Friday, December 19, 2014

Random Facts About.....Christmas

Christmas is finally coming. This is my very first Christmas as a blogger, and I'm really happy and excited to be able to talk about this holiday season with you, sharing some interesting facts. Among all others, Christmas holidays are without a doubt my favorites.  A shallow mind might think that I’m saying this only for the huge amount of spare time I have in this period or for out of town trips. Not that I don’t like these things, but what I love the most about it is the atmosphere. And I really believe everybody have ever felt that wonderful sensation you get out in the streets, seeing colorful lights, packages tied up with strings, decorated trees and people intent in last minute shopping ..... and maybe snow falling on your head. I think Christmas can also change the most skeptical mind .... and some of the random facts I propose you today will surely make you believe the same. So, here for you some Random facts about Christmas.


1. We frequently abbreviate Christmas as X-mas because of ancient tradition. X is the Greek letter “chi”, which is an abbreviation for the word “Christ” in Greek.
2.  Coca-Cola was the first company to use Santa Claus in a winter promotion.
3. Christmas didn’t gain widespread recognition among Christians until quite recently. In some protestant-dominated areas, such as the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the celebration of Christmas was even legally banned.
4. Believe it or not, a real tree is better than the fake counterpart. In fact, an artificial tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree annually. The calculations included greenhouse gas emissions, use of resources and human health impacts.
5. Oklahoma was the last US State to declare Christmas as a legal holiday in 1907. Alabama was the first in 1836.
6. The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during World War II.
7. During the Christmas of 2010, the Colombian government covered jungle trees with lights. When FARC guerrillas walked by, the trees lit up and banners asking them to lay down their arms became visible. 331 guerrillas re-entered society and the campaign won an award for strategic marketing excellence.
8. Mistletoe literally means “dung twig". The name derives the fact that mistletoe tends to spring from bird droppings that have fallen on trees, with the seeds having passed through the digestive tract of the birds.
9.  Norseman had many traditions and legends concerning the mistletoe. One tradition was that mistletoe was a plant of peace and so that when enemies met under the mistletoe they were obliged to stop fighting for at least a day. Eventually, this spawned a tradition to hang mistletoe over the doorway of one’s home for peace and good luck, including the "kissing under the mistletoe tradition".
10. Ebenezer Scrooge’s original catchphrase was “Bah Christmas,” not “Bah Humbug”.
11. Christmas carols began as an old English custom called “wassailing,” in which one would toast their neighbors to a long life. So when you sing Christmas carols, you’re bringing joy AND wishing good health to everyone you come across.
12. During the Christmas of 1914 (World War 1), a truce was held between Germany and the UK. They decorated their shelters, exchanged gifts across no man’s land and played a game of football between themselves.
13.  About half of Sweden’s population watches Donald Duck cartoons every Christmas Eve since 1960.
14.  In 1867, a Boston industrialist heard Charles Dickens reading "A Christmas Carol" and was so moved he closed his factory on Christmas Day and gave every one of his employees a turkey.
15.  Some zoos take donated Christmas trees and use them to feed their animals.
16. Charles Dickens grew up during a ‘Little Ice Age’ and hence it snowed for each of his first 8 Christmases influencing his writing and hence today’s tradition of a ‘White Christmas’.
17. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” released in 1942 is the best-selling Christmas song of all-time.
18. “Jingle Bells” was originally written for a Thanksgiving Celebration. was also the first song to be sung in space, on December 16, 1965 by astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra.
19. After “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens wrote other Christmas stories annually–although none would be as successful as the first.
20.  Telling “scary ghost stories” is an old Christmas Eve tradition that has died out in the past century.
21. Due to international time zones, our modern day Santa Claus actually has 31 hours to deliver presents to all the children of the world. But to do so, he’ll need to travel at a rate of 4,796,250 MPH. Well, he can do it.
22. Although they have masculine names like Blitzen, Donner,Comet, Cupid and Rudolph, male reindeer shed their antlers around the holidays. So it’s most likely Santa’s sleigh is pulled by female reindeer.
23. Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. This is the way science can ruin a wonderful story.
24. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
25. According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
26. The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
27. Saint Nicholas Day (December 6) was the traditional day for giving gifts to children. It is still the day on which children receive gifts from St. Nicholas in the Netherlands. Nothing is known of Saint Nicholas’ life except for the legends that have built up around him, but he was associated with kindness to children. Santa Claus is the American pronunciation of Sinter Klaas, which was colloquial Dutch for Saint Nicholas.
28. According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas is one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. However, Christmas Day is the least favorite day for breakups.
29. Contrary to popular belief, suicide rates during the Christmas holiday are low. The highest rates are during spring.
30. A spider web found on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck in The Ukraine. Also in Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because, according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.
