It's that magical time of year again. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping on your nose, yadda yadda yadda. I know you're all sick of all that warm and fuzzy stuff so let's just get down to business. Here are some interesting facts and figures about your favorite time of year. From Billshrink: "‘Tis the season for Christmas trees, lights and gifts, and in the past that has also meant the season of outrageous spending. While the holidays may not be cheap, hard times sometimes call for desperate measures and drastic budget changes. Here’s a look at the hard facts and numbers of this most wonderful time of the year." Click here to see this up close. Via Digg
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    ‘Tis the season for Christmas trees, lights and gifts. Yadda Yadda Yadda. I know you're all sick of all that warm and fuzzy stuff so let's just get down to business.

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  • Stephanie, you are right. The scant evidence in the gospels point to a time in late Spring or early Summer. First of all it would've been totally impossible to do a census in the Winter since nobody could really travel. Second of all nobody has flocks in the field in the middle of Winter unless they want a dead flock.

    I haven't seen the Life of Brian in years! I totally need to watch that movie again!
  • I suppose God is in all of us and we might deserve presents from sort of Three Kings but I can't help thinking which of us is going to end nailed on a cross or the Brian in Monty Pyton Life of Brian !
  • If i remember well and relating to that time calendar Jesus wasn't born on the 25th of December but end of March/April.
  • It is so funny to me that most people I know actually believe that giving gifts for Christmas is because of the Bible story about the Three Kings (or wise men if you prefer) and the gifts they gave Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. This whole idea was born out of the class riots that occurred in the early 1800s in the US. The books of Washington Irving and Charles Dickens influenced the rich to give to the poor on Christmas to basically keep them quiet. Christmas wasn't even an official holiday in the US until 1870.
  • So it wasn't invented by the Turkey & Toy industrial complex? :)
  • Yeah...wasn't it just some guy who lived in one of the Nordic countries who decided to put candles in pine trees to make it look like the stars shining though the trees? Something like that....
  • Most Christian traditions and beliefs actually date from around AD 400. It was at this time that the first Council of Nicaea was held (see here). It was at this council where they decided which books belonged in the Bible and which did not, what day to celebrate Easter, and whether or not God and Jesus were one being. As the infograph says, it was also around this time that they decided to co-opt the pagan festival of Saturnalia and use it to celebrate Christmas. I have never met a single person who professed to be Christian that actually understood the history behind these traditions. It isn't necessarily a bad thing that they did this but people need to understand that a lot of this stuff (like what day we celebrate Christmas) has no basis in the Bible at all.
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