1) Santa didn’t always have a beard
The original Santa Claus was not also the jolly fat man with a red suit on an open sleigh. He was based on the traditional Dutch winter figure of Sinterklaas. Artist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast added the beard and the rotund figure in the pages of ‘Harper’s Weekly’ during the latter part of the 19th century.
2) Jingle Bells was not composed for Christmas
Jingle Bells is synonymous with Christmas, and the special time of the year would not be the same without it. The truth is that you should have been hearing it in November. James Lord Pierpont wrote the song in the 1850’s to play for his Boston Sunday school class during Thanksgiving to commemorate sleigh races. Young and old enjoyed the song so much that they decided to re-modify it to fit Christmas.
3) The real meaning of mistletoe
The mistletoe plant has been known for centuries as the plant to stand under when you are in need of a sweet little kiss. But you would be less inclined to stand under one of these if you knew its real meaning. The quasi-parasitic plant has a “symbiotic relationship” with a bird called the mistle thrush. The bird eats the berries, digests the seeds and then leaves droppings which eventually grow into new mistletoe plants. The Germanic root of the word for mistletoe translates as “dung on a twig”
4) Santa’s Galore
Most children grow up with the belief that there only exists one Santa Claus. This is not the case in Iceland where children grow up with 13 Santa’s. Their Christmas tradition has 13 “Yuletide Lads” who either leave presents or pull pranks for children during the 26 day holiday season as a reward or punishment for their behavior.
5) Traditional Christmas Sweets
France: Buche de Noel (a Génoise or other sponge cake, baked in a large Swiss roll pan)
USA: Pumpkin Cake (with cinnamon and ginger, frosted with cream cheese frosting)
Spain: Nougat (made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts)
Hungary: Beigli (roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich, bittersweet filling)
Italy: Panettone (is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan)
Sweden: Pepparkakor (heart-star and goat-shaped gingerbread biscuit)
UK: Christmas Pudding (steamed pudding, with dried fruit and nuts, usually made with suet)
Portugal: Pain Perdu (French toast made with bread and eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon)
Germany: Lebkuchen (large cookies made of honey)
6) Fun Christmas statistics
1 in 10 – The number of the presents received that will be broken by the New Year.
7 in 10 – The number of dogs that get Christmas gifts from their owners.
33 – The average amount spent per person on last-minute purchases.
25 – The percentage time spent in queues when Christmas shopping.
832 – The number of homes Santa visits every second to deliver all his presents.
5340 – Average number of times Visa Cards are used every minute during Christmas time.
7) Best-selling Christmas Songs
“White Christmas” – Bing Crosby
“Mary’s Boy Child” – Boney M
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” – Band Aid
“Last Christmas” – Wham
“The Millennium Prayer” – Cliff Richard
8) The world largest Christmas present represented freedom
The Worlds 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 weighs 225 tons.
9) X marks the spot.
In Greek, the letter X means Christ and that is where the word “Xmas” originated.
10) The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers