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The History of Christmas Cards – The First Christmas Card

For hundreds of years, people have exchanged Christmas greetings. The phrase “Merry Christmas” was first recorded in a Christmas letter delivered in 1534.

In 1611, King James I of England (who was also King James VI of Scotland) received the first known object that resembled a Christmas card. This was more akin to a big decorative text than a card as we know them now. It was folded into panels and measured 84cm x 60cm (33″ x 24″). (it might have been folded so it could be carried around). It included a rose in the center, with a Christmas and New Year greeting to the King and his son inscribed within and around the rose. There were four poems and a song on the manuscript as well – many more than are on the cards now!

Sir Henry Cole pioneered the practice of sending Christmas cards in the United Kingdom in 1843. He was a senior civil servant (government employee) who had assisted with the establishment of the new ‘Public Record Office’ (now known as the Post Office), where he was an Assistant Keeper, and pondered how it could be used more often by regular people.

Sir Henry came up with the concept for Christmas cards with his artist friend John Horsley. They created the first card and sold it for one shilling. (That is only 5p or 8 cents now, but it was worth a lot more back then.) The card was divided into three sections. The outside two panels depicted individuals assisting the needy, while the middle panel depicted a family enjoying a huge Christmas meal! Some people were offended by the card since it depicted a youngster receiving a glass of alcohol! A total of 1000 (or maybe less!) copies were printed and sold. They are now extremely uncommon and may be purchased for hundreds of pounds or dollars! The tagline used to promote the initial cards was: “Just published, a Christmas Congratulations Card; or picture emblematical of old English festivity to perpetuate kind recollections between dear friends”!

The first Christmas Card

 

The first postal service for regular people began in 1840, with the inaugural ‘Penny Post’ public postal delivery (Sir Henry Cole helped to introduce the Penny Post). Prior to it, only the very wealthy could afford to send anything through the mail. Because new trains were being built, the new Post Office was able to sell a penny stamp. These could transport far more mail than the horse and carriage that had previously been utilized. Trains may also go much quicker. Cards were even more popular in the United Kingdom when they could be sent in an unopened envelope for one halfpenny – half the price of a regular letter.

As printing processes developed, Christmas cards became considerably more popular and were mass-produced beginning around 1860. In 1870, the cost of mailing a post card, as well as Christmas cards, was half a cent. This meant that even more individuals could send cards.

The British Museum has an engraved card by the artist William Egley, who illustrated some of Charles Dickens’ novels. By the early 1900s, the practice had expanded throughout Europe, becoming notably popular in Germany.

Christmas cards grew significantly more popular as printing methods improved, and they were mass-produced beginning from 1860. The cost of shipping a post card, as well as Christmas cards, was half a penny in 1870. This meant that even more people could send greeting cards.

The early cards often featured images of the Nativity scene. Robins (a British bird) and snow landscapes were fashionable in the late 1800s. Because of the red uniforms they wore, the postmen were dubbed “Robin Postmen” at the time. Snow images were popular because they reminded people of the extremely harsh winter that occurred in the United Kingdom in 1836.

Christmas cards first emerged in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but they were prohibitively expensive for most individuals. In 1875, Louis Prang, a printer from Germany who had previously worked on early cards in the UK, began mass manufacturing cards so that more people could afford to buy them. Mr. Prang’s initial greeting cards depicted flowers, plants, and children. John C. Hall and two of his brothers founded Hallmark Cards in 1915, and they are still one of the largest card manufacturers today!

Annie Oakley, the famed sniper and star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, sent the first recorded ‘personalised’ Christmas card in 1891. She was in Glasgow, Scotland, for Christmas 1891, and she sent cards back to her friends and relatives in the United States, each with a photograph of herself on it. She’s wearing tartan in the shot since she was in Scotland! Annie allegedly created the cards herself, which were then produced by a local printer.

Homemade cards were fashionable in the 1910s and 1920s. They were frequently odd forms with embellishments like as foil and ribbon. These were generally too fragile to transmit through the mail and had to be delivered by hand.

Nowadays, greeting cards feature a variety of images, including humor, winter sceneries, Santa Claus, and love memories from the past. Charities frequently sell their own Christmas cards to raise funds over the holiday season.

Charities can also profit from the seals or stickers used to seal card envelopes. This tradition began in Denmark in the early 1900s by a postal worker who felt it would be a wonderful way for charities to earn funds while also making the cards more beautiful. It was a huge hit, with over four million sold in the first year! Soon after, Sweden and Norway followed the practice, and it spread throughout Europe and to America.

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Popular Animated Christmas Movies

“Frosty the snowman was a happy jolly soul …”  Who hasn’t spent the Christmas season singing this well-known carol?   Watching Christmas movies over the holiday season has long been a ritual. Animated Christmas movies are popular with both children and adults. Nothing can better represent this than an animated Christmas movie, from snow-covered terrain to evergreen trees gleaming with Christmas lights to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. These films have a unique attraction for children since they appreciate animation and their favorite cartoon characters. So, this Christmas, watch some lovely Christmas stories with your children and enjoy the festive spirit! With the following animated Christmas movies, you may relive your childhood and rediscover the joy of Christmas!

