Some interesting facts about Christmas
Christmas wasn’t always kid friendly
Until the late 18th century, Christmas was a boisterous affair, with roots in the pre-Christian Midwinter and Roman Saturnalia holidays. You’d find more along the lines of drunkenness, debauchery and raucous carousing at this time of year, especially from young men and the underclasses, than “silent night, holy night.” For example, in early forms of wassailing (the forerunner of neighborhood carol-singing) the poor could go into the homes of the rich, demanding the best to drink and eat in exchange for their goodwill. (Once you know this, you’ll never hear “Now bring us some figgy pudding” the same way again!)
Mistletoe is such a plant. But set aside the kissing custom and you’ll find a hundred and one reasons to appreciate the berry-bearing parasite for its very own sake.
David Watson certainly does. So enamored is the mistletoe researcher that his home in Australia brims with mistletoe-themed items including wood carvings, ceramics and antique French tiles that decorate the bathroom and his pizza oven.
And plant evolution expert Daniel Nickrent does, too: He has spent much of his life studying parasitic plants and, at his Illinois residence, has inoculated several maples in his yard — and his neighbor’s — with mistletoes.
But the plants that entrance these and other mistletoe aficionados go far beyond the few species that are pressed into service around the holidays: usually the European Viscum album and a couple of Phoradendron species in North America, with their familiar oval green leaves and small white berries. Worldwide, there are more than a thousand mistletoe species. They grow on every continent except Antarctica — in deserts and tropical rain forests, on coastal heathlands and oceanic islands. And researchers are still learning about how they evolved and the tricks they use to set up shop in plants from ferns and grasses to pine and eucalyptus.
10 Favorite Holiday Movies
- American Tale (1986)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
- Home Alone (1990)
- Love Actually (2003)
- Elf (2003)
- Die Hard (1988)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
- Christmas Story (1983)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
- Is a Wonderful Life (1946)
Christmas and Pandemics
On December 21, 1918, the Ohio State Journal published a warning about the lingering flu pandemic from the state’s acting health commissioner: “Beware the mistletoe.” Not only should readers resist the temptation of a holiday kiss, but they shouldn’t even be at a social gathering where it might come up.
Most popular Stocking stuffer
When it comes to stocking stuffers, one product hits a perfect harmony: the PEZ dispenser. Part character, part candy, and all collectible, the trinket has delighted kids and collectors around the world for decades. And yet when Austrian confectioner Eduard Haas III invented PEZ, he set out to corner an entirely different market.
Wishing All A Very Merry Christmas And Happy Healthy New Year
This Month’s Inspirational Quote:
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge