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Truth About Mistletoe and Other Christmas Nuggets

By Tim O'Brien
Posted Dec 20, 2011 in Odd News
In a nutshell, and I'm not talking about "The Nutcracker" on this, let's delve into a few Christmas nuggets that you many not know about. Every year, the same stories get rolled out, but how about some that do not, or may have been forgotten.
... Clement C. Moore didn't want his name associated with the poem he wrote about "A Visit From St. Nicholas." It would become what we know as "Twas The Night Before Christmas." Why, you ask? He didn't want to hurt his reputation as a professor. For 20 years, he kept the secret of him penning the classic tale.
... Santa, by any name he takes, can be traced back to Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.
... the last song in "It's A Wonderful Life" was supposed to be "Ode to Joy."
... Santa won an Oscar, so to speak. Edmond Gwenn won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for portraying the jolly one in "Miracle on 34th Street." Yeah, but who played the drunk one at the beginning of the show?
... Festivus was not the creation of the "Seinfeld" team. They adopted the story from a writer from their team and his accounts of such a holiday in his family. It dates back to a Reader's Digest story in 1966.
... if it wasn't for commercialization, perhaps "A Charlie Brown Christmas" might have never aired. It got a much-needed sponsor in Coca-Cola.
... there is no record that Martin Luther was the first to put candles on a tree. After the idea spread, though, they had to be very, very careful. You think?
... Count em. It takes 364 presents to get them all in the 12 days song. Oh, in the original, it is not gold rings, as in the ones we wear on fingers. It was golden-ringed pheasants. That surely would bring the price of them down. Yes, that is in reference to the story they print every year about the cost. Yawner.
... because Henry Travers, who played Clarence Oddbody AS2, in "It's A Wonderful Life" was also in "Bells of St. Mary's," they used that on the marque. The AS2 is Angel Second Class.
... it sounded nice to hear and read that mice gnawed through the organ and ruined the debut of a piece titled "Still Nacht! Heilege Nache." Many now dispute this claim but that didn't stop "Silent Night" from being performed in 1816.
... the movie "White Christmas" came about because of "Holiday Inn." That movie made the song "White Christmas" popular as it was introduced in it.
... we pardon turkeys for Thanksgiving. Why not a tree for Christmas? Let's move on, shall we?
... we can also thank Coca-Cola for giving us the red and white color spectrum for Santa. Sure, Thomas Nast gave us the look, but it was Coke who brought on the color red. Of course, they made him drink the product. That was in 1931.
... speaking, or writing, of Nast, he also gave us the Democrat Donkey and the Republican Elephant.
... When you think about it, the drummer boy should have never been let in the stable. "Hey, keep it down with those drums. A baby is sleeping in here."
... mistletoe is a parasite. It makes sense to think that we kiss under a parasite plant. We often feel like it when under it, too.
... poinsettias are not poisonous. That doesn't mean you should eat them.
... back to mistletoe: the real way to go about this. You have a plant with berries and pick one after each kiss. When the berries are down, the kissing is done.
... thanks to "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," I have been in therapy for many years. Huh? Truth is, when this tune came out, there was great concern over the lyrics and the idea of mommy doing this act. Oh, it's dad. But wait, it's Santa. Got it.
... in that poem mentioned earlier about a night before Christmas, it doesn't mention Santa Claus.
... the same year "A Christmas Carol" was published in England (1843), Christmas cards originated.
... the idea that there was "no room in the Inn" when Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem was a good thing; to me, at least. Let's see. There was a census and all the rooms were booked (and not through, and most likely overcrowded, so would it have been safe to be there? Nope. Then add the seedy characters who were forced to gather because on the census. All of this added up to a dangerous climate for sure. Enter the person who gave them a stable, or most likely, a cave in which to camp. It was safer and out of the way. No wonder why it took the Wise Men so long. I heard they refused to ask for directions.
... mistletoe, literally, means "twig dung." That's the same nickname I gave my Uncle Willie.
...truth is, Charles Dickens wanted to make money like Scrooge after he penned "A Christmas Carol." See my story on Digital Journal, on my blog or under the headline: Here's How Scrooge Saved Christmas.
Source: conceived from an idea in "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Christmas Collection." 2005. Plus, compiled from a column I wrote for 13 years for a few newspapers in the Midwest. The column was titled Tidbits & Trivia.