Merry Christmas Everyone!
3 Things You May Not Know About Christmas!
Christmas has many traditions that are so entrenched you probably don't give them much thought. But when you consider why things are done the way they are, you'll find that just about every element of Christmas has an interesting, evolving story behind it.
1. What's the deal with hanging stockings?
This practice is rooted more in myth than fact, according to Time. As the story goes, St. Nicholas found a family in need, where a poor widower was trying to raise three daughters.
The man couldn't provide a dowry, which was money, goods or real estate handed over to a husband from a bride-to-be’s family, for his daughters to get married, so St. Nicholas dropped gold coins down the chimney. They landed in the girls' stockings, which were hung by the fireplace to dry.
Thus, began the practice of hanging stockings by the fireplace to be filled with treats, though if you're like most people, you're more likely to get candy than gold.
2. Why do we put up Christmas trees?
Christianity Today says that early Romans used evergreen branches to decorate their homes in winter and ancient residents of northern Europe planted evergreen trees inside boxes in their homes. Early Christians frowned on these actions but eventually loosened their view of the practice.
Germans and the Dutch embraced the idea of an indoor Christmas tree and brought it to the New World in the 1800s. The practice spread, even more, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany, who brought the Christmas tree tradition to England. An American newspaper published a picture of the royal tree and the practice spread more widely in this country, which apparently was interested in news about the royals even back then.
3. Why do we give and receive gifts?
People used to open presents on New Year's Day, not Christmas, according to Live Science. It was supposed to make them feel good as one year ended and another began.
Giving gifts moved to Christmas in the 1800s, and became more popular because of those trend-setting royals – Queen Victoria and Prince Albert again – who bought gifts for their children and also exchanged them with one another. Christians were thought to embrace the practise because they believed it tied in well to the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus.