CHRISTMAS FROM A-Z
Facts about Christmas for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information
A IS FOR ADVENT & ANGELS
ADVENT, a season observed in many Western Christian churches, is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The equivalent of Advent in Eastern churches is called the
ANGELS played an important role in the
first Christmas. Placing an
angel ornament on top of Christmas trees is a holiday tradition..
B IS FOR BELLS, BETHLEHEM, & BOXING DAY
BELLS play an important part of celebrating Christmas. Ring some
Christmas Bells. Click
here to find out which Christmas songs have the word "Bell" in the title.
BETHLEHEM is the town where Jesus was born. The original
Church of the Nativity was built in the 4th century over the site that is traditionally thought to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The present building was reconstructed in the 6th century and is considered to be the oldest continuously operating Christian church in the world.
BOXING DAY is a holiday celebrated on the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would traditionally receive gifts known as a "Christmas box" from their masters, employers or customers. It is a
National Holiday in Britain and Ireland and there are a variety of special activities.
C IS FOR CANDLES, CANDY CANE, & CARDS
The first use of
CANDLES at Christmas was during the Roman festival of
Saturnalia. During the
Victorian era, candles were used on Christmas trees and were considered a symbol of the Star of Wonder. The
Schlitz Christmas Candlein Schlitz, Germany, is thought to be the largest non-wax candle in the world. Candles also play a significant role in other traditions of the season including Chanukah & Kwanzaa.
CANDY CANE has a symbolic history. Click
HERE to make your own candy canes.
The first Christmas
CARDS were made in England during the Victorian era. Some interesting
facts about Christmas cards. Click
HERE to make your own Christmas card.
D IS FOR DECEMBER & DICKENS
Christmas occurs during the month of
DECEMBER. It is the 12th and last month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of 7 months with the length of 31 days. Click
here for information about special days in December.
DICKENS is sometimes said to have invented the phrase "Merry Christmas". Click
HERE to learn how to say Merry Christmas in many languages.
IS FOR ELVES, EPIPHANY, & EVERGREENS
In American folklore, Christmas
ELVES live with Santa Claus in the North Pole and act as his helpers. They go by differen names in different countries. Click
HERE to get some Christmas Elves coloring pages.
EPIPHANY is also called "The Adoration of the Magi". The word
Magi has been used since at least the 4th century BC to denote followers who had the ability to read the stars and manipulate the fate that the stars foretold. According to Christianity,
The Magi referred to the 3 Kings from the East who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Many kinds of
EVERGREENS are used at Christmas. A
wreath is a symbol of Christmas. Click
HERE to learn how to make a variety of wreaths.
F IS FOR FEAST, FRUITCAKE, & FLOWER
Christmas is synonymous with
Christmas Feast has its roots from before the Middle Ages, but it was during the Victorian period that the dinner we now associate with Christmas began to take shape. Click
HERE to find out what food is now served at Christmas in countries around the world.
FRUITCAKE is a Christmas tradition in many countries. December is
National Fruitcake Month and
Claxton, Georgia is called the Fruitcake Capital of the World. Click
HERE for fruitcake recipes and
HERE for other Christmas desserts. The history of
Figgy Pudding dates back to 16th century England.
A popular Christmas FLOWER is the
Poinsettia which is really not a flower but the red leaves make it look like one. December 12 is
National Poinsettia Day.
G IS FOR GIFTS, GINGERBREAD, & GREETING
H IS FOR HISTORY & HOLLY
HISTORY of many Christmas traditions date back thousands of years. Many countries have their own
HOLLY is a
symbol of Christmas and has been traditionally connected to Christmas and festivals associated with it for centuries.
I IS FOR ICICLES
J IS FOR JESUS & JINGLE BELLS
K IS FOR KINGS & KRIS KRINGLE
three wise men who visited Jesus were also called KINGS. A
star in the sky led them to the Christ Child.
KRIS KRINGLE is an Americanized pronunciation and spelling of Christkind and is distinct in origin and tradition from Santa Claus and Father Christmas. The Christkind ("Christ Child") is the traditional Christmas gift bringer in some European countries.
L IS FOR LEGENDS, LIGHTS, & LUMINARIAS
There are many
LEGENDS associated with Christmas including
La Befana, The
Christmas Rose, and The
Christmas Pickle. Berrien Springs, Michigan, is called the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World by the Pickle Packers International and there is a Pickle Festival in July. Click
HERE to crochet a pickle.
The custom of putting electric
LIGHTS on trees at Christmas started in the 1800s. Some people decorate the
outside of their home with lights during this season. Arizona is the only place in the country that
cactus is decorated with lights.
LUMINARIAS are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. Some places have
unique ways to display these lights. Click
HERE for directions to make safe Luminarias.
M IS FOR MANGER, MISTLETOE, & MUSIC
The earliest known
MANGER scene was started in 1223 by
St. Francis Assisi.
The Christmas custom of kissing under
MISTLETOE goes back hundreds of years.
The history of Christmas
MUSIC dates back many centuries. Some of the more recent
songs have an interesting history.
