1. The song Jingle Bells was written for Thanksgiving.
The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. “Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space. That's a little weird, am I right?
2. Rudolph's red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. The story we're all familiar with is that Rudolph got chosen to guide Santa's sleigh on a foggy night because of his large glowing red nose. Did you ever ask yourself how it got large and red to begin with? Here's the answer (most probably). "According to Roger Highfield, the author of the book 'The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey' the world’s most famous reindeer has a red nose due to a parasite. However, Rudolf’s relationship with his parasite is symbiotic: after all, the red nose illuminates the path through the winter night for the whole reindeer team."
3. In the Netherlands, Sinterklass (the Dutch version of Santa Claus) arrives from Spain and not the North Pole. And that’s not the only weird thing about the Dutch Christmas. Sinterklaas has his little helpers, but they are not adorable hard-working elves: they are black-faced boys and girls who can steal your kids if they misbehave, and bring them to back Spain which is, according to the Dutch, a severe punishment. Wonder how the good people of Spain feel about this....
4. In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider's web on your Christmas tree is believed to bring you good luck. According to one legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus, according to the other – a spider web on the Christmas tree turned silver and gold once the sunlight touched it. One way or another, decorating a Christmas tree with artificial spiders and spider webs will inevitably bring you luck and prosperity! If we decorated our trees with spiders and webs here in Land of Lily Pad, there'd be no decorations left by Christmas. Yum!
5. Santa stretches time like a rubber band in order to deliver all the gifts in a single night. So how exactly does the jolly ol' elf accomplish this feat? According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2,106 million children under age 18 in the world. If we assume that each household has in average 2.5 children, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. Given the different time zones, Santa has 36 hours to deliver gifts, therefore his average speed would be approximately 650 miles per second. It is less than the speed of light (therefore, it’s, theoretically, doable but still quite hard for a chubby old man). Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, suggests that Santa uses relativity clouds to get the work done. Relativity clouds, based on relative physics, allow Santa to stretch time like a rubber band which gives him months to deliver gifts, while only a few minutes pass for the rest of us.
6. The X in Xmas doesn't take Christ out of Christmas. Xmas is a common abbreviation for Christmas. I've always wondered how they came up with using an X as shorthand for Christ. If you've wondered that, too, here's the answer. "Some people think that the Xmas spelling is not right, because it takes the “Christ” out of Christmas. Don’t worry, no one is taking the “Christ” anywhere. In the Greek alphabet, the letter X (“chi”) is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ or Christos.
7. The first artificial Christmas tree wasn't a tree at all. It was made out of goose feathers dyed green. The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany in the 19th century, due to major continuous deforestation. The feather trees became increasingly popular during the early 20th century and finally made their way to the US and elsewhere around the globe. Thanks, Germany!
8. Iceland has 13 Santas and an old lady who kidnaps children! Christmas in Iceland is a colorful fusion of religion, fairy tales, and folklore. Instead of one Santa, the kids are visited by 13 Yule Lads that either reward children for good behavior or punish them if they were naughty. The holiday period begins 13 days before Christmas and each day one of the 13 Yule Lads comes to houses and fills the shoes that kids leave under the Christmas tree either with sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on how that particular child has behaved on the preceding day. The mother of Yule Lads, half-troll, half-beast, horrifying old woman Grýla, kidnaps naughty kids and boils them in her cauldron. Now if that's not an incentive to behave, I don't know what is! Glad my little brother and I weren't born in Iceland...that's all I'm gonna say.
That does it for today's Xmas or Christmas blog. I hope you learned a few things that you can share with your family. And don't forget that tomorrow is Wednesday and that means a visit from my wise and dear friend, The Dharma Frog. He's promised a lesson befitting the holiday season. So come back! Until then,