It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but how much do YOU know about Christmas?
Do you know what the world’s largest Christmas present was? How about the world’s largest tree? Check out these 20 festive facts and impress everyone at your next Christmas gathering with your Yuletide knowledge.
Believe it or not:
1. “Xmas” isn’t a new term. It came into general use from the church hundreds of years ago because the symbol “X” is similar to a cross. So, “Xmas” is every bit as religious as “Christmas.”
2. As late as the last century, Christmas wasn’t even a legal holiday! (This explains why nineteenth-century readers found it credible that Scrooge could require Cratchit to come to work on Christmas Day.
3. Oklahoma was the last US State to declare Christmas as a legal holiday in 1907 and Alabama was the first in 1836.
4. Mistletoe literally means “dung on a twig.” Really makes ya wanna pucker up, doesn’t it?
5. Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
6. The world’s largest Christmas tree was a Douglas Fir standing 221 feet tall! It was displayed at the Northgate Mall right here in Seattle in 1950.
7. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” released in 1942, is the best-selling Christmas song of all-time!
8. “Jingle Bells” was originally written for a Thanksgiving celebration. It was also the first song to be sung in space–on December 16, 1965 by astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra.
9. Due to international time zones, our modern day Santa Claus actually has 31 hours to deliver presents to all the children of the world.
10. Saint Nicholas Day (December 6) was the traditional day for giving gifts to children. Today, it’s still the day on which children receive gifts from St. Nicholas in the Netherlands.
11. The box of Barnum’s Animal Crackers was designed so it could be hung on Christmas trees.
12. The world’s biggest Christmas gift is the Statue of Liberty! Given to the US by the French in 1886, it weighs over 225 tons. It’s always stood as a symbol of freedom, but who’d have thought of it as an actual gift?
13. Although they have masculine names like Blitzen, Donner, and Rudolph, male reindeer shed their antlers around the holidays. So it’s most likely Santa’s sleigh is pulled by female reindeer!
14. Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.
15. Black Friday isn’t the busiest shopping day of the year. Actually, the Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the busiest shopping days.
16. Christmas trees are grown in every state of the US – even Hawaii!
17. On average, it takes 7 years to grow a Christmas tree, although it can take up to 15!
18. Every letter addressed to Santa is sent to the Santa Claus post office in Indiana.
19. Americans send 1.3 billion Christmas cards annually.
20. The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples, used by medieval actors in plays depicting Adam and Eve.