A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Any Laplander will tell you that all reindeer have antlers. However, they will also tell you that male reindeer lose their antlers in late November or early December, whereas female reindeer do not lose their antlers until spring. Therefore, the reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh are all female – including Rudolph. There were originally eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph was added in 1939 when Robert L May created a colouring book for retailer Montgomery Ward to give away at Christmas. The book told the now familiar story of Rudolph and how he came to guide Santa’s sleigh. Ten years later, in 1949, Gene Autry had finished colouring all the pictures, so he decided to record a song based on the Rudolph story. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was an instant hit, and Rudolph has been around ever since.
“Frosty the Snowman” was written by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson in 1950, for Gene Autry, who wanted to follow up the success of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from the previous year.
Originally, there was one other reindeer in Santa’s team pulling the sleigh on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately he became bitter and belligerent, so Santa had to take appropriate disciplinary action. His name was Dinner.
The names of The Three Wise Men are Gaspar, Melchoir and Balthasar not Manny, Moe and Jack as some TV ads would lead you to believe. However, if you want to astound your friends with your Christmas knowledge or win drinks at any pub in the world just ask the question; Which Wise Man brought which gift? The answer is Melchoir brought gold, Balthasar brought frankincense and Gaspar, who, like most of us left his Christmas shopping to the last minute, brought myrrh (whatever that is.)
The traditional Christmas poinsettia originally came from Mexico. It was first brought to the United States by Joel Poinsett in the 1820s. Even after all these years, the name is still almost universally mispronounced.
Although, under various aliases, Santa Claus is claimed by a number of countries he is, in fact, a Canadian citizen. On December 23rd, 2008, the Canadian government’s Minister of Citizenship, Jason Kenney, declared, “The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian Citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete.”
Like most of the cool Christmas traditions, candy canes come from Germany. They started out, in the late 17th century, as white sticks of candy given to children to keep them quiet during the long and infinitely boring Christmas church services. Many people believe candy canes are bent so they could hang on the Christmas tree. Originally, however, the canes were bent to resemble a shepherd’s crook and so calm the objections of stodgy old churchmen who didn’t want kids having candy in church.
If you’re trapped in Dublin at Christmas, “Merry Christmas” in Irish is “Nollaig Shona Dhuit” but I have no idea how to pronounce it.
Oddly enough, Mrs. Claus does not have a first name; nor, for that matter does any of the elves.
Canada was the first country to issue Christmas stamps — in 1898.
Nova Scotia exports more Christmas trees than anywhere else in the world.
The reason that relentless movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, is on TV so much is that television stations don’t have to pay for it. Apparently, when it was made, there was a mix-up in the contracts, so nobody who worked on the film — including the actors — ever gets residuals.
It is a well-known fact that the stupid “Little Drummer Boy” (who was put on this earth to annoy me) has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. The real little drummer boy was a pickpocket and sneak thief who fell in with the Three Wise Men in order to gain their confidence and eventually rob them. He was already a hardened criminal by that time and had a list of previous offences as long as the Ohio River. He was caught with his hand in the frankincense jar and sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour — which is exactly what the treacherous little bugger deserved.
Did you know? There was once a dyslexic devil worshipper who sold his soul to Santa.
“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.” – Erma Bombeck
“All Christmas trees are perfect.” – Charles N Barnard
“It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.” – Henry Van Dyke (Dick and Jerry’s other brother?)
“Christmas is a whispered conspiracy of love.” – Anon
“Nothing is as mean as giving a child something useful for Christmas.” – Kin Hubbard
“Santa is very jolly ‘cause he knows where all the naughty girls live.” – Dennis Miller
“Bah! Humbug!” – Ebenezer Scrooge
“Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody!” – Ogden Nash