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Brownielocks and The 3 Bears 
present

This page is not going to go into a religious origin of Christmas .  I think most of us know how Christmas began based on whatever religion we choose?  But the holiday of Christmas is as much a part of America as it's flag, I feel.  It's symbols and traditions are richly embedded into our culture.  Many have complained it's gotten too commercial in these past years.  Perhaps that's true.  But American Christmas traditions, symbols (and even some phobias) all have origins that many of us either have forgotten or don't really know.  This page is to help us understand the origins of whywe celebrate Christmas in America, regardless of race, religion or even a tad of scrooge?

Angels

The bible references angels frequently regarding the birth of Jesus.  The Angel Gabriel informed Mary that she was to bear a child.  Angels are depicted in Renaissance Art and divine messengers of God and are frequently seen all over the nativity surrounding Christ.  So, the association of Christmas with angels is not new.  What is new is the angel's images.
In the past, angels were mostly portrayed based on the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. And the halos above their heads were more shaped like discs (rather than rings) which represented purity, holiness and spiritual power.  Angels were also featured with harps, which was believed to be their chief occupation, praising God with music and song.
Today our angels appear to be more human-like, with wings and ring-like halos.  The look of modern angels varies from thin to fat and blondes to brunettes, white robbed to golden or silver. In some cases, a definite distinction between male and female. s But the idea is still the same as far as why they are around.   The most common adornment on top of the Christmas Tree is either a Star or an Angel, to symbolize the divine guidance and protection that Mary and Joseph had during Christ's birth and to help symbolize that in each of our homes today.

Star on Top of the Tree

The early Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese and Jews all had stars that were important to their religions. But the Star at the top of our trees for Christmas for the most part represents the Star of Bethlehem.  (In some cases, some feel it represents the North Star like for sailors?)  But if you put it there to represent the Star of Bethlehem, you might want to know that some scientists feel that this was more of a super Nova, while others feel it was a comet or meteor.  (Imagine a giant meteor blob on the top of a tree?)  Others feel that in 6 BC the planets of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were aligned very close forming a very bright triangle known as Pisces that might have been the Star of Bethlehem?  If this is true, then this would also change the date of Jesus' birth.  (But we won't go into that here!) So the Star on our tree is to guide us through the season and through the year.

Bells and Ringing of Bells

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day" is a line from a carol.  Why ring bells?
The tradition goes way back to the Middle Ages in which bells were the only form of sound to gather large crowds together.  Even during church ceremonies,  a bell would often be rung to signify a particular point in a service  (i.e. prayer, bowing, etc.) to those who were outside the church and could not see what was going on so they would know how to participate.   Some churches were known by their bell's sound and also by how many bells they had.  And the more bells that were rung, the higher the importance of the occasion as well.  In some churches, Easter was a 3-bell event, and Christmas was a 4-bell event.   Today many churches do not even have a tower nor a bell.  So the tradition is dying in many modern locations.  And yet, on Christmas cards churchs are always depicted with a bell tower --- notice?

Christmas Pig or Boar

This is going to sound a bit bizarre today because most of us have a Christmas Goose or Turkey, but the real tradition is to have boar (pig).  It goes way back to Norse folklore where boar was served in Valhalla, the mythical hall where Odin received the souls of heroes who had fallen in battle.  The Celts kept this tradition (as well as being the suppliers for pork and bacon throughout Europe) making it more popular than beef or mutton for celebrations.  In England, hunting the Christmas boar became an annual sport.  After proper preparation, the boar's head would be brought into the dining hall (often depicted with an apple in it's mouth)  with great hoopla.  The entire household would then sing "The Boar's Had Carol" which is the OLDEST printed Christmas carol in existence today (1521).  In Scandinavia, the custom is to take the last sheaf of corn from the harvest and bake it as a loaf shaped like a boar.  This bread-shaped boar loaf remains on the table until the crops are all sown in the spring.  (Apparently it doesn't get moldy?)  Then it's mixed with seed corn and part is given to the ploughman and part to the animals.  In Psalm 80 Satan is described as "the wild boar out of the wood" who has wasted the Lord's vineyards.  Carrying the boar's head on a platter is the symbol of his final defeat by Jesus Christ, the newborn King.  Having a Christmas ham is about as close to this old custom as we get today.

