Christmas

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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  • 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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  • What does the Christmas tree symbolize?

    Q: What does the Christmas tree symbolize?

    A: The Christmas tree symbolizes the spirit of the Christmas season and, to Christians, the everlasting life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, the cross upon which Jesus was crucified is often referred to as a tree. The lights and decorations on the tree represent the wonder and glory associated with the birth and resurrection of Jesus.
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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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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