Thanksgiving has passed and now many are preparing for Christmas. While some are singing “Deck the Halls,” putting up a tree, making lists for Santa and watching seasonal movies, there are facts about the “most wonderful time of the year” that everyone might not know. Unique facts about the December holiday have been gathered below, courtesy of All Things Christmas, Random History and Kids Play and Create.
1) Santa Claus:
Santa Claus is one of the most beloved figures for many Christians. Santa, who goes by names such as Kris Kringle, St. Nicholas and Father Christmas, was known to be a man who was generous, especially to children, back in fourth century Myra, which is where Turkey is located now, All Things Christmas wrote. St. Nicholas became known throughout Europe and eventually became the patron saint of Russia. He reportedly had a long white beard and a red cape. His legend of generosity continued in Holland. The Dutch spelt his name Sint Nikolaas, which eventually led to “Sinterklaas,” and ultimately Santa Claus emerged when the Dutch came to America in the 17th century.
2) Christmas Tree:
It's believed that Germans used dyed goose feathers to create the first Christmas tree. They also used to be decorated with roses, apples and different colored paper. Martin Luther was the first to put lights on the tree after he was inspired by the starlight reflecting off trees, All Things Christmas wrote. Electric Christmas lights were first used in 1895. The Christmas tree became popular in the U.S. after Germans immigrated in the late 19th century.
Christmas trees, which usually take 15 years to grow, have been sold in the U.S. since 1850. But back in 1912, people would not have seen one in the White House. President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a devout environmentalist, forbid them.
3) Christmas Cards:
The Christmas card originally appeared in England as a way for students to practice their handwriting. Sir Henry Cole apparently created the first Christmas card since he was too busy to write an individual note to every loved one in 1843. Today, more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. every year.
Quick Fun Facts:
4) Christmas did not become a federal holiday until 1870. Alabama was the first state to declare it a legal holiday in 1836.
5) Rudolph’s red nose might have been caused by a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.
6) “Jingle Bells” was originally named “One Horse Open Sleigh” when it was written by James Pierpont in 1857.
7) Christmas was not celebrated on Dec. 25 as the birth of Christ until 350 A.D.
8) Naughty children getting coal in their stockings is a tradition that started in Italy.
9) The Christmas colors red, green and gold all have meaning. Red represents the blood of Christ, green represents rebirth and gold represents royalty and light.
10) The tallest Christmas tree was cut down in Seattle in 1950 and stood 221-feet tall.
11) When all the gifts in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” are added up, it equals 364 presents.
12) X means Christ in Greek, which is why Christmas is shortened to X-mas sometimes.
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