Christmas

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Santa Claus is a figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins. Among several Western practices, he is believed to bring gifts to the homes of good children on the eve of Christmas (December 24). Other common names for Santa Claus are Saint Nicholas, Kris Krinngle or simply “Santa.”

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  • Who wrote the song "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas"?

    Q: Who wrote the song "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas"?

    A: According to About.com, the song "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" was initially published anonymously. Historians often attribute authorship of the song to Benjamin Hanby. Some people also credit singer Wilf Carter, also known as Montana Slim, with writing the song, because he was the first to record it.
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  • Where did the Christmas tree come from?

    Q: Where did the Christmas tree come from?

    A: The tradition of the Christmas tree originates with pagan worshippers who decorated their homes with green boughs during the winter solstice. They believed that the long nights occurred because the sun god was ill. Placing a bough in the home during the solstice celebrated the waning of winter's power.
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  • Where does Santa Claus live?

    Q: Where does Santa Claus live?

    A: Depending on each country's culture, nationalpost.com explains that Santa Claus's home is believed to exist in various locations, such as the North Pole, Drobak, Lapland and Greenland. The claim that Santa lives in the North Pole is most commonly attributed to North America and Britain.
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  • What are the names of Santa's nine reindeer?

    Q: What are the names of Santa's nine reindeer?

    A: According to tradition, Santa's nine reindeer are named Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Vixen and the red-nosed reindeer, Rudolph. They were first brought together in Robert L. Mays' 1939 book "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," published by Montgomery Ward as a Christmas advertising promotion.
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  • How can I get a Santa letter postmarked from the North Pole?

    Q: How can I get a Santa letter postmarked from the North Pole?

    A: Santa letters postmarked from the North Pole are available from the U.S. Postal Service. The letter envelopes receive a stamp bearing the name "Santa" as the letter's sender.
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  • Why do you celebrate Christmas?

    Q: Why do you celebrate Christmas?

    A: Christians celebrate Christmas to rejoice over the birth of Jesus Christ, who is believed to be the son of God. Others celebrate Christmas as a season of love, family and joy as well as a day of giving and receiving gifts.
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  • What are the names of Santa Claus' reindeer?

    Q: What are the names of Santa Claus' reindeer?

    A: Santa's eight regular reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph also worked for Santa during a particularly foggy Christmas Eve. Donner and Blitzen were originally called Dunder and Blixem.
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  • Where do letters to Santa go?

    Q: Where do letters to Santa go?

    A: Letters to Santa stay in the area where they were mailed, unless the envelope lists a specific address, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Volunteers sort through and respond to the letters.
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  • How do Christians celebrate Christmas?

    Q: How do Christians celebrate Christmas?

    A: Christians celebrate the religious holiday of Christmas in many ways, including Nativity plays, special church services, singing Christmas carols and exchanging gifts. Families often have many personal traditions since the holiday is commonly defined as a time of family gathering.
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  • What are the twelve days of Christmas?

    Q: What are the twelve days of Christmas?

    A: The 12 days of Christmas is the period of days between Dec. 25 and Jan. 6, which is called the Epiphany. The Epiphany celebrates the divinity of Jesus Christ.
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  • What is Santa's phone number?

    Q: What is Santa's phone number?

    A: Children can call Santa at 951-262-3062 to hear a holiday greeting from St. Nick and advise him of their wish lists. To speak to a real, live Santa, children can call 1-877-HI-NORAD or 1-877-446-6723.
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  • What is the meaning of an orange in a Christmas stocking?

    Q: What is the meaning of an orange in a Christmas stocking?

    A: An orange included within a Christmas stocking is representative of St. Nicholas giving gold that was used to provide dowry money. Legend suggests that this gold was thrown to people by St. Nicholas and was in the form of golden balls.
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  • What is Santa Claus called in Germany?

    Q: What is Santa Claus called in Germany?

    A: In Germany, Santa Claus is referred to as "Weihnachtsmann" and the literal English translation of that name is "Christmas Man." Christmas in Germany is celebrated in a similar way to Christmas in the United States, except Santa Claus visits on Christmas Eve as opposed to Christmas Day.
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  • What are the different types of Christmas trees?

    Q: What are the different types of Christmas trees?

    A: There are several different tree species used as Christmas trees, such as the fir, pine, spruce, cypress and cedar. For each of the main category of Christmas trees, there are also different types among those. Plus, there are many different varieties of artificial Christmas trees available.
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  • What does an upside-down Christmas tree mean?

    Q: What does an upside-down Christmas tree mean?

    A: An upside-down Christmas tree is meant to represent the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The custom is traced back to a 12th-century religious tradition of Central Europeans, who hung inverted trees decorated with candles.
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  • What is the difference between Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus?

    Q: What is the difference between Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus?

    A: Saint Nicholas was a Bishop who lived during the fourth century A.D. in the city of Myra, located in what is now present-day Turkey. Santa Claus is a fictional character that is based largely on the stories of Saint Nicholas. Over time, stories of the real St. Nicholas and the fictional Santa Claus merged to create folk stories where the two are one and the same.
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  • How old is Santa?

    Q: How old is Santa?

    A: Santa’s age is unknown. Based on historical documents mentioning him, Santa has been around since about 280 A.D., which would make him more than 1,700 years old.
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  • Where can you find free Christmas toys for low-income families?

    Q: Where can you find free Christmas toys for low-income families?

    A: Three national organizations that provide free Christmas toys for low income families are Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, and Operation Santa Claus. There are many more on the state and local level as well, but these three are accessible across the country.
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  • How many Christmas trees are sold each year?

    Q: How many Christmas trees are sold each year?

    A: According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there were 24.5 million real trees and 10.9 million fake trees purchased in the United States in 2012. This equates to a total of 35.4 million Christmas trees.
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  • What is the hot item for Christmas this year?

    Q: What is the hot item for Christmas this year?

    A: The number one hot item for Christmas this year is the Amazon Kindle, according to ILoveIndia.com. The tablet can be used for various activities including gaming, reading, video chatting or browsing the web.
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  • Who started Christmas?

    Q: Who started Christmas?

    A: A specific person did not start Christmas, but Christmas is a traditional holiday celebrated by people throughout the world for different reasons. People find joy in exchanging gifts with one another and honoring religious tradition, and early peoples celebrated Christmas for similar purposes. Although Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in America, the holiday is commemorated on the winter solstice and alternate days of the year in other nations.
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