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

This classic Christmas animated movie is a story of young reindeer whose Christmas spirit has dampened because of his strange shiny red nose, which has made him an outcast among other reindeers. His only friend is Hermey, the elf who wants to become a dentist. Rejected by all and sad by their inability to fit in, both set off for their own adventures. Miraculous places, exciting events and pleasant meeting lie ahead. In the end, our little friends will save Christmas! Watch this movie to visit island of Misfit Toys and to meet Santa of course!

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

It’s the season to make merry as its Christmas time! But Charlie Brown is unhappy as he feels that amidst all this glitters, the true message of Christmas has been lost somewhere. Psychiatrist Lucy suggests a cure, which is to get involved with the Christmas play! Enjoy one of the sweetest Peanut’s special, which provides the cutest Christmas sight with Charlie Brown nurturing the thinnest, scraggliest Christmas tree ever. At first everyone makes fun of Charlie for choosing such a Christmas tree. But love and affection from Linus makes the tree shining though! It’s a beautiful movie, which rekindles the spirit of love and affection this Christmas!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

An all time favorite among kids, the movie is based on Dr. Seuss children’s picture book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. It is a story of Whos in Whoville who love Christmas and love to enjoy the festive season in full spirit! However, the Grinch, who lives in mountains above hates Christmas and all fun, frolic associated with it! It’s interesting to watch how he plans to steal Christmas and tries hard to stop it from coming. But his failure opens his eyes and makes him learn the meaning of Christmas. A must watch animated movie to understand the value of Christmas, the festival of love and joy

Frosty The Snowman (1969)

Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin tell yet another heartwarming Christmas tale. Jimmy Durante narrates this classic tale about a snowman that is brought to life by magic. A little girl called Karen spends her time building snowman until she finds a mysterious hat with which adorns her snowman. To her delight, Frosty comes to life and there is no end to the good times they spend together. But sun threatens to melt dear Frosty, and a wicked magician is on their trail. Frosty the Snowman is a much loved movie and a favorite among kids. This Christmas, enjoy the winter season with Frosty.

The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)

Featuring the voices of Shirley Booth, Mickey Rooney, and the late Dick Shawn, The Year without a Santa Claus’ is an emotional movie. Feeling unappreciated from children of the world, disheartened Santa decides to go on a vacation. Mrs. Claus teams up with Jingle and Jangle Bells (Santa’s elves) to prove him that people still care about Christmas and Santa Claus. But things are not as easy as they look, there are villains Heat Miser and Snow Miser! Escaping their clutches, another serious trouble awaits elves in South Town, USA. When Santa Claus learns of their perils, he sets out to their rescue! Will Santa succeed and regain his Christmas spirit, watch this movie to find out.

It Was The Night Before Christmas (1974)

A good movie to pick for Christmas! The story focuses on a small town and its mouse residents. It’s Christmas time but to everybody’s disappointment, Santa will not be coming to town this year because of an offensive letter from Albert Mouse. Now, the town must please the Santa and show that they believe in him! So, this Christmas enjoy the festive spirit with this wonderful animated movie!

Polar Express (2004)

A little boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus has the adventure of a lifetime on a Christmas Eve! The Polar Express is a story of a young boy lying awake in his room on a snowy Christmas Eve. Suddenly, the boy is startled by a thunderous roar. To his surprise, from his window he sees a gleaming black train stop right in front of his house. Clad in his pajamas and slippers, the boy rushes out to know all about it. What unfolds is an adventurous journey to the North Pole, in The Polar Express! With a fascinating story and superb animation techniques, The Polar Express is a great holiday classic and a real delight to watch!

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Christmas Wreaths are a traditional holiday decoration with an incredibly long and rich history.

The first indication of Christmas is a Christmas wreath hung on the front door of the house. A wreath is a ring-shaped arrangement of flowers, leaves, fruits, and other attractive things. Wreaths, which come in a variety of forms, are an important element of Christmas decorations. Wreaths are commonly hung on doorways, walls, and over fireplaces. Wreaths are traditionally made using evergreen branches. Wreaths are now available in synthetic materials, which have a significantly longer shelf life.

Northern and eastern Europeans began carrying evergreens home throughout the winter in the 16th century, with Germans being credited with originating the Christmas tree tradition. Pruning the tree was part of the preparatory procedure during this time. Collins states in his book, “Limbs were often cut off in an attempt to make the tree more uniform in shape or to fit into a room,” Instead of discarding the leftover foliage, Europeans braided it into wreaths.

“These people were living in a time when everything in their lives was used until it was gone,” Collins remarks.

Apart from the aesthetic and functional reasons for bending the tree, there was also a spiritual importance for Christians to exercise. “It was crucial to form the trees into a triangle to reflect the Trinity,” Collins explains. According to Catholic tradition, in the seventh century, Saint Boniface, an English monk, used the three points of an evergreen tree to illustrate the notion of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Before the wreath became associated with Christmas, it was a prominent emblem of victory and power in ancient Greece and Rome. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, after the nymph Daphne rejected the God Apollo and escaped from him by turning into a laurel tree, Apollo says, “Since you cannot be my wife, you shall surely be my tree. O laurel, I shall for ever have you in my hair, on my lyre and quiver.” The passage inspired art such as the marble statue “Apollo Crowning Himself,” reinforcing the imagery of Roman and Grecian gods donning the green crown.

The evergreen tree, which was used to make the wreaths, was also essential. Evergreen trees were regarded with awe and reverence because, unlike other living things, they withstood the rigors of winter. People took the trees into their homes once they emerged in abundance in northern and eastern Europe.

Among non-deities, the wreath had a similar meaning. “Athletes who were successful in the Panhellenic games were crowned with wreaths of olives (Olympia), laurel (Delphi), wild celery (Nemea), and pine (Isthmia),” says Mireille M. Lee in Body, Dress, and Identity in Ancient Greece. A crown of leaves or flowers signified honor and delight outside of competitions. The wreath was characterized as “the adornment of the priest performing sacrifice, of the hero returning from triumph, of the bride at her wedding, and of the guests at a feast.”

However, Christmas wreaths added a fresh layer of significance to an ancient concept. Such wreaths were initially used as Christmas tree ornaments, rather than as stand-alone decorations as we know them now. They were fashioned into a wheel-like shape for practical reasons — it was easy to hang a circle onto the branches of a tree — but the design was also significant as a symbol of heavenly perfection. Because the form has no beginning and no finish, it signified eternity. “That was a symbol to them of power, of resilience, and in a way, of hope,” Collins says.

The wreath represents perpetual life because of its circular form and evergreen substance. It is also a sign of faith, since Christians in Europe used to set a candle on the wreath during Advent to symbolise the light that Jesus brought into the world. Johann Hinrich Wichern, a German Lutheran priest, is widely credited for popularizing the Advent wreath and burning candles of various sizes and colors in a circle as Christmas neared.

There are four candles in all in that tradition, one for each week of Advent. Collins writes in his book that three of the candles, which were typically purple, signified the Christian ideals of hope, peace, and love. “The last candle, most commonly crimson in color,” he adds, “represented the pleasure of new life obtained through the gift of Christ’s suffering on the cross.” On Christmas Eve, a white candle was lit to commemorate Jesus’ birth.

The Advent wreath, like many other Christmas customs from Northern and Eastern Europe, was popularized by the masses in the nineteenth century. Collins claims that the marriage of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom to Prince Albert of Germany allowed Christmas customs from other parts of Europe to become popular in England. In turn, American culture was affected by British culture. Literature such as Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit From St. Nicholas aided in the spread of Christmas traditions such as wreath decoration.

Despite its widespread popularity today, the wreath started with humble beginnings.

We live in a throwaway culture, the wreath was born out of not throwing things away.

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History of Eggnog – A Christmas Tradition

This adult Christmas beverage, sprinkled with nutmeg and with a little (or a lot) of liquor added, is both adored and despised. Although this seasonal drink is widely accessible in pasteurized form, packed in cartons or bottles, and located in the refrigerated dairy area of the local store, few of us make it from scratch.

And with good reason: because there are a lot of raw eggs involved, as well as a historically long maturing process, it’s probably best to leave this one to the experts.

So, what exactly is a “nog,” and why do we drink it around Christmas? Pull up a chair, and let’s get into the nitty gritty…

Eggnog is a classic ‘American’ drink, yet it originated in the United Kingdom as a type of ‘posset’ (hot milk mixed with wine or ale and spices). There are a few historical references of eggs being mixed in as well.


 

Possets were used to cure colds and the flu throughout the Middle Ages. (Today, the term posset refers to a cold set milk pudding that evolved from the drink in the 16th century.)

Possets were also consumed by the higher classes in the United Kingdom, where they were prepared with Sherry or Brandy rather than beer or ale.

There are several hypotheses as to how the ‘nog’ in eggnog came to be. According to one story, the word ‘nog’ was given to strong beer in East Anglia, and when eggs were added to it, it became eggnog. Another hypothesis holds that the word “nog” derives from the Middle English word for a tiny and carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol (and noggin is still a song phrase for your head!). Another source claims that nog is derived from nugg or nugged ale, a Scottish name for ale that has been warmed by placing a poker from the fire in it!

The drink made its way to the United States in the mid-1700s, when it was frequently mixed with rum instead of ale. Another name idea is that, much as rum was known as grog, eggnog may have begun as egg-n-grog.

However, I believe that eggs with strong ale, or eggs in noggin cups, make more sense…

The earliest recorded reference to eggnog dates back to 1775, when Jonathan Boucher, a priest and philologist (someone who analyzes old writings) from Maryland, penned a humorous song about the different drinks he drank during the day! (However, his poetry was not published until 30 years after his death.)