Candy Canes

In Europe, it was very popular to decorate your tree with edible items.  So cookies and candies were the most popular for children, because they stayed the freshest in open air (without refrigerators back then or preservatives.)   The Candy Cane was said to represent the Shepherd's crook at the nativity.  The little hook-style made it also easy to hang on the tree.    They also represented Christian thankfulness for "daily bread."
The shepherds were the first to receive the news that the Christ-child was born and so the canes represented that honor also. 

Christmas Cards

Romans had a custom of exchanging gifts and greetings on the first day of January.  The Christians continued this and in some cases did it in the style of what was called "New Year's Cards."  They were sent out after December 25 and were originally not connected with Christmas at all.  Their purpose was to arrive at their destination on New Year's Day!  England began to combine these seasonal greetings into one, with Christmas being the priority, not New Years.  But today we often send out cards that state, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Years" which arrive whenever the postal service determines. ;)   

In the beginning cards were hand-made. But the invention of lithography gave a real boost to card sending in Europe in the late 18th century.  Most stationery makers thought it would be "just a passing fad."  The first printed Christmas card was produced in  England in 1843, designed by John Calcott Horsley and sold for a shilling and was more like a postcard.  It wasn't until the 1880's that the cards got to be folded and increased in pages.  The Victorian era was the elaborate time for Christmas cards with frosting, cut edges, lace paper and other creative decorations.  The more elaborate cards had jeweled embossed tops, tassels and fringes.

The first Christmas card printer in the US was Lewis Prang in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
The artwork featured biblical nativity scenes to popular images and characters like Santa Claus, and social events like shopping, hanging stockings etc.  Christmas card sending is part of an American tradition, which has slowly been declining due to the increase in postage stamps, and many say the telephone and email have eliminated it's need to send your holiday greetings via a card.  And, with the increase protests of some civil liberties groups, Christmas card manufacturers (and some companies) do not even include the word Christmas anymore but say Happy Holidays.  And the company Christmas party is just a "Holiday Party" to celebrate the end of a business year. 

May I also add, that with recent Anthrax mailings, I wonder how many will be sending out Christmas cards?  I also seriously doubt many will buy cards with fake snow or white glitter decoration that could flake off?

Christmas Carols

These are fun for some and (if you're like me) a dread for those of us who were not blessed with good voices.  So it's embarrassing when folks want to suddenly start to Fa La La La and you are a fog horn in the group! :(   But, the word "carol" originally referred to a ring-dance, which meant a song that could be danced to.  Christmas had been observed for over 800 years before the first carol had even been sung.  So for many it was a "silent night, holy night."   And then....

The Italian friars of St. Francis of Assisi decided to compose some simple, uplifting songs based on gospel stories.  From Italy the carols moved on to Spain, France and then Germany, keeping it's simple, childish fervor.  The earliest known Christmas carol describes the Virgin Mary singing a lullaby to her child and dates back to 1410. The rise of Puritanism in England nearly caused the termination of carols and by 1800 the custom was almost gone.  But people in the rural areas kept the tradition alive and so did their generations.  Christmas carols were originally written to describe scenes and events associated with the birth of Christ.  But today, carols simply depict our Christmas lifestyle, whether religious or not in such songs as "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" or "White Christmas" or "Here Comes Santa Claus."

Christmas Eve is the traditional time when carolers go singing from house to house.
And, in many churches Christmas carols replace traditional hymns.

Christmas Seals

First of all, the Christmas seals mean absolutely nothing as far as postage. So always put on the right amount of stamps!  So who started it?  A Danish postmaster in 1904 came up with the Christmas Seal idea.  The seals are decorative stickers today that are sold to help raise money for charity.   Actually, you can give to Christmas seals and you don't have to use the seals at all.  It's just a way to show that you support giving to others.  The custom of Christmas Seals has now spread to other countries.  In 1919 the National Tuberculosis Association (now the American Lung Association) took over as the sole issuers of the stamps in America.  They earn millions of dollars a year for this organization.

Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree came to the US from Germany. But it's origin isn't in Germany, but actually goes way back to Egypt.   The Egyptians held a midwinter festivals in honor of their god Horus, son of Isis (Goddess of Motherhood and Fertility).  Their symbol for this was a palm tree with 12 shoots (one for each month of the year).  The Roman festival of Santrnalia decorated trees with candles (very carefully I might add) and also brought laurel boughs into their house on January 1.

