Jingle Bells Is Not A Christmas Song, So Stop Playing It.
Jingle Bells was the first song to be broadcast from space. It was also written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas. James Lord Pierpont composed it to play to his Sunday School class during Thanksgiving to celebrate the Medford sleigh races.
I have a rule at Christmas, it’s not officially Christmas time until I have heard Fairytale of New York out, not out-out, I mean just out and about, in a shop, on the radio, or just around. It is reported that The Pogues make about £400,000 a year from that song alone and somehow Paul McCartney still earns about £250,000 from his Christmas song, which is widely regarded as the worst song he ever recorded.
Now that I have that out of the way, I should probably mention that I’m not the most Christmassy of people. Since the kids have been around I will make an effort, but I am a bit bah humbug about the whole affair. So people bringing up Christmas in November will probably not make my Christmas card list! December folks, that’s when you are allowed to discuss this matter and not before! I may be wrong, but I’m sure it is unlucky to put your decorations up before December the first and they had to be back in the loft by the twelfth night, January the 6th for your information, which is also Three Kings Day, which in turn is more important in many parts of the World than Christmas day. There is a reason for the decoration rule as there is also a reason that an advent calendar starts on the first of December, so Christmas festivities and shenanigans should follow suit. There are twelve days of Christmas and none of them start with a November!
Whilst having a private rant to myself about Christmas it got me thinking. This, in turn, got me googling, which in turn can only lead to trouble. Yes, I get the irony that my angry private rants have led directly to me breaking my own rule about thinking about Christmas in November, but I wanted facts that I could bore the kids with, facts that I could fight back at the Christmas lovers covering my social media with jolly Noel type good tidings!
Let’s start with Iceland, after all, it’s relatively close to the North Pole. All you Christmassy people may want to visit, they have 13 Santa’s, alas they don’t have that many to celebrate for longer. Christmas starts 13 days before and one of the jolly Father Christmas visits each day and leaves a small gift under the tree or in a shoe for all the well behaved children, the naughty ones get a rotten potato. The only downside is, there is an elderly lady called Gryla who tags along and she kidnaps the really naughty kids and boils them in her cauldron.
The Star of Bethlehem that the three wise men followed, was either a comet or Uranus and not a star. I only mention this fact because I still giggle like a schoolboy when I say Uranus, however, according to Luke, the Bible says it was the Shepherds who visited the New Born Jesus, the wise men didn’t rock up until he was a young child. The bible doesn’t actually state it was three, that is an assumption due to the three gifts. Either way, they were late, so I’m ditching them from my nativity scene on the mantlepiece this year.
Of all the different names for Father Christmas around the world, my favourites are Deushka Moroz (Russia) or Kriss Kringle (Germany). The Germans believe that Christmas Eve is a magical time and the pure in heart can hear animals talking and the rivers will turn to wine. Christmas trees will blossom and bear fruit and gifts. The Dutch, however, have a slightly different approach to the whole thing. Apparently, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) arrives from Spain and not the North Pole and his little helpers steal your kids if they are misbehaving, taking them back to Spain, which according to the Dutch is a severe punishment.
Next year I’m off to Japan, either that or I’m going to open a KFC franchise over there, they have KFC for Christmas Dinner. With the percentage of Christians in Japan being so low, a lot of families head to their nearest KFC and scoff some Fried Chicken. Very much like the image of Father Christmas we all have in our mind actually being brought to us in a form of marketing by Coca-Cola, the ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ campaign started in 1947 and aimed mainly at foreigners and tourists in Japan, became so successful that they promoted it every year and the fast food giant have become strongly associated with the festive period.
Bringing it closer to home, it is estimated that over £18,000,000,000 will be withdrawn from UK cashpoint machines over the upcoming Christmas period and £700 million will be spent on unwanted Christmas presents. Do you want to know who to blame when you spend the entire Christmas holiday vacuuming those pesky pine needles from your lounge floor? it was Germany’s Prince Albert, who after marrying Queen Victoria first bought the tradition of having a Christmas Tree to the UK.
And just to clarify, pulling our cheery chap around the world on Christmas Eve are; Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. Not Rudolph, he was completely made up by a shop to help sell colouring books and he didn’t have a red nose either, that came later.
Gtyla Image: commons.wikimedia.org