“Fog-drams i’ th’ morn, or (better still) egg-nogg,
At night hot-suppings, and at mid-day, grogg,
My palate can regale…”

In March 1788, a New Jersey newspaper reported:

“A young man with a cormerant appetite, voraciously devoured, last week, at Connecticut farms, thirty raw eggs, a glass of egg nog, and another of brandy sling.”

The earliest connection of Christmas and eggnog is from the Virginia Chronicle in 1793:

“On last Christmas Eve several gentlemen met at Northampton court-house, and spent the evening in mirth and festivity, when EGG-NOG was the principal Liquor used by the company. After they had indulged pretty freely in this beverage, a gentleman in company offered a bet that not one of the party could write four verses, extempore, which should be rhyme and sense…”

An early eggnog recipe comes from 1799 when the book ‘Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada’ (volume 2) described how and inn in Baltimore made eggnog:

“The American travellers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;…”

George Washington was the first US President to serve eggnog in the 1790s. His recipe called for rum, whiskey, and sherry!

The ‘Tom and Jerry’ is a rum and brandy-based eggnog cocktail. Pierce Egan, a British journalist, developed it in 1920. This drink is said to have inspired the Tom and Jerry cartoon!

In 1892, the magazine ‘The Medical Brief’ proposed that eggnog might be used as a flu cure – thus returning to how medieval possets were utilized!

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History of Candy Canes: From the Iconic Shape to Flavor

The very first candy cane was nothing like what we know today. They were white, straight, and the only flavor was the pure sweet sugar that was used to make them.

When Christmas trees became a prominent feature of the holiday season, they were adorned with food items such as strung popcorn and white sugar sticks.

The first documented use of the term “candy canes” for these sweet candy sticks was in 1866, and they became a yearly Christmas tradition less than ten years later.

Timeline of Candy Canes

The candy cane has been around for almost 350 years. Although certain details are obscure, like as who invented the candy cane, you can see how this delicious delicacy grew into a Christmas classic.

While there are several stories regarding the origins of the candy cane, no one knows for certain who created this classic confection. According to the History Channel, one plausible version is that the peppermint candy was developed in 1670 by a choirmaster at Germany’s Cologne Cathedral to assist keep fidgety choirboys quiet and attentive during a creche ceremony. If this narrative is accurate, the hook form may be a shepherd’s crook, although this is not definite.

1670- The Candy Cane Could May Have Been Invented

While there are several stories regarding the origins of the candy cane, no one knows for certain who created this classic confection. According to the History Channel, one plausible version is that the peppermint candy was developed in 1670 by a choirmaster at Germany’s Cologne Cathedral to assist keep fidgety choirboys quiet and attentive during a creche ceremony. If this narrative is accurate, the hook form may be a shepherd’s crook, although this is not definite.

1700 – Pulled Sugar Candies are a popular confection in Germany.

According to Susan Benjamin of True Treats Candy, pulled sugar sweets were popular in 17th century Germany. These drawn sugar sweets were entirely white during the 1700s, and the hook may have evolved later as a way of hanging the candy cane on a Christmas tree. The hook design made it simpler to hang cookies, candies, and other treats on the Christmas tree, which was a German Christmas custom.

1844 – Recipe for Striped Peppermint Stick Candy has been published.

Eleanor Parkinson’s 1844 book The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-Cook, and Baker featured a recipe for color-striped peppermint sticks. The book includes extensive directions for leaving the majority of the candy white and dyeing a tiny bit another color, then rolling the two colors together to make a twisted, striped design.

 

1847 – The Very First Modern White Candy Cane

According to Benjamin, the candy cane in its present form was invented by August Imgard, a Swedish and German immigrant who resided in Ohio. Although the delicious treat did not have the familiar red-striped pattern, it did feature the iconic candy cane form. It was also used to decorate a Christmas tree with paper ornaments.

1900 – Candy Canes Change Colors to Red and White

Red and white candy canes became popular about 1900, according to the Smithsonian, by merging the original red-striped peppermint stick with the hook form. Because these candy canes were handcrafted, they were fairly expensive and prone to breakage.

1920 – McCormack begins manufacturing candy canes

Bob McCormack of Georgia, USA, began manufacturing candy canes to present to his family, friends, and neighborhood youngsters. The fame rose by leaps and bounds.Bob McCormack established his own company, which was initially called as “Famous Candy Company” and was subsequently renamed “Bob’s Candies.” The production quantity was restricted due to the labor-intensive process of hand-forming each candy cane, and the breakage rate was more than 20%.

1957 – Automated Candy Cane Machine Invented

Bob McCormack’s brother-in-law, Gregory Harding Keller, was studying to be a priest in Rome, Italy. During the summers, he returned home and worked in the candy factory. Gregory created a contraption to automate the candy cane producing process. This equipment, known as the “Keller Machine,” mechanically rotated and curved the candies while also cutting them at the same lengths, saving time and waste.

