06 December 2023
12 days of Click-mas: 11 interesting facts about Christmas
Christmas isn’t what you think it is. Read our 11 fascinating facts about the festival and why things are not always what they seem.
Christmas is the most fun time of the year. So, as you might expect, it has a somewhat storied history. The Nativity is a part of it, but there is so much more about Christmas people don’t know.
Fortunately, it's your lucky day. This post runs through 11 fascinating facts about Christmas you can use to wow your in-laws while you tuck into turkey and stuffing.
People Only Started Sending Each Other Christmas Cards In The 1840s
You might think that Christmas cards have been around since time immemorial. But that’s simply not true. In reality, people have only been sending them since 1843, when British civil servant Sir Henry Cole started laying the foundations of the modern Post Office. He came up with the idea of selling postcards for a shilling each to people who wanted to share seasonal warmth with their friends and family.
Interestingly, much of the Christian world does not send postcards. For instance, Catholic Filipinos prefer to cook food and give modest gifts in person.
New York’s Statue Of Liberty Was A Christmas Gift, The Biggest Ever
Historians believe New York’s Statue of Liberty might be the biggest Christmas gift ever when Edouard de Laboulaye sent it from France to the United States in 1865. The towering monument celebrated the life of then-deceased President Abraham Lincoln and the country’s commitment to freedom, justice, and liberty. It took a year to assemble and complete when it arrived in the Big Apple, receiving its official dedication in 1886.
White Christ By Bing Crosby Is The Best-Selling Single Of All Time
It must be that silky-smooth baritone voice!
Candy Canes Are Nearly 400 Years Old
If you thought red and white swirl candy canes were a recent invention of the food industry, think again. Researchers now believe they date to the choirmaster of Cologne Cathedral in Germany in 1670. Legend has it that he gave red and white sugar sticks to his choirboys as part of traditional Christmas Eve celebrations. The idea is so iconic that people continue to eat candy canes and decorate their trees with them to this day.
Santa Lives At The North Pole Because Of A Cartoonish
The idea of Santa living at the North Pole (or somewhere close to it) is an idea ingrained in the public consciousness. We can’t imagine a Santa from El Salvador! However, this concept only emerged in the 1800s after famous cartoonist Thomas Nast depicted the idea in his political drawings, probably because people at the time saw it as a magical, mysterious place.
85% Percent Of Children Believe In Santa
Despite smartphones, Santa’s popularity among children remains legendary. Researchers suggest that 85% of children believe in the lovable modern take on St. Nicholas. Estimates suggest Santa receives around 32,000 letters a year from his young acolytes.
The Puritans Tried To Ban Christmas In The 17th Century
There’s a reason Puritans have a puritanical reputation! The ultra-conservative sect banned Christmas in the English Parliament in favour of 24 hours of fasting. That doesn’t sound fun.
The Term “Xmas” Is Not A Lazy Abbreviation
The term Xmas didn’t originate with Nokia phones and mass texting in the year 2000. Instead, it goes back centuries to the 1500s when mediaeval monks would use the symbol “X” to represent Christ on the cross.
Rudolph Wasn’t A Real Reindeer
Sorry to rain on your parade if you thought Rudolph was a real reindeer, but the truth is nothing of the sort. Our favourite four-legged Christmas critter was actually a marketing creation by the Montgomery Ward department store in the 1930s. Executives commissioned writer Robert L. May to write a story to go with a fun colouring book to give away to children. He simply invented Rudolph and his seasonally red nose for interest.
Spiders Are Christmas Decorations In Parts Of Eastern Europe
Western Europe and North America don’t associate arachnids with the birth of Christ, but that’s not the case in Ukraine and places near it. These countries have a legend of a Christmas spider that they depict in their decorations.
Santa Was Once A Green Elf
Finally, most media depictions of Santa in the 19th century were of a green elf or something resembling the Grinch. The rosy-cheeked version only came forth when Coca-Cola released a series of ultra-successful branding drives featuring the cheeky chap.