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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  • Is Santa real?

    Q: Is Santa real?

    A: Santa Claus is a fictional character based on multiple figures. The person most closely connected with the Santa Claus legend is Saint Nicholas, a Greek Christian bishop who helped the poor and left presents for children.
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  • How many reindeer pulled Santa's sleigh?

    Q: How many reindeer pulled Santa's sleigh?

    A: Santa has a team of nine reindeer to pull his sleigh: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, finally, Rudolph, who leads them all with his bright, red nose.
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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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  • What country started the Christmas gift exchange?

    Q: What country started the Christmas gift exchange?

    A: The modern Christmas gift exchange became a central tradition in the 1820s in the United States when newspapers began showing Christmas-themed ads on their pages. Within 40 years, the Macy's store in New York City opened their doors until midnight on Christmas Eve to satisfy demand for Christmas gift shopping.
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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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  • 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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  • Where did the name Kris Kringle originate?

    Q: Where did the name Kris Kringle originate?

    A: Experts do not agree on the origin of the name Kris Kringle. Some believe it is a mispronunciation of Christkind, German for Christ Child. Others feel it originates with the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of Belsnickle.
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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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  • 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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  • How can you fall asleep on Christmas Eve?

    Q: How can you fall asleep on Christmas Eve?

    A: To fall asleep on Christmas Eve, it's best to maintain a relaxed atmosphere during the evening hours. Reading a book or simply enjoying the quiet can help bring sleep easier.
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  • What is NORAD's Santa tracker?

    Q: What is NORAD's Santa tracker?

    A: The NORAD Santa tracker is a public service that tracks the location of Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and travels around the world delivering gifts on Christmas eve. The service is run by a joint Canadian and U.S. organization called the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
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  • How do you make Christmas lights twinkle?

    Q: How do you make Christmas lights twinkle?

    A: It's easy to turn a string of non-blinking Christmas lights into a string of festive twinkling lights. To reduce the risk of shock, Lowes emphasizes always unplugging any string of lights before replacing the bulbs.
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  • Why do people leave Santa cookies and milk at Christmas?

    Q: Why do people leave Santa cookies and milk at Christmas?

    A: It is most likely that the tradition of Santa's cookies and milk stems from the medieval German custom of the "paradise tree." Other thoughts are that it is linked to the Great Depression, Norse mythology or Saint Nicholas himself.
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  • Who is Santa Claus?

    Q: Who is Santa Claus?

    A: 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • What is Santa's hat called?

    Q: What is Santa's hat called?

    A: The hat Santa Claus is depicted as wearing is a stocking cap. A traditional stocking cap has a conical shape, is long and normally features a pompom or tassel at the end. Stocking caps are normally knitted; Santa's is made from fur, according to "A Visit from St. Nicholas."
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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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  • How many countries celebrate Christmas?

    Q: How many countries celebrate Christmas?

    A: At least 160 countries are known to officially celebrate Christmas on or around Dec. 25. However, many countries are known to have unofficial or similar celebrations around the same time.
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