Christmas is finally here! I myself love the holidays, from caroling to the gifts – which we all know are the best part!
There’s so much joy and happiness around at this time of year and so many traditions we all abide by so avidly however nonsensical they may seem but why?
And who created all the images, characters and foods we all love? What’s the world’s most expensive Christmas tree? Well that’s what we’re here to find out!
Here are 100 festive facts to get you ready for Christmas!
Scientists figured out that for Santa to deliver all the world’s gifts on Christmas Eve he would need to visit 822 homes a second traveling 650 miles a second or 2,340,000 miles per hour (3,765,865 kph)
For 13 years, between 1647 and 1660, Christmas was banned in the UK by Cromwell after the English Civil War.
Our needley favorite, the Christmas tree, doesn’t need to be thrown away every year, some parts are edible including the needles themselves which are a source of Vitamin C.
The holly inside a wreath actually represents Jesus’ Crown and the red berries represent his blood.
In 2015, the world’s first Christmas card commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843 sold for £8,469 ($10,513.84). The hand-colored card pictured a family drinking wine.
The star of Bethlehem that guided the wise-men is believed to be a comet or Uranus.
Our favorite pudding, the Christmas pudding, was initially a soup made with raisins and wine.
Edward Johnson invented the first electrical tree lights in 1882.
The first Christmas was supposedly held in York, UK in 521AD.
According to Biblical Scholars, Jesus was more than likely born in a cave not a stable as the tale says.
The Christmas-card staple, the red robin, was originally a joke mocking postman who wore red tunics. These postmen were known as robins.
Noel actually comes from the French phrase “les bonnes nouvelles” or “the good news”.
Turkey wasn’t always the Christmas-go-to, England’s traditional meal of choice was actually a pig’s head and mustard.
The word Christmas comes from the old English meaning Christ’s mass (Cristes maesse).
The first Christmas crackers were made in London in 1847 by Tom Smith.
The term “Boxing Day” is supposed to come from the money raised for the poor in church alms-boxes.
The Beatles had Christmas number ones in 1963, 65 and 67, giving them the record for the most Christmas number ones.
Rudolph isn’t as historic as we believe; it was actually created in 1938 by a US marketing company.
The gold chocolate coins we receive at Christmas are to represent the gold St Nicholas supposedly gave to the poor.
Czech Republicans are very supersticious, a table at Christmas must be made of even numbers otherwise the one without a partner will die.
In 1942 Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas. The Bing Crosby version sold over 100 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling Christmas single of all time.
In December 1965 Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast in space from Gemini 6.
A white Christmas isn’t as unlikely as we all think in the UK, 1 in 10 is the chance of a traditional English White Christmas.
Santa Claus flying in the sleigh was an image dreamt up by the same man who created the headless-horseman, the image was made in 1819.
X-Mas actually has a meaning; the X stands for Christ and is a Greek abbreviation.
Rudolph’s nose redness is hypothesised as a parasitic respiratory infection.
The first ever artificial Christmas tree was a German tree made of dyed goose feathers.
In the “12 Days of Christmas”, all the gifts from the song will add up to 364 gifts.
In the US, there is 3 Billion Christmas cards sold annually.
The average Christmas tree before its sale will grows for 15 years.
During the holiday period, around 28 sets of LEGO are sold per second.
In 1962 the first US Christmas postage stamp went on sale.
Eggnog apparently derives from “egg grog”, which means an egg and rum drink.
St Nicholas was originally a stern, harsh man holding a birch branch who symbolised discipline.
Milk and cookies derives from an Old Dutch tradition of leaving food for St Nicholas on feast day.
A Yule log is quite literally a giant log that is burnt during the 12 days of Christmas.
Christmas was first recognized in the US in 1836. The first state being Alabama and the last was Oklahoma in 1970.
In the 1950s Church leaders in Boston tried to ban the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” as it supposedly promoted physical intimacy.
Spider’s webs are traditional Polish Christmas decorations, as the spiders wove a blanket for Jesus.
Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the US, was the first to place a Christmas tree in the White house in 1856.
In 2013, the record was set for the fastest time to decorate a Christmas tree. It took Sharon Juantuah 36.89 seconds and was set in Essex, UK.
Christmas hats, or paper crowns, are only worn in Britain during Christmas.
In Maria Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, Santa Claus is played by Mariah’s then-husband Tommy Mottola.
Many believe that Christmas is a time with high suicide rates but the real facts show spring is the worst.
Christmas trees are grown across all 50 states of the US.
During the Nazi-era, Hitler tried to turn Christmas into a non-religious holiday celebrating Hitler and Christmas trees were donned with swastikas.
Christmas tinsel was initially made of lead until the US government persuaded manufacturers to change it to plastic.
For an artificial tree to be more environmentally greener than a fresh tree, you would need to use it for 20 years.
In 1901, President Roosevelt banned Christmas trees in the White House.
Mistletoe comes from the mistletan which means “little dung twig” as its spread through bird droppings.
Denny’s in America had an issue when it came to Christmas closing time as many restaurants were built with no locks.
A middle age tradition is to eat a mince pie every day of the twelve days of Christmas as it supposedly gives you 12 months of good luck.
In Columbia in 2010, the government covered jungle trees in lights so that when guerrillas got near the lights would illuminate and banners appeared asking them to drop their weapons and reveal themselves.
