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The Green, Prickly Things of Christmas



The Green, Prickly Things of Christmas
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.94

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    czechoslovakian, life-giving, solstice, mistletoe, monk, wealthy, supposedly, musical, legend, phrase, marriage, fans, swedish, mysterious, power, folklore
     content words:    Bright Christmas, Saint Boniface, Christian Church, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, Windsor Castle, Wealthy English, In Japan, Christmas Eve, In Scandinavia


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The Green, Prickly Things of Christmas
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Many of us love soft, white winter snow, but there are green things during Christmas, too. Green and prickly things, to be exact, but not just the Grinch! Bright Christmas trees, shiny holly, and mistletoe help to make the season cheery. Do Santa's elves have secret green thumbs? And how did decking our homes with these green, prickly things become a part of Christmas?
 
2     Christmas trees begin magically appearing in stores as early as October. This is almost as mystifying as the many legends about their origins. One legend says that Saint Boniface, an English monk who started the Christian Church in France and Germany, started the Christmas tree tradition.
 
3     Christmas trees over the centuries have had many kinds of decorations on their beautiful, prickly branches. The custom is believed to have begun in 16th century Germany, and other countries later adopted the tradition. Prince Albert, who was married to Queen Victoria, made Christmas trees popular in the Victorian era. He put up the first Christmas tree in 1841 at Windsor Castle and decorated it with fruit, candles, and spicy gingerbread. Wealthy English families followed his example and decorated their trees with tiny musical instruments, costume jewelry, candy, and dolls.

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