While there are many people who talk about the lack of Christmas spirit during the festive season, here at Wicken Toys we believe that it is still very prevalent. In fact, the spirit of Christmas is alive in children everywhere.
If you take yourself back to when you were young, do you remember the excitement of Christmas? With the thought of Santa Claus coming down the chimney it was virtually impossible to get to sleep at night until you were so tired you just couldn’t stay awake anymore.
So in today’s blog we thought we would rekindle some of the memories of yesteryear with a few Christmas facts!
So let’s start with a common question!
Where does Santa Claus come from?
Aside from the North Pole, Santa Claus began in the 4th Century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in what we know today as Turkey. He was supposedly a generous man who was devoted to children.
When he died in 340 A.D. he was buried in Myra but in 1087, Italian sailors stole his remains and took them to Italy, making the name of St. Nicholas popular throughout Europe.
As time went on, people claimed that he could perform miracles and more people became devoted to him in Russia, where he was known by his red cape and white beard.
And what about the humble Christmas tree?
In Germany during the 16th Century fir trees were displayed with decorations both indoors and outdoors. Decorations in those days included apples, roses, coloured paper and candy and it was during this time that the story of Adam and Eve was depicted in a popular religious play about the Garden of Eden.
The fir tree itself was used to symbolize the Garden of Eden and the Paradise Tree. The play always ended with the savior coming and was synonymous with the season.
However, we can look much further forward to Martin Luther possibly for the tress with lights. It is said that while he was returning home one night, he saw the beauty of stars shining through branches of a fir tree, which inspired him to place candles on the branches of his own fir tree!
Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?
The infamous mistletoe was utlised by Druid priests about 200 years before the birth of Christ in their celebration each winter. The plant was highly revered as it had no roots yet managed to stay green during the coldest months of the year.
However, it was the Scandinavians who associated the plant with Frigga, their Goddess of Love and from this, the famous custom of kissing under the mistletoe was born.
When was the first Christmas card sent?
The Christmas card has been a long-standing part of Christmas for many year after year.
The first form of a Christmas card started in England when two boys were practicing their writing skills in the form of Christmas greetings for their parents. However, it is Sir Henry Cole who is given the credit for creating the very first Christmas card. He was the director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and as he approached a very hectic Christmas season he took the decision to create unique Christmas greetings for his friends.
He got the artist John Calcott Horsley to create the illustration and the Christmas card as we know it was created!
And the message?
“A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You”.!
Whatever you feel about Christmas, what is evident is that Christmas spirit is still here in many forms and there are plenty of traditions that have stood the test of time.
Enjoy your Christmas whatever you’re doing this year and take a look around at the traditions you have created around your home. You may just be surprised!