31. The poinsettia is the most common Christmas flower in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. In Europe this amazing flower is slowly spreading during the winter holidays. This flower is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl (“flower which wilts”). For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity, and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.
32. The traditional Japanese Christmas food is Christmas cake (usually a sponge cake with strawberries and whipped cream).
33. The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 m) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 m) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.
34. The British wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner. The crowns are stored in a tube called a “Christmas cracker. It is also believed in Britain that eating a mince pie on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring 12 months of happiness.
35. Ancient peoples, such as the Druids, considered mistletoe sacred because it remains green and bears fruit during the winter when all other plants appear to die. Druids would cut the plant with golden sickles and never let it touch the ground. They thought it had the power to cure infertility and nervous diseases and to ward off evil.
36. Evergreens (from the Old English word aefie meaning “always” and gowan meaning “to grow”) have been symbols of eternal life and rebirth since ancient times. The pagan use and worship of evergreen boughs and trees has evolved into the Christianized Christmas tree. Actually, The Christmas tree is a Christianized pagan custom that originated in Germany. German settlers introduced it in America. It became popular during the nineteenth century, and then later spread to Britain and Japan from the US.
37. Another common traditional object is the Yule log, an enormous log that is typically burned during the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25-January 6). Some scholars suggest that the word yule means “revolution” or “wheel,” which symbolizes the cyclical return of the sun. A burning log or its charred remains is said to offer health, fertility, and luck as well as the ability to ward off evil spirits. Nowadays the log has also become a delicious cake.
38. Christmas is not widely celebrated in Scotland. This is believed to be because the country is mostly Presbyterian, and Christmas is considered to be a Catholic event.
39. Christmas stockings allegedly evolved from three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage dowry and were, therefore, doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved, however, when the wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.
40. The first person to decorate a Christmas tree was reportedly the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). According to legend, he was so moved by the beauty of the stars shining between the branches of a fir tree, he brought home an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles to share the image with his children.
41. In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve, is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.
42. The Viking god Odin is one precursor to the modern Santa Claus. According to myth, Odin rode his flying horse, Sleipnir (a precursor to Santa’s reindeer), who had eight legs. In the winter, Odin gave out both gifts and punishments, and children would fill their boots or stockings with treats for Sleipnir.
43. In Norway on Christmas Eve, after holiday dinner and the opening of presents, families hide all the brooms in the house. Norwegians believed in ancient times that witches and mischievous spirits came out on Christmas Eve, and would steal their brooms for riding.
44. The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples. At Christmastime, medieval actors would use apples to decorate paradise trees (usually fir trees) during “Paradise Plays,” which were plays depicting Adam and Eve’s creation and fall.
45. In Argentina, a Christmas Eve night tradition includes ‘globos’, paper decorations with a light inside that float into the sky. The sky is filled with them on Christmas Eve after midnight.
46. Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole (1808-1883), British illustrator John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) invented the first Christmas card in 1843.
47. For every Christmas tree harvested, two to three are planted in its place. That's very heartening.
48. In 1979, the National Christmas Tree wasn’t lighted–save for the top ornament. This was done to honor the American hostages in Iran.
49. If you received every gift in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you’d have 364 gifts.
50. 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?
51. Black Friday actually isn’t the busiest shopping day of the year. The Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the busiest shopping days. The Monday after Black Friday is referred to as Cyber Monday because it is the busiest online shopping day of the year.
52. One man, Yves Piaget, spent a whopping £10.4 million on decorating his Christmas tree. The tree was lavishly decorated with 83 pieces of jewellery in Tokyo.

Believe me...while I was writing all these facts I couldn't believe to some, but all are actually true. Hope this Christmas special gave you magical moments, snooping around times and places on Christmas Eve. MERRY CHRISTMAS SNOOPERS....and never stop Snooping Around.

6 comments:

  1. Beatiful and original post :)))
    Buone feste Gigi The Snooper

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much.... Buone feste anche a te e a tutta la community :)

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  2. I'm some kind of a Grinch this year... But I'm glad someone else feels the real Christmas atmosphere!
    Merry Christmas to you!

    By the way, when I was a child I was absolutely convinced that Santa could bring gifts all over the world in just one night, due to the time zones ^^"

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    1. Sometimes I don't feel the christmas spirit in the air too.... But there's no denying this period always brings something magical :)

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  3. I never regret checking your page for some awesome Christmas trivia. Love these!
    Happy Christmas to you,dear!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, dear Lux ! It means the world :)

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