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Christmas Info

iStock_000008436117XSmall.jpgThe first Christmas trees are believed to have originated as a symbol of Christianity, and date back to the seventh century. That the fir tree would remain evergreen was taken as a symbol of life and may have brought hope into the dark days of winter that the winter would pass and be shortly followed by life’s renewal and warmth to be found in spring and summer.

Have you wondered why we decorate our Christmas trees? Legend has it that in the mid 16th Century a German Monk was returning home one Christmas night, and his journey took him through a star-lit forest.  The stars, twinkling through the tree tops, amazed him and set him thinking. When he reached his home, the Monk tried to share this experience with his family and in order to do this, he shone the light of candles against a fir Christmas tree in the family home. From this small beginning, the custom spread throughout Germany and then the world!

Lighting trees with candles brought another market in decorations for the illuminated tree, and the popularity of Christmas tree decorations gave a new focus to the local German Christmas markets which expanded to create and supply the demand for Christmas items, ranging from gifts, geese, candles, decorations, souvenirs and tinsel.

The Christmas tree custom spread around the world arriving in England, and on to Ireland, in 1841 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. Prince Albert was German and had been brought up in the Christmas tree tradition; he therefore set up a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle to remind him of his homeland.

The link below will take you to Wikipedia which we recommend as a good starting point to take you through an exploration of Christmas traditions and customs all over the world.



"Is there a Santa Claus?"

(A letter from 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon asking the Editor of "The New York Sun" to please tell her whether there really is a Santa Claus.)


The Editor,
Francis P. Church, replied in an editorial, in 1897,  which became famous across the world and which has been printed in newspapers every Christmas ever since.
If you see it in The Sun, it must be true


Dear Editor,
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon,
115 West 95th Street,
New York City


Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love, and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

There would be no childlike faith, then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of

course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are, unseen and unseeable, in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain - and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897


Happychristmas.ie wishes you a very peaceful and very happy Christmas.

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