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Calling all Christmas lovers! If you can’t get enough of the festive season and want to know everything there is to know about Christmas and its traditions, then read on.
From learning about the history of Christmas trees to why we give gifts on Dec. 25, there are so many festive facts that might surprise you.
Here are 50 festive Christmas facts…
Donner and Blitzen Originally Had Different Names
They were originally called Dunder and Blixem which is German for thunder and lightning.
Jingle Bells Was The First Ever Song Played in Space
On 16 December 1965 the popular Christmas song ‘Jingle Bells’ WAS broadcast during NASA’s Gemini 6A space flight making it the first song played in space.
Christmas Was Once Banned in the UK
In 1647 Parliament passed an ordinance that abolished Christmas Day and it lasted for a whopping 13 years, between 1647 and 1660.
Christmas Trees originated in Germany
The Germans gave us Christmas trees! with their origins being traced back to 15th-century Germany. The custom of bringing a Christmas tree inside the house then became very popular in the 19th century around the globe.
All the Presents in the 12 days of Christmas add up to 364
A gift for every day in one year, coincidence?
Not all Carols are Joyous
Some carols have darker origins – for example, The First Noel is believed to be an ominous carol about a terrible apocalypse.
The Tradition of gift-giving was started by a Saint
It is believed that the tradition of gift-giving dates back to the story of St. Nicholas, a bishop who was known for giving gifts to children on the eve of his birthday.
There are different versions of the “12 days of Christmas song”
The song has been recorded by many different artists over the years, and each version has different lyrics. One of the most notable versions of the song is by Bing Crosby, which was released in the 1950s.
Christmas Dinner contains (on average) 3 x the Daily Recommended Calories
Christmas Dinner is extremely calorific, with the average Brit eating three times more than they need just on that day alone.
Christmas Crackers were a UK Invention
The Christmas Cracker was invented by Tom Smith in Lonon in 1847
Christmas Tree Lights Were Invented in 1882
Edward Johnson invented the first string of electric tree lights back in 1882.
The Red, Gold & Green Christmas Colours have Meaning
Gold is one of the gifts from the three kings, green symbolizes everlasting life and red represents the blood of Christ
France Consumes the most meat on Christmas Day
The country that eats the most meat on Christmas Day is France, where they will consume 30% more meat on Christmas Day than on an average day.
This is followed by Brazil, where they will eat 17% more meat on Christmas Day than on an average day.
Swan and Peacock was the Christmas Dinner Meat of choice before Turkey
The use of swans and peacocks on the table during Christmas was an effort to impress guests with the host’s wealth.
Cranberry Sauce is Rarely Eaten Other than at Christmas
Cranberry Sauce is on the Christmas Dinner table at most homes…..but how many people actually eat it? Nogt many at all!
Thousands of jars get opened and get left unused after Christmas, with over 90% of households only purchasing a jar for Christmas for the novelty factor and in case someone likes it.
The most important family member should sit at the head of the table
This tradition comes from the days when families would share their meals with the servants.
The head of the table was where the most important family member would sit. This tradition (weirdly) has carried on and is actually still used in some British households.
The term ‘Xmas’ just means …. Christmas
In the Greek language, Christ begins with the letter X. Xmas, which really just means Christmas. There’s no special meaning to it.
December 25th wasn’t the date Jesus was born
Christmas day was not chosen to be on December 25th because of the birth of Christ – it was chosen because it was the date of the Winter Solstice.
Santa is a Saint
St. Nicholas has been was depicted as Santa in an 1840 book called “The Children’s Friend”.
St. Nicholas was chosen because of his reputation as a kind and generous man who helped the poor.
Mince pies used to have Meat in
The mince pie is filled with a mixture of dried fruit and spices that is called ‘mincemeat’ but there is no mince in them anymore.
During the middle ages, mince pies were actually, filled with a mixture of minced meat, chopped fruit and preserving liquid – Yum!
Coca-Cola helped Spread the love of Santa
The company created an advertisement featuring Santa and his reindeer drinking Coca-Cola in their sleigh and distributing gifts.
Coca-Cola played a big part in introducing the jolly old gift giver to the masses.
Santas Suit Wasn’t Always Red
Coca‑Cola reinvented Santa in an ad campaign.
St Nick had appeared in numerous illustrations and written descriptions previously wearing tan, green and even scarlet, but never the bright red we now all know and love.
The tradition of Santa Claus Letters started in the 19th century
The tradition of Santa Claus and gift-giving at Christmas seems to have started in the 19th century.
At this time, many children who lived in England and America wrote letters to Santa Claus. Unfortunately, very few of these letters have survived the test of time.
Santa’s friend, Sprite Boy inspired the drink Sprite
In 1942, Coca-Cola introduced “Sprite Boy,” a character who appeared with Santa Claus in Coca-Cola advertising throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that Coca-Cola introduced the popular beverage Sprite.
Carolers have a long history of being hated
In the medieval era, when carolling involved wandering from house to house and often drinking too much alcohol, the tradition was considered a nuisance to many.
Carolers have often been greeted with angry doors slammed in their faces and rocks were thrown at them.
Christmas carols were originally banned
Yes, really! In the early days of Christianity, carol singing was forbidden because it was seen as a pagan ritual.
Most carolling was done by Men
Most Christmas carolling was done by male groups, often made up of friends, family members, or neighbours. Women were largely absent from the carolling scene.
Women’s participation in carolling has grown in recent decades and only about 25% of carolling groups are made up entirely of men.
People used to pay for Carols
In the early modern era, a few well-to-do people earned money by providing Christmas carol services. These paid carolers might have been the forerunners of modern choirs.
The most famous Carol was once a Lullaby
Silent Night was originally a lullaby, intended to calm the nerves of a baby who had been crying all night.
Most Carolling is now performed at Events
Regulated begging, nuisance and public noise rules have contributed to a decrease in door-to-door carolling. Most carol singers now perform their music at public events.
Carolling was traditionally a Job for the Poor
Carolling was often done by people who could not work during the winter, such as people who were disabled or very young. They would be given a “carol bowl”, a small wooden bowl filled with coins, as payment for their services.
Coal Was given To Naughty Children For Two Reasons
Parents left coal for their naughty children because it killed two birds with one stone – it can convince their child to be less naughty and can be used for cooking food or heating homes during the cold winter months.
A Christmas Carol is the most adapted Story in Film History
There is a total of 135 versions of this movie (as of 2022)!
The first Santa Claus film was made in 1898
It was a short silent drama, featuring Santa visiting a house on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Movies only Show in Cinemas for 3 Days Per Year
They are December 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.. That’s just 7 days a year where you can go see a Christmas movie during Christmas time! Crazy, right?
Soldiers during World War 1 Stopped Fighting at Christmas
British and German troops held a truce on Christmas. They stopped fighting, exchanged gifts, and played games of football.
The highest-grossing Christmas movie is the Grinch
Home Alone was beaten by this animated hit.
People Kiss under the Mistletoe Due to a Norse tale
The tale goes that Baldur, son of the goddess Frigga, was killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. Frigga was so distraught by this that her tears turned into white berries, coating the plant, symbolizing his love for him.
Frigga saw the white berries and was overjoyed, so she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it from that day forward.
Christmas Demons Force Children to Behave in Austria
Santa’s evil counterpart, Krampus is a half-human, a half goat-like creature who resembles the Devil. Though he’s the most well-known Christmas demon, there are other variations throughout Europe.
These Demons are folklore tales used to keep children in line!
KFC is Eaten for Christmas Dinner in Japan
People in Japan mainly eat KFC for Christmas Lunch, It is said it’s due to the lack of Turkey in the country.
Ukrainians Decorate their Homes with Spiderwebs
It is believed the webs will bring good fortune and miracles for the upcoming year.
Children in Germany Get Gifts in their Boots
In Germany, children clean and polish their good boots and leave a single one outside the door on December 5th and by the morning, St. Nicholas will have filled their boots with nuts, candy, and other small gifts.
Yule Logs Weren’t Always Edible
Yule Logs were Logs of wood! The entire tree in fact, which would feed the fire through the 12 Days of Christmas.
A Christmas Carol took six weeks to write
Charles Dickens started writing the famous Christmas book in October 1843 and finished it at the end of November–just in time for Christmas
Tinsel comes from the Old French Word “estincele,” that means Sparkle
And Sparkle it does!
Tinsel Was Originally Made From Lead
Christmas tree tinsel was originally made of lead until the US government intervened and persuaded manufacturers to change it to plastic.
Christmas Trees were once Banned from the White House
President Roosevelt banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1901
King George Vs First Christmas Day Speech Was Written by Rudyard Kipling
Yes the very same author that ‘wrote the Jungle book’
The First Ever Televised Royal Christmas Day Message was in 1957
Queen Elizabeth II made history with the first televised Christmas Day Speech in 1957
The oldest Christmas Market in the world is in Germany
The largest and oldest Christmas market in Europe is the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany
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We hope you loved this list, and if you have any other weird and wonderful Christmas facts you think should have made the list, please let us know in the comments below…