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A Few Christmas Facts That Will Surprise You

Well, it’s that time of the year – the mainstay winter festival in the Western world, celebrated through eating, drinking and, for dwindling number, Christian services. To highlight the Holiday, The Latest News brings you some Christmas facts you probably didn’t know and which, perhaps, will entertain you.

Let’s begin with a song – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” While Rudolph is the most famous reindeer, he is not one of the original eight. The first naming of Santa’s reindeer is in a poem by Clement C. Moore called “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (all together now:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house  
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.'

These intrepid creatures are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (or Donder), and Blitzen. Although these reindeer sound ‘male’, male reindeers shed their antlers at Christmas so Santa’s posse is most likely to be all-female.

Whatever the gender, the reindeer need to work hard. To deliver gifts on Christmas Eve to every child on Earth, Santa needs to travel 221 billion miles. He also gets to spend only .0002 of a second at each home.

Sticking with Christmas songs, ‘Jingle Bells’ is one of the few ‘traditional’ Christmas songs that fails to mention Christmas of Christianity. The song was actually written to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Many of the traditions of Christmas are Victorian (often Dickensian inventions), of Germanic origin. The turkey, however, comes from France and was the favored food of Jesuit priests. Running with the French theme, although Christmas crackers were invented by Thomas Smith, an Englishman, he was inspired by a French tradition of giving away novelties at Christmas. Smith’s brainwave was to wrap the little toys up.

Another Victorian initiated tradition is sending cards. In the U.S. despite the prevalence of email, some 3 billion are sent alone within this territory. The U.K. lags behind with 878 million.

Queen Victoir herself, by her husband, popularized the Christmas tree. Although fir (or an artificial looking fir tree) has become the tradition, the first Christmas trees were made of feather, with the feathers held together by goose fat.

Delving into science, why does Rudolph have a red nose? Norwegian scientists think that that a reindeer’s red nose is the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

Presents are popular at Christmas time. The bigger the stocking, the more likely you are to get more presents, right? If this is true, then the world’s largest stocking was made for a London charity in 2007. The colossal sock measured 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 meters) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 meters) wide.

So, there we have it, a few facts to liven up the Holiday period.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.

  • Daphne Girl

    maybe you meant Fir tree?

  • Victor Grayson

    It says fir tree…