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The 12 Facts About Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

 

 

  1. Christmas Date

Christmas is celebrated December 25th in the United States, and other countries. Christmas is celebrated on January 7 in some Eastern Orthodox countries, such as Russia. Considered the most popular Christian observance, Christmas is also celebrated as a secular family holiday. The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings' Day). The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.

  1. Christmas Name

The word Christmas is derived from the Old English phrase Cristes maesse, Christ's mass. The “X” in “Xmas” doesn’t take “Christ” out of “Christmas. Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas, however, some people think that this spelling is not right, because it takes the “Christ” out of Christmas. Don’t worry, no one is taking the “Christ” anywhere. In the Greek alphabet, the letter X (“chi”) is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ or Christos.

  1. Modern Santa Claus Creation

Santa Claus, also known as Saint NicholasKris KringleFather Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved ("good" or "nice") children on Christmas Eve (24 December) and the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December).[1] The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas (a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra), the British figure of Father Christmasand the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself also based on Saint Nicholas). Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic god Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.

Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, jolly, white-beardedman—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white-fur-cuffed red trousers, a red hat with white fur and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of the Clark Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (commonly called "'Twas the Night Before Christmas").

Cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with creating the current image of Santa Claus, based on his illustrations that began appearing in Harper's Weekly in 1863. The Santa Claus we all know and love — that big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard — didn’t always look that way. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books, films, and advertising. L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, a 1902 children's book, further popularized Santa Claus

  1. Christmas Science

Santa stretches time like a rubber band, in order to deliver all the gifts in one night. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2,106 million children under age 18 in the world. If we assume that each household has in average 2.5 children, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. Given the different time zones, Santa has 36 hours to deliver gifts, therefore his average speed would be approximately 650 miles per second. It is less than the speed of light (therefore, it’s, theoretically, doable but still quite hard for a chubby old man). Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, suggests that Santa uses relativity clouds to get the work done. Relativity clouds, based on relative physics, allow Santa to stretch time like a rubber band which gives him months to deliver gifts, while only a few minutes pass for the rest of us.

  1. St Nicolas

Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra(now Demre) in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Empire, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.[7] He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.

During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24th and 25 December. So Saint Nicholas changed to Santa Claus. Martin Luther first suggested the Christkind as the bringer of gifts in the 1500s. But Nicholas remained popular as gifts bearer for the people.[12][13][14]

  1. Christian Christmas

The Christmas story is told primarily in the Gospels of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew in the New Testament. The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The real date of Jesus' birth is not known. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard.

 

December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date. One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer. For a long time the celebration of Jesus’ birth was observed in conjunction with his baptism, celebrated January 6.

  1. Coca Cola and Santa

Coca-Cola Helped Shape the Image of Santa. In 1931 the company began placing Coca-Cola ads in popular magazines. Archie Lee, the D'Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the campaign to show a wholesome Santa who was both realistic and symbolic. So Coca-Cola commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images using Santa Claus — showing Santa himself, not a man dressed as Santa.

For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" And even though it's often said that Santa wears a red coat because red is the color of Coca-Cola, Santa appeared in a red coat before Sundblom painted him. Sundblom’s Santa debuted in 1931 in Coke ads in The Saturday Evening Post and appeared regularly in that magazine, as well as in Ladies Home JournalNational GeographicThe New Yorker and others.

  1. Rudolph and the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Santa’s eight reindeer and sleigh date back to 1823; Rudolph, the ninth Reindeer  was only added in 1939. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, popularly known as "Santa's ninth reindeer", is a fabled reindeer created by Robert Lewis May. Rudolph is usually depicted as the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, though he is a young buck who has only adolescent antlers and a glowing red nose. Though he receives scrutiny for it, the luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through harsh winter weather. Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward, the department store.[1][2][3]

The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, LP and has been adapted in numerous forms including a 1949 popular songthe iconic 1964 television special and sequels, and a feature film and sequel.[4]  In many countries, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore. 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of the character[5]and the 50th anniversary of the television special.[6] A series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph was issued by the United States Postal Service on November 6, 2014.[7]

  1. Christmas Songs

Music associated with Christmas is thought to have its origins in 4th century Rome, in Latin-language hymns. By the 13th century, under the influence of Francis of Assisi, the tradition of popular Christmas songs in regional native languages developed.[2] Christmas carols in the English language first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, an English chaplain, who lists twenty five "caroles of Cristemas", who would travel from house to house.[3] In the 16th century, various Christmas carols still sung to this day, including "The 12 Days of Christmas", "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", and "O Christmas Tree", first emerged.[4]

The Victorian Era saw a surge of Christmas carols, including "Silent Night", "O Little Town of Bethlehem", and "O Holy Night". Many older Christmas hymns were also translated or had lyrics added to them, particularly in 1871 when John Stainer published a collection entitled "Christmas Carols New & Old".[5] Few notable carols were produced from the beginning of the 20th century until the Great Depression era of the 1930s, when a stream of songs of often American origin were published, these included songs aimed at children such as "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" “Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. “Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space.

  1. Christmas Gifts

One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh.Christmas itself is really about a big present that God gave the world about 2000 years ago - Jesus! Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship, Gold was associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings. Myrrh was a perfume that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and, as a gift.

All over the world, families and friends give presents to each other. Most children around the world believe in a Christmas gift bringer. It's often St. Nicholas, Santa Claus or Father Christmas, but in parts of Germany they believe that it is the Christkind, in Spain they believe it is the Wise Men and in parts of Italy they believe it is an old lady called Befana. The custom of hanging stockings comes from the story of St. Nicohlas.

  1. Christmas Cards

John Callcott Horsley was an English painter and illustrator who designed the first ever Christmas card in 1843, which was commissioned by Henry Cole in London. Cole is credited with devising the concept of sending greeting cards at Christmas time. He was a very busy man who didn’t have time to write to all his family and friends at Christmas time, so he turned to his friend Horsley to illustrate his idea.

The central picture of the card showed three generations of a family raising toast to the card’s recipient. That year, over a thousand cards were printed and sold for a shilling each. It was the most popular card of the Victorian Era.

 

  1. Economic Impact:

Christmas is a civil holiday and is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians, and is an integral part of the holiday season. According to a Statista survey carried out in 2016, the vast majority of respondents stated their intention to celebrate the holiday, with only 5 percent declaring that they would not be joining in with the festivities. Christmas is typically the largest economic stimulus for many nations around the world as sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas. The United States' retail industry generated over three trillion U.S. dollars during the holidays in 2013. These holiday sales reflected about 19.2 percent of the retail industries total sales that year.

As a result, just over 768 thousand employees were hired throughout the United States to compensate for the holiday rush. The Christmas shopping season can start as early as September and some consumers begin even earlier. Expected holiday spending for November and December 2017 was $678.75 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, an increase of 3.6 to 4% over 2015. The United States Post Office anticipated delivering 850 million packages in the 2017 holiday season. That is over 10% more packages than the previous year.

 

Notes: Christmas Facts and History

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus#Origins

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christmas

https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/presents.shtml

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/548548/Top-10-facts-about-Christmas

 

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