Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 10 Answering Your Christmas Questions

1. Why are the stockings hung by the parents and not the children with care?  wiki says.....
A popular legend tells the story in this way.Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after his death. Saint Nicholas was passing through when he heard the villagers talking about the girls (town gossip). St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn't accept charity. He decided to help in secret. He waited until it was night and crept through the chimney. He had three bags of gold coins with him, one for each girl. As he was looking for a place to keep those three bags, he noticed stockings that were hung over the mantelpiece for drying. He put one bag of gold in each stocking and off he went.

2. How did holly get into the holiday? The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be "decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green".[45] The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.

3. What are the popular colors used at Christmas? The traditional colors of Christmas are green and red.[50] White, silver and gold are also popular. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter.

4. Why do people put candles in the window? Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world.

5. If you get stuck under the mistletoe with someone you do not care for, are you obligated to kiss em?
According to ancient Christmas custom, a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe were obliged to kiss. The custom may be of Scandinavian origin.[16] It is only a kiss you don't have to marry them.

6. Did the post office originate the sending of Christmas cards to drum up business and save the economy or did Hallmark start that? Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843.[67] The custom of sending them has become popular among a wide cross-section of people with the emergence of the modern trend towards exchanging E-cards. There goes more jobs.

7. Who is the true Santa Claus? A number of figures of both Christian and mythical origin have been associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus, Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.
The most famous and pervasive of these figures in modern celebration worldwide is Santa Claus, a mythical gift bringer, dressed in red, whose origins have diverse sources. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in modern day Turkey, during the 4th century. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast on December 6 came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.[69]

8. Why do we chop down a live tree and bring it inside for a week or so and then just toss it in the trash? The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship;[52] according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634-709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.[53

9. What are some of the other popular decorations? Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus. Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage. The display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season. The outside of houses may be decorated with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures.  Driving around seeing the houses decorated I am starting to see that the snowman trumps Santa Claus as the most popular, penguins have a big presence and various characters including Santa Claus can be seen in a hot air balloon and carousels.  I am not sure what that significance is.

10. Here is an interesting theory about gift giving but who wants to hear this? One economist's analysis calculates that, despite increased overall spending, Christmas is a dead weight loss under orthodox micro economic theory, because of the effect of gift-giving. This loss is calculated as the difference between what the gift giver spent on the item and what the gift receiver would have paid for the item. It is estimated that in 2001, Christmas resulted in a $4 billion dead weight loss in the U.S. alone.[141][142] Because of complicating factors, this analysis is sometimes used to discuss possible flaws in current micro economic theory. Other dead weight losses include the effects of Christmas on the environment and the fact that material gifts are often perceived as white elephants, imposing cost for upkeep and storage and contributing to clutter.[143]

Most of the above information can be found at wikipedia "Christmas" search.

Without a doubt the true meaning of Christmas has been translated, manipulated and created to fit ones own belief and lifestyle.  Originally Christmas (Christ's Mass) was established to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God, which the date is often disputed.  There absolutely is something very special about that day.  For me it is just after midnight.  If I am awake, I try to go outside and just look up and look around at the quiet and the peacefulness.  It is there, I call it believing. Everyone has to believe in something.

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