SIX THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT CHRISTMAS
1. The figure of St Nicolas and the Dutch Sinterklaas have been associated with Christmas for hundreds of years – but the modern incarnation of Santa Claus is a newer creation.Some old illustration depicts him wearing different colour suits of green, purple and navy blue. In some cases, he even wore brown, black or white furs. According to urban myth, Coca-Cola invented the US version of the character in the 1930’s by giving him a makeover for its winter advertising. American artist called Haddon Sundblom chose the official Coca-Cola colours -red and white- and designed a loose tunic fastened by a tight black belt. When Sundblom’s campaign was over, SANTA’S SUIT image was in a red and had become popular all over the world.
2. MINCE PIES were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes. Tradition claims that if you wanted to ensure good health and happiness in the upcoming year, you should eat one mince pie every day for the Twelve Days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve until the 5th of January.
3. Yes, you can eat PINE NEEDLES and they are a good source of vitamin C. Pine Needle Tea has long been a favorite of traditional and indigenous peoples, both for its refreshment and for its medicinal values.
4. A London baker and confectioner Tom Smith created the first CHRISTMAS CRACKER in 1847. He had come across the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper) and the idea for the ‘cracker’ was born. He is said to have got the finishing touch to the idea when sitting in front of the fire watching the logs crackle.
5. RUDOLPH the red-nosed reindeer was invented by Montgomery Ward’s holiday for coloring books as a promotion in 1938. His original name was “Reginald, the blue-nosed reindeer”.
6. Earliest known mentions of the CHRISTMAS TREE dates back to 1570 where they are mentioned in a German pamphlet. The chronicle of a guild in Bremen contains references to a tree placed in the guild’s hall and decorated with apples, nuts, pretzels, and paper flowers.