A list of interesting Christmas trivia that were not large enough to have a separate page devoted to each of them.
- Santa Claus has many different names around the world including Father Christmas in the UK, Pere Noel in France, Kriss Kringle in Germany, La Befana in Italy, Julinesse in Denmark, Dedushka Moroz (meaning Grandfather Frost) in Russia and the Three Kings in Spain and Mexico.
- The typical image we have of Santa Claus dressed in red clothes with white fur trim, is an amalgamation of cultural input over many years. Some people claim the image of Santa we know today is from Coca-cola advertising, but this simply isn't true. The standard Santa garb was well established by the 1920s and it wasn't until the 1930s that Coca-cola first used the Santa Claus design in their advertising.
- The word Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, or "Christ's Mass." There is no set date for his birth in scripture and it wasn't celebrated on any particular day. However Christmas was first celebrated on the 25th of December in Rome in 336AD with an aim to replacing the popular pagan winter solstice celebrations
- The first Christmas card was designed in 1843 by J.C. Horsley
- The twelve days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany (6th of January) and represent the length of time it took for the wise men from the East to visit the manger of Jesus after his birth.
- Popular belief holds that 3 wise men visited Bethlehem from the east bearing gifts. However there is no mention in the bible about the number of wise men who visited. Three gifts were brought - gold, frankincense and myrrh, but names commonly attributed to the wise men - Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar were added some 500 years later.
- The 26th of December is traditionally known as St Stephen's Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. The reason it was called this is either alms boxes in church were opened and the money distributed to the poor, or alternatively it was named from the practice of servants receiving boxes of gifts from their employers on this day. Boxing day is NOT named after the practice of throwing out large numbers of boxes after Christmas!
- English Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas between 1647 and 1660 because he believed such celebrations were immoral for the holiest day of the year.
- The first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria in 1937
- Christmas trees become popular in the UK from 1841 when Prince Albert erected a tree in Windsor Castle following a German tradition. Fir trees have been decorated at Christmas time in Germany since the 8th century.
- The Queen's Christmas speech was first televised in 1957.
- The definition of a white Christmas in the UK is for a single snow flake (perhaps amongst a shower of mixed rain and snow) to be observed falling in the 24 hours of December 25th.
- The Christmas tree displayed in Trafalgar square in London is an annual gift to the UK from Norway since 1947. The Norwegian spruce given is a token of appreciation of British friendship during World War II from the Norwegian people.
Click here for more Christmas facts