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Merry Christmas!

Christmas, one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world, is fast approaching. Here are some answers to intriguing questions about this festival.

Why do people exchange presents on Christmas day?

Christmas has been celebrated for centuries, but gift giving on Christmas only started in the 1800s. Originally, Christmas was celebrated over a simple mass on Christmas day, or a midnight mass. Gradually, other traditions were abosorbed into this festival, such as exchanging presents, keeping a Christmas tree, mistletoe, and so on. Exchanging presents was a minor part of Christmas, but gradually, due to aggressive advertising and retailing, gift giving is now what Christmas centres around! Gifts are exchanged to commemorate the gifts the three wise men (the Magi) carried to Jesus on his birth.

How do you make eggnog?

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is gathering around the Christmas tree and drinking eggnog. It is a perfect drink for Christmas, and provides you with much needed warmth. Here's how you can make some delicious eggnog to serve on Christmas.


6 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 cup sugar, separated into half and half
1 cup brandy 1/2 cup white rum
3 cups whole milk
3 cups cream
cup whiskey
cup icing sugar
Ground nutmeg, to sprinkle on each cup of eggnog


Remember, an eggnog is made best when it is light and fluffly. To get the right consistency, you need to do things gently and slowly.

Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Beat the yolks slowly while simultaneously adding half the sugar; do this until the mixture is pale and golden. Now slowly add in the brandy and rum, then beat in the milk and half the cream. Stir in whiskey slowly. Set aside. In the other bowl, beat the eggs with the other half of the sugar. Just before serving, fold the egg whites into the eggnog mixture. Whip the remaining cream and icing sugar until thick. Top each glass of eggnog with whipped cream and a shake of nutmeg.

You can serve eggnog cold or slightly warm. Whisky is optional. You can make eggnog with rum and brandy, rum and whiskey, or all three. You could also vary the amount of milk, cream and sugar, but for best results you should use full cream milk and heavy cream. Make sure the eggs are properly separated, and don't forget the nutmeg!

Why is Christmas sometimes spelled as Xmas?

The Greek word for Christmas is Xristos, and Xmas was derived from this word. It gained in popularity because stores preferred to use the word Xmas to denote Christmas sales. It has four letters, the same as the word 'sale', and seemed to make more marketing and advertising sense.

How do people in other countries wish each other a Merry Christmas?

Netherlands and Aruba - Bon Pasco, Bon Anja
Argentina - Feliz Navidad!
Brazil - Feliz Natal
Austria - Frohe Weihnachten
Belgium - Zalig Kerstfeest
Switzerland - Joyeux Noel
France - Joyeux Noel
Guam - Felis Pasgua
Ireland - Nollaig Shona dhuit
Italy - Buon Natale
Korea - Sungtan Chukha
Saudi Arabia - Mboni Chrismen
Sweden - God Jul


To discover five new ways of celebrating Christmas - Click here

Read about exciting ways of celebrating Christmas in different countries - Click here

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