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The Christmas Facts to Teach Your Kids (Fun Trivia)

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Christmas sure is a time of joy and cheer, but it’s also a great time to learn something new. These surprising, unusual Christmas facts will have the kids, friends, and family smiling!

The Christmas Facts (Unusual Ones)

Unusual Christmas Facts to Tell the Kids

Delight friends, family, and kids with these lesser-known Christmas facts and trivia!

  • Did you know that Medieval Christmas trees were decorated with apples, dates, nuts, pretzels, and paper flowers?

Yes, the earliest Christmas trees were decorated to look like the fruit trees in the Garden of Eden! In fact, live Hawthorn trees were often used as they would bloom inside the house.

  • Did you know that “Jingle Bells” was the first-ever song played in space?

If you were to select a playlist for space, Jingle Bells might not be the first song to come to mind to add. However, this is the first tune officially broadcasted (by humans, at least) from space! 

The astronauts of the 1965 Gemini 6 mission, Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra, played it as a Christmas prank. In order to do this, they smuggled a tiny harmonica and sleigh bells onto the flight!

  • Did you know that children in Germany put their boots on their doorstep on Christmas Eve to receive gifts from St. Nick?

In Germany, Christmas is a little different! Though gift-giving is more common these days, many kids still put their empty boots or stockings out on the doorstep on Xmas Eve in Germany.

Old Nick makes a visit during the night, leaving traditional German cookies, such as Lebkuchen, oranges (which were a delicacy), nuts, and candy (or a lump of coal) in the stockings!

  • Did you know that Tallinn in Estonia claims to have set up the first public Christmas tree in its town square in the year 1441?

Christmas trees in public squares are widespread this century – however, things weren’t always this way! 

1441 was the earliest known year when the first Christmas tree was erected in Tallinn’s town square!

  • Did you know that the first glass Christmas ornaments were produced in the 16th century in Lauscha, Germany?

Glass ornaments weren’t standard on the earliest Christmas trees – fruit, pastries, and paper flowers were the trend. Why, though? Well, because glass baubles hadn’t been invented yet, of course!

Another interesting Christmas fact is that glass ornaments were only invented in the 16th century! Hans Greiner made the first in the small glass manufacturing town, Lauscha, Germany. 

Glass ornaments were a magical thing back then, with various amazing designs like birds and fruit available! You can see why these baubles really took off over the next few centuries!

  • Did you know that Christmas is called “Weihnachten” in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany?

Yule (Christmas) was considered a festival of a holy night, thereby getting this name. Translated literally, the name Weihnachten means “holy night.” 

  • Did you know that many Japanese celebrate Christmas by going to eat at KFC?!

One of the most unusual Christmas traditions is that it’s not uncommon for tables at Japanese KFC’s to be booked out over Christmas!

Thanks to the hugely successful “KFC for Christmas” marketing campaign aired almost half a century ago, Japanese flock to KFC today to enjoy a festive meal with family and friends!

  • Did you know that “Jingle Bells” was actually originally written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas?

One of the most strange Christmas facts is that the most popular Christmas song, “Jingle Bells,” was not actually written for Christmas at all!

  • Did you know that the word Mistletoe actually translates into “dung on a twig” or “dung twig?”

The word “Mistletoe” may sound mysterious and magical. However, it’s actual meaning has much more humble roots!

The plant was aptly named after the birds who would eat its seeds, then poop them out!

Yes, “Mistletoe” is an amalgamation of two Anglo-Saxon words, literally translating to mean “dung twig” or “dung on a twig!”

I imagine your Christmas might not be the same after imparting this unusual fact to the kids! Now, imagine saying, “should we kiss under the dung on a twig?!”

  • Did you know that Xmas is not a handy abbreviation – it actually got its name from the Greek language?

Though handy for those who prefer to abbreviate words, the word Xmas actually has ancient roots! Xmas comes from the Greek word for Christianity, Xianity, which shortened, is Xmas!

  • Did you know that the earliest Christmas puddings and mince pies contained beef and mutton as well as currants, spices, and wine?

Have you ever wondered why mince pies are called so when they have no meat? Well, that’s because the original pies and Christmas puddings actually did contain minced beef and mutton! Ew!

  • Did you know that peacocks were the most popular dish served at Medieval Christmas feasts and celebrations?

These days, Gammon ham and turkeys adorn Xmas tables worldwide – but things weren’t always this way! Peacocks were actually top of the shopping list for every Christmas feast chef!

Other popular options included swans and more exotic game birds! The fancier and more unusual, the better, as the proteins on offer were a way for the host to show their wealth and affluence!

  • Did you know that early church calendars celebrated Adam & Eve’s Day on the 24th of December?

Aside from the now most commonly known Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day holidays, ancient folks used to celebrate another special holy day!

Adam & Eve’s Day was a feature on the calendar centuries ago, occurring every 24th of December! On this day, Medieval Christians commemorated the mother and father of humanity.

  • Did you know that Adam & Eve’s Day was celebrated with a paradise tree?

Yes, some of the earliest Christmas trees erected by Christians weren’t actually Christmas trees at all. They were paradise trees set up to celebrate Adam & Eve and the Garden of Eden!

These trees were more often than not live flowering trees, such as Hawthorn. Paradise trees were adorned with paper flowers, apples, and nuts to mimic the trees in the Garden of Eden, too.

  • Did you know that the earliest tinsel was actually made from real extruded silver?

Tinsel wasn’t always plastic fantastic! The earliest tinsel was invented in Nuremberg around 1610 and actually made of real extruded silver! Talk about keeping up with the Joneses.

