by Victoria Pakizer, Volunteer Staff
Snow is falling. People are placing statues of a fat man dressed in red on their lawns. The streets light up at night, and if you’re quiet, you may hear a distant carol. This can only mean one thing. It’s Christmas!
Christmas brings parties and friends and family, some of which you haven’t seen in a long time. Use these interesting Christmas facts to jump-start conversations.
Why do we celebrate Christmas December 25? Almost everyone knows we celebrate Christmas to honor the birth of Christ, but Pope Julius I, a bishop of Rome in 320 A. D., chose December 25 as the official date.
When did it become an official holiday? Americans have always celebrated Christmas, but it didn’t become an official holiday until June 26, 1870. The first state to recognize it officially was Alabama in 1836, and lastly, Oklahoma, in 1907.
The abbreviation – Xmas: Some people are offended by the abbreviation X-mas because it takes the word “Christ” out of Christmas. However, the abbreviation has a religious root. In Greek, the letter X stands for chi, which means Christ. Before the printing press was invented, people used the abbreviation “Xmas” to save ink, space, and time.
Christmas vs. the Government: Today’s politics are making an effort to remove the name of Christ completely. No more prayers in public schools. The government bans nativity scenes on public property. We now have holiday trees, holiday sales, and happy holidays all over the place. What happened to good old Merry Christmas? The shocking truth is many news and store employees admit they have been instructed not to use the term.
Tradition of Tree Decorating: Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, seems to be responsible for this. As he walked home, he saw stars shining through an evergreen tree. He thought it was so beautiful that he wanted to share it with his family so he copied the effect by placing candles in an evergreen tree. The tradition grew.
Santa Claus: The legend of Santa Claus was based on a real person named St. Nikolas of Myra. He doesn’t appear in the Bible, but this popular saint has been painted more than any other, with the exception of Mary. However, Nikolas represented discipline, whereas today’s Santa spreads joy. St. Nick is the patron saint of many things including pawn broking, butchery, sailing, royalty, orphans, thievery, pirating, banking, and New York City.
Christmas Favorites: It’s a Wonderful Life is the most shown Christmas movie on television. “Jingle Bells” was not written for Christmas, but Thanksgiving. It only took six weeks for Charles Dickens to write “A Christmas Carol.” As writers, we can say from experience, that’s fast!!
Numerical statistics: Grab your pencil and paper!
• Seven out of ten dogs will get a gift from Santa
• One in three men will not get their Christmas shopping done until Christmas Eve
• Only 45% of the world celebrates Christmas
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