Christmas is celebrated in many countries all over the world and in a wide variety of ways. Many of the customs and decorations we use to make the holiday special have developed in interesting ways and their origins may be hidden in history. With these interesting facts about Christmas, test your knowledge of Christmas trivia as you read through.
The image of Santa Claus flying his sleigh began in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who dreamt up the Headless Horseman.
The Montgomery Ward department store created Rudolph the Reindeer as a marketing gimmick to encourage children to buy their Christmas coloring books.
Some leave food out for Santa Claus’ reindeer as Norse children did, leaving hay and treats for Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir hoping they would stop by during their hunting adventures. Dutch children adopted this same tradition, leaving food in their wooden shoes for St. Nicholas’ horse.
Dutch children also left out food and drink for St. Nicholas himself to honor him on his feast day. Today we leave milk and cookies out for Santa, continuing this very old tradition.
America’s first batch of eggnog was made in the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Its name comes from the word “grog”, meaning any drink made with rum. Non-alcoholic eggnog is popular as well.
Bicycle, the U.S. playing card company, manufactured cards to give all the POWS in Germany during World War II as Christmas presents. These cards, when soaked in water, revealed an escape route for POWs. The Nazis never knew.
The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolized the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
In Poland spiders are considered to be symbols of prosperity and goodness at Christmas. In fact, spiders and spider webs are often used as Christmas tree decorations. According to legend, a spider wove baby Jesus a blanket to keep him warm.
Brenda Lee recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” when she was only 13 years old.
Famous saxophonist Boots Randolph played the saxophone solo on “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.
Paul McCartney’s Christmas song is widely regarded as the worst of all the songs he ever recorded yet he earns $400,000 a year off of it.
If you gave all the gifts listed in the Twelve Days of Christmas, it would equal 364 gifts.