December 22nd, 2010

Xmas Trivia, Very Interesting


Are we abbreviating Christ out of Christmas?
The abbreviation of Xmas for Christmas is not irreligious. The first
letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi, which is identical to our X.
Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation that was used in
tables and charts.
Why do we hang wreaths on our door?
The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of
one’s house, is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations.
Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of
evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess
of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and
display them on doorways.
When was Toys for Tots instituted?
In 1947, Toys for Tots started making the holidays a little happier for
children by organizing its first Christmas toy drive for needy
What was the first Salvation Army kettle also used for?
In an effort to solicit cash to pay for a charity Christmas dinner in
1891, a large crab pot was set down on a San Francisco street, becoming
the first Salvation Army collection kettle.
What do Greeks do for Christmas?
Greeks do not use Christmas trees or give presents at Christmas. A
priest may throw a little cross into the village water to drive the
kallikantzari (gremlin-like spirits) away. To keep them from hiding in
dark, dusty corners, he goes from house to house sprinkling holy water.
When did Turkey first get served for Christmas?
The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th
century, but didn’t immediately replace the traditional fare of goose,
beef or boar’s head in the rich households.
When did the Christmas tree switch from an oak to an fir?
Saint Boniface is said to have substituted a fir tree for the pagan oak
in the eighth century as a symbol of faith. Martin Luther fostered the
Christmas tree cult by using a candlelit tree as a symbol of Christ’s
heavenly home, while trees decorated with candles, fruit and paper
flowers were introduced into Britain soon after Queen Victoria’s
How long have we had the Yule log?
During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, the log burned was
called the “Yule log.” Sometimes a piece of the Yule log would be kept
to kindle the fire the following winter, to ensure that the good luck
carried on from year to year. The Yule log custom was handed down from
the Druids.
Should you wish a ‘Happy Christmas?’
Some priests in Australia advise you to say “Happy Christmas”, not
“Merry Christmas”, because Merry has connotations of getting drunk –
which brings its own problems. One should say “Happy” instead.
How far did Mary and Joseph travel?
When Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be enrolled
in the imperial census they traveled 92.5 miles.
Who was first to depict Santa in his sleigh with the reindeer?
In the Thomas Nast cartoon that first depicted Santa Claus with a sleigh
and reindeer, he was delivering Christmas gifts to soldiers fighting in
the U.S. Civil War. The cartoon, entitled “Santa Claus in Camp,”
appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 3, 1863.
When were the first glass ornaments sold?
Originally, Christmas decorations were home-made paper flowers, or
apples, biscuits, and sweets. The earliest decorations to be bought came
from Nuremberg in Germany, a city famous for the manufacture of toys.
Lauscha in Germany is famous for its glass ornaments. In 1880, America
discovered Lauscha and F.W. Woolworth went there and bought a few glass
Christmas tree ornaments. Within a day he had sold out so next year he
bought more and within a week they, too, had sold. The year after that
be bought 200,000 Lauscha ornaments. During the First World War supplies
of ornaments from Lauscha ceased, so American manufacturers began to
make their own ornaments, developing new techniques that allowed them to
turn out as many ornaments in a minute as could be made in a whole day
at Lauscha.

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