The History of the Christmas Tree
The tradition of having an evergreen tree become a symbol of Christmas
goes back past recorded written history.
The Druids in ancient England & Gual and the Romans in Europe both
used evergreen branches to decorate their homes and public buildings to
celebrate the Winter Solstice. Over the years, these traditions were
adopted by Christians, who incorporated them as part of their Christmas
Trees used specifically to celebrate Christmas are mentioned in the
early 1600's in Germany and surrounding countries. The families would
set up these trees in a prominent location of their home and decorate
them with colored paper, small toys, food, and sometimes candles. As
these people moved or immigrated to other countries, they brought this
tradition with them.
Through the years many different things were used to decorate Christmas
trees. As the world moved into the 1900's, many trees were decorated
with strings of popcorn, homemade cards and pictures, cotton to look
like snow, candy in all shapes and sizes, and occasionally, fancy store
made glass balls and hand blown glass figurines. Candles were sometimes
used, but often caused devastating fires, and many different types of
candle holders were devised to try to prevent tree fires. Electric tree
lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison has his first
mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879. The early
Christmas tree lights were handmade and quite expensive.
Today, Christmas tree ornaments can be found in nearly every size,
color, and shape imaginable, and they are used to decorate the millions
of Christmas trees used throughout the world.
The History of Santa Claus
Santa Claus has been called by several different names throughout the
years. The original tradition and legend of Santa Claus may have been
based on the early Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, originating in the
Santa Claus really started to get famous when American author
Washington Irving published stories about Santa Claus, referring to him
as Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas arrived on Christmas Eve bringing
presents for children.
Santa Claus changed and became more famous when writer Clement Clarke
Moore wrote a poem in 1823 about a Christmas Eve visit from Saint
Nicholas, better known as "The Night Before Christmas" (listed below).
Millions of children now could have a consistent description of Santa
Claus and his eight flying reindeer.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Clement Clarke Moore
night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature
was stirring, not even a mouse;
were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that
St. Nicholas soon would be there;
were nestled all snug in their beds,
of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in
her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on
the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from
the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the
window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the
shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on
the breast of the new-fallen snow
lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to
my wondering eyes should appear,
miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little
old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a
moment it must be St. Nick.
than eagles his coursers they came,
whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On
Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of
the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away!
dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves
that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet
with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the
house-top the coursers they flew,
sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a
twinkling, I heard on the roof
and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in
my hand, and was turning around,
chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed
all in fur, from his head to his foot,
clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of
toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked
like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes --
how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard
of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a
pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke
it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad
face and a little round belly,
when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby
and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed
when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his
eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me
to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a
word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all
the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his
finger aside of his nose,
And giving a
nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to
his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they
all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard
him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
Santa Claus is Popular!
American magazines picked up on the popularity of Santa Claus, and many
different versions of Santa Claus were published over the next 50
years. Santa Claus even began to appear in advertisements for popular
The most famous reindeer, red nosed Rudolph started to appear in the
Santa Claus, Rudolph, and the other reindeer would get periodic boosts
in popularity when songs, stories, movies, or videos were released
about them. Some of the more significant of there were:
Santa Claus is coming to Town
Jolly old St. Nick
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Johnny Marks © 1949
Grandma got run over by a Reindeer
Around the world, Santa Claus is known as:
English - Kris Kringle
Dutch - Saint Nikolaas
Italy - Bobouschka
Germany - Befana
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