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Christmas Fun Facts

You’ve trimmed the tree, gazed at light displays and prepared your home for the bevy of guests who will visit this holiday season. While you may have knocked out all your Christmas traditions, there may be much about the “most wonderful time of the year” you don’t know about. While waiting for Santa to come down the chimney this weekend, impress your family with these fun Christmas facts:

  • US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.
  • Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.
  • “It’s a Wonderful Life” appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was actually created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930s for a holiday promotion. Little did they know back then, he’d go “down in history.”
  • The common abbreviation for Christmas to Xmas is derived from the Greek alphabet. X is letter Chi, which is the first letter of Christ’s name in the Greek alphabet.
  • In 1836, Alabama was the first state in the USA to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
  • Franklin Pierce was the first United States’ president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree.
  • The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
  • “Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill”–to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.
  • The poem commonly referred to as “The Night Before Christmas” was originally titled “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” This poem was written by Clement Moore for his children and some guests, one of whom anonymously sent the poem to a New York newspaper for publication.
  • If you were to receive every present in “The 12 Days of Christmas,” you would have 364 gifts (and plenty of duplicates!).
  • Candy canes started as white sticks used to decorate Christmas trees. It was not until the 20th century that they were given red stripes.
  • One of the most popular Christmas songs “Jingle Bells” was actually written for Thanksgiving.
  • The needles of Christmas trees (pines, firs and spruces) are edible, and are an excellent source of vitamin C.
  • Every year since 1947 the people in Oslo have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster. The gift is an expression of goodwill and gratitude for Britain’s help to Norway in the 1939-1945 war.

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