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Star lover
December 21st, 2017, 08:41 AM
Part 2 of Christmas celebrations and their origins.....

- Washington Irving created Santa's sweet ride.. He's best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow's headless horseman, but the author also came up with the idea of Santa's flying sleigh. In The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, an 1819 series of short stories, Irving recounted a dream where St. Nicholas flew across the sky in a wagon. According to legend, his stories were so popular that they sparked a Christmas fervor in the United States and even England, so much so that Charles Dickens reportedly was inspired by Irving when making his own holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.

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- The Grinch stole the box office. It's hard to decide which holiday classic to watch first or which one will be most popular with the whole family. But when it comes to the box office, the highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time is How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey.

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- Santa has his own zip code. Every year, letters to Santa Claus flood post offices across the world. Some Canadian Post Office workers even started answering them but as more letters arrived, they set up a special zip code for Santa as part of a "Santa Letter-Writing Program" literacy initiative. The zip code? H0H 0H0.

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- Favorite carols have complicated histories. The original lyrics to "Hark! The Herald Angel Sings" were "Hark! How the Welkin rings!" Pretty catchy, right? (Welkin was an old English term for heaven.) And though "Silent Night" was rumored to be a Christmas miracle by Father Joseph Mohr of Oberndorf, Austria, whose organ was broken, the truth was less dramatic: A Catholic priest wrote the poem "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" in Mariapfarr, Austria. Two years later, he transferred to Mohr's St. Nicholas Church and asked Franz Gruber to put it to music, which they performed on Christmas Eve 1818.
And the holiday classic "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" has a less jovial history. Songwriter James "Haven" Gillespie was asked to write a Christmas song. At the time, he was broke, jobless, and mourning his brother's recent death. Despite being overcome with grief, he found inspiration in the holiday memories he and his brother had shared.

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- Xmas doesn't remove Christ from Christmas. It's quite the opposite, in fact. According to From Adam's Apple to Xmas: An Essential Vocabulary Guide for the Politically Correct, the word "Christianity" was spelled "Xianity" as far back as 1100. X, or Chi, in Greek is the first letter of "Christ" and served as a symbolic stand-in. In 1551, the holiday was "Xtemmas" but eventually shortened to "Xmas."

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- Americans ship an unbelievable amount of gifts. Last year, on December 22, the U.S. Postal Service delivered a staggering 28.2 million packages breaking its own record for most parcels ever delivered in a single day in its 237-year history. That's just ONE day of the entire holiday season, too!

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- Mistletoe was believed to be an aphrodisiac. Stealing kisses used to be just the beginning. The holiday flora is an ancient symbol of fertility and virility and the Druids believed it was an actual aphrodisiac. (So thank them at the next awkward holiday function.) And the name even has a funny meaning: The mistle thrush bird eats the berries, digests seeds, and the droppings eventually grow into new plants. So, the Germanic word for mistletoe literally means "dung on a twig."

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- Ham, not turkey, is the festive favorite. The dinner debate rages on. Searches for "ham" and "turkey" both spike during the month of December, according to Google Trends data. (Though it's nowhere near how frequently "turkey" is hunted for online in November!) But despite the popularity of both festive entrees, spiral-cut ham remains the more popular choice for a Christmas table. In 2013, Americans bought 318 million pounds of ham during November and December, or 50% of their annual total consumption.

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- And the most popular Christmas song is...
.......Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," naturally. (Fun trivia, her then-husband Tommy Mottola plays Santa!) But the best-selling tune of all time is Irving Berlin's standard, "White Christmas."

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

I love you guys! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

grammaterry
December 21st, 2017, 10:35 AM
Its all so interesting. I think its amazing that Christmas as we know it has a relatively short history

KPH
December 21st, 2017, 10:43 AM
Merry Christmas, Anita! Pretty cool about Mistletoe, lol, seems everything is making my old lessons pop into mind today. Now botany charts are floating in my memory.

JCY
December 21st, 2017, 12:01 PM
Thanks for sharing all this Christmas trivia.