Christmas Facts

 

Father Christmas

Father Christmas has two addresses, Edinburgh and the North Pole.  Letters addressed to 'Toy Land' or 'Snow Land' go to Edinburgh but letters addressed to 'The North Pole' have to be sent there because there is such a place!

 

What are the names of Santa's Reindeer?

Father Christmas's reindeer are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph.  Eight of these names are from Clement C Moore's  'A Visit From St Nicholas' and the ninth from the song 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer'

 

White Christmas

England has only ever known seven white Christmas's in the entire 20th century.  According to the Met. Office in London, snow fell on Christmas day in 1938 and 1976 - the definition of a 'White' Christmas' in England is when a flake of snow falls on the roof of the London Weather Centre.

 

Christmas Food

An 'Old Wives Tale' is that if bread is baked on Christmas Eve it will never go mouldy.

The Christmas turkey was imported to France by the Jusuits and it is still known in some parts of France as a 'Jusuite'.

Christmas Pudding  was first made as a soup with raisons and wine in it.

Christmas Pudding originates from an old Celtic dish known as 'Frumenty'.

 

Christmas Day

25th December was not celebrated as the birthday of Christ until the year AD 440.

The Queens' Christmas Speech was first broadcasted on television in 1957.

Christmas crackers were invented by Thomas Smith.  He had imported some French novelties to sell as Christmas gifts, but these were not popular and did not sell until he wrapped them up with up and added a snapper.

 

Decorations

Each year between 34 - 36 million Christmas Trees are produced to cope with the holiday demand.

Electric lights were used just three years after Thomas Edison had his first mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879.  Thomas Edison's assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of using electric lights on Christmas trees in 1882.  His lights were a huge hit.  However, it took a number of years before they were made available to the general public.

In 1895, Ralph Morrison, an American telephonist, invented the string of electric lights similar to those we use today.  The actual strings of lights had already been manufactured  for use in telephone switchboards.   Morris looked at the tiny lights and thought of using them on his tree.

 

Christmas Banned

In 1647, the English Parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal.  Christmas festivities were banned by puritan the leader Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry, on what was supposed to be a Holly Day, to be immoral.  Anybody caught celebrating Christmas was arrested.  The ban was only lifted in 1606 when the Puritans lost power.

 

Christmas Cards and Christmas Post  

In 1843, the first Christmas card was created by an English Man, Sir Henry Cole J.C.  Horsley designed the cards and 1000 were sold in London.

Postmen in Victorian England, were popularly known as 'Robins'.  This was because of their red uniform.  Victorian Christmas cards often depicted a Robin delivering the Xmas mail.  

In the 19th Century, the British Post office, used to deliver cards on Christmas Morning.

The Christmas stamp was issued in Canada 1898.

 

Christmas Carols

St Francis of Assisi introduced Christmas Carols to formal church services.

The word comes from the ancient Greek choros, which means 'dancing in a circle', and from the old French word carole, meaning 'a song to accompanying dancing'.

The first instrument on which the carol 'Silent Night' was played was a guitar.

The popular Christmas song 'Jingle Bells' was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont, and was originally called 'One Horse Open Sleigh'.  It was actually written for Thanksgiving, not Xmas.

 

Twelfth Night

It is not until twelfth night that the figures of the Three Kings are supposed to be added to the Christmas Crib.

In Germany, Twelfth Night was known as 'Three Kings Day'.

The 'Twelve Days of Christmas' gifts:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Two Turtle Doves

Three French Hens

Four Calling Birds

Five Gold Rings

Six Geese Laying

Seven Swans Swimming

Eight Maids Milking

Nine Ladies Dancing

Ten Lords Leaping

Eleven Pipers Piping

and

Twelve Drummers Drumming

There are 364 gifts altogether - one for every day of the year.

 

The Poem commonly referred to as 'The Night Before Christmas' was originally titled 'A Visit from Saint Nicholas'.  This poem was written by Clement Moore  for his children and some guests, one of whom anonymously sent the poem to a New York newspaper for publication.