From ho-ho-ho to mistletoe, Christmas is full of fun and festive traditions – some of which have changed dramatically over the years.
For instance, the real St. Nicholas was thin, balding and rather scary-looking. In the 1800s, the old guy began morphing into the jolly gift-giver we now know. And in the 1930s, Coca-Cola gave him a complete makeover, resulting in the familiar Santa with rosy cheeks, a bright red outfit, and a belly that had seen more than its share of Cokes.
And the original reason for hanging stockings by the fireplace was to catch the gold coins that St. Nicholas (the thin, scary one – not the fat, happy one) was rumored to drop down chimneys.
Here are 20 bits of Christmas trivia to deck your halls and brighten your season.
All of us here at Alta Pro wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It is our great privilege to serve you. Here’s to an awesome 2021!
25 Fun Christmas Facts
- “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song titled “One Horse Open Sleigh,” penned by James Lord Pierpont for his church’s Thanksgiving concert. In 1857 it was re-published as “Jingle Bells,” and we’ve been dashing through the snow ever since.
- One of the earliest images of an airborne Santa was in 1819, when author Washington Irving (who loved the Santa mythology) pictured him soaring through the night sky in his sleigh.
- The eight reindeer were introduced in Clement Moore’s 1837 poem “The Night Before Christmas.” Their original names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner and Blixem (from the German words for thunder and lightning, later anglicized as Donner and Blitzen).
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a Montgomery Ward marketing gimmick. The department store gave children coloring books as Christmas gifts. To save money, the store commissioned its own book. And thus, Reindeer #9 – the greatest reindeer of them all – was born.
- “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum wrote the popular “Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” in 1902.
- The tradition of bringing evergreens – or an entire tree – into the home likely dates back to ancient Egypt or Rome, when indoor greenery was a sign that Spring would come soon.
- The top Christmas movie of all-time, according to imdb, is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
- “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted on CBS-TV in 1965. It was hailed as an instant classic.
- Linus’ speech at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been known to melt even the hardest of hearts.
- Eggnog dates back to the original Jamestown settlement in 1607. Its name derives from grog, meaning a drink made with rum.
- The Bicycle playing card company manufactured special decks of cards as Christmas gifts for U.S. prisoners of war in Germany during WWII. When moistened, the cards peeled apart to reveal escape routes.
- The three most popular Christmas colors are red, green and gold.
- More than 90 percent of all American trees are grown on farms in one of seven states: California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
- The Puritans weren’t big fans of Christmas. In the mid-1600s, anyone caught making merry could be fined – or worse.
- Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870.
- Around 15,000 people go to the emergency room each December for injuries related to holiday decorating.
- Poinsettia plants are named after the American minister Joel R. Poinsett, who brought the red-and-green plant back from Mexico in the early 1800s.
- “Poinsettia” is frequently misspelled.
- Last year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the US Postal Service shipped more than 900 million packages and 15 billion letters.
- Tinsel was invented in Germany and was once made of real silver. Now it’s plastic.
- In the U.S., ham is more popular than turkey for Christmas dinner.
- The average American spends around $1,000 on Christmas and holiday gifts.
- The first Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center was a small, undecorated pine placed there by construction workers in 1931. It grew steadily over the years, and it now has more than 25,000 lights.
- Mistletoe is an ancient symbol of fertility and virility, which explains the kissing.
- Alta Pro says: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
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