A Boston industrialist closed his factory on Christmas day and donated a turkey to all its workers after hearing Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
In America, during 1659-81, Puritans banned Christmas with a fine of 5 shillings for each offense.
The most expensive Christmas tree was constructed in 2010. It was worth £6,975,880($8,660,206) and was on display at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. It had 181 pieces of jewelry adorning it.
Bicycle, a US Playing card manufacturer, creating a card for all US POW’s in Germany that when wet revealed escape routes. The card was given as a Christmas gift.
In Canada, letters sent to Santa go to postcode “H0H 0H0”.
The origin of the name Santa Claus has a convoluted tree. In Dutch St Nicholas became Sint-Niklaas or Sinter Klaas. Obviously from there it’s not a big leap to Santa Claus.
The concept of eggnog in America was apparently devised in 1607 at Captain John Smith’s Jameston Settlement.
The Queen’s speech was first broadcast in 1957.
The World’s largest stollen measures 72.10m (236.55 ft) and was achieved in 2010. It was made by Lidl at Haarlem Railway Station in the Netherlands it took 2 and half hours to cook.
The candy cane at Christmas originates 250 years ago in Germany as straight white sticks.
Originally “Hark! How the Welkin rings!” were the lyrics for the much loved “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings” tune. Welkin meaning Heaven.
“Millionaires Crackers” are Christmas crackers that contain a solid silver box with a piece of jewelry inside.
Originally mince pies were actually filled with meat and were oval to represent Jesus’ manger.
The highest-grossing Christmas movie is actually Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
A Swedish tradition is to watch Donald Duck cartoons on Christmas Eve.
In 1918, Canada sent a Christmas tree to Boston to show their appreciation for their help in the 1917 Halifax explosion. This gesture has been continued in recent times.
There is a debate that we actually give gifts at Christmas to commemorate the Pagan tradition of gifting the gods, not the three wise men.
Supposedly the Christmas pickle is to be the last ornament on the tree.
Some zoos around the world take Christmas trees that are donated to feed their animals.
In Japan there is a tradition, thanks to a 40-year-old marketing campaign, KFC is consumed by the vast majority of the population on Christmas Eve.
In November 2014, Birra Forst SpA created the world’s largest bauble with a diameter of 15ft (4.58m) and weighed 1060 lb (481kg).
Turkeys aren’t just for Christmas. June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.
The idea of a white-Christmas comes from Dickens’ works. Dickens lived during a mini ice-age which meant every Christmas it snowed for 8 years straight.
The first decorated Christmas tree was supposedly in 1510 in Latvia.
Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890 in the US.
As of Christmas 2014, the world’s most expensive Christmas hamper costs £85,605! ($106,274.33) It includes a bottle of 1961 Moet, 250g (0.55 lb) of Almas Iranian Caviar and Cognac Jules Robin 1789.
The Rockefeller Christmas tree is topped, as of 2004, with a 550-pound (249.48 kg) Swarovski Crystal star.
Calennig is a welsh tradition, like carolling, where children would go round houses singing with an ornate apple.
The tradition of Christmas crackers comes from an old French custom of giving gifts of paper-wrapped sugared almonds.
Turkey replaced Swan on the Christmas menu of the Royals in 1851.
In Scandinavia, the holly is known as Christ Thorn.
One superstition regarding Christmas pudding is that it shouldn’t have more than 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples.
In Dublin 1742 Handel’s Messiah was first performed. Messiah is a well-known oratorio particularly at Christmas.
There are, traditionally, a range of trinkets left in Christmas pudding including “Bachelors Button” (if found by a single man he would be single for the following year), “Spinsters Thimble” (Same as Batchelor’s Button but for a single woman) and “a Ring” (any singleton who found this would get married the next year).
Boxing Day is also celebrated as St. Stephen’s day.
In UK churches, the largest church bell is rang an hour before midnight, at midnight all others are rang in celebration.
In the US, there are 2 places known as Santa Claus and Santa, they are in Indiana and Idaho respectively.
Since 1991, real Christmas tree sales have plummeted below that of artificial trees.
The Christmas carol “Silent Night” originated in Austria, it was played on a guitar as the organ was too rusted.
Coca-Cola’s big red Christmas truck, a modern icon of Christmas, has its own twitter account @ChristmasTruck; this was tweeted more than 57 million times in 2013.
Christmas crackers were originally called “cosaques” and are supposedly named after the Cossack Soldiers who would fire their guns into the air on horseback.
On Christmas Day 2011, there were 6.8 million iOS and Android devices activated.
In 2013, 1.7 million people sent Santa letters, that’s the highest percentage of over 8 million letters sent worldwide.
The traditional Christmas Eve meal in Armenia is a portion of fried fish, some lettuce and spinach.
Michigan has no state song apart from an old song written to the Christmas song “O Tannenbaum” which had the lyrics “Michagan, My Michigan”.
Well, there’s your 100 festive facts, does it get any better?
Above are some of the more eccentric Christmas traditions and some interesting origin stories whilst also being speckled (like a Christmas pudding) with mind-blowing facts to amuse anyone this holiday period.
Whatever happens this year, I hope the fat blue suited man with his infected female reindeer brings you everything you want. P.S enjoy your Christmas Eve K.F.C.!