In the United States, as in Germany, families come together for the festival of love. They feast together at Christmas dinner, listen to festive music and give each other presents. But what is the difference between Christmas in America and Germany? Here is a brief overview:
SANTA CLAUS, RUDOLPH AND CO.
While Santa Claus is responsible for the gifts in Germany, his colleague in distant America is called Santa Claus. On the night of December 24th to 25th, he came over in his reindeer sleigh, slid through the chimney and filled the Christmas decorated living room with presents. A nice story, but where do the American Christmas legends come from? This is behind the characters:
- Did Coca-Cola invent Santa Claus? Yes and no, the Santa Claus legend has its origin in Turkey or the figure of St. Nicholas. This came to America with Dutch immigrants and gained popularity through the stories of the author Washington Irving. In the 1930’s, the Coca-Cola brand shaped the current characteristic appearance of Santa Claus: friendly facial expression, white beard, red clothes.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was invented as a marketing gimmick by the Montgomery Ward department store in 1938. A copywriter designed it for a coloring book Christmas story. The department store wanted to give this away as an advertising stunt in order to convince parents and children to buy more coloring books in the future.
- The other eight reindeer on Santa’s sleigh got their names from a poem by Clement Moore: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner and Blixem (these later became Donner and Blitzen).
According to acronymmonster, it is a fine custom in the United States to send greeting cards to family and friends. Many Americans also take an annual Christmas photo of the whole family and print it on a personalized Christmas greeting card. Between Thanksgiving and New Years alone, the US Postal Service delivers almost 15 billion letters and cards, plus around 910 million packages.
By the way, children can write to Santa Claus about their wishes before the festival if they write to the postcode H0H0H0. The letters are even answered by employees of the Canadian Post Office.
THE CHRISTMAS DINNER
For the traditional Christmas dinner in the USA, ingredients similar to the Thanksgiving feast are served on the plate. Turkey, baked ham and all sorts of side dishes fill the palate of an American Christmas party, as do the cookies, cakes and desserts for dessert. Americans love to eat an eggnog, a type of eggnog that is prepared with rum, brandy or whiskey.
THE GIFT GIVING
Unlike in Germany, where people celebrate under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and unwrap presents, things don’t really get going in the USA until December 25th. On December 24th, people first meet in church or for dinner in good company. Not until the next morning, on traditional Christmas Day, do they unpack gifts together.
Another American tradition is for children to hang socks by the fireplace, which they will find bulging with sweets and small gifts on Christmas Day. In return, milk and biscuits are placed near the fireplace for Santa Claus as a small strengthening for his troubles on Christmas night.
Can’t get enough of gifts? Then here are a few more interesting facts:
- Christmas gifts symbolize the gifts that Jesus received from the three wise men from the east.
- The biggest Christmas present of all time weighs 225 tons and is now in New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty was given away by the French to the Americans on Christmas 1886.
- The best-selling toy of the 1980’s was the Rubik’s Cube.
- According to data from the National Retail Federation, American consumers spent an average of $ 967.13 on Christmas gifts in 2017.
Can’t get enough of Christmas? Then here are a few more interesting facts about the festival of love:
- The first Christmas ever was celebrated in Rome on December 25, 336 AD.
- Although Christians from all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, December 25th is not mentioned as a date of birth in the Bible. Historians assume that Christmas was combined with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honored the god of agriculture, Saturn, with celebrations and gifts.
- The first Christmas tree in the White House was decorated under President Franklin Pierce.
- It was not until 1870 that Christmas was declared a national holiday in the United States.
- The spelling “X-mas” for Christmas goes back to a Greek abbreviation. The X or cross is a symbol for the word Christ.
- Kissing under the mistletoe is associated with Frigga, the Nordic goddess of love, whose sacred plant was mistletoe.
- Santa Claus is called Kanakaloka in Hawaii.
- According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a Douglas fir, over 67m high, which was installed in the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington in 1950.
- All Christmas grouches in America can identify with him: the poison green, always bad-tempered Grinch. The plot is based on Theodor Seuss Geisel’s novel “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” from 1957. The quirky character became known around the world through the fantasy comedy from 2000 with Jim Carrey.
We wish you a Merry and Merry Christmas!