  • Did you know that eggnog was adapted from an earlier English recipe called posset?

Eggnog is a unique drink that’s synonymous with Christmas all over the globe. Curdled eggs and milk are ingredients, though whether it curdles or delights, your stomach is up to you!

But, did you know that it’s actually an ancient drink that has its roots in 13th century England, where an earlier drink, posset, was made by Medieval monks? 

The eggnog we know, and either love or hate, was adapted from this posset recipe, which originally initially ale or mead!

  • Did you know that Christmas wreaths actually symbolize the crown of thorns that Christ wore?

Though festive and decorative, the Christmas wreath we know and love has a more profound meaning! 

One lesser-known Christmas fact is that it symbolizes the crown of thorns Christ wore during his crucifixion.

  • Did you know that candy canes were shaped to look like the staffs of the shepherds who visited Christ on his birthday?

Candy canes are another treat synonymous with Christmas. Historians aren’t 100% sure of the date of their creation, though many believe they were invented in 17th century Germany.

Despite the mysterious origins of candy canes being debatable, one thing many historians do agree on is that they were shaped with a bent tip to resemble a shepherd’s staff!

  • Did you know that Santa didn’t originally wear red clothing?

If you ask any kid, they’ll likely tell you that red is the only color Santa wears. However, this wasn’t always his number one garb color of choice!

Typically, Santa was depicted as wearing green, purple, or blue. The red makeover comes courtesy of Coca-Cola, who decided to dress him to match the branding in their adverts.

  • Did you know that the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” commemorates the 12 days it took for the Three Wise Men to travel to visit Christ after his birthday?

Yes, though the Christmas song, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” may not feature much sensical information, never mind much of anything of a religious bent, it does take inspiration from the birth of Christ!

You see, the Three Wise Men took 12 days to travel to visit Jesus Christ after he was born.

  • Did you know that the 25th of December isn’t officially Jesus Christ’s birthday, according to the Bible?

Though universally known to be the birthday of Christ, there’s actually no specific date of birth (never mind the 25th December) mentioned in the Bible. 

It was the Roman Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus who calculated Christ’s birthday to be the 25th of December.

  • Did you know that evergreen trees were used to celebrate Winter Solstice long before they were the official Christmas tree?

Ancient Egyptians and Romans, as well as pagans, celebrated Winter and the period of Winter Solstice with evergreen trees. 

We can guess that evergreen trees’ amazing ability to survive the Winter without dying made them the perfect (very practical) choice!

  • Did you know that celebrating Christmas used to be illegal in the 1600s?

After the Puritans overthrew the monarchy and chopped off King Charles I’s head in 1647, their next heinous act was to outlaw Christmas!

However, it was not until 1659 that the holiday was officially made a criminal offense. Those partaking in merrymaking or feasting received a hefty fine if caught breaking the law. 

But why did the Puritans hate Christmas so much?

They claimed that, since the Bible mentioned no date for Jesus’s birthday, never mind any Christmas celebrations, that it was unholy and sacrilegious to celebrate it!

  • Did you know that Christmas decorating is a dangerous job? Yes, sometimes even more dangerous than swimming with sharks!

Amongst Christmas activities, there are few festive tasks as perilous as decorating! In fact, Christmas decorating sends around 15,000 people in the US alone to the ER each year!

Beyond decorating, a few silly people have also electrocuted themselves watering trees with plugged-in Christmas lights! 

Dry, unwatered trees and Christmas candles are also a danger, sparking a few fatal fires each year! In fact, Christmas tree-related fires killed more people than sharks in the US in 2009.

So, do remember to tell the kids to be safe and snuff out those candles. And, make sure that the tree is well watered, of course – just not when the lights are plugged in, though!

  • Did you know that you can write to Santa?

Yes, Santa would love to hear from the kids – especially those who have been nice and not naughty! Letters can be addressed directly to Santa @ 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888.

  1. Did you know that Santa will also leave you a present if you’re naughty?

Yes, kids who’ve been naughty don’t get left – they also get a gift, that’s a Christmas fact! Santa isn’t a complete scrooge – he’ll leave you a nice, big, dusty black lump of coal! 

  • Did you know that Gammon Ham is the most beloved of all Christmas proteins?

Besides peacocks, swans, and turkeys, there are plenty more yummy proteins to choose from for your Christmas feast – such as Turduckens, vegan Tofurky, and beef tenderloin!

However, the ultimate Christmas favorite is still the spiral cut Gammon Ham! These days, you’re not just limited to the typical pineapple slice and cherry garnish, either.

  • Did you know that the massive Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square is gifted to Britain by Norway every year?

Few public Christmas trees can compare with the impressive Trafalgar Square Christmas tree! But, do you know why and from where the gargantuan tree comes every year?

Well, every year since 1947, Norway has gifted London the tree to say thank you for Britain’s support during World War II! What a Christmas gift!

  • Did you know that the average American consumes around 3-4 times as many calories as they need per day on Christmas Day alone?

Christmas feasting is a serious affair – if you haven’t gained 3 pounds by the end of the day, you’re definitely doing something wrong! 

But seriously, the average adult takes in 3-4 times what they need, consuming a hefty 7000 calories on Christmas Day alone! 

If it’s any consolation, it’s one of the best days to overdo it, though!

  • Did you know that the tallest Christmas tree ever erected was 221-foot?

According to the Guinness World Records, Seattle’s Northgate Mall holds the record for erecting the tallest Christmas tree in December of 1950 – a 221-foot Douglas fir that would cost a pretty penny today.

Conclusion:

During the holiday season, we give gifts, but not all gifts need to be physical things! Astound the kids with these Christmas facts, as well!

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