Christmas Stocking

Stuff it full of presents, please.

  • A Christmas stocking is typically a sock or sock shaped bag.
  • Christmas stockings are traditionally hung on Christmas Eve, ready to be filled secretly with presents during the night, which are usually opened the next morning.
  • Santa is said to put gifts in Christmas stockings, for good boys and girls.
  • There is no written history of the Christmas stocking, although there are many legends of how the stockings came about.
  • The Children’s Society produced the largest Christmas stocking made in December 2007, and measured 32.56 meters (106 feet and 10 inches) in height and 14.97 feet (49 feet 1 inch) in width, and contained 1000 presents.

 Christmas Stocking, Angel, Embroidery, Cross-Stitch, Girl, Pretty, Ten Random Facts

  • Christmas stockings are traditionally placed near a fireplace, although some people place them under their Christmas tree or hang them on the end of their bed.
  • Christmas stockings were traditionally filled with food to eat, and sometimes small gifts.
  • The Christmas stocking tradition started in Europe.
  • Christmas stockings traditionally have the owner’s name written on them, so that Santa knows which presents belong to each person.
  • Christmas stockings were originally plain socks, but soon, stockings made especially for the purpose of holding gifts, were designed.
Bibliography:
Christmas Stocking 10 December 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_stocking>

Fruit Mince Pie

Fruity, mincey, piey.

  • Fruit mice pies are also known as mince, minced, mutton, shrid or Christmas pies.
  • Fruit mince pies are small pies that are filled with delicious, fruit mincemeat.
  • The fruit mince pie originated in Britain and the list of ingredients have been in use since the 13th century.
  • The modern fruit mince pie is typically 5-7.5 cm (2-3 inches) in diameter.
  • The filling of fruit mince pies usually contains raisins, sultanas, apricots, glacé cherries, candied citrus fruit peels, apples, nuts and spices.

 Fruit Minced Pie, Mutton Pie, Christmas Pie, Criss-Cross pattern, circular, Ten Random Facts

  • Fruit mince pies often have shaped or patterned pastry tops, often in the shape of a star, to represent the star of Christmas.
  • Fruit mince pies were traditionally a more savoury pie which included meat.
  • Fruit mince pies have been part of Christmas celebrations since the 16th century.
  • Fruit mince pies were historically coffin or cradle shaped, instead of the usual circular shape that we see today.
  • Fruit mince pies typically include three spices – cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, to represent the three gifts given to baby Jesus Christ.
Bibliography:
Barrow M, 2010, Mince Pies, Festivals and Celebrations, <http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/xmas/mincepies.htm>

Advent Calendar

Who doesn’t like advent calendars…

  • Advent calendars are used to count down to Christmas.
  • Advent calendars typically have openings that may hide pictures, poems, stories and/or small gifts and food items.
  • The origins of the advent calendar comes from 19th century Germany, were Lutherans counted down the first 24 days of December.
  • Some advent calendars count down to Christmas by lighting candles and are called advent candles.
  • The first advent calendar was produced in 1851 and was handmade.

Advent Calendar, Christmas, Flowers, Presents, 24 days

  • Although advent calendars normally have 24 openings, some calendars have up to 31 or 32, for New Years Day.
  • Although advent calendars are usually used for Christmas, sometimes advent calendars are used for other celebrations or long awaited activities.
  • Advent calendars have ‘advent’ in their name since they are used at the start of the Advent, the Christmas season.
  • The first printed advent calendar was printed between 1902 – 1908.
  • To conserve paper, the production of advent calendars ceased during World War II.

Make cheap, eggstraordinary advent calendars at Imagine. Make. Believe!

Bibliography:
Advent Calendar 12 December 2012, Wikipedia,  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent_calendar>
Verlag, R n.d., History of the Advent Calendar, Sellmer Verlag,  <http://www.sellmer-verlag.de/history.htm>

Santa

Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas! Santa  is a character of Christmas traditions.

  • Santa is also commonly known as ‘Saint Nicholas’, ‘Father Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus’ but has other names in other traditions.
  • Santa is said to bring gifts to the good little children on Christmas Eve, December the 24th.
  • Santa is also typically thought to be a joyful man with a white beard and wears a red coat, white cuffed red trousers, a black belt and boots.
  • According to a tradition originating in the 1820’s, Santa lives at the North Pole with his elves, nine reindeer that fly, and Mrs Claus.
  • Santa is thought to enter houses via chimneys, and stuff empty stockings or ‘Santa bags’ (an old pillowcase, or especially designed bag) with lots of presents.

