyone caught making merry would face a fine for celebrating. After the Revolutionary War, the day was so unimportant that Congress even held their first session on December 25, 1789. Christmas wasn't proclaimed a federal holiday for almost another century, proving that the Grinch's notorious hatred of the holiday was alive and well long before he was.
If you've ever watched Clark Griswold decorate his house in Christmas Vacation, that probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 14,700 people visit hospital emergency rooms each November and December from holiday-related decorating accidents. So please, be careful when you're decking your halls.
Every year, letters to Santa Claus flood post offices across the world, forcing parent to find a way to answer them or explain to the kiddos why their letter got, um, lost in the mail. Cementing their reputation as one of the nicest countries around, some big-hearted Canadian Post Office workers started writing back. As the program took off, they set up a special postal code for Santa as part of a Santa Letter-Writing Program initiative: HOH OHO.
For the love of Christmas, don't forget to water your tree. Dried-out Christmas trees spark about a hundred fires each year, cause an average of 10 deaths, and result in $15.7 million in property damage, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports. Not only will an errant spark ruin your holiday, it can put both you and responding firefighters in danger.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day last year, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an estimated 910 million packages — in addition to almost 15 billion pieces of mail. That includes gifts for faraway loved ones, cards, letters to Santa and those dreaded credit card bills after we put our holiday purchases on plastic (oops).
The holiday flora is an ancient symbol of fertility and virility — and the Druids considered it an aphrodisiac. So keep that in mind next time someone jokes about meeting you under the mistletoe. You might want to know what you're getting yourself into.
The National Confectioners Association says a choirmaster originally gave the candies to young children to keep them quiet during long church services. Grandmas who still dole out sweets during droning sermons, you've got history on your side. But it wasn't until a German-Swedish immigrant decorated his tree with candy canes in 1847 that they became popular as a Christmas candy.
The first tree at Rockefeller Center probably looked more like Charlie Brown's than the resplendent one today. Construction workers at the site first placed a small, undecorated tree while working there in 1931. Two years later, another tree appeared in its place, this time with lights. It grew and grew from there. Nowadays, the giant Rockefeller Center tree bears more than 25,000 twinkling lights and is visited by millions of selfie-takers each season.
Londoners and visitors probably know the iconic spruce that stretches to the sky in Trafalgar Square each year, but few realize where it comes from. Every year since 1947, the people of Norway have gifted the tree to the people of London. They donate the tree in gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during World War II. Now that's what we call goodwill toward men.
During World War II, The United States Playing Card Company joined forces with American and British intelligence agencies to create a very special deck of cards. They gave them out as Christmas gifts that also helped allied prisoners of war escape from German POW camps. Individual cards peeled apart when moistened, to reveal maps of escape routes. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
No matter where you live in the U.S., you can find a homegrown Christmas tree, likely from a nearby farm. That's because Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, according to History.com.
When the holidays are over and it's time to get rid of your Christmas tree, you could drag it to the curb to be picked up by garbage collectors or you could donate it to a zoo so that it can be fed to a hungry elephant. Zoos around the world, including The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, accept evergreens, which are enjoyed by the giant herbivores as a seasonal snack. Also Our needley favorite, the Christmas tree, doesn’t need to be thrown away every year, some parts are edible including the needles themselves which are a source of Vitamin C.
The charles W howard santa claus school in midland mi host 130 santas each year where they gather and learn about the history of saint nick, popular toys and etiquette.
The abbreviation X in X-mas is not an abbreviation. It actually stands for chi which means Christ in greek.
When the candy cane was invented in germany it was made in the shape of a J for Jesus. The red Stripes are to symbolize his blood.
Scientists have calculated that for Santa Claus to deliver presents to every home in the world he would have to travel at a speed of 4,921,200 miles per hour!
The gold chocolate coins we receive at Christmas are to represent the gold St Nicholas supposedly gave to the poor.