Christmas Time Is Here Again (Fun Facts and Poetry)
Christmas celebrations have traditionally begun on the night before the holiday, due in part to the Christian liturgical day beginning at sunset. This was inherited from Jewish tradition and based on the Creation story in the 'Book of Genesis': "And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day." Many churches still ring their bells and hold prayers in the evening before the holidays. Since tradition holds that Jesus was born at night ( Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve to celebrate his birth. The idea of Jesus being born at night is reflected in the fact that Christmas Eve is referred to as Heilige Nacht (Holy Night) in German, Nochebuena (the Good Night) in Spanish as well as in other expressions of Christmas spirituality, such as the song 'Silent Night.'
Christmas Time is Here Again
Christmas comes around so soon,
Each year moves by so fast.
It seems the tinsel just came down
From the Christmas that just passed.
There's barely any time to shop
Before it's here again,
To buy presents for all the family
Whether there be two or ten.
Where will Christmas Day be held?
Which household wants it most?
Dinner was at yours last year,
It's our turn to play host.
Make sure the greeting cards are sent
To all those on the list,
And don't forget our Great Aunt Joan,
Last Christmas she was missed.
We need to find the perfect tree,
And mistletoe the halls,
Hang bells of holly from the eves,
And tinsel covered walls.
We've got the turkey and the ham,
The bonbons and the sweets,
The presents are beneath the tree,
Except for Santa's treats.
Suddenly it's Christmas Eve,
And everything's in place.
The Christmas lights are working fine
And can be seen from space.
Make sure the 'Santa sign' is out
So he knows where to come.
Leave out some fairy cakes for him,
And a little glass of rum.
Now let's attend the Midnight Mass
To celebrate and pray
The birth of saviour Jesus Christ,
The true reason for this day.
Interesting Xmas Trivia
- The first department store to feature a visit with Santa was the J. W. Parkinson’s store in Philadelphia in 1841. Astonishingly, no other department stores copied this event until 1890 when a store in Boston repeated it. (You would think a store that innovative would still be around today.)
- The holly in a wreath symbolises Christ's crown of thorns while the red berries are drops of his blood.
- In 1647, the English parliament passed a law made Christmas illegal. Oliver Cromwell considered feasting and revelry on what was supposed to be a holy day to be immoral, so Christmas festivities were banned. The ban wasn't lifted until Cromwell lost power in 1660.
- Despite the popular tale of three wise men paying homage to baby Jesus, the Bible never gives a number. Matthew's Gospel refers to merely "wise men".
- “Silent Night”-arguably the most recognizable Christmas hymn-was written in 1818, by an Austrian pastor, Joseph Mohr. That year, as Christmas Eve approached, the organ in his church was broken, so together with his friend, Franz Gruber, he wrote this new tune for the service that night, and played it on his guitar for his congregation.
- The Beatles are the only act to have four Christmas number ones, three consecutively starting from 1963. On two occasions, 1963 and 1967, they had both the Christmas number one and the number two, the only act to have achieved this
- Hanging stockings out on Christmas night comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas's donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.
- Christmas is celebrated on December 25th because in the fourth century, Pope Julius I announced that Christ’s official birthday would be on December 25th. Prior to his ruling there had been a great deal of confusion. No-one was certain about the year, let alone the month or the day. Many theologians estimate that Jesus was born sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD
- The abbreviation 'Xmas' isn't irreligious. The letter X is the Greek abbreviation for Christ.
- Where did the Candy Cane come from? In a small Indiana town, there was a candymaker who wanted to spread the name of Jesus around the world. He invented the Christmas Candy Cane, incorporating symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy to symbolize the Virgin Birth. The candymaker formed the stick into a “J” to represent the name of Jesus. It can also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd.” He thought the candy was too plain so he stained it with a red stripe to symbolize the blood shed by Christ on the cross.
- Before turkey became more popular, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig's head and mustard.
- 'Jingle Bells' was the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang it on December 16, 1965.
- In Italy, Greece, Spain and Germany, workers get a Christmas bonus of one month's salary by law.