Our Christmas traditions and stories make it the most wonderful time of the year and the history behind them makes it even better. Here are some fun Christmas facts from Christmas carols to Christmas tree lights to mistletoe:
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- The word Christmas is Old English, a contraction of Christ’s Mass.
- The first President to decorate the White House Christmas tree in the United States was Franklin Pierce.
- Germany made the first artificial Christmas trees. They were made of goose feathers and dyed green.
- Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.
- The first Christmas cards were vintage and invented in 1843 during the Victorian era.
- “It’s a Wonderful Life” appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.
- “Rudolph” was actually created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930’s for a holiday promotion. The rest is history.
- “The Nutcracker” is the most famous Christmas ballet.
- “Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
- If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would receive 364 gifts.
- The poinsettia plant was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800’s.
- Holly berries are poisonous.
- Contrary to common belief, poinsettia plants are non-toxic.
- Mistletoe was chosen as Oklahoma’s state flower in 1893 and later changed to the state floral emblem.
- In 1843, “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens in just six weeks.
- The first state to recognize the Christmas holiday officially was Alabama.
- Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.
- An angel told Mary she was going to have a baby.
- Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year. Although it varies, it usually lands sometime in December.
- Clearing up a common misconception, in Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word “X-Mas” comes from. Not because someone took the “Christ” out of Christmas.
- Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany (January 6).
- More diamonds are sold around Christmas than any other time of the year.
- In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year.
- The definition of a white Christmas in England is when one snowflake falls on the roof of the London Weather Centre in the 24 hours of December 25.
- December 25 was not celebrated as the birthday of Christ until the year AD 440.
- In 1895 Ralph Morris, an American, invented the string of electric Christmas lights similar to the ones we use today. The actual strings of lights had already been manufactured for use in telephone switchboards. Morris looked at the tiny bulbs and had the idea of using them on his tree.
- In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Christmas festivities were banned by Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry on what was supposed to be a holy day to be immoral. Anybody caught celebrating Christmas was arrested. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660.
- The world’s largest Christmas present was the Statue of Liberty. The French gave it to the US in 1886. It is 46.5 meters high and weights 225 tons!
- Forego throwing out your Christmas tree and make it lunch. The Evergreen is actually edible, well most parts of it anyway. In addition, it is nutrient enriched, so if you take the advice stated previously you’d be getting a good source of Vitamin C and roughage. Don’t mind that you will be eating a tree; it’s just one step away from any other vegetable.
- There is a special act in Britain that actually makes it mandatory to go to church on Christmas day. The act that is deemed the Holy Days and Fasting Act still exists, however, not so much enforced. Additionally no vehicle of any kind is to be used to get to the Christmas service.
- Bake your bread on Christmas Eve and it will remain fresh forever. If only. There is an old wives’ tale that actually suggests that bread baked on Christmas Eve is mold resistant. While it cannot be known now how many people believed this, it’s pretty obvious that any believers would be converted after the appearance of mold on their bread beyond 5 days or so.
- “Pets are people too”, this may be what pet owners are thinking during the Christmas season. It has been estimated that at least 56 percent of Americans sing to their pets. It may just be more fulfilling considering that pets cannot possibly complain.
- Christmas is a great time to exercise. You will walk an average of five miles between the parking lot and stores, however, don’t let this give you a false sense of security, most people still gain those pesky Christmas pounds despite this.
- Leftovers can sometimes be your enemy. Spoilt leftovers are responsible for 400,000 cases of post Christmas associated illnesses.
- Ever wondered where the idea of elves came from? They are actually modern day versions of “Nature folk” described in Pagan religions of the past.
- It was once believed that any woman who went under mistletoe and was not kissed would not marry the coming year.
- The annual Christmas pudding was more than just a tasty treat. Small items were placed in them which had the power to predict what the New Year would bring. Coins were associated with a gain in wealth, a ring was a sign of an imminent marriage and a button signified extended bachelorhood. This idea actually goes back to the middle ages where the cake being served on the Twelfth Night would come complete with a hidden bean. Whoever found this bean was declared “king” for that one night.
These Christmas facts found at: