Poinsettias are another traditional decorative flower used at Christmas. It is native to Mexico and is named after Joel
Poinsett, who was the first U.S ambassador to Mexico and who brought the plants to America in 1828. Mexicans believe the plants
were a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem and that's one reason they are associated with Christmas. There's also the story that a young
boy was going to see the Nativity Play at a church but realized he didn't have a gift for Baby Jesus. The boy gathered some green
branches, which others scoffed at. But as he placed them near the manger, a bright red poinsettia flower started to bloom on each
branch, which gave rise to their traditional use at Christmas.
Candy canes became a Christmas tradition not because their red and white stripes matched the colors of the season, but for
the most unusual reason of discipline. that's because they were first used as treats that were give to German children to keep them
well-behaved for the duration of church sermons. Over time, the legend of candy canes at Christmas came to be associated with some
of the strongest symbols and beliefs of Christianity: the Father, Son and Holy Ghost known as the Trinity, the Blood of the Son of
God, Jesus as the embodiment of holiness, purity and without sin and the Son of God as the shepherd of man. The candy cane
represents these symbols respectively with its three stripes, its red and white color and its shape.
Sending greeting cards during Christmas and the holidays is as prevalent today as the custom of giving gifts. The tradition
of sending Christmas cards started in 1840 in Britain with the start of public postal delivery service of the 'Penny Post.' Then from
about 1860, large numbers of Christmas greeting cards started to be produced. The popularity of the cards increased in Britain when
they could be sent by the postal service for one half-penny, which was half the price to post a standard letter at the time, if they were
in an unsealed envelope. Religious pictures of Mary, Joseph , Baby Jesus, the angels, shepherds and Wise Men were traditionally
placed on Christmas cards. Some cards today include scenes from the Nativity, but pictures of Santa Claus, winter scenery, Christmas
trees, gift packages and others are also depicted on contemporary Christmas greeting cards.