Christmas wasn't always celebrated on December 25
Though Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, there is no mention of December 25 in the Bible. (Most historians believe he was actually born in the spring.) It wasn't chosen as the official holiday until the 3rd Century. Some argue that the date was picked because it coincided with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, celebrating agricultural god Saturn with partying and gift-giving.
Jingle Bells and Space
“Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. “Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space.
Christmas Trees and a Prince?
No - not that Prince! Another Christmas tradition stemming from Saturnalia was the Christmas tree: During the winter solstice, branches served as a reminder of spring — and became the root of our Christmas tree. The Germans are credited with first bringing evergreens into their homes and decorating them, a tradition which made it's way to the United States in the 1830s. But it wasn't until Germany's Prince Albert introduced the tree to his new wife, England's Queen Victoria, that the tradition took off.
Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner
Every Christmas, many kids and grown-ups head to the closest KFC to enjoy some fried chicken. It’s all thanks to a successful “Kentucky for Christmas!” marketing campaign started in 1947. First aimed at foreigners, KFC offered a “Christmas dinner” that contained chicken and wine – a meal that remotely resembled the food expats and tourists had at home. After a huge success, Kentucky Fried Chicken started promoting this offer every year, until the fast food chain became strongly associated with the holiday season.
Christmas Beak Ups!
According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas is one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. However, Christmas Day is the least favorite day for breakups.
Spider Web on a Christmas Tree
In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider or a spider’s web on a Christmas tree is believed to be good luck. According to one legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. Another says that a spider web on the Christmas tree turned silver and gold once the sunlight touched it. Either way, decorating a Christmas tree with artificial spiders and spider webs may bring you luck and prosperity!
Coca-Cola and Santa's Red Suit?
Santa wore a variety of colorful suits through the years — including red, blue, white, and green — but legend has it that the popular image of his red coat came from a 1930's ad by Coca Cola.
Stockings Hung by Fireplace?
Gift-giving also came from Holland. There, St. Nicholas' feast day is celebrated December 6 by children leaving out shoes overnight and finding little gifts from St. Nicolas in the morning. According to legend, hanging stockings came from the take of a poor man who couldn't afford his three daughters dowries: St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night so that the eldest could wed — but it fell into a stocking that was drying by the fire!
Reginald the Red-Nosed Reindeer?
A copywriter named Robert L. May first invented the oddball reindeer in 1939 as a marketing gimmick for Montgomery Ward's holiday coloring books. May considered naming the beloved misfit Reginald and Rollo. His nose wasn't originally going to be red: A red nose was viewed as a sign of sign of chronic alcoholism, and Montgomery Ward didn't want him to seem like a drunkard. Good thing they changed it. "Reginald, the blue-nosed reindeer" doesn't have quite the same ring ….
In the Netherlands, Santa Claus arrives from Spain, not from the North Pole, and is called "Sinterklaas". Sinterklaas has his little helpers, but they are not the adorable elves. Instead they are black-faced boys and girls who can steal your kids if they misbehave, and bring them to back Spain! Ho Ho Ho!
That's a Big Tree!
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. Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850. Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold
Some British people wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner. The crowns are stored in a tube called a “Christmas cracker.”
From hanging lights on ladders to taking roast out of the oven, making merry can prove hazardous. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that an average of 15,000 Americans visit hospital emergency rooms each November and December from holiday-related decorating accidents. To top it off, dried Christmas trees spark hundreds of fires, an average of 17 deaths, and $13 million in property damage annually.