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8             31 Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘X’mas

          31 Facts You Didn't Know

                     About ‘X’mas

                   By ‘X’ Chronicles Staff

          Tis the season to be...well informed. We all love
          Christmas, but how much do any of us actually
          know about why Christmas is the way it is?
          Here are 31 facts about Christmas trees, Santa
          Claus, and Rudolph that you (probably) didn’t
          know. Smarten up!

                 1. Christmas supposedly marks the birth
          of Jesus Christ on December 25. But there is no
          mention of December 25 in the Bible and most
          historians actually believe he was born in the
                 2. December 25 was probably chosen
          because it coincided with the ancient pagan
          festival Saturnalia, which celebrated the
          agricultural god Saturn with partying,          Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the man’s          22. The first batch of eggnog in America
          gambling, and gift-giving.                      chimney so that his oldest daughter would be   was crafted at Captain John Smith’s Jameston
                 3. Many of the popular Christmas         able to get married, and the bag fell into a   settlement in 1607, and the name eggnog comes
          traditions today found their roots in Saturnalia:  stocking that was drying by the fire.       from the word “grog,” which refers to any drink
          Branches from evergreen trees were used during         12. One of the reasons we leave milk    made with rum.
          winter solstice as a reminder of the green plants  and cookies for Santa is because Dutch kids         23. “Silent Night” is the most recorded
          that would grow in spring when the sun gods     would leave food and drink for St. Nicholas on  Christmas song in history, with over 733
          grew strong.                                    his feast day.                                 different versions copyrighted since 1978.
                 4. These evergreen branches became the          13.  And we leave carrots for Santa             24. Legend has it that “Silent Night”
          foundation of our Christmas tree. Germans are   Claus’ reindeer because, in Norse mythology,   was written by a Father Joseph Mohr in Austria,
          thought to be the first to bring “Christmas trees”  people left hay and treats for Odin’s eight-  who was determined to have music at his
          into their homes at the holidays and decorate   legged horse Sleipnir “in hopes the god would  Christmas service after his organ broke. In
          them with cookies and lights.                   stop by their home during his  Yule hunting    reality, a priest wrote it while stationed at a
                 5. The Christmas tree made its way to    adventures.” Dutch children adopted this       pilgrim church in Austria.
          America in the 1830s but wasn’t popular until   tradition too, and would treats for St. Nick’s         25. Meanwhile, “White Christmas” is
          1846, after Germany’s Prince Albert brought it  horse.                                         the best-selling song of all time.
          to England when he married Queen  Victoria.             14. The look of Santa Claus we have            26. “Santa Claus Is Coming to  Town”
          The two were sketched in front of a Christmas   today was created at an 1804 meeting of the    actually has a truly depressing back-story:
          tree and the tradition instantly became popular.  New  York Historical Society, where member   songwriter James "Haven" Gillespie was broke,
          Royal fever was real even back then.            John Pintard handed out wooden cutouts of jolly  jobless, and his brother had just died when he
                 6.  The well-known reason we give        old St. Nick in front of stockings filled with  was asked to write a Christmas song. He was
          presents at Christmas is to symbolize the gifts  toys.                                         originally too overcome with grief, but
          given to baby Jesus by the three wise men. But         15. Though Santa Claus has worn blue    eventually found inspiration in his brother’s
          it may also stem from the Saturnalia tradition  and white and green in the past, his traditional  death and the Christmas memories they had
          that required revelers to offer up rituals to the  red suit came from a 1930s ad by Coca Cola.  together.
          gods.                                                  16. And the image of him Santa Claus            27.  The original lyrics to “Hark!  The
                 7. Because of its roots in pagan festivals,  flying in a sleigh started in 1819...and was  Herald  Angel Sings” were “Hark! How the
          Christmas was not immediately accepted by the   dreamt up by the same author who created the   Welkin rings!” Welkin is an old, English term
          religious. In fact, from 1659 to 1681, it was   Headless Horseman, Washington Irving.          for Heaven. A preacher later tweaked the lyric.
          illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston.  You         17. Rudolph was actually conceived by           28. “Jingle Bells” was originally
          were fined if you were caught celebrating.      a department store, Montgomery  Ward, as a     supposed to be a Thanksgiving song.
                 8. Santa Claus comes from St. Nicholas,  marketing gimmick to get kids to buy holiday           29. Boston church leaders tried to have
          a Christian bishop living in (what is now)      coloring books.                                the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
          Turkey in the fourth century AD. St. Nicholas          18. Rudolph almost didn’t have a red    banned in the 1950s because they thought it
          had inherited a great deal of wealth and was    nose either: At the time, a red nose was a sign of  “promoted physical intimacy.” Singer Jimmy
          known for giving it away to help the needy.     chronic alcoholism and Montgomery  Ward        Boyd had to fly to Boston and explain to them
          When sainted, he became the protector of        thought he would look like a drunkard.         why it wasn’t obscene.
          children.                                              19. Rudolph was almost named Rollo or           30. Mariah Carey’s “All I  Want for
                 9.  After his death, the legend of St.   Reginald. Reginald the Red-Nosed Reindeer      Christmas Is You” is considered to be the most
          Nicholas spread. St. Nick’s name became Sint-   doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.        popular Christmas song now. In the music
          Nicolaas in Dutch, or Sinter Klaas for short.          20. The poem that introduced us to the  video, Santa is played by Mariah’s then-
          Which is only a hop, skip, and jump to Santa    other eight reindeer, “A  Visit From St.       husband, Tommy Mottola.
          Claus.                                          Nicholas,” actually named dropped Dasher,              31. And the highest-grossing Christmas
                 10. Santa Claus delivering presents      Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner    movie of all time is How the Grinch Stole
          comes from Holland’s celebration of St.         and Blixem. (Which, like Donner and Blitzen,   Christmas. The Jim Carrey version. Who knew?
          Nicholas’ feast day on December 6. Children     come from the German words for thunder and
          would leave shoes out the night before and, in  lightning.)                                           For The VERY BEST of Radio
          the morning, would find little gifts that St.          21. Over the years, other reindeer have              Programming in the
          Nicholas would leave them.                      been name checked on Santa’s sleigh team, such         World of the Paranormal and
                 11. And stockings come from this story:  as: Flossie, Glossie, Racer, Pacer, Scratcher,        The Science of Parapsychology
          A poor man with three daughters couldn’t afford  Feckless, Ready, Steady, and Fireball (no                    24 / 7 / 365 Visit
          the dowry to have them married. One night, St.  relation to the whiskey).                            
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