Christmas Facts I found these and wanted to share
The word Christmas is Old English, a contraction of Christ’s Mass.
The first president to decorate the white house Christmas tree in the United States was Franklin Pierce.
Germany made the first artificial Christmas trees. They were made of goose feathers and dyed green.
Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.
The first Christmas cards were vintage and invented in 1843, the Victorian Era. (You can read more about the history of Christmas Cards here.)
“It’s a Wonderful Life” appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.
Rudolph” was actually created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930’s for a holiday promotion. The rest is history.
The Nutcracker” is the most famous Christmas ballet.
Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would receive 364 gifts.
The poinsettia plant was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800’s.
Holly berries are poisonous.
Contrary to common belief, poinsettia plants are non-toxic.
Mistletoe was chosen as Oklahoma’s state flower in 1893 and later changed to the state floral emblem.
In 1843, “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens in just six weeks.
The first state to recognize the Christmas holiday officially was Alabama.
Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.
An angel told Mary she was going to have a baby.
Clearing up a common misconception, in Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word “X-Mas” comes from. Not because someone took the “Christ” out of Christmas.
Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany.
More diamonds are sold around Christmas than any other time of the year.
In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year.
-It is probably the Jewish holiday with which non-Jews are most familiar, due to its proximity to Christmas.
-Despite years of teachers including Hanukkah in their “Christmas Around the World” lessons, Hanukkah is not the “Jewish Christmas” – it historically predates Christmas and had a very different origin.
-The story of Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Torah. The events that led up to the holiday happened after the Torah period in 164 B.C.E.
– Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the month of Kislev. But because the Hebrew calendar is lunar rather than solar, it can fall anywhere from November to early January on the standard calendar.
– In 2008, Hanukkah will begin at sundown on December 21st. In 2009, it will start at sundown on December 11th. For non-Jews this is one of the most confusing Hanukkah facts, because they never know when the holiday will fall.
– For most of its history, Hanukkah has been a minor holiday, but in the late 1800’s it gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays in the calendar.
– Gift–giving is not traditionally associated with Hanukkah. At most a small amount of money or a sweet would be given to children. As Hanukkah became more popular in the U.S. and Canada, the idea of 8 nights of gifts grew in acceptance.
– The 9-branched candelabra that holds the Hanukkah candles is called a Hanukkiah. Many people, including some Jews, refer to it as a menorah. But a menorah actually has 7 branches and is associated with the Temple.
– There is a special “helper candle” called the Shamash that is used to light the rest of the candles each night. This candle is lit first.
– On the first night, the Shamash plus one other candle are lit. On the second night, the Shamash plus two candles are lit. And so on through the 8 nights.
– It takes 44 candles all together to observe all the nights of Chanukkah.
– Once they are lit, the candles may not be used for any other purpose, such as lighting other candles or reading. And they must burn for at least a half an hour.
– It is traditional to place the Hanukkiah in a window to share the miracle and the celebration with passers by.
– Fried foods are associated with the holiday, since it was oil that kept the sacred fire burning. Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot, sweet jelly- filled doughnuts are two popular choices.
– It’s traditional to play with dreidels on Hanukkah. These four sided tops feature the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hay, and shin. The letters stand for the Hebrew phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “A great miracle happened there.” Players “gamble” with small candies or nuts, each adding or taking away from pile according to the letter that shows after each dreidel spin.
– Some people claim that the dreidel game originated when Jewish children were not allowed to study Torah. If an official came along, they would quickly pull out these toys and appear to just be playing a game