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Christmas Fun Facts and Traditions

Fun Information about Christmas, tradfitions, and the history of this holiday!

These days we think of Christmas and the holidays in many different ways. Depending on our upbringing, beliefs, faith and influences, our personal stories are as broad as the range of personalized ornaments online here at OrnamentPlus.com. For fun, we scoured the internet, blogs, and yes even books to compile the beginning of our own Christmas Fun Fact Sheet. We hope you enjoy this little Fact sheet and always welcome your own fun facts and traditions to add to this site. You can email us at customersupport@ornamentplus.com.

  1. Buy personalized family ornamentMost of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzer, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female.
  2. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
  3. Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.
  4. All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.
  5. The “true love” mentioned in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” does not refer to a romantic couple, but the Catholic Church’s code for God. The person who receives the gifts represents someone who has accepted that code. For example, the “partridge in a pear tree” represents Christ. The “two turtledoves” represent the Old and New Testaments.
  6. In A.D. 320, Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ.
  7. According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
  8. The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
  9. The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 m) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 m) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.
  10. Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.
  11. Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
  12. Many European countries believed that spirits, both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves, especially under the influence of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas (1779-1863) illustrated by Thomas Nast (1840-1902).
  13. Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836.
  14. Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
  15. Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.
  16. Ancient peoples, such as the Druids, considered mistletoe sacred because it remains green and bears fruit during the winter when all other plants appear to die. Druids would cut the plant with golden sickles and never let it touch the ground. They thought it had the power to cure infertility and nervous diseases and to ward off evil.
  17. A Yule log is an enormous log that is typically burned during the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25-January 6). Some scholars suggest that the word yule means “revolution” or “wheel,” which symbolizes the cyclical return of the sun. A burning log or its charred remains is said to offer health, fertility, and luck as well as the ability to ward off evil spirits.
  18. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl (“flower which wilts”). For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity, and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.f
  19. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. He is the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.
  20. Wassail is from the Old Norse ves heill, meaning “good health.”
  21. There are two competing claims as to which president was the first to place a Christmas tree in the White House. Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856; others say President Benjamin Harrison brought in the first tree in 1889. President Coolidge started the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.
  22. President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.
  23. It is estimated that the single “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best selling single of all time, with over 100 million sales worldwide.
  24. There are approximately 21,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States. In 2008, nearly 45 million Christmas trees were planted, adding to the existing 400 million trees.
  25. The first person to decorate a Christmas tree was reportedly the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). According to legend, he was so moved by the beauty of the stars shining between the branches of a fir tree, he brought home an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles to share the image with his children.
  26. The first printed reference to a Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.
  27. Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
  28. In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.
  29. The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples. At Christmastime, medieval actors would use apples to decorate paradise trees (usually fir trees) during “Paradise Plays,” which were plays depicting Adam and Eve’s creation and fall.
  30. Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole (1808-1883), British illustrator John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) invented the first Christmas card in 1843.
  31. Christmas purchases account for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.

 


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