Well, it is here! Merry Christmas everyone! Did it jump out and bite you this year like it did me? Man, that came up fast. I hope you are all cozy and warm snuggled by the fireplace with your loved ones. Once the rush of Christmas morning has died down and you have a chance to sit, relax and maybe sip some eggnog, be sure to check out these fun and interesting little known facts about Christmas and the traditions we all know and love.
DID YOU KNOW?
1. The image of Santa Claus flying his sleigh began in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who dreamt up the Headless Horseman.
2. The Montgomery Ward department store created Rudolph the Reindeer as a marketing gimmick to encourage children to buy their Christmas coloring books.
3. The Bible never actually gives a number for how many wise men visited baby Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel refers to merely “wise men”.
4. Carols began as an old English custom called wassailing, toasting neighbours to a long life.
5. The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
6. The word Noel derives from the French expression “les bonnes nouvelles” or “the good news”.
7. NORAD’s “Santa Tracker” was born from a misprint in the newspaper. A 1955 Sears ad was supposed to print the number of a store where children could call and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. The number printed was to the hotline of the Director of Operations for the U.S. Continental Air Defense. Colonel Shoup ordered his staff to give the children updates on the flight coordinates of Santa.
8. The world’s tallest Xmas tree at 221ft high was erected in a Washington shopping mall in 1950.
9. ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
10. Christmas pudding was originally a soup made with raisins and wine.
11. Our modern day Santa Claus has to travel at more than the speed of light to deliver gifts to all the kids in the world and he would have 31 hours (considering all the times zones) on the Christmas day to get his favorite job done.
12. Many parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C.
13. In 1914 during World War I there was a now famous Christmas truce in the trenches between the British and the Germans. They exchanged gifts across a neutral no man’s land, played football together, and decorated their shelters.
14. The tradition of putting tangerines in stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks full of fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor.
15. In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding, mince pies and anything to do with gluttony. The law has never been rescinded.
16. Ebenezer Scrooge’s famous line “Bah Humbug” almost never existed. Charles Dickens’ initial choice was “Bah Christmas.”