Fun Facts for Yuletide
- “X-mas” is not just shorthand for the hurried. In Greek, “X” actually means Christ.
- The world’s largest Christmas gift was the Statue of Liberty, given by the French to the U.S. in 1886. It weighs a whopping 225 tons!
- More than 3 billion Christmas cards will be sent in the U.S. this season.
- Panettone is the favorite Christmas treat in Italy. In Spain, it’s nougat and in Germany it’s all about honey sweets.
- The average growing time for a Christmas tree of 6-7 feet tall is 7 years.
- Of all the presents received, only 40 percent will stay unbroken until March.
- Pope Julius I declared December 25 the official celebration of the birth of Christ.
- Each year there are approximately 20,000 “Santas” across the nation.
- The British celebrate with “Christmas crackers” at the dinner table on Christmas Day. A “cracker”, resembling an oversized wrapped candy, is pulled by two people with arms crossed, in the same manner as a wishbone at Thanksgiving. The cracker splits unevenly and the “winner” takes the paper crown to wear along with the small prize inside.
- In Poland, spiders and spider webs are common tree decorations since legend has it a spider wove a blanket for the baby Jesus.
- Mistletoe comes from a word meaning “little dung twig.” The plant spread through bird droppings. Yuck!
- Viewed as decadent, Christmas celebrations were banned by Puritans from 1659-1681.
- Christmas stockings evolved from a legend of three sisters too poor to afford a marriage dowry, and therefore doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved when Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna crept down the chimney and filled their stockings with gold coins.
- In Germany, Christmas Eve is said to a magical night when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.
- The earliest known Christmas decorations were apples.
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