Every year around the beginning of December or even now some have started to put up bright colorful lights before December, we all started to get so happy when we feel Jack Frost nipping at our noises, and the smells of apple pies and cookies baking in the oven, everyone has their favorite moments and memory of this special holiday. But have you ever wondered, why Christians celebrate Christmas? The Christmas tree? How many Christmas trees are made? The food we eat on Christmas? The tallest tree every cut for Christmas? Santa Claus? The music and songs we sing? For the next few minutes I will take you on a trip to a far away land in the search of Christmas. So sit tight and enjoy these magical Christmas facts for kids.
Christmas Facts For Kids
Why Christians Celebrate Christmas?
On our first stop, let see what we as Christians celebrate Christmas. For many western churches they commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. The western churches believe that December 25 was the day of Jesus was born, in the christen faith many give thanks on this day to welcome their new messiah into the world. To some disbelief not all christens Mark December 25 as Jesus birthday, others view January 6 to be the day our lord come into the world, but most of the western standers note December 25 to be his day of birth this is why we have Christmas on the 25 and not on the January 6.
The exchanging of gifts over the years have been by sending them in mail or ordering them online or even being handed one from a Friend or family member. We don’t know when this tradition started, but the words form Jesus himself said “there is joy in giving then in receiving” we all enjoy giving gifts and we do love receiving a treat form someone we love as well. Most of all the Christmas session is spent with family and close friends. Many people of faith find his time of year to bond with long loss friends and faraway family who can only come once a year due to their jobs. Within many family’s coming home to visit can be a saying goodbye to the older ones knowing making memories now will last a lifetime in years to come.
Now let’s take a trip to see where our wonderful Christmas trees come from to even what kind is used. Long before the advent of Christianity plants and trees that remained green all year held real meaning for many people in the winter months. Before their where over pieced trees and mad rushes on tree lots getting the best deals, and you have the choice of pine, spruce or fir trees on Christmas Eve, the ancient people of our time would hang evergreens branches over their doors and windows, it was to believed that the evergreen would keep away evil spirits and Illness.
So when did our wonderful tree come to life? It wasn’t until Germany that took the credited for starting the fad of the Christmas tree that we all know today to be, the first trees were evergreens. It was said that one cold night in winter Martin Luther a 16th century Protestant reformer, was the first to add light to his tree. How did this wonderful thought come about? On his way Home he was looking into the sky at the brilliance of the starts twinkling among the tall graceful evergreens. As soon as Luther got home the tall tree in his front hall, he started to wire all the branches with candles, for year onwards real candles were used to light the trees. The candle was the only decoration added to the tree, it wasn’t until 1890 Germany started to make small armaments that were hand-made, many form wood and painted with bright colors to give a festival flare. Over the years the lights and ornaments have gotten more and more grand, from decking the halls to trying to outdo your next door neighbor with the biggest light show, when I was young I would drive around town looking at all the house and going WOW look at one, I know putting up all the decoration was fun, but come the first of the year, we all hated to climb up on the latter and bring it all down,
So that way many people still have all their lights and Santa Clause hanging out on the roof wishing us a Marry Christmas all year long. Did you ever wonder how many trees are sold for the holidays? A grand number of 37 million fresh cut trees are sold by the truck load each year around the world. Some cool fact to think about is on average each American will spend $800 dollars each year on all their gifts. Reading about Christmas I have found that only one start in 1836 recognized Christmas to be a holiday was Alabama cool right? Then years latter many of their states began to view Christmas too as a holiday.
Among the holidays we gather together with family and friends and eat or full of good food. Some of the food that is made for the holidays start with the main dish of the night for most of the family’s will have roast turkey, or baked ham. The turkey can have stuffing inside or on the side as a dressing, many have even deep fired their turkeys some with the stuffing in side too, same with the hams, they are smoked for hours and evened glazed with a sweet coating of brown sugars. Honey baked ham will make over 2 million hams each year, you can preorder them weeks for hand so you’re sure you will get the size you need for your family.
Ok so we have the turkey and we have the ham, now what better way to enjoy your dinner is to pile high up on our all-time favorite sides. One of my favorite is mashed potatoes and gravy, some have a white pepper gravy or the classic brown gravy, I’m a fan of both but on the holidays we use the brown gravy it’s better for the turkey. Then comes the mashed sweet potatoes, if you don’t like them plane, in the south they make them with candy nuts and marshmallows on top, it’s baked and then it’s a sweet and you will be asking for more. Then yes I know kids we all have to eat them that is our vegetable, green beans and mix of other ones too. We do love the hot rolls and lot of butter each year thousands are made in bakery’s over the holidays to keep in demand for the rush.
We also add in the cold sides to our meal, mix green platers with lettuce cups covered in dressing, this helps keeps the meal light, and we also have the wonderful sweet jelled or whole of cranberry sauce. Some have spread the sauce over homemade biscuits. After we fill ourselves with dinner we do our best to save room for dessert, we are looking at pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, cookies form every bakery in your town, rum balls, peppermint bark and if we haven’t had are fill yet have some fruit cake and cream filled chocolates to even on the ride home a candy can.
As we move from our food coma into light of the tree, have you ever wonder what the tales tree use for Christmas was? Each year in Rockefeller center host a tree lighting event in 1948 the largest tree they had were over 100 feet. It was haled from killing worth, a Norway spruce. But that was not the tales one to date. In 1979 in Palm beach FL a man named Pop had a holidays tree that reached over 120 feet fully decorated, his tree went into the recorder books that year. Ever since none have ever come close in beating his recorder.
