Some are particular to regions and cultures, others are family traditions carried out every year with every generation.
Here are a few tidbits about the holiday season you may not have known…
- Santa Claus was a real Saint. He lived in Myra in the 300s. Myra is in what’s now Turkey. The German name for Saint Nicholas is Sankt Niklaus
- The first artificial Christmas Tree wasn’t a tree at all. It was created out of goose feathers that were dyed.
- Christmas has many, many names. Do you know some of them—aside from, of course, Christmas? How about? Sheng Tan Kuai Loh (China), or Hauskaa Joulua (Finland), or Joyeux Noel (France)? In Wales, it’s Nadolig Llawen, and in Sweden, God Jul.
- The French gave the biggest Christmas present ever in 1886. It was the Statue of Liberty, and they gave it to the United States of America. (The French have one too, a smaller one, in Paris.)
- Riga, Latvia was home to the first decorated Christmas tree. The year was 1510. About 36 million Christmas trees are produced each year on Christmas tree farms.
- That “Xmas” stems from Greece. The Greek “X” is a symbol for Christ.
- The Christmas Stocking got its start when three unmarried girls did their laundry and hung their stockings on the chimney to dry. They couldn’t marry, they had no dowry. But St. Nicholas, who knew of their plight, put a sack of gold in each stocking and in the morning the girls awoke to discover they had dowry’s. They could marry.
- The Candy Cane is one of the most familiar symbols of Christmas. It dates back to 1670 in Europe but didn’t appear in the U.S. until the 1800s. The treat we see today, where the shape is Jesus’s hook to shepherd his lambs and the color and stripes hold significance for purity and Christ’s sacrifice, became common in the mid 1900s.
- The most popular Christmas Song ever is We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The song can be traced back to England, but its author and composer remains unknown.