• Seriously, it may just ruin your enjoyment of the them if you knew the grim origins. They involve animal genitalia and fire. Still wanna go there?
  • The tradition of christimas trees actually began long before christianity. The ancient peoples used it and other greenery to keep out evil spirits, ghosts, witches, and illnesses. This was done aspecially in winter when it was thought the spirits and all had more power. The Germans were the first to use an evergreen tree as a christmas decoration tradition. I will give you a couple of links to help you in understanding this better. has lots of info.
  • The Christmas Tree Tradition Prior to the advent of Christianity ancient peoples also decorated with evergreen foliage. Just as today, plants and trees that remained green during winter held special meaning for the ancients. The shortest day of the year is known as the winter solstice. Many ancient peoples believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs being reminiscent of the plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return. ~ In ancient Egypt, Ra the sun god was believed to have begun recovery from illness at the solstice. In celebration of this transition, Egyptians decorated their homes with green palm rushes, symbolizing the triumph of life over death. ~ Early Romans celebrated Saturn, their god of agriculture, during the solstice. The feast, known as Saturnalia, celebrated the approach of the agricultural season. The Romans decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs to mark the occasion. ~ In Northern Europe the priests of the ancient Celts, known as Druids, decorated their temples with evergreen boughs symbolizing everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder. The origin of the modern Christmas tree tradition was started in Germany by devout 16th century Christians, who brought decorated their homes with evergreen trees. History maintains that it was the 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther who first added lighted candles to a tree. It is said that Luther was captivated by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens while walking one winter evening. In an attempt to recreate the moment for his family, Luther erected a tree in his home and wired its branches with candles. Although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier, the first recorded instance of a Christmas tree being on display in America was in the 1830s by German settlers in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees since the mid 1700's, however Americans perceived Christmas trees as pagan symbols into the 1840s. Like the Christmas tree, many Christmas customs were adopted late in America. New England Puritans second governor, William Bradford, declared in writing that he tried to discourage pagan mockery of the Christmas observance by penalizing any frivolity. During sermons, Oliver Cromwell admonished heathen traditions such Christmas carols, decorated trees and joyful expressions. Cromwell maintained that such behavior desecrated the sacred event. In 1659, the Massachusetts courts enacted a law making any observance of December 25, other than a church service, a penal offense. The influx of German and Irish immigrants in the 19th century undermined this Puritan legacy, giving way to what are now Christmas traditions. Christmas Ornament Trivia The modern Christmas tree dates back to 16th century Germany when evergreen trees used in church plays at Christmas were adorned with apples symbolizing the Paradise tree. Paradise trees later found their way into homes, where they were decorated with small white wafers, and later, small pastries cut into various shapes. Over the next 200 years, this custom slowly spread throughout Germany, Europe and finally the Christmas tree was introduced to America the 1700s by Hessian mercenaries fighting in the Revolutionary War. Christmas however, was not widely celebrated in the United States until the 1800s resulting from Puritan objections. Decorated Christmas trees did not become widely popular until the influx of German and British immigrants in the 1840's. F.W. Woolworth reluctantly stocked his stores with German Christmas ornaments in 1880 and by 1890 Woolworth was selling $25 million in ornaments at five-and-dime prices. German hand-cast lead and hand-blown glass decorations were essentially the only commercially manufactured ornaments at that time, however ornaments became more elaborate and expensive as time passed. German Christmas ornament had virtually no commercial competition until 1925, when Japan and Czechoslovakia began commercially producing ornaments for export to the United States. More then 250 million Christmas tree ornaments were being imported to the United States by the year 1935. It was not until the outbreak of the Second World War that American companies began producing Christmas ornaments in any significant quantities. Brief History of Santa Claus Santa Claus evolved over the centuries from a combination of many different legends and mythical beings. Bishop Nicholas of Myra in Asia Minor (now Turkey) is the basis for the Christian Santa. Born an only child of a wealthy family, he was orphaned at an early age when both parents died of the plague. He grew up in a monastery and at the age of 17 became a priest. Nicholas, known for his kindness and generosity toward children, often tossed presents through the windows of the homes of disadvantaged children. Over the course of his life, Nicholas was credited with various miracles including the resurrection of several children and halting a fierce storm to save ships at sea. The Orthodox Church lifted Bishop Nicholas to the stature of patron saint of children and seafarers after his death. His renown grew in the 11th century when Italian soldiers delivered his remains to a cathedral in Bari that was erected in his honor. During the 12th century Europeans began honoring Nicholas by designating December 6th St. Nicholas Day, which was chosen as a day of charity. On this day children would hang stockings from the mantle or place their shoes on the hearth to find the garments filled with gifts and treats the fallowing morning. When the Reformation took place, the newly formed Protestants no longer wanted St. Nicholas as their gift-giver as he was too closely tied to the Catholic Church and many regions developed a unique version. In France he was known as Pierre Noel, in England Father Christmas, the Germans knew him as Weihnachtsmann (Christmas man) and to the Dutch he was Sinterklaas. Dutch settlers brought their tradition of St. Nicholas, known to them as Sinterklaas, to the new world during the 16th century and Nicholas was designated the patron Saint of New York. In Holland, Sinterklaas wore a red robe, rode a white horse while carrying a bag of gifts to fill the children's stockings. This Dutch version of Santa Claus traveled with an assistant called Black Peter who would leave switches and lumps of coal for children who had misbehaved during the year. During the 1800's Santa Clause as we know him today began to emerge, taking shape from the imaginations and artistic license of writers and illustrators. In 1822 when Dr. Clement Clark Moore published a poem called An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas, more widely recognized as The Night Before Christmas, St. Nicholas gained national fame. In 1837 Robert Weir who was an art teacher at West Point, painted the first American portrait of Santa Claus. He posed Santa Claus wearing a stocking hat and a short suit as he started to climb into a chimney with a sack overflowing with Christmas gifts as described in Moore's poem. Along with the stocking hat and short suit Weir added a long clay pipe and a red cape edged in fur to his Santa Claus character. Santa Claus's elves appeared as early as 1856 in an unpublished book titled Christmas Elves in which Santa Claus relied on diligent elves who tediously labored all year long to make Christmas toys for the children. Godey's Magazine also incorporated elves in their engravings surrounding Santa Claus while he was working in his workshop. In 1863 political cartoonist Thomas Nast used Moore's written account of the jolly old elf to create an illustration for Harper's Weekly. Illustrator Haddon Sundblom refined Nast's depiction in 1931 for Coca Cola advertisements, giving us an image of a man that is today known as Santa Claus. For twenty-three years, his annual drawings of Santa Claus in Harpers Weekly magazine allowed Americans to peek into the magical world of Santa Claus. Nast gave Santa a home at the North Pole. Children naturally wanted to know where Santa Claus came from. Those questions gave rise to the legend that Santa Claus lived at the North Pole, where his Christmas-gift workshop was also located. Markus Rautio announced on his popular children's show in 1927 that Santa Claus and his elf assistants lived in Lapland's korvatunturi where the landscape resembles an ear. This is where Santa Claus listens to find out if the children are being naughty or nice, which served as a warning to the worlds children that Santa was listening. The evolution of Santa Clause can be attributed to a blending of cultures, practices and beliefs from around the world. This journey beginning with Nicholas the Bishop of Myra, who showed his devotion to God with kindness and generosity, has developed into today's version of the gift-giver.
  • not sure but it wasnt from me
  • Certainly not the Bible.

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