Christmas is finally here and it’s a day to celebrate love, joy, and hope. Carry the light of this merriest of days into the new year, and as you gather with loved ones, give thanks for your many blessings.
Before you sit down to feast, impress your guests with these festive facts:
1. Very merry, indeed
While there’s no exact understanding for using “merry” versus “happy,” it’s thought to be based on two elements: connotation and era. Happy is emotional, originally meaning fortune, while merry denotes behavior, an act of merriment and initially meant pleasant. Merry was also much more commonly used in ancient times, before happy even existed.
2. A “right jolly old elf”
The legend of Santa Claus dates back to the third century. Originating from St. Nicholas who traveled the Turkish countryside helping those in need, he eventually evolved into the cultural icon we know today. From the literary classics to shopping mall fame, “good ol’ Santa Claus” has brought cheer across the globe for centuries. In fact, the first real “Santa Claus” was created from a newspaper ad for toys and books in the mid 19th century.
3. A mistletoe for two
Mistletoes, which are known today for a symbol of a kiss typically hanging in a doorway, were actually symbols of fertility. (Makes sense!)
4. “Rudolph, with your nose so bright…”
The “most famous reindeer of all” came to life in 1939 by a department store copywriter. Looking to switch up advertising efforts for the holiday season, Robert May imagined a tale of a misfit reindeer who would save Christmas. The paperback poem flew off the shelves and into the hearts of millions for years to come.
5. Dear… Indiana?
All letters addressed to Santa in the United States go to Santa Claus, Indiana. At least there’s no postage return charge!
6. T’was the nightmare before Christmas…
Old Christmas traditions included telling scary stories on Christmas Eve! This tradition has since died out in the 20th century, but it sure does sound like The Nightmare Before Christmas was inspired by actual events.
7. You’ve probably heard this song
It has been estimated that the 1942 classic holiday song “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best selling single in Christmas-music-history with over 100 million copies sold!
8. Xmas or Christmas?
We commonly abbreviate Christmas to “x-mas”, but have you ever wondered why? Well, the Greek letter “x” is actually pronounced as “chi-” which is also an abbreviation for the word “Christ” in Greek!
9. Kentucky For Christmas
In 1974, KFC aired a commercial about their fried chicken for Christmas dinner in Japan. This resulted in so much popularity, that the Japanese still practice this tradition of KFC for Christmas today! The successful campaign launched 40 years ago and was called “Kentucky For Christmas”.
10. A scene fit for a king
One of the more popular Christmas customs is the nativity. The first came from St. Francis of Assisi in 1223, but historians claim the famed scene we know today is actually somewhat misleading. For instance, the bible never mentions the presence of animals, yet we adorn our mangers with oxen and donkeys. Nonetheless, this tradition has endured and is beloved by many.