Legends and myths about Christmas

No celebration, religious or secular, dominates western society as thoroughly as Christmas. For nearly two months of the year we find ourselves awash in all the trappings of the season: Christmas cards, Christmas music, Christmas trees, Christmas lights — even Christmas postage stamps! Nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus dot the landscape, and images of Santa Claus are inescapable during the two-month long advertising blitz mounted by purveyors of merchandise. A celebration so venerated, so long-lasting, and so ubiquitous — rich with traditions of both religious and secular origins — could scarcely avoid creating a rich legacy of folklore and legends. Here is but a sampling of some of the many tales we associate with Christmas and the holiday season.

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Green bullet Video captures home Christmas light display synchronized to a musical score.*

Yellow bullet Jesus was born on December 25.

Red bullet The Bible says that exactly three wise men traveled from afar on camels to visit the infant Jesus as he lay in the manger.

Red bullet The character 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' was created by a father to bring comfort to his daughter as her mother was dying of cancer.

Green bullet Two of Santa's reindeer were originally named 'Dunder' and 'Blixem,' not 'Donner' and 'Blitzen.'

Red bullet The suicide rate increases significantly during the winter holiday season.

Red bullet Poinsettia plants are poisonous to humans.

White bullet Man dressed as Santa Claus gets stuck in chimney and dies.

White bullet Christmas display features a smiling Santa Claus nailed to a cross.

Red bullet The term Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus by the Virgin Mary.

Red bullet The name of Boxing Day comes from the need to rid the house of empty boxes the day after Christmas.

White bullet The origins of the yule log.

Red bullet Candy canes were created to symbolize Jesus, their shape representing the letter "J" and their colors standing for the purity and blood of Christ.

White bullet A nativity play takes an unusual turn when the innkeeper departs from the script.

Green bullet The holiday season abounds with superstitions.

Green bullet Christmas cards date to 1843.

Green bullet The true story about two brothers-in-law and a pair of pants swapped back and forth between them.

Red bullet The song The Twelve Days of Christmas was created as a coded reference to important articles of the Christian faith.

Red bullet 'Xmas' is a modern, disrespectful abbreviation of the word 'Christmas'.

White bullet The ultimate fruitcake recipe.

White bullet Mixup with Christmas cards results in embarrassing faux pas.

Red bullet The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year in America.*

Yellow bullet A blow-up doll clad in pantyhose caused hilarity.

Green bullet Toys left with a Wal-Mart to be donated to needy kids were returned to shelves for resale.

Green bullet A U.S. serviceman wrote a poem describing a soldier's lonely night before Christmas

Yellow bullet Another U.S. serviceman wrote a poem describing a soldier's night before Christmas.

White bullet Misheard lyrics to Christmas songs are immortalized as 'mondegreens.'

Green bullet German and British front-line soldiers sang carols, exchanged gifts, and played soccer during a World War I Christmas truce.

Red bullet Power companies are fining customers for keeping their holiday lights up too long.

Green bullet Law firm issues Seussian response to a motion by opposing counsel for the court to ignore a lawyer's Christmas vacation request.

White bullet E-mails from company's Human Resources Director document the difficulties of office holiday party planning.

Red bullet Photograph shows child crying upon seeing Santa Claus' grave.

Green bullet In Canada, Santa's postal code is H0H 0H0.

White bullet Story about baby smothered under pile of partygoers' coats imparts reminder to not forget Jesus in holiday celebrations.*

Green bullet Fans in Philadelphia once booed and threw snowballs at Santa Claus.

Red bullet The modern image of Santa Claus was created by the Coca-Cola Company.

White bullet All of Santa's reindeer are female.

White bullet Article describes the physics involved in Santa's delivering presents all over the world.

Green bullet Photograph shows holiday display depicting a homeowner trapped by a fallen ladder while installing Christmas decorations.

Green bullet Photograph shows "the world's largest Christmas tree display."

Red bullet A fired department store Santa gained revenge by spelling out a crude message in lights.

Yellow bullet Photograph shows a Christmas card featuring a family photo taken at a jail.

Yellow bullet Photograph shows a "thank you" sign to Jews from the Chinese Restaurant Association of the U.S.

Red bullet Video shows holiday lights in Brighton which incorporate rude images and messages.

Green bullet NORAD annually tracks Santa's progress because a wrong phone number in a newspaper advertisement was once misdialed.

Red bullet The opening line of the Christmas carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" means "God make you mighty, gentlemen."

Red bullet Jingle Bells was written as a Christmas song.

David Mikkelson founded in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.