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Why We Kiss Under
The Mistletoe

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward off evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and among Romans it was said that enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandanavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it is probably from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

Saint Nicholas is in Bari, Italy

The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children. After his death around 340 A.D. he was buried in Myra, but in 1087 Italian sailors purportedly stole his remains and removed them to Bari, Italy, greatly increasing St. Nicholas’ popularity throughout Europe.

St. Nicholas Basilica, The Basilica di San Nicola (Saint Nicholas), was founded to receive the relics of this saint that now lie beneath the altar in the crypt.

The Custom of Christmas Cards

The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children. After his death around 340 A.D. he was buried in Myra, but in 1087 Italian sailors purportedly stole his remains and removed them to Bari, Italy, greatly increasing St. Nicholas’ popularity throughout Europe.

St. Nicholas Basilica, The Basilica di San Nicola (Saint Nicholas), was founded to receive the relics of this saint that now lie beneath the altar in the crypt.

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The Creation Of
Gingerbread Houses

The tradition of making decorated gingerbread houses started in Germany in the early 1800s not long after the Grimm Brothers published their collection of fairy tales. The particular tale that made those houses so popular was of course Hansel and Gretel.

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Christmas Cookies

The earliest examples of Christmas cookies in the United States were brought by the Dutch in the early 17th century. Due to a wide range of cheap imported products from Germany between 1871 and 1906 following a change to importation laws, cookie cutters became available in American markets. These imported cookie cutters were of all types of holiday images and they were designed to hang on Christmas trees. Due to the availability of these utensils, recipes began to appear in cookbooks designed to use them.

Since the 1930s, children have left cookies and milk on a table for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

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