Have you ever wondered why we have a Christmas tree, why we hang up stockings, or what the use of fruitcake is?  The fruitcake is obviously a holiday doorstop.  The rest of it didn't make a lot of sense to me, so I did a little digging.  What I've found should illuminate the dark recess of Christmas like a string of bubble lights that actually work.

The Christmas Letter

lolostock, ThinkStock Images

Writing a letter to Santa is a great tradition.  Not only do you get a great insight to what the child wants for Christmas, it's also great handwriting practice for younger kids.  Did you know there was another, forgotten aspect to this practice.  Originally, the man in red sent a letter to the child telling them to brush their teeth, stop lying, or shut down their illegal casino.  This one goes back to at least the early 1800's.

The Christmas Spider


The Germans gave us this one.  But they also gave us hamburgers and German Chocolate Cake, so it balances out the weirdness of the this one.  The legend says that Santa or Jesus (depending on the story) would turn webs left by the Christmas spider on your Christmas Tree silver if it was decorated with love.  That's where we get tinsel.  That's also why I fumigate my tree heavily.


This one involves the big guy from his early days.  He was solo then, as this was before the elves, the factory, and the reindeer.  Simple old Saint Nick was walking from house to house and saw a poor family that he wanted to wanted to help anonymously.  Being a former point guard, Santa has a wicked shot from downtown.  He used this skill to rain gold coated 3's from outside the window into stockings hung by the chimney to dry.


Getty Images

The origin of mistletoe is so metal, it could be a black metal album cover.  In fact, it seems like a very cool Thor movie plot.  Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Thor's mother Frigga, goddess of love and also the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream of death which scared his mom, cause if he kicked the bucket, all life on earth would kick it as well. Frigga was having none of that noise, so she went to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. Loki, (Tom Hiddleston) knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. the lowly mistletoe. Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , killing Balder. That's when the viking poo hit the Asgardian fan. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother.  Her tears turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The gods decreed that when you stand under the mistletoe, no harm should befall you, only a kiss, a token of love.