Factoids and the roots of a “Merry Christmas”

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Did you know that the phrase “Merry Christmas” dates back to 1565? Christmas is a special time of the year for a large proportion of the world, whether they’re Christian or not. As part of my EyeSee2013 project and for the final month of the year filled with photos, I wanted to highlight not-so-well-known facts about Christmas – where does Santa Claus come from? Why are Christmas trees important, etc. Surprisingly what I’ve found out so far is that a lot of what we know about this Christian holiday isn’t as old as we think, is related to marketing and shopping, and has many of its roots that go beyond Christianity. Here are a few things that I’ve found:

The original use of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by Robert L. May in 1939 for Montgomery Ward, a Chicago-based department store. The store asked its marketing department to create a new and original Christmas storybook from scratch which included the character Rudolph.

The Christmas Tree comes from a long history, even before Christianity, where plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

Santa Claus is originally from Turkey.

Mormon missionaries can only call home twice a year: on Christmas and one other time during the year (usually Mothers Day).

In case you want more interesting facts about Christmas, check out the rest of the December archive.

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