Christmas comes but once a year so the song goes, but it brings with it sights and sounds that to an outsider would seem strangely bizarre. We take a look at a few of the stranger things we do, say, eat or even wear during the festive season.
The Nut Cracker
As kitchen utensils go, the nut cracker is probably the least used, probably because it doesn’t see the light of day between January and November. However, from the 25th of December for approximately 3 days, it gets a full years use. This has to be one of the strangest traditions at Christmas, at all other times of the year we are happy to have our Walnuts and Brazil nuts already shelled, but at Christmas we insist on doing the shelling ourselves.
Door to Door Carol Singers
Carols that commemorate the birth of Jesus were first found written in Latin and were thought to of been written during the 4th and 5th centuries. However, they only started appearing at Christmas in the 13th Century when St Francis of Assisi supposedly started to add them to his Christmas services. After Oliver Cromwell banned all Christmas celebrations in the 17th Century we didn’t hear much from the carolers until the 19th Century but since then it has become a cornerstone of Christmas.
The Christmas Jumper
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Jumper, when else is it alright to wear a chunky knit with baubles, bells and flashing lights out in public? As a fashion item the Christmas jumper first came to prominence during the 1980’s but for those who had grannies who preferred to make their presents rather than buy them, the Christmas jumper has a far more embarrassing history. In recent years though, the Christmas jumper has become a wonderful expression of the joy of the festive season. The bigger and brasher, the better.
Shopping in Places You Would Never Go Into Normally
For those men who have to shop for presents for wives and girlfriends at Christmas the thought of lingerie and perfume fills them with dread. For years we would see men of all ages looking furtive and extremely uncomfortable amongst all that lace and underwiring. But then came online shopping. Possibly the best invention since football, online shopping as much a god send for women as it is for men.
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
The general use of Mistletoe, as a sign of love and friendship and to ward off evil spirits come from a combination of ancient druid scriptures and Norse Mythology. The custom of kissing under the Mistletoe is, as far as we can see, limited to the British Isles. The original idea was that each time someone kissed someone else, one of the berries was removed and when they were all gone, there would be no more kissing. Keep that in mind next time next time you get caught under an empty sprig at the office party.
Eating Brussel Sprouts
OK we couldn’t resist this final one, and we are aware that Brussell Sprouts are available at other times of the year. However, they only seem to be mandatory on a Christmas dinner plate. But for those who can’t stand the things, we have a solution. Scientists have recently proven that humans have a Brussell Sprout gene, it’s located in Chromosome 7 and its actually called TAS2R38, catchy? If you have the gene then it combines with a chemical, called PTC, found in sprouts and creates a bitter taste in the mouth. You can use it this Christmas but we can’t guarantee that your mum will believe you.
Good luck anyway and Merry Christmas.