Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

Christmas in Ireland

The Irish get more than their share of love every St. Patrick’s Day but they feel a little left out when it comes to Christmas. That is unfortunate because many of the ancient elements of Christmas have Irish roots. The most Irish of Christmas songs, Christmas in Killarney, briefly references some of the ancient Irish tie-ins to Christmas: The holly green, the ivy green The prettiest picture you’ve ever seen …
Christmas CountdownChristmas FeaturesChristmas HistorySacred Christmas

Candlemas

There are 327 days remaining until Christmas in our countdown but on this day we actually celebrate a day reflective of the fact that Christmas was 40 days ago. This day is known as Candlemas. For many, the thinking of this day as a Christian celebration is natural as many Christian denominations mark this as the day the Christ was presented at the Temple. But it must be remembered that …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Television

DVD Review: Handel’s Messiah

There is perhaps no other music associated with Christmas that people know but know so little about than Handel’s Messiah. In a documentary shown widely on PBS this holiday season BYU Television travels the world to showcase the everlasting popularity of the work and to explore the story of it’s creation. And what a story it is. George Frederich Handel‘s prolific talents were known long before he wrote Messiah but …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Past

Five Things People Get Wrong about The Nativity

I have been on a mission over the course of several Christmas seasons to find a Biblically correct Nativity scene. Like others who celebrate the religious elements of Christmas I am fond of the Nativity story and want it to share space with my Christmas tree, my Christmas lights and other decorations of the season. But I cannot find a Nativity scene that is accurate. These are details lost on …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

Frankincense

They came from distant lands, these kings and wanderers following a star. With them they packed precious gifts fit for a King: gold, myrrh and frankincense. We know what gold is and we know that myrrh was considered then to be an ointment of great value in the lands of the desert. But what is frankincense? Frankincense is the sap of the Frankincense tree, found these days in the lands …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas OpinionChristmas Traditions

Tips for Keeping Santa Special

In the spirit of St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) we offer a few suggestions for keeping the magic of Santa alive. The figure of Santa Claus holds a special place in the heart of anyone who loves Christmas. Belief is not measured in wanting Santa to bring things — belief is embracing the love and hope and joy and giving of the season. Famously it is said that there are …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas History

The First Christmas Tree in England

It was the British royal family’s German connections which led to the introduction of the Christmas tree custom in England. King George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte — who was of German descent– arranged for a great yew tree to be erected inside the Queen’s Lodge at Windsor on December 25 1800. A party of children of the local great-and-good was to take place that Christmas Day, and she had the …
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Ancient Connections of Thanksgiving and Christmas

Here is some fodder for your Thanksgiving day discussions around the turkey — which is the more sacred holiday in America, Thanksgiving or Christmas? Check your learning of history at the door. This history of both holidays goes back further than you know — and both are related to each other in significant ways. Watch this video: Christmas, while constantly under a cloud in regular debates of what is politically …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas History

St. Augustine Brings Christmas to England

Known as the “Apostle of the English,” Augustine (also called Austin; not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo, who came earlier) founded the Christian Church in southern England and became the first archbishop of Canterbury. Augustine was selected as leader of a mission of several dozen monks to England in the 590s. The mission was well-received by King Ethelbert of Kent, who offered them places to live, allowed them …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas History

A Brief History of Christmas Cards

Christmas cards began, as many traditions do, in Victorian England. In the early 1840s John Colcott Horsley printed what we would commonly call a post card today for his friend, Sir Henry Cole, who had the idea for sending his friends a greeting wishing them a Happy Christmas. The idea took off while Europe clamored for them every holiday season as printing technology improved things lagged in America, mostly due …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Movies

Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Miracle on 34th Street

Three films made in quick succession post World War II have endured in the minds of Christmas fans as among the best of films ever made: It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife and Miracle on 34th Street. But of those three films only Miracle on 34th Street was hailed as a classic from the start. The movie business in those first post-war years was risky at best. When films …
Christmas DebatesChristmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Traditions

The Controversy of Who Wrote A Visit from St. Nicholas

One of the more romantic notions associated with Santa Claus and Christmas comes in the form of an early 19th century poem titled A Visit from St. Nicholas. As the legend goes, college professor and devout church man Clement Clarke Moore was out delivering Christmas turkeys on a snowy Christmas Eve at the behest of his wife when he composed a poem to present to his children later that evening …