N IS FOR NOEL, NORTH POLE, & NUTCRACKER
There are several meanings to the word
NOEL. The song
First Noel is a traditional English carol.
There is a real city of
NORTH POLE in Alaska. Nearly two million letters have been mailed to children across the globe, to nearly every country in the world from
Santa Claus House.
NUTCRACKER Ballet is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". The ballet was first performed in 1892. It is now performed by countless
ballet companies throughout the world, primarily during the Christmas season.
O IS FOR ORNAMENTS
Christmas tree decorated with
ORNAMENTS is a relatively new symbol of Christmas. The first ornaments were apples, strings of popcorn, white candy canes & pastries in the shapes of stars, hearts and flowers. Click
HERE for instructions on how to make Christmas ornaments.
P IS FOR PARADE, PILGRIMS, PINATA, & POEM
Hollywood Christmas PARADE was held in 1928. It is an annual parade that takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in the Hollywood, California, featuring various celebrities among its participants. Every year there is a
Grand Marshal. The Grand Marshal for 2017 is singer/actress
PILGRIMS did not celebrate Christmas and a law was passed fining people who did. But the day was so popular that the law was repealed in 1682, although strong religious opposition lasted into the next century.
Colonial Virginia did celebrate Christmas.
Breaking a PINATA is a traditional Christmas game. Click
HERE for instructions to make a pinata.
"Twas The Night Before Christmas" is a favorite Christmas POEM.
Christmas Poems date back to the 14th century and many have become songs.
Q IS FOR QUAKERS AND QUIZ
QUAKERS celebrated Christmas in different ways and still do.
QUIZ about Christmas. Take a trivia quiz about Christmas
Christmas Do some Christmas
R IS FOR REINDEERS & RELIGIONS
REINDEERS have many uses including pulling
Santa's sleigh. The most famous reindeer of all -
Rudolph - even has his own
song and movie.
Christian RELIGIONS celebrate Christmas. Several places celebrate
St. Lucia Day at Christmas. Many
Non-Christian Religions observe the holiday but choose to focus on secular traditions and family. Most of them will take part in the traditions of putting up Christmas trees, hanging lights, exchanging gifts, and visits from Santa Claus.
S IS FOR SANTA CLAUS, STAMPS, & STOCKING
SANTA CLAUS also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins. The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure of
Sinterklaas, which may have part of its basis in tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas. A nearly identical story is attributed by Greek and Byzantine folklore to Basil of Caesarea.
Many countries issue special
Christmas STAMPS. The first first Christmas Stamp is said to have been issued by
Canada in 1898. In 1962 the United States Postal Service issued its
first Christmas Stamp and in 1996 it issued its first
Christmas Seals are labels placed on mail during the Christmas season to raise funds and awareness for charitable programs.
The traditional Christmas
STOCKING has special meanings in different countries. In 2011 Italy broke the record for the
largest Christmas stocking.
T IS FOR TOYS & TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Every year there are certain
TOYS that are especially popular during the Christmas season. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
TOYS for Tots Program collects toys and distributes them to needy children in the community in which the campain is conducted. Christmas
crackers are popular in Ireland, England, and Commonwealth countries.
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, also known as
Christmastide are the festive days beginning Christmas Day. There is a
song by that title.
U IS FOR UMBLE
UMBLE pie was a popular medieval dish. "To eat Humble Pie" means: You will have to admit your are wrong. Click
HERE how to make Umble Pie.
V IS FOR VICTORIAN & VOCABLUARY
W IS FOR WASSAIL, WHITE HOUSE, & WORLD
WASSAIL is a traditional Christmas drink used to make a toast. Click
HERE for Wassail recipe.
Wassailing falls into 2 different groups: House-Wassail and Orchard-Wassail.
The first indoor
Christmas Tree was installed in the WHITE HOUSE sometime in the 19th century. Every year the First Lady selects a them. In 2016 the theme was
Gift of the Holidays. The tree is selected from various growers nationwide. In 2016, it came from Pennsylvania. The
National Christmas Tree is a large evergreen tree located in the northeast quadrant of the The Ellipse near the White House.
Christmas is the most universally celebrated holiday around the
X IS FOR XMAS
XMAS is an abbreviation for Christmas. The first recorded celebration of
Christmas took place in December A.D. 336 in Rome.
Y IS FOR YULE LOG & YULE TIDE
YULE LOG is a large and extremely hard log which is burned in the hearth as a part of traditional Yule or Christmas celebrations in several European cultures. It may also be associated with the Winter Solstice festival or the Twelve Days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or Twelfth Night. It is also a
YULE TIDE occurs during the
winter solstice. It is the time at which the Sun is appearing at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year.
Z IS FOR ZWARTE PIET
ZWARTE PIET helps St. Nicolas distribute presents in the Netherlands.
This page would not be complete without including other
special occasions that occur at this time of year.
HANUKKAH & KWANZAA
HANUKKAH dates back over 2,200 years.
I could not resist including a link to the song
Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer because my mother loves it.
KWANZAA is a secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26 to January 1 as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values.
Click on the title to hear the tune as you sing the words.
THANK YOU to the people who provided information links for this webpage.