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Christmas Holiday Trivia

Updated on February 11, 2012
Santa Sleeping By Fireplace
Santa Sleeping By Fireplace

Fun Christmas Trivia

  • It will take about six months for the average person in America to pay off their credit card debt from Christmas.
  • The first US President to decorate the White House Christmas tree was Franklin Pierce.
  • The first Christmas in the Philippines was celebrated 200 years before Ferdinand Magellan discovered the country for the western world, somewhere between the years 1280 and 1320 AD.
  • More than three billion Christmas cards are sent out each year in the US.
  • Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

  • The use of a Christmas wreath as a decoration on your front door , or your mantle or bay window, is a sign of welcome and long life to all who enter your home.

  • Poinsettias account for 88% of all plants purchased during the Christmas holidays.

  • "Hot cockles" was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. "Hot cockles" was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

  • Wassail" comes from the Old Norse "ves heill"--to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eveand drinking to their health.

  • According to a 1995 survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their loving owners.

  • Electric lights for trees was first used in 1895. It proved to be a whole lot safer than burning candles on the branches.

  • According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year; 25 percent of them are from the nation's 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.
  • After "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original.
  • Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday. This tradition began in 1836.
  • Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.
  • Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was originally crated by the company Montgomery Ward. It was created in the 1930's as a holiday promotion.
  • Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorated the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided have the ends bent to depict a shepherd's crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn't until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.
  • Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.

  • Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.

  • The best selling Christmas trees are: Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Noble fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir, and white pine.

  • During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the United States.
  • During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.
  • If you received all of the gifts in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," you would receive 364 gifts.
  • George Washington spent Christmas night 1776 crossing the Delaware River in dreadful conditions. Christmas 1777 fared little better - at Valley Forge, Washington and his men had a miserable Christmas dinner of Fowl cooked in a broth of Turnips, cabbage and potatoes.

  • Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company
  • In 1907, Oklahoma became the last US state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

  • Since 1991, artificial trees have outsold the live trees.

  • In 1947, Toys for Tots started making the holidays a little happier for children by organizing its first Christmas toy drive for needy youngsters.

  • Germany made the first artificial Christmas trees. They were made of goose feathers and dyed green.
  • Don't eat those beautiful red Holly Berries, they are poisonous.
  • Jingle Bells" was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.

  • In America, the weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Many retailers make up to 70% of their annual revenue in the month preceding Christmas.

  • Snow globes have become a popular collectors item, they are available in thousands of different scenes.

  • More diamonds are purchased at Christmas-time (31 percent) than during any other holiday or occasion during the year.
  • More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.
  • Due to the different time zones Santa has 31 hours to deliver all of the gifts. In order to do this he must visit over 800 homes per second.

Christmas Food Trivia

  • In the 1700's, Europeans baked ceremonial fruitcakes at the end of nut harvest, saved them, and ate them at the beginning of the nest year's harvest. It was supposed to bring another successful harvest.
  • Good luck or an extra present goes to the first one to find a glass pickle ornament hidden on a Christmas tree. This German custom originated in an ornament making district, and has spread to the United States.
  • Christmas cookies have not always been a part of traditional Christmas festivities, by the 1500s cookies have caught on all over Europe. America would see the first Christmas cookies brought over by the Dutch in the early 1600s and that is when the seasonal cookie tradition began in America.
  • In England, unmarried women would eat gingerbread "husbands" for luck in meeting the real thing.
  • Animal crackers first were invented to be edible ornaments for the Christmas tree.
  • A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

  • The largest turkey on record weighed 86 pounds.
  • Mince pies - You should eat mince pies in silence, and make a wish with each one.
  • It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.

  • An old wives' tale says that bread baked on Christmas Eve will never go mouldy.
  • Christmas pudding was first made as a kind of soup with raisins and wine in it.
  • In 18th-century England, it was believed that unmarried wedding guests who put a slice of fruitcake under their pillow at night would dream of the person they were destined to marry.

  • Figgy Pudding is an English dish made up of figs, bread crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. It is baked and topped with a brandied hard sauce, custard icing, powered sugar, or whipped cream.
  • Every year at Christmas time 22 million turkeys are eaten.
  • It’s a tradition to hide trinkets in Christmas pudding for someone to find. This will predict your years fortune. A coin means wealth will come, a ring means you will marry and a button means you will stay a bachelor. This idea came from a Middle Age tradition where a bean was hidden inside a cake. This cake was served on the twelfth night and whoever found the bean would be able to be king for the remainder of the night.
  • Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.

Christmas in Prague
Christmas in Prague

Traditions from other lands

  • Good luck or an extra present goes to the first one to find a glass pickle ornament hidden on a Christmas tree in Germany.
  • In Australia, Father Christmas uses six white male kangaroos to pull his sleigh rather than our traditional eight tiny reindeer.
  • In the Ukraine it is thought to be good luck to decorate your Christmas tree with artifical spider webs.

