We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast. Now we all have the fun task of decorating to get ready for Christmas. So, turn on your favorite Christmas music and get into the Christmas spirit and start decorating!
We thought it would also be fun to reflect on the history of our Christmas traditions such as Christmas Lights, Christmas Cards, and Mistletoe.
Christmas Tree Lights
The 17th century German Christians combined the burning of the Yule log with the Christmas tree by attaching candles to the tree using wax or pins. The German people originally started the tradition to illuminate the ornaments that they placed on the tree. This practice continued until around 1900 when candleholders became popular. People began to use them instead of wax or pins to hold the candles to the trees. The tradition spread over the years to other countries of Eastern Europe. Of course, today, the tradition is practiced worldwide.
Thomas Edison changed Christmas tree lights with the invention of the light bulb and electricity. In 1882, Edward Johnson (a friend of Thomas Edison) lit the first Christmas tree in New York using electric lights. Edward lit the tree with beautiful red, white, and blue lights, which are still favorites of many people today.
The First Christmas Card
The first person to create a Christmas Card was in Victoria, England, by a well-known educator, Henry Cole. Henry circulated among the elite and various social circles of his time. Hence, he had many friends.
During the holiday season of 1843, he had the task of writing holiday letters to all his friends. His friends had grown to so many he had to come up with a clever idea to reach them all. He asked an artist friend, J.C. Horsley, to design an idea he had in mind. Using Cole’s vision, Horsley made the illustration showing a family at a table celebrating the holiday. On each side of the picture, he created images of people helping the poor. Cole had a thousand copies made by a London printer.
Photo from Smithsonianmag.com
The printer printed the images on a piece of stiff cardboard 5 1/8 x 3 1/4 inches in size. At the top of each was the salutation, “TO: _____.” In this way, Cole was able to personalize his cards, which included the greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.”
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Mistletoe has been used since ancient times. The Druids used mistletoe in ceremonies at least a few thousand years ago, but they didn’t kiss under it. They believed Mistletoe to have sacred powers. Some of these powers included healing illnesses, protecting against nightmares, and predicting the future.
The Druids collected Mistletoe during the summer solstice (June) and winter solstice (December). (Solstices are the days when the Sun’s path in the sky is the farthest north or south from the Equator.)
In ancient Greece, mistletoe was associated with fertility. In Greek mythology, Aeneas carried mistletoe to protect himself on his journey to the underworld and ensure his return.
The tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe is considered by some to have started with the Roman festival of Saturnalia. It was a festival held on December 17th of the Julian calendar (Julius Caesar’s calendar later replaced by the Gregorian calendar – the calendar we use today). The celebration was in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture.
Modern Times – Kissing under the Mistletoe (even with Braces)
Today, couples simply kiss when caught standing under the Mistletoe. If you are worried you cannot kiss while wearing braces, rest assured this is not the case. We recommend you keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh. This is both for people wearing braces and for people who don’t wear braces. However, wearing braces can make it more challenging to maintain good oral health, so make sure you put in the time and effort to stay healthy and make your mouth inviting to others.
Our Holiday Wishes to You
Our team here at Cobb Orthodontics cares deeply about our patients and their families. We wish you and your family good health and joyous festivities over the holidays and that you finish 2021 in good spirits.
Happy Holidays to You!
Dr. Tripp Cobb