Gregory is believed to have given these hooked candy sticks to youngsters in church to keep them calm during long services. Bob’s Candies was the first company to mass-produce and sell candy canes. Bob’s Candies has been in business for almost eighty years.

2005 – Farley and Sather’s purchased Bob’s Candies

Farley and Sather’s purchased Bob’s Candies in 2005, and candy canes are still part of their product range.

It’s more than simply a piece of candy.

Christians like the simple sugar cane because they feel it represents a variety of symbols:

  • When the hook is turned upside down, it forms the letter “J” for Jesus.
  • The white reflects Jesus’ purity.
  • The three (3) red stripes signify the Holy Trinity and Christ’s blood.
  • According to legend, the hardness of the candy represents Jesus as a solid rock.
  • The typical peppermint taste is a nod to Hyssop, a herb used for cleansing in the Old Testament.

Interesting Candy Cane Facts

Many people nowadays utilize candy canes to construct holiday wreaths, candy cane desserts, or just to adorn a Christmas tree. The following candy cane statistics, according to the National Confectioners Association, demonstrate that the modern candy cane is a classic Christmas delicacy that is more popular than ever:

  • The world’s biggest candy cane measured 51 feet in length.
  • Every year, around 1.75 billion candy canes are produced.
  • The majority of candy canes (more than 90%) are purchased between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • The biggest sales occur during the second week of December.
  • Candy canes outsell all other non-chocolate confections when it comes to candies sold in December.
  • The flavor variety has grown beyond the traditional peppermint, with some unusual varieties such as “pickle,” “bacon,” and “bubble gum” available.   Try a “sriracha” or “wasabi” flavored sugar cane for those who prefer it spicy.
  • People chew candy canes from the straight end 58 percent of the time and the curved end 30 percent of the time. To consume the candy, the remaining 12% split it up.

Christmas Candy Canes: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do reindeers really like candy canes?

Candy canes have a highly sweet flavor, and reindeers enjoy anything with a sweet flavor. Aside from the sweetness of the Candy Canes, they also have a mint flavor to them, which might cause stomach aches in the reindeer after eating.

Are candy canes only for Christmas?

Candy canes aren’t just for the holiday season. They may also be used to commemorate children’s birthdays and other pleasant and joyful occasions. Candy canes in red and white colors are the most often used on Christmas Eve.

Why is Peppermint a Christmas flavor?

In the year 1670, a choirmaster presented numerous candies to the people and children who were performing in the nativity play. This is how the peppermint mint flavor is thought to have been introduced to the occasion of Christmas Eve.

What do the colors on the candy cane mean?

The sugar cane has a form that represents Jesus. Candy canes are often red and white in hue. The white hue represents Jesus Christ’s purity, while the crimson color represents Jesus Christ’s blood.

Are candy canes’ religious symbols?

The candy cane is designed in the shape of the letter J. The letter J represents Jesus Christ’s name. Furthermore, the colors red and white represent the peace and purity of Jesus Christ, as well as the blood of Jesus Christ.

What is the symbol of the candy cane?

The candy cane is shaped like the letter J. This J represents the initial letter of Jesus’ name. As a result, the shape of the letter J has been chosen for the specific candy cane in order to make it popular during Christmas Eve.

Is there a candy cane Emoji?

Yes, the candy cane emoji can be seen in the most recent version of WhatsApp. Aside from the candy cane emoji, numerous more emojis connected to toffee and chocolate can be found in many chat applications.


A Significant Christmas Tradition

The rich history of candy canes adds to their allure. These traditional sweets are just a necessary part of the holiday season. Candy canes can be used to decorate in a variety of ways, including attaching them to gifts or taping them to Christmas cards. You may even use a candy cane motif to adorn your Christmas tree. Whatever you select, you’ll be aware that you’re consuming a delicacy with a 350-year history and a particular place in the Christmas ritual.

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Don’t Forget Santa’s Cookies and Milk: Learn The History Behind This Popular Christmas Tradition

On Christmas Eve, American children have been setting out cookies and milk for Santa Claus for decades. But, how did this Christmas meal tradition begin?

Today, children in the United States have a well-established custom of setting out a plate of cookies (Oreos and traditional chocolate chip are popular options) and a glass of milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. But it hasn’t always been like this. According to one explanation, the cookies-and-milk custom evolved from an ancient practice in which households would fill stockings with sweets for Santa and hang them by the chimney, his favored route of entry, as a greeting present. These days, however, those stockings are generally stuffed with snacks and little presents for the family members themselves.

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa—along with possibly a few carrots for his reindeer—became a popular American Christmas custom during the Great Depression in the 1930s. During that period of severe economic difficulty, many parents attempted to teach their children the importance of giving to others and showing appreciation for the presents they were fortunate enough to receive on Christmas. Many youngsters still leave cookies and milk out for Santa, whether out of goodwill or (in less healthy situations) as a bribe to obtain additional gifts from the jolly bearded guy in the red suit.

The origins of this festive culinary custom may be traced all the way back to Norse mythology. Odin, the most prominent Norse deity, was supposed to ride an eight-legged horse named Sleipner, on which he placed a raven on each shoulder. During the Yule season, children would leave food for Sleipner in the hopes that Odin would swing by and give presents in return. Such a custom is still practiced today in nations such as Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where youngsters think that horses, rather than reindeer, transport Santa’s sleigh. On Christmas Eve, they leave carrots and hay (sometimes packed into shoes) for the animals to eat. In exchange, people may expect to get festive goodies such as chocolate coins, cocoa, mandarin oranges, and marzipan.

Various countries have created their own variations of the cookies-and-milk tradition over the years. Children from the United Kingdom and Australia abstain from sherry and mince pies, while Swedish children abstain from rice porridge. When delivering presents in Ireland, Santa may anticipate a pint of Guinness along with his cookies. Children in France leave a glass of wine for Père Noel and fill their shoes with hay, carrots, and other gifts for his donkey, Gui (French for “mistletoe”). In Germany, youngsters forego food in favor of writing handwritten letters to the Christkind, a symbolic embodiment of the Christmas spirit who is in charge of giving gifts on Christmas. Though many German children mail their letters before the holiday (there are six official addresses for letters addressed to the Christkind), others leave them out on Christmas Eve, adorned with glittery glue or sugar crystals. The letters were gathered on Christmas morning, and gifts were put in their place.

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Is it true that ‘Bridget Jones’ started the Ugly Christmas Sweater craze? Here’s the backstory of Darcy’s jumper.

Some anthropologists might point to Colin Firth’s performance as stuffy lawyer Mark Darcy in 2001’s Bridget Jones’ Diary as the start of the Ugly Christmas Sweater fad that sweeps the country every Christmas season.

Come late November into December the ugly woolen clothing is all over the big screen. But the funny reindeer on the gloomy Darcy remains the trend setter.

The sweater has a flashback appearance in this year’s Bridget Jones’ Baby, the third installment in the series starring Renee Zellweger as the title character.

Sharon Maguire, the director of all three films in the trilogy, says there were a lot of debates about the initial, cosmically-bad sweater choice for the pivotal scene in which Bridget meets Darcy at a party.

“The original sweater went through many designs because it had to be just right. The character of Mr. Darcy is a constipated English prig when we first meet him so we needed something totally ridiculous to pierce that pomposity. And for some reason neither Santas nor X-mas trees nor snowmen worked as well as that red-nosed moose or reindeer we chose. It also had to look home-knit, something his mother knitted for him.”

Even the moose or reindeer or whatever was a serious, or perhaps semi-serious, topic of conversation.

“First versions of the moose were too small and too subtle. The moose eyes weren’t dopey enough. The horns weren’t large or waggly enough either. It also had to work for the camera. It’s a reveal, so the top of sweater had to be plain and make Darcy look kinda cool on Bridget’s first appearance. Although it’s impossible to look cool in a turtleneck sweater when you’re over 17 and not a model.”

Thank’s for that image. Look what you began in movies with Christmas sweaters everywhere, Sharon, Colin, and Mark Darcy! It had to be brought back in the third film, of course “because it serves as a constant reminder to Darcy that Bridget means ‘home.’ They’ve known one other since they were youngsters and she raced around his paddling pool naked.’ “Maguire explains.

“It was also a reminder of the third film’s theme, which was that love cannot be rationalized. People don’t always match on paper, and love is insane, foolish, and irrational, yet love legislates for itself “Maguire explains.

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The ugly Christmas sweater: an origin story

They are ostentatious. They are obnoxious. They irritate your eyes. They’re ugly Christmas sweaters.

Millions of hilarious Christmas sweaters scavenged from grandpa’s wardrobes and brazenly worn to one of those tacky Christmas parties hosted throughout the month of December. But have you ever pondered what triggered this strange trend? Even high-end stores have their own version of the ugly Christmas sweater.

So, what exactly constitutes an ugly Christmas sweater? To begin with, an ugly Christmas sweater is any sweater with a Christmas theme that is considered in poor taste, tacky, or gaudy. The more decorations (or, depending on who you ask, the better themed), the better. Reindeers? Santa? Blinking ornaments on Christmas trees? A menorah that lights up? Yoda on a Star Wars Christmas tree? All of these cheesy elements point to the winner of the prize for the best ugly Christmas sweater at gatherings. Yes, there are several ugly Christmas sweater parties. In reality, it is entirely a millennial phenomenon.

OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO NATIONAL UGLY SWEATER DAY

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So, where did it all start? It all began in the 1950s.

With the widespread commercialization of Christmas in the 1950s, ugly Christmas sweaters became fashionable. They were originally called as “Jingle Bell Sweaters,” and they included subtle Christmas-themed embellishments. The original ugly Christmas sweaters were never meant to be “ugly,” but rather creative and joyous.

Until the 1980s, when it became popular on television, the style had a minor representation in the media.

Popularization and Deprecation in the 1980s and 1990s

Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show was the character who popularized odd sweaters with bizarre designs. By the end of the decade, it was typical for Christmas special show conductors to wear them. The style waned in the 1990s, yet it never vanished. Millennials were now searching through their parents’ wardrobes, trying to locate a color-heavy knit with a Frosty the Snowman face and actual jingle bells attached. It became a cultural craze, fuelled by nostalgia for a more carefree era. They appeared in films (Bridget Jones’ Diary), television series (Modern Family, The Mindy Project, and Community), and on social media. Fandom and sweaters met, and now you can get a Christmas sweater for whichever fandom you want.

 

The Party Begins

Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch founded the inaugural Ugly Christmas Sweater Party in Vancouver in the 2000’s. The concept quickly expanded throughout Canada and the United States, and then around the world. The celebrations grew into enormous affairs, frequently in favor of charitable organizations.

By 2007, ugly Christmas sweater searches on Google had skyrocketed, and the fad had slowly made its way back into the mainstream.

Haute Couture and Celebrities

Various fashion designers produced Christmas sweater collections based on the hideous ones early in the decade. Soon after, retail retailers caught on to the idea, and you can now buy them fresh new instead of rummaging through thrift stores and inherited closets.

Celebrities, TV personalities, and even politicians boarded the train, making it a typical Christmas sight.

Celebrate National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day!

Of course, social media has had a significant influence on this tendency. Young folks began purchasing old knits in order to see who could get the ugliest one. The internet aided in the spread of this fashion till it became global! As a result, we now have a nationwide Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

That’s correct! There is an official national day for wearing your unflattering sweater. Wear something festive to celebrate National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on December 21! It’s time to flaunt your Christmas sweater.

 

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The History of Gingerbread Houses – How The Tradition Started

Although Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the early decoration of gingerbread cookies, the Germans are credited with beginning the gingerbread house custom. And with the publication of the German Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel,” a new holiday tradition was created. The edible decorations are now available in a variety of pre-packaged packages.

Making a gingerbread house is a great Christmas ritual that is both artistic and appetizing. But where did it all start? How did we ever get to creating delectable gingerbread homes, and why only at Christmas? Today, we’ll talk about the history of gingerbread and the houses that sprang from it.

 

What is the origin of the name “gingerbread”?

The term gingerbread comes from an old French phrase that means “preserved ginger.” The root was initially grown in ancient China, and it was later discovered that it could help preserve wheat and meat. As a result, ginger was baked into little crisps, which evolved into cookies in Western Europe. These cookies, or “fairings” as they were known at the time, became quite popular during fairs, thus the name. Many fairings were adorned with gilded edges and served as the foundation for what is now known as the gingerbread home.

What exactly is a gingerbread house?

A gingerbread home is a confectionary house constructed from a hardened ginger cookie, often known as a “ginger nut.” Typically, this home is adorned with a variety of icing and candied components. This technique comes from the Christmas tradition of baking ginger into tiny cookies known as snap cookies in Europe and North America. The main features of a gingerbread home are that the finished product should resemble some type of architect, however this is no longer strictly enforced. A gingerbread house can be created to appear like anything, as long as it is made solely of edible materials, such as sweets and gingerbread.

Who Is the Creator of the Gingerbread House?

Although gingerbread buildings may be traced as far back as ancient Greece and even farther in China, the tradition of constructing gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 1800s for Europeans and North Americans. As gingerbread was already being utilized to create various types of art, German bakers took it a step further by basing their work on a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel,” in which two children are abandoned in a forest before discovering an edible house made of bread and sugar. Bakers began creating their own take on a gingerbread home based on descriptions of this mansion from the narrative. This would be particularly popular around the holidays, as it was a commonplace practice to eat ginger snap cookies at this time.


What is the reason for a gingerbread house?

A gingerbread home has two functions: it serves as an artistic medium and, of course, it is edible. Gingerbread homes are a popular way to exhibit creativity in a more enjoyable and aesthetically appealing media these days. With the world of sweets available, the cost of ingredients is surely not prohibitively expensive, and the potential for creativity is almost limitless, resulting in a delightful exercise for both children and adults. Plus, you get to taste your creation, which is something that all youngsters like.

Germany’s Gingerbread House History

As previously said, gingerbread homes developed in Germany as a result of bakers imitating Hansel and Gretel’s description. Gingerbread mould carvings with artistic representations were already commonplace in Europe and North America. So bakers used their own skills to build their notions of a “fairy tale” house, culminating in what we now call gingerbread house creation. This custom was particularly popular around the holidays, when a variety of products were made from gingerbread.

 

 

What is the origin of the gingerbread home tradition?

The practice of building gingerbread houses originated with Europeans and Americans preparing gingersnap biscuits around Christmas time. These cookies are typically adorned with intricate patterns, such as gilt edges and images of animals, homes, or other architecture. Gingerbread was also used to exhibit folk art as well as news. This naturally evolved into the homes favored by German bakers, giving rise to what we now know as the skill of constructing gingerbread houses.

