Did you know...

The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American named Ralph E. Morris in 1895. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles, which often started fires by falling in the dry Christmas trees.

The use of a Christmas wreath as a decoration on your front door, mantel or bay window symbolizes a sign of welcome and long life to all who enter.

Today poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant and are the number one flowering potted plant in the United States.
The poinsettia, a traditional Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico, where it is also known as the 'Flower of the Holy Night'. Joel Poinsett first brought it to America in 1829.

The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
Real Christmas trees are an all-American product, grown in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the top Christmas tree producing states. Oregon is the leading producer of Christmas trees - 8.6 million in 1998.
Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.
The best selling Christmas trees are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir and white pine.
For every real Christmas tree harvested, 2 to 3 seedlings are planted in its place. Each hectare provides the daily oxygen requirements of 45 people.
Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.

He is known throughout the world, by various names; Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, St. Nick, and Pere Noel. On Christmas Eve, countless children all over the world lie in their beds while "visions of sugarplums dance in their heads." When they awake they will excitedly check to see if Santa Claus has come to bring them gifts.
One town in Indiana is called Santa Claus. There is also a Santa, Idaho.
The original Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, was born in Turkey in the 4th century. He was very pious from an early age, devoting his life to Christianity. He became widely known for his generosity for the poor. But the Romans held him in contempt. He was imprisoned and tortured. But when Constantine became emperor of Rome, he allowed Nicholas to go free. Constantine became a Christian and convened the Council of Nicaea in 325. Nicholas was a delegate to the council. He is especially noted for his love of children and for his generosity. He is the patron saint of sailors, Sicily, Greece, and Russia. He is also, of course, the patron saint of children. The Dutch kept the legend of St. Nicholas alive. In 16th century Holland, Dutch children would place their wooden shoes by the hearth in hopes that they would be filled with a treat. The Dutch spelled St. Nicholas as Sint Nikolaas, which became corrupted to Sinterklaas, and finally, in Anglican, to Santa Claus. In 1822, Clement C. Moore composed his famous poem, "A Visit from St. Nick," which was later published as "The Night Before Christmas." Moore is credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly fat man in a red suit.

Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorated the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided have the ends bent to depict a shepherd's crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn't until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.
During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes are made.

Two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They would gather this evergreen plant that is parasitic upon other trees and used it to decorate their homes. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief. The early church banned the use of mistletoe in Christmas celebrations because of its pagan origins. Instead, church fathers suggested the use of holly as an appropriate substitute for Christmas greenery.

The tradition of gifts seems to have started with the gifts that the wise men (the Magi) brought to Jesus. As recounted in the Bible's book of Matthew, "On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

In 1836, Alabama was the first state in the USA to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
In 1856, President Franklin Pierce decorates the first White House Christmas tree.
In 1907, Oklahoma became the last USA state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Bing Crosby's White Christmas.

St Francis of Assisi introduced Christmas Carols to formal church services. Christmas caroling began as an old English custom called Wassailing - toasting neighbors to a long and healthy life.
The word carol is derived from the old French word caroler which derives from the Latin choraula. This itself was derived from the Greek choraules.

The first Christmas card was created in England on December 9, 1842. Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company. An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place. More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.
In America in 1822, the postmaster of Washington, DC, complained that he had to add 16 mailmen at Christmas to deal with cards alone. He wanted the number of cards a person could send limited by law. "I don't know what we'll do if this keeps on," he wrote.

Animal Crackers are not really crackers, but cookies that were imported to the United States from England in the late 1800s. Barnum's circus-like boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas,

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I love all your ornaments and I also enjoyed the fun facts!