some holiday myths debunked:
Abbreviating Christmas as Xmas “takes the Christ out of Christmas”
Abbreviating Christmas as Xmas doesn’t really “take the Christ out of Christmas.” The X in “Xmas” stands for the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in Christos, the Greek word for “Christ,” and a commonly used symbol to represent the name of Christ in religious writings.
Don’t eat the Poinsettias..
The rumor that poinsettias* are poisonous was started in 1919 when the 2-year-old child of an Army officer died, and ingestion of poinsettia leaves was assumed to be the cause. This was never proven, and no deaths from poinsettias have been reported since.
A study by Ohio State University and the American Society of Florists fed rats high doses of pulverized poinsettia leaves, which failed to kill them or even cause any side effects. A 50-pound child would have to ingest more than 500 poinsettia leaves to exceed the doses given to the rats. Considering that the leaves have a bitter, unpleasant taste, it’s unlikely a small child or pet would eat more than one bite. While it’s still not a good idea to eat poinsettias–or any other houseplants, for that matter–the worst that could happen to your child or pet is an upset stomach.
Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 because that’s when Jesus was born.
The date of Jesus’ birth is not mentioned in the Bible. In fact, the context of the story of the birth of Jesus indicates that it occurred in the springtime. There are many theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25, the most common of which holds that the date was chosen by Christians to overshadow a pagan festival celebrating the winter solstice.
The real St. Nicholas was a bishop in the early 4th century who hailed from a region known today as Turkey.
Saint Nicholas was born around 280 AD near Myra in modern-day Turkey. He is said to have given away all of his wealth and devoted his life to helping the poor often by anonymously leaving small gifts for those in need. Admired for his kindness and piety, he became known as the patron saint of children and sailors (among many others). The legend of St. Nicholas spread, and by the Renaissance, he was the most popular saint in Europe. In Holland, where he was called “Sint Nikolaas” or “Sinter Klaas,” he developed into a Christmas gift-giver. Dutch immigrants brought the tradition to America, where his name eventually became the familiar “Santa Claus.”