Everyone who knows me is aware of my fondness for the holiday season. My love affair for all things celebratory starts off with the dark and mysterious Halloween season. After a brief respite filled with turkey and gravy (my brother’s a chef so it’s always a wonderful meal for Thanksgiving), the season moves to snowmen, elves and Santa Claus. So forgive me for pointing out a few holiday factoids as, for once, I will ignore the game of baseball in one of my posts.
The actual date that Jesus was born is not known. It certainly was not December 25th.
Christmas celebrations likely began in the late 3rd century.
German decedents apparently brought the Christmas tree to north America. At first they were just small trees that often rested on tables. Presently, about 88 percent of families in the U.S. put up a tree. That equates to roughly 25-30 million actual trees with 8-12 million more of the artificial variety.
We can thank the Irish for bringing Christmas lights. Originally trees were lit by burning candles.
Santa Claus has a much richer history than you might think. Was he a real person? Click on the History Channel link for a video discussing the evolution of the bearded one.
There are two cities in the U.S named Santa Claus. One is in Indiana, the other in Georgia.
From Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve the U.S. Postal service delivers roughly 15.8 billion items.
* Facts according to the History Channel.
Finally, here are some Christmas movie favorites for those of you wanting to sit in front of the fire with a cup of coco an a nice holiday tale.
A Christmas Story (1983): It’s become part of Christmas for so many as TBS plays it for 24-straight hours starting on Christmas Eve. If you haven’t seen it you now have your order for the holiday. No movie has ever captured what it was like to be a kid at Christmas better than this one.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1947): The quintessential Christmas movie about family and second chances. James Stewart was never better. If you watch nothing else, make sure you view this one an A Christmas Story in a wonderful double-feature.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Don’t watch the 1994 version, or for that matter the colored version of the classic. Watch the old black and white version from ’47. The story of a man trying to prove to everyone that he is indeed Santa Claus.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): A perfect mix for those, like myself, who love Halloween and Christmas. A wonderful film stylized by Tim Burton using stop motion figures. The head of Halloweentown is tired of always scaring people, so he kidnaps Santa and tries to take his place.
Elf (2003): If you don’t like this one you must be a Grinch. Perfect for the whole family. Will Ferrell has never been funnier. A charming comedy.
Christmas Story (2007): Not to be confused with the comedy above by nearly the same title. There is no CGI or elves or laughter in this one. This is a Finnish flick that tells the story of how a boy becomes Santa Claus. Consider this more of a biopic of how Nikolas becomes St. Nick.
Bad Santa (2003): Filthy, disgusting, lewd — perfect for those of you who like black humor or want a to have some side splitting laughs on the holiday. Rated R for language and Santa Sex so it’s not for kids, but it’s still the best “worst” Christmas movie ever made.
Happy Holidays to you all, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. I hope at this time of year you are surrounded by family and friends that love you. Cheers everyone.
By Ray Flowers