20 Nov 2008


sigh, tonight's the finale of "I Survived a Japanese Gameshow". who knew the craziest idea would be such a hit on tv?

anyway, christmas is slowly blending into the environment. christmas carols played in the shopping mall, christmas trees set up and decorated, shopping discounts for the festive season; preparations are being made early.

one unique thing about christmas is that it's greatly celebrated by many people, even those that don't even follow the religion. maybe the custom of giving presents to each other appeals to the majority. then again, chinese new year also involves giving away red packets full of money, and yet it's not as celebrated as christmas. probably due to the language barrier.

another nice thing about christmas is the fat guy in the red suit. you can hardly find another guy who can make someone feel so warm and fuzzy inside, besides your parents. it is said that santa was actually someone called St Nicholas who gave toys to the poor children. as to why he wears a red suit and hat, i have no idea.

and the music -- a lot of people remember christmas for the carols. and they have survived for many years. it also provides an opportunity for songwriting during the festive season. not to mention a christmas dance party at night.

there are some things lacking in singapore though. for example, i have not seen anyone who pratised the tradition of kissing under a mistletoe. and i have not seen santas on the street asking for donations for the needy, or seating on a chair all day asking kids what presents they want.

here are some things about christmas that you may not know about, and you can use as a conversation starter at the christmas party:

  • many parts of the christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of vitamin c. so don't sweep the needles away!
  • in order to travel to visit all the homes on the planet (about 842 million), he must travel 4,796,250 miles per hour, or 7718796.975 km per hour. be thankful for your present!
  • candy canes were originally straight sticks. a choirmaster later decided to bend the ends to depict a shepherd's crook. so it has nothing with making it convenient for hanging them on christmas trees!
  • "Silent Night" was written by an Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr in 1818 for a choir when the church organ broke down. no wonder it's titled as such...
  • poet Clark Moore was responsible for naming santa's reindeer: Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Doneder, Prancer, and of course, Rudolph. not sure if he could remember all of them, though...
  • 2 possible origins of Boxing Day:
    1) money collected during the festive season in alms-boxes, placed in front of churches, was given to the poor and needy after christmas.

    2) even though servants still worked on christmas day, they were allowed to visit their family the next day. employers usually sent them off with a box containing gifts and food, hence the term Boxing Day.
  • "Hot Cockles" was a Christmas game in medieval times. one player was blindfolded while the other players took turns to hit the poor victim. the blindfolded player had to guess who was giving the blow. the game was quite a hit with everyone (pun intended) until the Victorian Era.
  • why 12 days of christmas? that's how long it took for the Three Kings to find baby Jesus. the arrival on the twelfth day was celebrated in the Feast of Epiphany.
  • "Jingle Bells" was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–93), and copyrighted under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" on September 16, 1857. many people only know the chorus and first verse, so here's all the lyrics to the song (taken from Wikipedia) :

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

Bells on bob tail ring (Or Hear our voices ring)
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing (Or What fun it is to ride and sing)
A sleighing song tonight

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh! what fun [joy] it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side,
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot.
[no typo here, it really is upsot]
|: chorus :|

A day or two ago,
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow,
And on my back I fell;< A gent was riding by In a one-horse open sleigh, He laughed as there I sprawling lie, But quickly drove away. |: chorus :| Now the ground is white Go it while you're young, Take the girls tonight and sing this sleighing song; Just get a bob tailed bay Two forty as (or for) his speed< [and] Hitch him to an open sleigh< And crack! you'll take the lead. |: chorus :|

(edit: i got rid of the red and green formatting because i found it a bit out of place on my blog...)

so go ahead and sing out loud, as well as show off your knowledge. maybe not your vocal range. but just enjoy the song, now that you can sing it in its entirety.

i'm not going to say merry christmas yet, it's way too early. but i'll remind those out there to quickly settle their christmas shopping lists first.