The Germany tree originally wasn't a real tree, but a wooden-shaped pyramid structure covered with evergreen boughs.  The Weihnachtspyramid  is assumed to have originated from the "Paradise Tree" (a fir tree decorated wsith apples) used in Medieval mystery plays. This tree symbolizes the story of Adam and Eve as:  When Adam left Paradise, he took a sprig from the Tree of Knowledge; and from that sprig later grew the tree that provided the wood for the cross on which Christ was crucified.

Although Christmas trees are seen all over...schools, shops, malls, homes, office buildings, libraries, in open public places....they do not play as big a role in our Christmas in America as they do in Germany.  In America we place gifts under our trees. In Germany, the tree is THE focal point, decorated behind closed doors and revealed on Christmas Eve.  No one is too poor (or grouchy) to NOT have a Christmas tree in Germany.  And if someone is unable for some reason (sick?), someone will GIVE them a tree.

In America....and I just LOVE this tradition! .... a fir tree is placed at the highest point of a building under construction, no matter how high the building.  This occupational symbol is a reminder of the work that goes into a new building and the people who make this a "modern miracle."  I would like to add my own personal note on this:  Although I hate forests being destroyed for high-rises in my area, I have to say I love those cranes!  And I love how the construction sites place Christmas trees and lighted Stars etc. on the TOP of those high cranes and construction high-rises during the holidays.  (How they keep them up there from blowing away amazes me!)  But I find them like a modern day lighthouse, a little beacon of light in the midst of the traffic, frustrations and other storms of daily living.  I just love those high-rise construction sites Christmas trees!  I am sad when the season ends and they are gone.  I'd love to see them put SOMETHING up there 365 days a year or until the building is all done.

Crèche or Nativity Scene

A crèche is a display of the manger scene where Christ was born in the manger in Bethlehem.  It has been attributed to St. Francis of Assisi who first used real people and live animals to reconstruct this event.  This "living pantomime" (there was never any dialogue) became popular and spread throughout Europe.   Through the years, the statue and art representation became more popular than the living representations.  Only in the past several years have some churches begun to re-establish an actual living crèche event.  The Crystal Cathedral does so every year.

But for the most part, the manger idols and images were based way back to 4th Century Romans and their masses, one of which was called "Ad Praesepe (the Crib) in which a shrine had been built in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore from some boards that were believed to be from the original stable in Bethlehem. This custom of saying a mass over the manger inspired other churches in Italy and eventually throughout Europe.  But it was St. Francis of Assisi who took the crèche out of the church and put it on public display (as well as making it a living event).

There is controversy in the US today over the public display of crèches in public places, claiming that they do not separate church from state according to our constitution.  Vandalism and complete theft by civil liberties and atheists have caused many towns to totally eliminate public manger displays.

Besides Italy, there is a similar custom in Germany known as Kindelwiegen or "cradle-rocking" where people dance around a cradle that has the image of Christ inside and take turns rocking it with their own hands.  Because some participants got so intense with the rocking and touching of the Christ Child, the ceremony was eventually discontinued in most German churches.

Farolitos

In some areas they are termed "luminaries" and in some neighborhoods it is a form of unity for all the homes to put them out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But they originated in the American Southwest as glowing paper sacks on patios, walks, driveways at night.  Farolitos are pronounced like "Fah-Row-Lee-Toes" and mean "little lanterns."  In some party stores they can be purchased pre-decorated and colored, along with the sand and candles.  But the original hand-made farilitos are simply done with brown paper lunch bags filled with a few inches of sand (or kitty litter) to weigh them down  and support the votive candle inside.  When lit, the candles give off a golden glow through the bags.  In some cases cut-out shapes are done first on the bags like snowflakes, trees, etc.

Many assume they originate from Mexico, because this is where they were brought to the US from.  But they are actually Chinese in origin, going over to the Phillipines and from there to Mexico by the Spanish traders.  

I personally feel uncomfortable leaving fire burning that is unwatched because you never know if some animal is going to bump a bag and start it on fire.  So, if you do put them out, keep your eyes peeled on them!

Father Christmas

First of all, Father Christmas IS NOT Santa Claus!!!

Why not?  Although many depictions of him, give him a Santa-like essence, he really is an English folklore  figure that does not do gift-giving.  What?  That's true.
What he does is represent the the "spirit of Christmas" as far as generosity, gaiety, abundance and appreciation.  Like Santa, he is fat and often seen wearing a red robe (sometimes green?) with fur trim and a crown of holly, ivy or mistletoe.  In the book, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, the character of "The Ghost of Christmas Present" strongly resembles Father Christmas.  Other images of Father Christmas make him a older, wise-looking man, robbed in more of a Father Time fashion, although he doesn't carry a scythe.  Some images today give him a sack which creates the false impression he is Santa Clause.  If he carries anything, it's more like a cane.

