There are four days left until Christmas, a festivity that has become synonymous with candy canes, sparkly lights, carols, and the exchange of gifts and best wishes.
While most of us are preoccupied with decorating our homes and surfing through ecommerce sites like the MarketHub for last minute shopping, we thought it worth sharing some amazing facts about the wonderful celebration called Christmas.
- The abbreviation Xmas isn’t irreligious. We frequently abbreviate Christmas as X-mas because of ancient tradition. X is the Greek letter “chi” which is an abbreviation for the word “Christ” in Greek.
- It is estimated that Bing Crosby’s version of the song “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the bestselling single in history with over 100 million copies sold.
- Nearly all of the most popular Christmas songs including ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Chestnuts Roasting…’, and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ were written by Jewish people.
- During the Christmas of 1914 (World War 1), a truce was held between Germany and the UK. They decorated their shelters, exchanged gifts across no man’s land and played a game of football between themselves.
- All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.
- The traditional three colours of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
- Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. He is the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.
- Christmas stockings allegedly evolved from three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage dowry and were therefore, doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved, however, when the wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.
- The first person to decorate a Christmas tree was reportedly the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). According to legend, he was so moved by the beauty of the stars shining between the branches of a fir tree, he brought home an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles to share the image with his children.
- The word Christmas comes from the Old English “Cristes maesse” meaning “Christ’s Mass”.