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Dazzle Them with Odd Christmas Facts
By J Gardener
You're dashing with your kids, from store to store, madly trying to finish your Christmas shopping. You know that it's only a matter of time before the clock runs out on your children's patience, and they start to crash. They're tired of the Christmas CD you've been playing in the car, and the games you've brought along have run their course. You've got three more malls to hit today, and your biggest fear is trying to shop with bored children.

Here's one way to keep them entertained-dazzle them with your knowledge of odd little Christmas facts.

For instance: When you hear the Gene Autry classic "Here Comes Santa Claus"- for the fiftieth time, today-ask your kids if they'd like to visit the real Santa Claus Lane someday. That'll make them think, at least for a minute. Though they may be disappointed at the lack of snow and ice, if they do visit Santa Claus Lane. See, every year since the 1930's, Hollywood Boulevard has been officially re-named Santa Claus Lane, during Hollywood's annual Christmas parade.

More semi-useless, but attention-grabbing facts:

What's the most popular Christmas song of all time? Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas". And "Silent Night"-arguably the most recognizable Christmas hymn-was written in 1818, by an Austrian pastor, Joseph Mohr. As Christmas Eve came, that year, the organ in his church was broken, so together with his friend, Franz Gruber, he wrote this new tune for the service that night, and played it on his guitar for his congregation. And "Jingle Bells" was originally written for a Thanksgiving celebration, in 1857.

As important as Christmas is to us, today, it's only been in the past 150 years or so that the day has been an official holiday, in America. Thanksgiving was a much more important secular holiday to early Americans. In fact, Alabama was the first state in America to recognize Christmas as a holiday, officially, in 1836-and it wasn't until 1905 that Christmas became officially recognized by Oklahoma.

Electric lights for Christmas trees were first invented by The Edison Company in 1882. Up until then, if trees were lit, candles were used-and then, usually only on Christmas Eve night.

The Christmas abbreviation-Xmas-is thought by some to be sacreligious, but in fact the first letter of the Greek word for Christ is chi, which is X. Before the invention



of the printing press, "Xmas" was often used, in print, to save time and ink.

We get our custom of hanging stockings by the mantle from the Dutch, though their custom is to leave wooden shoes by the fireplace-they fill the shoes with fruits for the donkey St. Nicholas uses to carry his gifts for children.

See how easy it is? Just keep tossing out these little tidbits, one by one. Either your kids will marvel at your brilliance, or they'll fall asleep in the car. Either way, they're occupied. And you're almost done; Christmas is almost here. Just keep talking.
Brought to you by Imaginary Greetings, focused on how families get by in this wonderful world of ours. To help create a special holiday tree for your home, visit Santa"s Official Ornament Shop, for the best selection of personalized Christmas ornaments.

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