Fun Facts About Christmas

“Jingle Bells”

            A song that has been played in many households. A song that must be listened to, in the Christmas season. Everyone knows it as ‘Jingle Bells’. But this was not the original name for the song. James Lord Pierpont, the writer of the song, named the song ‘The One Horse Open Sleigh’. This song was not even meant for the Christmas Season. Mr. Pierpont wrote this song for his church, to be played for a Thanksgiving concert. This song was so popular, that it was the first song played in space. Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford boarded Gemini 6. They were meeting Gemini 6. This is the first pre-organized meeting that happened in space.  On December 16, they were to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. While this was happening, Schirra and Stafford decide to play a prank on Mission Control. They said that they saw another satellite that was going to reenter the orbit. The ‘satellite’ had a command module and eight smaller modules in the front. The command was wearing a red suit. They then started to play ‘Jingle Bells’ with a harmonica and some small bells. Later on, Schirra and Stafford donated these musical instruments to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Christmas Trees

            Christmas trees are evergreens that can always be found in nature, so what is the big significance to Christmas trees? This all started in Ancient Egypt and Rome. The evergreens had a special meaning for them. They would celebrate it during the Solstice. It was believed that winter came because their sun god would get sick and weak. The evergreens would remind them that green plants would come back after the sun god healed and become strong again. This means that summer would be returning. The ancient Egyptians would decorate their homes with green palm rushes. The Romans would decorate their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In the 16th century, Christmas trees came to Germany. It is believed that Martin Luther was the first one to add candles to a tree. He got this idea when he was walking and saw stars singing through the evergreens. But thankfully throughout history, we have started to use electrical lights. They never said, but we could imagine that  using real candles could cause some fires. We are also able to use real evergreens or fake ones. (If you use a real evergreen, don’t forget to water it. A dried-out Christmas tree could start a fire.)

Christmas Decorations

            When Christmas comes around, in America, most families go all out on decorating. Stockings are put above the fire place. Christmas wreaths are hung on our entrance doors. The shiny tinsel that is hung on Christmas trees. There are many different Christmas decorations that one can put up. But what is the story behind them? People started to put up stockings because of one of the most popular Saint Nicholas stories. The one with the dad and his three girls. When Saint Nicholas put the money down the chimney, one of the times the money fell into a stocking. This was an accident. The family was drying a stocking over the fireplace and the money fell into it. This is a tradition that many families have continued. The Christmas wreath is supposed to remind us of Jesus Christ. The holly is supposed to represent the thorns that Jesus wore. The red berries are supposed to represent the blood that Jesus shed. This is supposed to remind us what the Christmas season is really about. The shiny tinsel that we use today is different from the time it was invented. Tinsel was invented in Germany, around 1610. It was originally spun from real silver. When it came to America, it was illegal to have tinsel. This was because it would contain poisonous lead. But this is not something we have to worry about anymore. Tinsel is now made out of plastic. But still be careful because it could still be a choking hazard.