Santa, Person, Beard, Sitting,Christmas Tree,

  • Santa is believed to create a list of ‘naughty and nice’ children, the ‘nice’ children receive special gifts and the ‘naughty’ children miss out or traditionally receive coal.
  • Santa is a mythical person, though people still believe in him. People like to dress up as Santa to keep the tradition alive.
  • Santa was probably created by the British and the Americans as a mix of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas and Father Christmas.
  • It is common practise in many countries for children to write letters to ‘Santa’ to express their wishes about what they would like to receive from him for Christmas.
  • Many post offices around the world accept letters written to ‘Santa’ and in 2006, France collected approximately 1,770,000, and the other top 4 countries followed:  Canada (1,060,000), Finland (750,00) and the United Kingdom (750,000), and Germany with (500,000).
Bibliography:
Santa Claus 29 October 2012 , Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus>

Christmas Tree

“Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree!”

  • Traditionally, the Christmas tree symbolises the Christian belief of eternal life and was also thought to have been used in pre-Christian winter rites.
  • The original Christmas tree can be traced down to 15th-16th century, in early modern Germany and the first decorated trees were used in the years 1441, 1442, 1510, 1514, in the historic region of Livonia.
  • The Christmas tree is traditionally an evergreen tree which is normally pine or fir and were originally decorated with edible food.  The artificial Christmas tree was invented in Germany in the early 18th century and are now made in numerous shapes and sizes, using many different materials.
  • In the 18th century, candles were used to decorate Christmas trees which then led to electric lights being used.
  • In the 19th century, the Christmas tree tradition spread to many countries.  The first Christmas tree introduced in North America was in 1781 when Brunswick soldiers had a Christmas party.

 Large, Outdoors, Christmas Tree, Shopping Center, Ten Random Facts

  • By the early 19th century, royalty started to take on the tradition of Christmas trees and since the 19th-20th century, Christmas trees have been used in churches. In the early 20th century, Christmas trees were being displayed in public at parks and streets.
  • In Russia the Christmas tree was banned not long after the October Resolution but the tree was introduced again, as the New Year fir tree, in 1935.
  • The traditional Christmas tree decorations are tinsel, baublesChristmas lights, angel or star topper and sometimes homemade decorations, and public trees are often decorated with items and foods that wildlife like.
  • Approximately 33-36 million Christmas trees are produced per year in America and England produces 50-60 million per year.  By 1998, there were about 15,000 American growers of evergreen Christmas trees.
  • Between 2001-2007, Christmas tree sales in the United States went from 7.3 million sales up to a huge 17.4 million sales.
Bibliography:
Christmas tree 6 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree>

Candy Cane

Have a stripey time!

  • The candy cane is a hard candy and is traditionally white with red stripes and flavoured peppermint.
  • The first candy canes were made in 1670, in Germany, requested by a choirmaster who wanted to quiet down the children.
  • The candy cane is designed to remind us of the meaning of Christmas and as such was made as a symbol.
  • The cane shape of the candy cane was to remind people of ‘J’ for Jesus, the shepherds who visited baby Jesus, and to represent the biblical view that Jesus is a shepherd of his followers.
  • The first public candy cane recipe was published in 1844 in the recipe book called The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-cook, and Baker, by Eleanor Parkinson.

Candy Canes, Three, Red and White Stripes, Lined, Christmas Cards, Ten Random Facts

  • The candy cane was originally pure white and got its stripes in the early 20th century.
  • The candy cane is hard, which is said to represent the Christian view of the solid foundation of the church.
  • The peppermint flavour of the typical candy cane is similar to hyssop which was used for offering and purification in the Bible’s Old Testament times.
  • The red stripes represent the biblical view of God’s love and the shed blood of Jesus.
  • Candy canes come in numerous sizes and variations, including different flavours and colours, which includes green and white stripes and rainbow colours.
Bibliography:
Candy Cane 12 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candy_cane>
Goldstein, L n.d., The History of the Candy Cane, Noel Noel Noel, <http://www.noelnoelnoel.com/trad/candycane.html>
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