Santa Claus as we know it in America did not appear in England until the 19th century, and grew in popularity due to the gift-giving trait.  Slowly, the images of Father Christmas and Santa Claus merged as his popularity grew until well, Santa just sort of overshadowed Father Christmas for the most part.  You might see him shown on Christmas Cards, figurines, etc. but children do not write letters to Father Christmas.  Father Christmas doesn't live at the North Pole, have elves; nor have a sleigh with 8 reindeer.  Father Christmas is more like Uncle Sam is to America.  He's not real, he's just an attitude!

Holly

The technical name is Ilex or holly oak and is associated with Christmas due to it's thorns, which resemble the crown of thorns that were placed on the head of Christ at his crucifixion.  It is also rumored that it is the tree from which the cross was made also.   Legend has it that no other tree agreed to donate it's wood for the purpose of crucifying Jesus.  When touched by an axe, they would splinter into a zillion pieces. Only the Ilex remained whole and allowed itself to be used.

Today Holly is more for decoration, and like mistletoe and ivy, it bears it's fruit in the wintertime.  Laurel is also used (symbolizing triumph) and yew (symbolizes immortality) because they both stay green all year.

Mistletoe

Once again, we have to go back to those Romans and their traditions that begin with Saturnalia as mentioned above.  Decorating indoors with evergreens was believed to be a way to show hospitality to the spirits that haunted their woods.  In Ancient Britian, the Druid priests worshipped Mistletoe, that draws it's water and minerals from the tree on which it grows, which makes it somewhat parasitic.  For some odd reason, mistletoe was more likely to be found on trees struck by lightning, esp. oak trees. The Druid priests regarding mistletoe as a potion against poisons, the mistletoe off the oak tree was considered the best and more powerful.  The things it could do for you! ;) And if you gathered it on the first lunar moon of the month, that made it even more awesome. Top that off with the fact that they also felt cutting it with a GOLD SICKLE and putting it instantly in a pure white cloth (so it wouldn't touch the ground) made it even more pure in it's power.

Ironically, the custom of hanging mistletoe in a doorway does not originate with the Romans. Shocked? (They seem to be the originators of most everything else.) In this case, mistletoe also enters into Norse mythology.  Their god of light and vegetation, Balder, dreamed he was going to die. It's a long story about this and that but in brief, as a practical joke on Balder's obsession, Loki gave a sprig of it to the blind god Hother and told him to shoot at Balder with this twig.  It's just a twig right?  Well, I guess he lucked out because Balder was killed.  So this proved to the Norse how powerful mistletoe was. ( They didn't give credit to Hother's aim!)  So later on, the Scandinavians had this custom that if enemies encountered each other in the forest under mistletoe they were to lay down their weapons and have a truce for 24-hrs. Today if you meet someone in a doorway with mistletoe hanging above it, you are expected to kiss as a pledge to peace and friendship.  Today in America, kissing under the mistletoe is well a great excuse to smooch someone you normally would not.  And many hang it not so obviously so that innocent standers can get suprised. Sometimes the recipient is happy and sometimes he/she is not.

Poinsettia Plants

This plant is native to Central America and has been a symbol of Christmas in the US since 1820.  An American minister to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, saw the plant and the bright red blossoms and felt it reminded him of the Star of Bethlehem.  It also bloomed at Christmas.  Now,  for those of who do not know this, the poinsetta plant can grow outdoors year round in California.  And, it doesn't really bloom it's own flowers.  The leaves on the top just turn from green to RED for a while, giving the appearance of a flower bloom.  And, they also come in white.

Wassail

 

Wassail Bowl Recipe  (Makes 24 Cups)
Non-Alcoholic


1    Gallon Apple Cider
1     Cup light or brown Sugar
1     6 ounce can frozen Lemonade Concentrate
1   6 ounce can frozen Orange Concentrate
1   Tablespoon Whole Cloves
1    Tablespoon Whole Allspice
1    Teaspoon ground Nutmeg
24    Long Cinnamon Sticks

Directions: Combine Cider, Brown Sugar, undiluted Lemonade and Orange Juice Concentrate.  Put Cloves and Allspice in Cheesecloth.  Add to Cider with the Nutmeg.  Simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Remove Bag. Place Cinnamon Sticks in cups and serve.

