A bit of Christmas Trivia

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You may have been celebrating Christmas for a fair few years now, but we bet you didn’t know some of these facts! We certainly didn’t!

  • The abbreviation of Xmas for Christmas is not irreligious. The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi, which is identical to our X. Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation that was used in tables and charts. In the early days of printing, when font sizes were limited and type was set by hand, abbreviations and ditto marks were used liberally. Xmas came into general use from the church.
  • If Santa were to deliver all of the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, he would have to visit 882 homes a second, travelling at 1046km per second.
  • Santa has many different names around the world including Father Christmas in the UK, Pere Noel in France, Kriss Kringle in Germany, La Befana in Italy, Julinesse in Denmark and Dedushka Moroz in Russia.
  • By the figures: 1 in 10 Christmas presents will be broken by the New Year, and 7 in 10 dogs will be given Christmas presents from their owners.
  • VISA Cards are used an average of 5340 times every minute during Christmas time.
  • The first artificial Christmas trees were made in Germany from goose feathers that were dyed green.
  • Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorate the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided to have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn’t until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.
  • Some priests in Australia advise you to say “Happy Christmas”, not “Merry Christmas”, because Merry has connotations of getting drunk – which brings its own problems. One should say “Happy” instead.
  • The largest functional Christmas cracker was 45.72 meters long and 3.04 meters in diameter. It was made by Australian international rugby player Ray Price in Markson Sparks of New South Wales, Australia and was pulled in the car park of the Westfield Shopping Town in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia on 9 November 1991.
  • December 26 was traditionally known as St. Stephen’s Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. This expression came about because money was collected in alms-boxes placed in churches during the festive season. This money was then distributed to the poor and needy after Christmas.
  • The tradition of gifts seems to have started with the gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus. The exchanging of gifts between people started in about the 1800’s.
  • The origin of hanging Christmas stockings comes to us from southern Europe. One legend says that an old man was in despair because he had no money for his daughter’s dowries. St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the chimney, which happened to fall into a stocking hung up to dry.
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was created in 1939 by a 34-year-old copywriter named Robert L. May, who came up with a poem about a misfit reindeer at the request of his employer, Chicago-based Montgomery Ward, for a Christmas story they could use as a store promotional gimmick.
  • In India, they decorate banana trees at Christmas time.
  • The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.
  • Most artificial trees are manufactured in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
  • “Silent night” was written for a choir when the church organ broke down.
  • Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company.
  • It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.
  • A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.