How did gingerbread homes become a part of Christmas?

Gingersnap cookies have long been connected with the Christmas spirit, and as such, baking a broad range of ginger goods during the holidays was quite popular. With the concept of gingerbread houses, this custom ultimately blended with the concept of gingerbread houses. And, because Christmas is such a significant holiday in Germany, the practice would become synonymous with the holiday itself.

Interesting Facts About Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread houses are a wonderful way to celebrate both creativity and the arrival of the new year. Here are some fascinating facts about the delectable creative flair that both you and the kids may appreciate.

  • Gingerbread homes are claimed to have originated in Ancient Greece and Egypt.
  • A monk is claimed to have created gingerbread to help treat dyspepsia.
  • It is claimed that Queen Elizabeth I invented the gingerbread man after wishing to give them as presents to visiting officials.
  • Gingerbread is distinct in that it is sweetened with honey and molasses rather than sugar.
  • Every year, the city of Bergen in Norway creates an entire city of gingerbread houses.
  • Unmarried women in England would commonly eat gingerbread men for good luck in meeting a spouse, according to legend.
  • Gingerbread was considered to bring good luck in Sweden, and people used it to create wishes. The term “gingerbread” comes from the Old French word “gingebras,” which means “preserved ginger.”
  • While gingerbread homes are popular in North America and Europe, they were never popular in the United Kingdom.
  • The world’s largest gingerbread house measures 60 feet by 42 feet and weighs 35 million calories. It was built using 1800 Hershey bars, 1200 feet of twizzlers, 100 pounds of tootsie rolls, 100 whirly pops, and thousands of other miscellaneous candy.
  • A doctor reportedly prescribed gingerbread to the Swedish King in order to alleviate his melancholy.
  • Wilton is the leading maker of gingerbread home kits in the United States.
  • While Christmas is the most popular time of year to build gingerbread houses, bakers also produce gingerbread for Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

Gingerbread homes are a great way to spend your time whether you’re celebrating the holidays or just searching for a fun project to exhibit your creativity. So go ahead and make a tasty memory today by making a gingerbread home.

 

 

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Advent Calendars – A Brief History

You don’t need an Advent calendar to know that Christmas is approaching, but opening a small numbered door to reveal a gift is a concept that everyone, religious or not, can get behind. Here’s a look at the history of Advent calendars as well as several non-traditional designs for this beloved holiday ritual.

WHAT EXACTLY IS ADVENT?

Advent is a four-week season that begins on the Sunday closest to St. Andrew the Apostle’s feast day (November 30) and continues through the next three Sundays. Advent, which originates from the Latin word for “coming,” has been celebrated since the fourth century, according to historians. Originally, the period was used to prepare Christian converts for baptism, but it is now more often linked with the celebration of Christ’s birth date on December 25.


THE HISTORY OF THE ADVENT CALENDAR

Advent calendars are not usually based on the above-mentioned Advent period. Instead, they begin on December 1 and count down the 24 days till Christmas. Most Advent calendars nowadays have paper doors that open to show an image, Bible text, or piece of chocolate. The custom dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, when German Protestants used chalk markings on doors or lighted candles to count down the days before Christmas.

THE ORIGINAL PRINTED ADVENT CALENDAR

In the early 1900s, Gerhard Lang is largely regarded as the creator of the first printed Advent calendar.

A German newspaper issued an Advent calendar supplement as a present to its readers around the same period. Lang’s calendar was inspired by one created for him by his mother and contained 24 colorful images glued to a piece of cardboard. Lang adapted his calendars to incorporate the little doors that are now a standard feature of most Advent calendars, and they were a commercial success in Germany. Production ceased during World War II owing to a cardboard scarcity, but restarted shortly after, with Richard Sellmer emerging as the major maker of commercial Advent calendars.

I LIKE IKE, AND IKE LIKES ADVENT CALENDAR

Dwight D. Eisenhower is frequently credited with popularizing the Advent calendar custom in the United States. During his administration, Eisenhower was pictured with his grandkids opening an Advent calendar, and the photograph was published in numerous national newspapers.

 

THE ADVENT CALENDAR FOR $50,000

In 2007, Harrods sold a 4-foot Christmas tree-shaped structure carved from burr elm and walnut wood, which was one of the most costly Advent calendars ever sold. Each of the $50,000 calendar’s 24 sections held a piece of organic chocolate from Green & Black, with revenues benefiting Belizean cocoa producers.

 

THE LARGEST ADVENT CALENDAR IN THE WORLD

The world’s largest advent calendar, according to Guinness World Records, was constructed in 2007 at London’s St. Pancras railway station. The huge calendar, which stood 232 feet and 11 inches tall and 75 feet and 5 inches wide, commemorated the station’s reopening after a refurbishment.

 

THE CALENDAR OF THE LEGO ADVENTURES

For numerous years, LEGO has released an Advent calendar set with figurines or buildable accessories behind each numbered door. This year, the business is selling a City edition as well as a Star Wars Advent calendar.