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Ten things you need to know about Christmas!

Posted By Oliver Hardy on 22/11/2013

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Stockings
- Legend has it that stockings originate from St. Nicholas hearing the worries of an old man, too poor to pay for any of his beautiful three daughters' weddings. At night, he flung three bags of gold through the old man’s chimney, and these landed in each of the daughters' stockings that were set out to dry by the fire.

 

Crackers- Are found mainly within the Commonwealth-  You won't find these contaptions in the U.S!
They’re said to have been invented by Tom Smith in 1847, to revolutionise the confectionary market! When incorporating the “crack” inspired by a burning log, the scale increased and the sweet was dropped, being replaced by the current jokes, paper hats, puzzles and toys! 


Santa’s Home - Lapland is the reindeers’ natural habitat. Also, the secluded setting makes for a great working environment for the elves etc., they can meet their targets with minimal distractions! Why not visit Santa's home with a trip to Lapland?

Santa’s Elves- They’re from various different traditions in European cultures, and take different forms depending on the country. Iceland celebrates the Yule Lads for example, but elves more closely resemble the Tomte from Scandinavian folklore.

Mrs. Claus- First appears in 1849, in the Short story ‘A Christmas Legend’ by James Rees. Rather more entertaining though is her appearance in the poem ‘Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh Ride’ in 1889, where a reluctant Santa Claus finally lets Mrs. Claus on the sleigh, where she comes in handy for the her sewing abilities (would you believe?)!

Father Christmas or Santa Claus?! – Santa Claus is simply the American interpretation of the Dutch Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas), whereas Father Christmas is the personification of ‘Christmas’- with ‘Father’ being a title given to older men deemed worthy of respect.

Tinsel-
Is from the old French word ‘Estincele’, meaning sparkle, and was originally made from shredded silver!

Rudolph and the Clan-
First appeared in the poem “’Twas the night before Christmas” in 1823, and Rudolph joined the herd after a subsequent publication in 1939!

Candy Canes-
It is disputed whether the shape represents the staff of shepherds, or the letter ‘J’ for Jesus, but either way the colours of white and red are supposed to represent Christ’s blood and the purity of his sinless life.

Mistletoe KissesThere are numerous myths and legends about mistletoe, however this Norse myth is our favourite: Norse God ‘Balder’ was so loved by his Mum ‘Frigga’, that she wanted to protect him from all harm and secured promises from (nearly) everything formed of the elements. Evil spirit ‘Loki’ found the loophole-mistletoe, and fashioned an arrow from it which killed Balder-hitting him in the heart. In a cheerier version of the tale, Balder is brought back to life and Frigga changes the perception of mistletoe to a symbol of love, hence the kissing!

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