Sunday, June 22, 2008

Christmas Rituals Part 2

Yuletide Rituals Part Two

Hi there gang! Settle down in your chair, get closer to the fire, and relax as Uncle Trey tells you the story behind all of the rituals we do at Christmas! Let's begin!

Card giving: Card giving actually started with Hallmark in order to prevent you from visiting relatives. However, their cards didn't contain lovely flowing prose and nice notes, they actually contained the common cold, so that the relatives you sent the card to would get sick, thereby preventing them from visiting you, and you of them. Hallmark denied all of this during the government's investigation into their practices in the early 30's

The Goose: Sure, everyone envisions the roasted, plump Christmas Goose as being entirely European. The truth, though, is that it's Chinese. And guess what? They didn't use a goose...

Wassailling: Wassailling actually used to be something of a sport back in the Medieval ages. It didn't actually used to be about carolling, but it did involve wrestling with sheep. Have you ever tried wrestling a sheep? They usually just let you win. The forefathers of wassailling realized this, and decided to make an incredibly potent drink to give to the sheep in order to awaken the sleeping tiger beneath the smelly wool. It worked amazingly, and many songs were written about the entertaining and deadly human-sheep wrestling matches. Eventually with the building of cities, sheep were hard to come by, so people would go around late at night with the wassail cup, knock on someone's door, forcefeed the homeowner the wassail, and then grapple with him. This completely fell out of vogue with the invention of modern firearms resulting in a sharp decline of wassaillers.

Stockings by the chimney: Stinky Francis was a smelly old man who lived in a cabin because society forced him to move away. The truth was, Smelly Francis's body emitted horrible odors that tended to sicken and kill animals around him, yet he remained unafflicted by his own body odor. Stinky Francis had just finished washing his socks and was hanging them by the fire on a cold Christmas night, but enough odor remained in them to be potent. When Santa came down the chimney, he took one whiff of Stinky Francis's socks, and stuffed oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and peppermints in them to try to make them smell better. Stinky Francis woke up in the morning to all the smell-good treats, consumed them all, and was cured of his stinkiness. He moved back to the city, got a haircut, and started contributing to society. Today we celebrate Stinky Francis's transformation by hanging our stockings by the fire in the hopes that the stinkiness in our lives will be transformed like Francis.

Sleds: Sleds were used by the Puritans in witch hunt trials in the winter when the lakes froze over. They would tie a witch down to a sled, and then send her off a steep hill with lots of trees. If the witch managed to survive, then she was deemed innocent by the grace of God. If she smashed into a tree, then she really was a witch to begin with. Little Puritan children had lots of fun playing witch hunt trials with the sled which eventually evolved into sledding, but they didn't have as much success with the water dunking.

Frosty the Snowman: Contrary to that ridiculous story about some magic hat and scarf wearing snowman with a button nose and a corncob pipe and two eyes made out of coal, the real Frosty was a failed US Government experiment to control the snowflakes into attacking the USSR's military bases and personnel whenever winter would arise there. Frosty broke out of the lab one night and proceeded to terrorize all the neighborhood children and attacked a traffic cop, because Frosty mistook him for a Russian. Before Frosty was melted away with a small thermonuclear device by the US Army, he screamed "I'LL BE BACK FROM THE GRAVE TO GET YOU REDS!"

The Nutcracker Suite: Tchaikovsky wrote something to scream Christmas. The result? A ballet with beautiful music and wonderful scenery. Tchaikovsky also conducted the entire thing with one hand firmly on his head because he was afraid that it would fall off and start rolling away before he could catch it.

Holly Wreaths: Wreaths had a more ignomious start. In the early 1800's they were actually used as toilet seat warmers to prevent that shock from sitting down on a freezing seat. During the holidays when relatives would visit, people would hang up a wreath outside to show that they kept a house with plenty of toilet seat warmers. A young Elias Tittle played a practical joke by making the toilet seat warmer out of a holly tree, and proceeded to put it on the toilet seat after breakfast, when he knew his old Uncle Jebedias would religiously visit the bathroom. Upon his return from the toilet, and walking in a pained fashion, Uncle Jebedias tanned the young hide of Elias Tittle. From that day on, red berries appeared in the holly tree, which are said to represent the color of Elias's cheeks.

And there you have it, kids! The true story of Christmas as I've learned it. I hope this has shed light on some of the crazy things we do at Christmas time.
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