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					Twelve Things You Never Knew About Christmas
1.Christmas trees were first lighted with actual candles, which presented a fire hazard. As a result containers
filled with water
had to be kept near the Christmas tree.
2.Workers in the construction industry are responsible for the tradition of having a Christmas tree on display
at Rockefeller
Center in New York City. They are credited with placing an undecorated tree at the site in the early 1930s.
3.Since the mid-1960s, The National Christmas Tree Association has maintained a presence in the White
House at Christmas
by donating a Christmas tree to the First Family.
4.The former Woolworth department store first sold manufactured Christmas tree ornaments in 1880.
5.Plastic became the primary material used to make tinsel after their use for decorative purposes was at one
time prohibited
because lead was used in the manufacturing process.
6.The idea of Christmas greeting cards started in Britain in the late 1830s when John Calcott Horsley started
to produce small
cards that had festive scenes and a holiday greeting written inside. Similar cards were also being made in the
United States
at about the same time by R.H. Pease, in Albany, New York, and Louis Prang, who was a German
immigrant. The idea of
sending the greeting cards during Christmas gained popularity in both countries about 10 years later when
new postal
delivery services started.
7.The shortened form Xmas for Christmas has been popular in Europe since the 1500s. It is believed to be
derived from the
Greek word 'Xristos' which means Christ.
8.According to the National Confectioners Association, for 200 years candy canes were only made in the
color of white and
it wasn't until in the 1950s that a machine was invented that could automate the production of candy canes.
9.The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day in England and it is a national holiday. Several stories exist
for the
origination of the name. It is believed to have originated from the practice of boys who would be about
collecting money in
clay boxes. Another thought is that the term is derived from a custom in the Middle Ages, about 800 years
ago, when
churches would open their 'alms boxes' and distribute the contents to poor people on the day after Christmas.
Alms boxes
are boxes in which donations of gifts and money would be placed. Yet another belief is that it comes from a
custom of
masters giving their servants Christmas presents in boxes on the day after Christmas.
10.Evergreen trees had special meaning in winter to people, particularly in Europe, before Christianity
started. Ancient
peoples would hang evergreen branches over their doors and windows because evergreens were believed to
ward off
witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness. For worshipers of the sun god, evergreen plants were a reminder of
all the green
plants that would grow with the return of summer and the sun god being strong again.
11.In ancient times, many people worshiped the sun as a god in December because they thought winter
occurred yearly
because the sun god had fallen into ill health. They therefore celebrated the winter solstice because it was a
sign that the
son god would begin to regain strength and return to good health.
12.Legislators in Congress did business on Christmas Day in 1789, which was the first one to be observed
under the country's
new constitution. The reason for the Congressional session was because it had become unpopular then to
observe and take
part in English customs following the American Revolution. And when Christmas celebrations were barred
in Boston
earlier in 1659 to 1681, it became a costly thing to be seen participating in any event or activity related to
Christmas.
Anyone caught doing so had to pay five shillings.



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