Thursday, August 12, 2010


     I know that Halloween is closer than Christmas is but I think it's time for a little change up (It's my favorite, right next to Halloween).  Let us not forget about Thanksgiving, the holiday that gets hardly any praise at all by most people.  Here's a list of some Christmas trivia and folklore for all of us to enjoy!
   Let's take a look back at the origins of Christmas and some of the lesser known facts involving one of my favorite holiday's.
  • While the Pilgrims may have been responsible for beginning the tradition of Thanksgiving, they did not celebrate Christmas--it was against their Puritan belief and in fact, it was illegal.
  • It was once believed that whoever (husband or wife) first brings holly into the house will rule the home all year. (wishful thinking on the mans part these days.)
  • Young men of the 1700's believe that if they saw a redheaded girl at Christmastime, he would be pursued by flame-haired vixens throughout the coming year. (MORE wishful thinking on the mans part again!!)
  • A meowing cat on Christmas Day used to portend bad luck.  Consequently, their owners would leave a full saucer of milk out that night to pacify the feline. (or throw a size ten shoe at it!)
  • Women stayed indoors on Christmas Day because they believed their neighbors would experience bad luck if the first person they saw was a woman. Or else their first visitor afterward would be a harlot.
  • Abraham Lincoln one received the city of Savannah, Georgia as a Christmas gift from General Sherman.
  • Dolly Madison introduced eggnog at a Christmas party at the White House in 1811.(at least it wasn't fruit cake!!)
  • It was not until 1836 that Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas.  Oklahoma was the last, in 1890.
  • Neiman Marcus started their "Gift of the Year" promotion in 1960 featuring his and hers airplanes.  In 1967 the most coveted gift was his and hears camels flown from California to anywhere in the U.S.
  • On Christmas morning, 1876, millionaire publisher James Gordon Bennett gave his waiter at Delmonico's a tip of $6,000.(and a W-2 form to claim it on his taxes.)
  • The first Christmas stocking referenced in print was by Washington Irving in 1809.  When A New Year's Verse was published in 1821, it referenced the hanging of stocking the tradition began for children everywhere in earnest.
  • St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of pawnbrokers.
  • Our current vision of Santa Claus came from an illustration by Thomas Nast in 1863 made for Dr. Clement Moore's tale A Visit from St. Nicholas.
  • In medieval times, evergreen trees were hung with red apples on December 24th, celebrated as Adam and Eve Day, and may be the first instance of tree decorating for the holidays.
  • Icicles for the Christmas tree were first made and sold in Nuremberg, Germany in 1878; actually thin strips of silver foil that tarnished quickly were used.
  • New York was the first city to claim an electrically lighted Christmas tree, at the home of Edward Johnson, colleague to Thomas Edison at the Edison Electric Company.  The year was 1882.(until he got the first electrical bill and then he never lit them again!)
  • In medieval times it was customary to light a candle on Christmas Day that would be carefully tended and last until the Twelfth Night.
  • Mistletoe as a symbol of peace between enemies and love between friends, dates back to a Norse legend involving Freyja, goddess of love.
  • The poem Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was put in song form by Johnny Marks in 1946 and first recorded by Gene Autry.  It became the greatest hit Gene Autry ever made and Columbia Records' biggest seller ever, although Marks had to form his own recording company to get it on the air.