How did Christmas come to be?
Ah, Christmas. The season of giving, family togetherness, snowball fights, and layaway. But where did this wonderful holiday come from?
Christmas can be traced all the way back to the year 1 AD!
Whether you are religious or not, there is no doubt that Jesus Christ played a huge role in the development of Christmas. In fact, many researchers agree that the birth of Jesus Christ was the reason why Christmas existed. As to whether or not December 25 is the day Christ was born is unconfirmed – the bible doesn’t state the date of Jesus Christ’s birth.
One theory about Christmas is that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25. In order to relieve the church from sinful lies about their Lord Jesus Christ and paganism, church leaders created a holiday on December 25 that was totally separate from religious affairs. On this day people would celebrate the start of days getting longer (Saturnalia) after many months of darkness and shorter days.
But when did Christmas turn from Religion to Reindeers, Elves, Christmas Trees, and Santa?
There are many theories as to how the modern Christmas came about.
One theory states that Santa Claus came from the old 4th century Bishop Nicholas, who lived in Myra. They say that this jolly old fellow threw gold coins in poor people’s windows so that the families can afford to wed their daughters.
In the 19th century, a painter named Moritz Schwind took this image of Old Saint Nicholas and developed him as the image of Santa Claus through a painting of winter. In his painting, the old man had a long white beard, as was custom for winter-related paintings at the time. Ever since then, Santa Claus always had a long white beard.
In the 1930’s Santa was finally given his signature red suit and white fur. A Swedish painter named Haddon Sundblom created this new look of Santa Claus for the Coca Cola Company, and ever since then this image has been used to portray Santa Claus.
So, essentially, the reason why Santa Claus is so red and jolly is because of the Coca Cola company.
Weird, isn’t it?
What about the Elves and the Reindeer?
What’s Santa Claus without his trusty elves and his Rudolph ride, right?
The beginnings of these holiday mythical creatures started with a poem by Thomas Nast titled “The Night Before Christmas”. You can read the poem below:
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the houseNot a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.Away to the window I flew like a flash,Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snowGave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roofThe prancing and pawing of each little hoof.As I drew in my head, and was turning around,Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.He had a broad face and a little round belly,That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.And laying his finger aside of his nose,And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,”Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Ever since then it has become a tradition to mention elves and reindeer in Christmas stories and gatherings. Soon this popular poem was told worldwide by parents to their children, and their children’s children.
And now, many many years later, we have Christmas!