We all need some holiday cheer and so we've compiled a bunch of fun Christmas Facts to impress your friends and family with over the holidays!
1. Santa originally only had 8 reindeer helpers
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, and Blixem made their debut appearance in Clement Moore's “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (more commonly known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas"), in 1823.
2. Wait, who are Dunder & Blixem?
“Dunder" and "Blixem” mean “thunder” and “lightning” in German. In 1837, publisher Charles Fenno Hoffman printed a version of “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” which included the changing of ‘Blixem’ to ‘Blixen’ (possibly to make it rhyme with ‘Vixen’) and ‘Dunder’ to ‘Donder.’ No one really knows who first changed the names, or when or why but those names certainly have stuck!
3. Rudolph The Reindeer was a late addition
The character of Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer was created by Robert L May. His bosses at the Montgomery Ward department store heard about his character and asked to feature him in their coloring books which they gave out to children who came to the store to see Santa in 1939.
4. Rudolph joined the herd and became the star!
In 1949, Robert L Mays' brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, turned the popular story of Rudolph, a misfit red-nosed reindeer into a song, which was recorded by Gene Autry. It became a huge success, and is one that we all still sing and love today!
5. Reindeer are the perfect helpers for Santa
Reindeer live in the northernmost parts of the world and are native to Arctic regions, as well as northern Europe and Siberia. So, they're able to fit right in, in the North Pole!
1. Christmas trees take a long time to grow
It takes on average 6-8 years for a Christmas tree to be fully grown, and as long as as 15 years. What's more, Christmas trees can be grown in all 50 states, including Arizona and Hawaii
2. You could clean your toilet with the original artificial trees... kind of!
In 1930, the U.S.-based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree. It was made from brush bristles (dyed green) and the company used the same machines that it used to manufacture toilet brushes. In case you're worried, most artificial Christmas trees today are made from PVC plastic!
3. Christmas tree lights aren't a modern phenomenon
2 years after Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb, his assistant, Edward Johnson, in 1882, came up with the idea of placing electric lights on the tree (instead of the traditional candles) and hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree.
4. The tallest tree is the height of a 10-story building
The tallest living Christmas tree in America is the hugely impressive 161-foot tree in Idaho's Coeur d’Alene Resort (which is more than twice the size of the infamous tree in New York City's Rockefeller Center). The star placed at the top is a whopping ten feet tall and the tree is adorned with over 30,000 lights!
5. 111 years of White House Christmas tree displays
In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have a Christmas Tree at the White House. It was placed in his private quarters and decorated with candles and toys. In 1909, President William H. Taft had the idea to display the tree in the Blue Room, a public portion of the White House, a tradition which remains to this day.
1. Santa was real... sort of
The character of Santa Claus is based on St. Nicholas of Myra, a Greek Christian bishop in modern day Turkey (270-343). He was legendary for his habit of secret gift-giving and his love of helping children. As his story of generosity became known they called him Sinterklaas in Dutch and told of his generosity to keep his story alive.
2. Santa is a very fast worker
There are approx 2.1 billion children in the world, and an average of 2.5 children per household! That's a lot of houses (approx 842 million) to get through in one evening (well, 31 hours thanks to time differences)! Thankfully he has elves to help him, and the world's fastest vehicle... his sleigh!
3. Santa isn't always male... or nice!
A version of Santa is celebrated all over the world, but with some notable differences! In the Netherlands he has a helper called Grumpus who threatens to kidnap naughty kids! In Italy, "Santa" is known as Befana, a legendary old woman who rides through the sky on a broomstick, wearing a black shawl. But almost everywhere, Christmas is depicted by an old man who comes down the chimney and leaves gifts and candy for well-behaved kids!
4. Santa saw red in 1931
Santa Claus initially wore green, purple or blue clothing. In the 1930s, Coca Cola featured commercials with Santa and decided to brighten up his wardrobe to match their brand colors. And since then, Santa has become synonymous with his red and white Coca Cola-inspired outfit!
5. Santa Claus goes by many names
He's been a part of American culture since at least the late 1700s. In the US alone, he is known by many names including: Santa, Father Christmas, St Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Jolly Old Saint Nick, and even Pelznickel!