“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a pig’s head an on Egyptian pine tree!” If you’re wondering why this Christmas Carol sounds a bit off, then you’re definitely in need of reading our festive 30 Most Interesting Ultimate Fun Christmas Facts! While you’re here, check out our Christmas Chronicles Quiz: How Much Do You Know? and test your global sled-navigation skills with our Christmas Geography Quiz!
1. Ancient Egyptians Decorated Trees!
Ancient Egyptian’s didn’t just invent the horrifying mummification tool used to scoop brains from dead peoples nostrils, they also invented decorating pine and fir trees. A tradition carried in households across the world, today (Christmas tree decorating NOT mummification).
2. Santa Claus was known as Sinter Klaas in Dutch
That’s how he got his name!
3. Santa Claus is sponsored by Coca-Cola!
Santa used to dress in green, purple, or blue. After Coca Cola decided to dress him up in colours that matched their brand for an advert, the new colours of red and white stuck. What a corporate sell out!
4. Baby Jesus was gifted Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
Gold we can understand as it retains value even in times of economic upheaval, but the others are aromatic (smelly) resins and probably not much use to a baby. Frankincense, from the Boswella tree, is also not to be confused with Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s Gothic horror novel.
5. Plum puddings AKA Christmas Cakes do not contain plums!
Great news for people with stone fruit allergies but bad news for people who hate raisins. In medieval times raisins were called “plums”. That’s how the confusion arose!
6. Naughty Children get coal in their stockings!
According to Christmas legend. If you are on Santa’s naughty list you do NOT receive presents. Things that get you on the naughty list include: Bank Robberies, eating bogies and not reading the Beano!
7. Alabama was the first US state to recognise Christmas as an official holiday!
Before 1836 you might have had to work or go to school on Christmas Day! A sack of coal for the state of Oklahoma who took another 71 days to make it a holiday. Boo!
8. There are 12 days of Christmas for a reason.
It’s how long the three kings walked for to gift the baby Jesus his awesome presents! To make the feat more impressive, they hiked all that way wearing sandals!
9. This fact is crackers
Crackers were invented by someone called Tom Smith. Rumours that he was really bad at telling jokes are uncomfirmed!
10. Christmas wasn’t always on the 25th of December
There's no date given for Jesus’ birth in the Bible. Historians think that the 25th of December was chosen because it coincided with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, honouring the Saturn, the god of agriculture!
11. St Nicholas doesn’t look like Santa!
Although he DID have a white beard, apparently. St Nicholas was a fourth century bishop who gave away his large inheritance to the poor - he never wore Red robes and was actually quite slender.
12. The Dutch had the idea to leave milk and cookies
Not only did they invent the name Santa Claus (kind of) they also invented the tradition of leaving milk and cookies!
13. Rudolph isn’t an original reindeer.
He was invented in 1939 as a way to sell toys to kids.
14. Rudolph almost had a different name!
The people who wrote the Rudolph story considered other names for our favourite glowing-nosed reindeer. Rollo and Reginald were both considered. The name Dave was never an option.
15. Silent Night is the most recorded Christmas song!
It’s had 733 different versions. “All I want for Christmas is You” has only one version and that’s because NO-ONE can sing it like Mariah Carey!
16. Eggnog is a pirate drink!
The “nog” refers to “grog” which is an old sailor term for watered down Rum!
17. Mistletoe has a magical property!
Ancient Celtic druids considered Mistletoe a powerful aphrodisiac. Today, it’s still used as a Christmas decoration that you can have a kiss under… Very romantic!
18. Mistletoe is also very gross!
Thrush’s eat mistletoe berries and poo out the seed. Their poo helps the seeds grow. The Germanic word for Mistletoe means “Dung on a Twig” …Very romantic!
19. Jingle Bells was the first song played in space!
Astronauts onboard NASA's Gemini 6A space flight played the song at Christmas. Mariah Carey is NOT impressed.
20. If your true love really gave you all the presents listed in the carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas," it would equal 364 gifts!
And we have no idea how they’d wrap all those milk maids!
21. In the Ukraine a Christmas Spider brings good luck!
Unless it’s a deadly poisonous variety hiding in the nut bowl.
22. Father Christmas has a pet cat
In some countries, the traditional Father Christmas is depicted with a cat. The cat scouts out everyone’s houses first to make sure the children are really asleep!
23. The Christmas Pickle calms everyone down!
Some families hide a gherkin on their Christmas Tree! The gherkin must be found before ANY presents can be opened. On behalf of parents everywhere, thanks Pickle!
24. Christmas Tinsel used to be made out of real Silver!
That’s one expensive Christmas decoration
25. The Polish celebrate Christmas with a massive fish!
On Christmas Eve polish families will celebrate by cooking a “Christmas Eve Carp”!
26. The traditional UK Christmas meal used to be Pig’s Head
Then it changed to goose. Now it’s Turkey!
27. Candy Canes are German
They were given to children to stop them fidgeting during REALLY boring church sermons. Something maths teachers should try, perhaps?
28. Britain’s most famous Christmas Tree is from Norway
Every year Norway gifts Britain a massive tree to display in Trafalgar Square in gratitude for helping Norway in the Second World War.
29. Christmas gifts help prisoners escape!
During the Second World War, the Allied Secret Services sent playing cards to Allied POWs as Christmas gifts. When the cards got wet they peeled apart to reveal maps of escape routes across Germany!
30. Jingle Bells had a different title to begin with
In the 1850s, someone named James Lord Pierpont penned a song titled One Horse Open Sleigh for his local church's Thanksgiving concert. It was later retitled Jingle Bells and a festive banger was born!