1. Germans made the first artificial trees with dyed goose feathers in the 19th Century.
2. Americans send more than 3 billion Christmas cards each year. The first Christmas cards, made in London, England, were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in 1843.
Sir Henry Cole's design circa 1848 courtesy www.vam.ac.uk.
3. The twelve days of Christmas gifts add up to 364. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was first written as a chant in 1780. Frederic Austin added music to the words in 1909, including the prolonged verse, "five golden rings".
4. Most of the reindeer have male sounding names ex. Donner, Blitzen and yet males loose their reins by Christmas. A name like "Clarisse" from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is more appropriate.
5. "True love" from The Twelve Days of Christmas is the Catholic code for God. A partridge in a pear tree refers to Jesus Christ. And two turtledoves refers to the Old & New Testament.
6. The Christmas colours are green (life or rebirth), red (Christ's blood) and gold (light).
7. Some people used to believe that the spirits were active during the twelve days of Christmas. These spirits evolved into Santa's elves.
8. Mistletoe is from "misteltan" which means little dung twig. The plant spreads through bird droppings.
9. Legend has it that Christmas stockings evolved from three poor sisters who would not afford a wedding dowry. They hung their stockings on the fireplace and on Christmas Eve the wealthy bishop Saint Nicholas crept down the chimney and filled them with gold coins.
10. The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther was so moved by the stars shining between the evergreen trees in winter that he cut down one, brought it home and decorated with candles for his children at Christmas in the 16th Century.
F.A. Chapman's "The Christmas Tree" 1866 courtesy www.americanantiquarian.org.
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