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Archive for December 2019

History of the Christmas Tree

HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE It is generally believed that the first Christmas tree was of German origin dating from the time of St. Boniface, English missionary to Germany in the 8th century. He replaced the sacrifices to the Norse god Odin’s sacred oak — some say it was Thor‘s Thunder Oak — by a…

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History of the Christmas Creche: the Manger scene

HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS CRECHE One of the most beautiful Christmas traditions is setting up a creche during the Advent season. A creche is a model of the scene of the manger on the first Christmas at Bethlehem. A creche can be a small model, set up in the home or a large scene set…

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History of A Charlie Brown Christmas

HISTORY OF A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS TV as a 30-minute animated Christmas special written by Charles M. Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. The comic was hugely popular at the time when the TV special debuted on December 9, 1965. Though this was not Shulz’s first TV…

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History of Santa Claus: Saint or Elf?

HISTORY OF SANTA CLAUS December 6 is “Saint Nicholas Day.” The name Santa Claus is a kind of a contraction for Saint Nicholas, the German name Sankt Nikolaus can be pronounced San’t(a) ni-KLOuse (sounding like house.) Origin He was born in the late 3rd century, perhaps in A.D. 270. Nicholas became a bishop in Greece and gained distinction in…

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History of Christmas Music: More than just Carols?

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC Music early became a marked feature of the Christmas season. But the first chants, litanies, and hymns were in Latin and deemed too theological for popular use. Under the influence of Francis of Assisi in the 13th century, we began to see the rise of the carol written in the vernacular. The word…

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History of Christmas Traditions: some pre-Christian?

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS Many of the customs that we commonly associate with Christmas come from previous pagan or pre-Christian European backgrounds.   Traditions The word Yule comes from an Old Norse word for a twelve-day celebration starting on or around December 21 among Germanic people. It later became known as Christmastide. Mistletoe was prominent…

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