 

Now that you have the recipe, what is it? How did it all begin?
The word wassail comes from old English waes haeil, meaning "be in good health."
Wassailing became the custom of toasting each others good health during the holidays. From the beginning of the 13th century, it became a traditional beverage and toast during the Christmas season.  Only, the original beverage was not the recipe above. It was a mixture of roasted apples, ale, sugar, spices, and sometimes cream or eggs.  I'm not sure if a variation of this later turned into egg nog, which is native to the US.

Wassail also had it's own serving bowl that was quite large with a large spoon to pour the beverage into the cups.  This later turned into what today is known as punch bowls. And the Wassail beverage later got replaced with plain ol liquor and having a holiday drink and toast.  But no matter what the beverage of choice is today, be it alcoholic or not, toasting one another and wishing good cheer remains.

Christmas Wreaths

First of all, the wreath is circular which is a symbol of eternity (just like wedding rings).  And because the wreath is made out of plants that remain green throughout the holiday season, it represents life in the dead of winter.  The Christmas wreath is a continuation of the Advent Wreath (German custom in Lutheran churches) which has 4 candles, representing the 4 weeks of Advent.  One candle is lit each week.  But due to the danger, they were usually placed lying flat on tables, or hung safely parallel to the floor.  This made Christmas wreaths much more welcome because they contained no real candles and could be hung anywhere (mostly on doors or in windows). Some people choose to leave their wreaths up all winter.  When they do take it down, it is a sign of winter's end and the anticipation of Spring.

Candles

Lighting candles is a custom of many religions for many different reasons.  When it comes to Christmas, many feel that the candles are symbolic of the sun's light and warmth in the middle of dark winters especially during Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22).  Christians see candles as "Christ's Light" and the lighting of candles on Christmas Eve comes from the Jewish "Feast of Lights" or Hanukkah.

During the Middle Ages it was customary to light one large candle on Christmas Eve in both your church and home to represent the Star of Bethlehem.  Some feel the candle represents the baby Jesus (A light to the Gentiles).  In Scandinavian countries,  keeping the Yule Candle buring was very important.  Sometimes there were two candles: One for the wife. One for the Husband.  Whichever went out first, meant that the other partner would live longer.  (Moral of this story: Don't place your candle in a draft!)

In Scotland, it was believed that if the Christmas candle went out before midnight, it meant a great disaster would happen to the family.  In Ireland, they make their candles so very big that the candle holders have to be carved out of large turnips to be used as candlesticks (Note: This is also the origin of the Halloween Jack-O-Lantern.)

Reindeers

Can you name all of Santa's 8 reindeer?
Place your cursor over the image for them to appear.

DASHER -  DANCER -  DONDER - PRANCER -  VIXEN -  BLITZEN -   COMET -- CUPID  and RUDOLPH

In Russian folklore, there was St. Nicholas.  Over 600 years after his death, the Russians kept the legend of St. Nicholas alive all the way from Constantinople.  From there the legend went to Lapland, where reindeer live.  Some believe this is how our modern Santa  legend makes him living up at the North Pole, with reindeer.  In reality, Santa is pretty high tech today. And his reindeer are pretty pampered and I think only our satellite radar picks him up on their scanners.  But he's got an understanding with the military between December 24 to 25 and has unlimited access to all airspace. 

But reindeer  and Santa go together due to the North Pole area.  Why no one has Santa with Polar Bears I really don't know.  But, the reaffirmation of reindeers has been due to Clement Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas" in which Santa names all the reindeers.  And in 1939 a little book written by Robert May, an ad man for Montgomery Ward Dept. Store wrote a little story about Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer with a big ugly red nose.  The premise is based on the old ugly duckling children's fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers.  The book was illustrated by Denver Gillen and the little book sold 2.4 million copies in the Montgomery Ward store in it's first year.   The Christmas Song, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" was written and recorded by Gene Autry in 1949, reaching the top of the Hit Parade.  Rudolph originated as an advertising gimmick and became adopted as a warm cuddly Christmas symbol by the American public.  He can be seen everywhere.  And he represents the ideals that everyone is valuable in society and that being different might be a blessing.

