Sometimes, it seems that our lives revolve around the holidays rather than some ordinary job or mundane career that we might have.
It's that time of year again, when all sorts of ordinary people do crazy things like sing carols in public, kiss under the mistletoe, be nice to strangers and put up oversized inflatable Santa Clauses. Fortunately, this type of madness is not limited to Americans, for other countries are also known to decline into the Christmas spirit.
Dark Christmas Tales On Christmas Eve
Eerie Christmas Eve
In the not-so-distant past, Christmas Eve was a time for telling Ghost Stories. Just imagine, a group of friends or family members, sitting around the fire on a dreary, winter night swapping, spooky tales. Also keep in mind that life before we had color TV and movie theaters was very different than it is today and could have created some very, eerie,,supernatural storytelling, especially on one of the longest and coldest nights of the year.
Perhaps, this explains why Charles Dickens's, "A Christmas Carol" and Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas" have so much appeal today.
Christmas Becomes Official
In 1836, Alabama became the first state to officially recognize Christmas and Oklahoma was the last to do so in 1907. As a nation, the United States officially recognized the holiday in 1850. During the 1600s, Puritans in both England and America briefly banned the celebration of Christmas, because they considered the holiday to be a decadent Catholic event.
Spider Christmas Ornaments
There's a Spider on My Christmas Tree
This is no big deal if you live in Poland, for the Polish people, often place spiders or spider webs as decorations on their Christmas trees. Part of the explanation for this, can be found in the fact that the Poles (and other Eastern Europeans) believe that spiders are often considered to be a symbol of prosperity.
Christmas Trees Galore
So Many Christmas Trees
Currently, there are more planted Christmas trees growing in the United States than there are citizens. This unusual situation is made possible because each year approximately 40 million trees are planted. And when you consider that each tree requires ten years of growth before they are harvested, you will quickly realize that growing Christmas trees outnumber the population of the United States.
At Christmastide You Can Get Married By a Snowman
Oh Those Gentile Christmas Songs
Many of our most popular Christmas songs were written by Jews. This list of yuletide tunes includes "White Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" , "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas".
The Ever-popular Grinch
Good Cheer (and Financial Dividends) from the Grinch
The Christmas movie with the best record at the box office is "The Grinch That Stole Christmas", starring Jim Carrey. Other honorable mentions include Elf, The Santa Claus, The Santa Claus 2 and the 2009 release of A Christmas Carol. Please note that this list does not include old standards like It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. And then there is always the Charlie Brown Christmas TV Special, which always draws tons of viewers.
Christmas in Japan
The Japanese are recent converts to Christmas, but that has not stopped the island nation from vigorously celebrating the the birth of Jesus in a very unique way. For the Japanese, one of the most popular Christmas Day activities consists of sojourning to the nearest Kentucky Fried Chicken establishment to chow down on the Colonel's famous cuisine. So popular, is this activity that reservations often must be made many months in advance to secure a spot at the famed fast food joint.
The Original Rudolph
The Story of Rudolf Was Created by a Montgomery Wards Copywriter
In 1939, as the Great Depression was drawing to a close and his wife was dying from cancer, Montgomery Wards employee, Robert May wrote a short story about an unpopular reindeer. Despite the difficult times, May put together a sweet tale to cheer up his children. The original intention for the winter's tale was to sell more books at Christmas time, so the story was first released as a coloring book. Later on, the Christmas tale called Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer, would become a Yuletide standard.
Christmas Around the World
Christmas In Summer
In places like by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa Christmas is celebrated just after the first day of summer. This occurs because seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so that the first day of summer arrives on December 21 instead of June 21.
Roller Skating to Christmas Mass
In Venezuela, it is common practice to roller skate to mass because all the streets and highways are closed to vehicular traffic. This strange phenomena occurs mostly in the nation's capitol city, Caracas, where Christmas Day mass is celebrated very early in the morning.
© 2017 Harry Nielsen
Harry Nielsen (author) from Durango, Colorado on July 31, 2019:
Definitely, it was a fun article to research and write.
John Chris from Oakland on July 30, 2019:
Nice post Harry. I love these facts.