  • In Finland and Sweden an old tradition prevails, where the twelve days of Christmas are declared to be time of civil peace by law. It used to be that a person committing crimes during this time would be liable to a stiffer sentence than normal.

  • In the Netherlands St. Nicholas uses a tall white horse as his mode of transportation.
  • In Norway on Christmas Eve, visitors should know that after the family's big dinner and the opening of presents, all the brooms in the house are hidden. The Norwegians long ago believed that witches and mischievous spirits came out on Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms for riding.

  • In Hawaii Santa uses a dugout canoe to get from place to place.
  • In Guatemala, children get their gifts on Christmas morning while adults do not exchange gifts until New Years Day.
  • A donkey is Santa's choice for transportation in Switzerland.
  • In southern France, some people burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Year's Day. This stems from an ancient tradition in which farmers would use part of the log to ensure a plentiful harvest the following year.

  • When in Italy apparently it is traditional for him to ride on a broom.
  • In Britain, eating mince pies at Christmas dates back to the 16th century. It is still believed that to eat a mince pie on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring 12 happy months in the year to follow.

  • In the British armed forces it is traditional that officers wait on the men and serve them their Christmas dinner. This dates back to a custom from the Middle Ages.

Merry Christmas from Around the World

  • Belguim - Vrolijk Kerstfeest or djoyeus Noyé

In Belgium Santa is known as de Kerstman or le Per Nöel. Everyone recieves a small gift under the tree on in a stocking. They also celebrate on December 6 a holiday they call Sinterklaas or Saint-Nicholas.

  • Brazil - Feliz Natal

Brazil call Father Christmas Papai Noel. Brazillians rich and poor have trees. It is said that the poor persons tree is generally made of plastic or a dry tree branch with puffs of cotton to represent snow.

  • Czechoslovakia - Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok

In Czechoslovakia they begin their Christmas celebrations four Sundays before Christmas Day. An ancient tradition here includes placing a cherry branch in water indoors and if it blooms on Christmas Day it is an omen of good luck and fortells a short winter.

  • Finland - Hyvaa joulua

The Finnish people celebrate the three holy days of Christmas: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Children receive their gifts on Christmas Eve.

  • France - Joyeux Noel

In FranceChristmas is called Noël and Father Christmas is known as Père Noël. Everyone has a Christmas tree and many of them are decorated in the traditional one of using red ribbons and white candles.

  • Germany - Fröhliche Weihnachten

Father Christmas, commonly known as Der Weihnachtsmann, brings the presents in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve.

  • Hungry - Kellemes Karacsonli unnepeket

On December 6th Santa Clause, who is known in Hungry as Tel-apo or Mikulas, fills the shoes of the girls and boys. The night before the children put their shoes outside next to a door or window. On Christmas Eve the children either visit relatives or go to a movie so little Jesus can bring in a tree and gifts.

  • Italy - Buone Feste Natalizie

For the people of Italy the Christmas season last for three weeks. It starts on Novena, 8 days before Christmas, and ends on the Feast of the Epiphany. Befana is the one who delivers gifts to good boys and girls.

  • Nicaragua - Feliz Navidad

The celebration of Christmas in Nicaragua begins on December 6th. Christmas Day is celebrated with feasts, fireworks and dancing. On Christmas morning the children find their gifts from Papa Noelunder the tree or on their pillows.

  • Portugal - Feliz Natal

Father Christmas delivers the gifts on Christmas Eve laying them under the Christmas tree on in shoes by the fireplace. A special Christmas dinner, eaten at midnight, includes salted dry cod-fish and boiled potatoes.

  • Russia - Poxdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom

Before the fall of Communism, Christmas was not celebrated very much, instead New Year's Day was when Father Frost brought the gifts to the children. Now Christmas is celebrated by some on December 25 by more often celebrated on January 7th. The reason for this is Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar for religious celebration days.

  • Sweden - God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar

In Sweden Christmas Eve is the most important part of Christmas. They exchange their gifts and eat a special Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas Day is for going to church.


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks, Rhelena. I love to collect little insignificant pieces of information. They sometimes go together with other piece of info well enough to make a hub.

    • Rhelena profile image

      Rhelena 7 years ago

      I had no idea christmas trees were edible! :) This is the best collection of Christmas trivia I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks, dahoglund. It's my belief that they keep regifting the same fruitcake, that way no one ever has to eat it.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I'm glad you enjoyed it Ingenira. Thanks for visiting.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I like trivia like this. Does anyone ever eat the fruitcakes that are given?

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Wow, that's tonnes of interesting info !