You may know the words to all the classic Christmas songs. You may even know where you stashed the Christmas tree stand last year. But do you fall for common falsehoods about Christmas? Here are four "facts" about Christmas that a lot of people get wrong.
Poinsettias are poisonous and should be kept away from children
In a way this is true. Poinsettia plants are toxic. However, when this fact is mentioned it is usually presented as a dire warning against bringing poinsettia plants into your house for fear that your child may eat a leaf and die. In actuality, the toxity of poinsettias is very mild. It may cause some skin irritation or diarrhea, but a child would have to eat 500-600 leaves to exceed toxity levels that are known to be safe. Since the taste of poinsettia leaves is described as extremely bitter, I doubt any child would make it past the first bite. (Read more on Snopes)
The abbreviation Xmas is anti-Christian
Many Christians protest the abbreviation of Christmas as Xmas because they believe it is an attempt to "take the Christ out of Christmas." However, Christ has been represented as an X for at least hundreds of years. The origin of the practice is based on the fact that our letter X closely resembles the Greek letter Chi, which is the the start of the word Christ. You did know that the New Testament of The Bible was written in Greek, right? (Read more on Wikipedia)
The 12 Days of Christmas are the 12 days leading up to Christmas
The partridge in a pear tree jokes that start emerging around mid-December are premature. The 12 days of Christmas are the days after Christmas that lead to the Feast of Epiphany. That's good news for anyone trying to save money by getting their five golden rings at after Christmas sales. (Read more on Wikipedia)
My true love gave to me four "calling birds"
Speaking of "The 12 Days of Christmas" the correct words to that song are "four colly birds" not "calling birds." (Of course you can avoid that confusion entirely by opting for the "Twelve Days of Christmas with Swear Words" instead.)
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One thing that is true about Christmas is that it is a time for giving. Please donate a toy to Chicago kids in need. Toy drive details are here.
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If you like learning obscure facts you may enjoy my Wikipedia Wanderings.
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