Yule Logs

The Yule Log  goes back to the winter solstice again and lighting bonfires to scare off winter demons and brighten the darkest day of the year. The Yule log today is not burnt outdoors, but is more of a private custom indoors per household.  The Yule log is an entire whole tree trunk, cut on a day called Candlemas (February 2) and dried all year long.  The English custom is to light the new log with a piece of last year's log, which was kept in the house all year (with the belief that it protected the house against fire and lightning).  The Yule Log was usually Oak, and since the Aryan religion associates the oak tree with the God of Thunder, this 'might' be why this custom carried on into the house?  But the English Yule Log once again goes back to the Druids, who prayed that the oak or fruitwood log (burned in the midwinter festival) would flame, like the sun forever.  The log and it's ashes were considered good luck.  In some homes today, wine is thrown on the log first by the youngest child before it was lit. It was considered back luck if the log went out before New Years.

A few superstitions surround the Yule Log (in Europe) today.  In Southern France, people put the log on the fire for the first time on Christmas Eve and then continue to burn it a little bit each day until "the twelfth night" (January 5). If it is kept under the bed, it will protect the house from fire and thunder and will prevent those who life there form getting chilblains on their heels in winter.  The unburned remains are also believed to cure cattle diseases and to help cows deliver calves.  If you scatter the ashes over the fields it will save the wheat from mildew.


Christmas Phobias

Many people dread the Christmas season for many reasons.
Although the season is stressful, most people don't have actual phobias connected with the holidays.  But Christmas is stressful.  And it seems to aggravate a lot of phobias.

Ochlophobia  or Agoraphobia - Fear of Crowds

It also includes fear of lines, traffic jams and even social
events. Many people suffer from just the fear of not pleasing
others during this season and end up overwhelm themselves with too much responsibility. 

Katagelophobia - Fear of ridicule or embarrassment
This might include not giving the right gift, being around family and their comments,
Christmas party pranks, etc.

Mythophobia - Fear of making a false statement
Slipping and telling a secret you shouldn't, or what someone got someone, etc.

Social Phobias - Eating, Speaking, Dancing, etc.
in public

Pogonophobia - Fear of Beards
Sounds crazy but some people fear Santa's beard.
And suddenly men with beards are abundant during Christmas.

Pediophobia - Fear of Children
It seems odd, but some people fear kids.  


Ecclestaphobia - Fear of Churches

Pediophobia - Fear of Dolls
More toys are on display and these people find it stressful.
A normal grocery store suddenly might have dolls to sell where they normally did not.


Dronophobia - Fear of Driving on Expressways
With traffic a mess during the holidays, those who hate freeways usually avoid them.
More traffic means greater chances your off-streets are not available due to
accidents or being jammed up. 


Doraphobia - Fear of Fur

Cherophobia - Fear of Fun

Believe it or not, some people fear smiling and having a holly jolly good time.


Clinophobia - Fear of Going to Bed
For some it's being afraid of the dark.  For others it's a fear of
missing out on what's going on.  For others they are afraid they'll 
never wake up if they go to bed.


Decidophobia - Fear of Unable to Make Decisions
Christmas time is full of decisions and for those that have a hard
time with them, or are afraid of making the wrong ones, this is
a bit of an overload for them.


Phonophobia - Fear of Loud Talking or Noises
Some people actually panic over holiday music pumped over the speakers at
malls, stores, etc.  And, others simply can not tolerate loudness in any way.


Xenophobia - Fear of Strangers
This of course would not apply to going to malls, church etc. because these people simply would not go there.  But Christmas is a time when you never know WHO might pop in?  For those who fear strangers, this can suddenly be devestation.


Haphenphobia - Fear of Being touched or having to touch others
 A surprise kiss under a mistletoe or a holiday good cheer hug for these
people is like a sudden slap and totally throws them off-balance.


Hodophobia - Fear of Traveling
This is a bit different than agoraphobia because these people are not afraid to leave home, they just have a fear of HOW they leave the house.  With some, as long as
they walk it's fine.  But public transportation, flying, etc. is a major problem.
For others, "traveling" is all based on how far they determine in their minds a travel is. For some travel isn't travel if it's in the same town.  For others it's only if they leave the state. And yet for others travel is simply NOT being in your home.

For the most part people usually have what is termed the Holiday Blues, more than phobias.  See our page on Holiday Blues.

 

Our Main Page has graphic links to more Xmas fun!

Sources: "Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun"
By Donald E. Dossey, Ph.D.
Outcomes Unlimited Press © 1992

Holiday Symbols, 2nd Edition
By Sue Ellen Thompson
Omnigraphics, Inc. © 2000

 

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