It’s time to gather our voices now the tree is lit and we are stuffed to the gills. But before we go to the songs let’s hear a story of St. Nicholas, Nicholas was born in 280 AD, in Patara, a city of Lycia, in Asia Minor. He became the gift giver of Myra. His gifts were given late at night, so that the gift giver’s identity would remain a secret. St Nicholas was eventually named the patron saint of children, sailors, Russia and Greece.
St. Nicholas was a Christian priest, who later became a bishop. He was a rich person, and traveled the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents. St. Nicholas did not like to be seen when he gave away presents, so the children of the day were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come! Nothing has changed and Santa Claus will not arrive this Christmas unless the children go to sleep early.
A famous story about St. Nicholas, is about a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. St Nick dropped bags of gold into the stockings which the girls had left to dry by the fire. The sisters found the gold and ever since, children have hung up stockings on Christmas Eve hoping that they will be filled with presents by Christmas morning.
Despite being quite young Nicholas had earned a reputation for kindliness and wisdom. In the year 303, the Roman emperor Diocletian commanded all the citizens of the Roman Empire, which included Asia Minor, to worship him as a god.
Now we all loved to sing songs during the holidays, here are some facts about our songs, Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles The word carol originally meant to dance to something. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, usually taking place around the 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.
Early Christians took over the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of pagan ones. In AD 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called “Angel’s Hymn” should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Another famous early Christmas Hymn was written in 760AD, by Comas of Jerusalem, for the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after this many composers all over Europe started to write ‘Christmas carols’. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn’t understand. By the time of the Middles Ages (the 1200s), most people had lost interest in celebrating Christmas altogether. So the carols were remade into the light hared songs we all know by heart and enjoy singing each year.
Each year we send out cards to our family and friends, we get them form our doctored inviting us to their holiday party. The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was a civil servant Government worker who was very interested in the new ‘Public Post Office’ and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people. Sir Henry had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsey, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for shilling each. That is only 5p or 8 cents today! But in those days it was worth much much more. The card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the center panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner! Some people didn’t like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine! So we are very happy with are singing cards and even funny family photo cards, were you dress the family up as anything form reindeers or little elf’s. So enjoy the holidays kiddos and I hope you enjoy are travels tonight. Before I leave you hear are some fun facts about Christmas and one some cool facts about Ireland too.
Questions & Answers about Christmas
Q: How many candy canes are made each year?
A: More than 1.76 billion candy canes are made annually for the Christmas season.
Q: Why do Barnum’s animal crackers have a string handle?
A: Barnum’s animal crackers in the circus-themed box were designed with a string handle so they could hang on a Christmas tree.
Q: What are sugarplums?
A: Sugarplums are actually chocolate candies with cream, fruit preserves, or other sweet fillings inside.
Q: What is wassail?
A: Wassail is a beverage dating back to the Middle Ages. The word is derived from the Old Norse ves heill, meaning “in good health.” This evolved into visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.Traditional wassail contained ale, wine, or hard cider topped with beaten eggs or stale bread. Modern recipes for wassail use hot apple cider simmered with spices and sweetened with honey.
Q: Why are candy canes bent?
A: In 1670, a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, bent the ends to resemble a shepherd’s staff and handed them out to children during church services to keep them quiet. In the early 1900s, candy canes acquired their famous stripes. The first candy canes were straight, white sticks of sugar candy used as Christmas tree decorations.
Q: Why do people eat mincemeat pie on Christmas?
A: Eating mincemeat pie on Christmas dates back to the 16th century. Traditionally, it was thought that eating a small pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas would bring good luck in the New Year.
Christmas in Ireland
In Ireland, people celebrate Christmas in much the same way as people in the UK and the USA, but they also have many of their own Christmas traditions and customs.
Christmas for Irish people, who are Catholics, lasts from Christmas Eve to the feast of Epiphany on January 6th, which some Irish people call ‘Little Christmas’.
In some Irish houses although now not many, people put a tall, thick candle on the sill of the largest window after sunset on Christmas Eve. The candle is left to burn all night and represents a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph.
In Irish (or Gaelic) Christmas is ‘Nollaig’, Santa Claus is known as ‘San Nioclás’ Saint Nicholas or ‘Daidí na Nollag’ Father Christmas and Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Nollaig Shona Dhuit’. Happy/Merry Christmas in many languages.
The day after Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day Boxing Day, is also very important in Ireland. Like in the UK, Football matches and Horse racing meetings are traditionally held on St. Stephen’s Day.
One very old tradition is the Wren Boys Procession that takes place on St. Stephen’s Day.
This goes back to ancient times when a real wren was killed and carried around in a holly bush. Some processions still take place, but no wren is hunted or used.
Young men and women dress up in home made costumes and go from house to house carrying a long pole with a holly bush tied to its top and singing a rhyme about a wren bird. Sometimes they are accompanied of violins, accordions, harmonicas and horns.
The rhyme that is often used is:
‘The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
On St. Stephen’s day was caught in the furze.’
People also ask for money ‘for the starving wren’!
The wren is one of the smallest birds in the UK and Ireland, but has a very loud song and is sometimes called the ‘king of all birds’. This is because of the legend of a little wren who rode on the top of an eagle’s head and boasted he had ‘flown higher than an eagle’. Wren’s were hunted for many years throughout Europe in medieval times.
The Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) is also celebrated as ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and the men do the housework and cooking! The women meet in each other’s homes to sew and chat. It is becoming more popular and many Irish women now get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany, to have tea and cakes, to gossip and to enjoy each other’s company!
Traditional Christmas food in Ireland includes a round cake, full of caraway seeds. One is traditionally made for each person in the house. And an addition to turkey for Christmas dinner spiced beef spiced over several days, cooked, and then pressed is eaten. This can be served hot or cold.
Learn more about Ireland: Ireland Facts For Kids