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Rudolph the Reindeer was created by Montgomery Ward?

How much do we really know about Christmas? Rudolph the Reindeer was created by a department store? What is the symbolism behind red, green and gold and what they mean for Christmas? ‘Jingle Bells’ was originally meant as a Thanksgiving song and not for Christmas. Read on and enjoy (courtesy of the factfile.org).

-- The image of Santa Claus flying his sleigh began in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who dreamt up the Headless Horseman.

-- The Montgomery Ward department store created Rudolph the Reindeer as a marketing gimmick to encourage children to buy their Christmas coloring books.

-- The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.

-- Clement Moore’s poem introduced eight more reindeer for Santa’s sleigh and their names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner and Blixem (for the German words for thunder and lightning). These later evolved into Donner and Blitzen.

-- Most of these names are male-sounding names. Male reindeer shed their antlers in winter, however, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are more than likely female or castrated.

-- Dutch children also left out food and drink for St. Nicholas himself to honor him on his feast day. Today we leave milk and cookies out for Santa, continuing this very old tradition.

-- America’s first batch of eggnog was made in the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Its name comes from the word “grog”, meaning any drink made with rum. Non-alcoholic eggnog is popular as well.

-- Want to know a useful way to recycle your Christmas tree? Some zoos take donated Christmas trees and use them as food for the animals.

-- In 2010 during the Christmas season, the Colombian government decorated jungle trees with lights. The trees lit up when the guerrillas (terrorists) walked by and banners appeared asking them to surrender their arms. The campaign convinced 331 guerillas to re-enter society and also won an award for strategic marketing excellence.

-- Bicycle, the U.S. playing card company, manufactured cards to give all the POWS in Germany during World War II as Christmas presents. These cards, when soaked in water, revealed an escape route for POWs. The Nazis never knew.

-- The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.

-- The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.

-- The tradition of hanging stockings comes from a Dutch legend. A poor man had three daughters for whom he could not afford to provide a dowry. St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down his chimney and gold coins fell out and into the stockings drying by the fireplace. The daughters now had dowries and could be married, avoiding a life on the streets.

-- “White Christmas”, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Winter Wonderland”, “The Christmas Song” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” plus the melody for “O Holy Night” were all written or co-written by Jews.

-- Brenda Lee recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” when she was only 13 years old.

-- If you gave all the gifts listed in the Twelve Days of Christmas, it would equal 364 gifts.

-- Almost 28 sets of LEGO are sold every second during the Christmas season.

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