Posted On December 24, 2012 by Print This Post

Everything you Wanted to Know about Christmas, but were Afraid to Ask

HO HO HO! And Merry Christmas Eve! Today on RU we’re having a fun day – of course it wouldn’t be fun if you didn’t learn something new to dazzle your friends and family with! Read on below, and see how much you REALLY know about Christmas!

christmas_tree_4Christmas is a crazy time of year. We run from one store to another, shopping and buying. Online stores glow brighter with the thrill of credit cards being run through one after another. Christmas carols blare from every corner and Santa ho-ho’s from the front of Wal-Mart, waiting to have his picture taken with the lucky kids.

These are things we take for granted during the holiday season. But! Just in case you’re ever involved in a challenging game of Christmas Trivial Pursuit, I’ve done massive amounts of research, delving deep into the archives of Wikipedia and other truly reliable sources for this probably true Christmas fact finding trivia information.

  • If you received all of the gifts listed in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song, you would receive 364 presents. Yikes – that’s one present per day year around. Except Christmas day?
  • In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660. Those silly Puritans, what were they thinking?
  • Seven out of 10 pets get Christmas presents from their owners. And I’m sure they’re rightfully deserved considering all our furry friends do for us! *making mental note to buy the “good stuff” for the cats this year*
  • Each week, Mattel sells 1.5 million Barbie Dolls, about two per second. I have two snuggled tightly in gift wrap as we speak – but that’s only one seconds worth!
  • Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. I sent out five – that means the rest of you guys have taken up the slack!

1364031_lowMakes your head spin doesn’t it? Mine already is, but that just might be the fumes from the anise candy. Speaking of Christmas treats…

  • Animal Crackers are cookies imported to the United States from England in the late 1800s. Barnum’s circus-like boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree. I never pictured animal crackers as traditional Christmas Candy!
  • One day, a candy apprentice was told to keep stirring a vat of caramels. He did so, but the candy store owner was kept much longer than he intended. The faithful apprentice kept stirring, and when the owner appeared? Disaster! He cut the candy into squares anyway, and when his wife tried out the “new treat” she declared it delicious. Why did they name it fudge? Guess what the apprentices name was? =)
  • The original candy cane was invented 350 years ago by a choir director who wanted to keep kids quiet during church services. In later years, stripes were added and the hook added. That choir director would be pleased to know his invention still works!
  • Ribbon Candy was invented by FB Washburn of Massachusetts, the oldest known candy makers in the United States. He also invented the peppermint starlight candy. Ribbon candy is always special to me. My Grandmother Starkenburg always had a tin of it every year for Christmas. Now when I find a tin, I make sure to share it with my sister.
  • What the heck is a sugarplum? It’s dried fruit and/or nuts with successive shells of hardened sugar wrapped around them, then finally dusted in more sugar. A definite tooth-breaker!

557166_lowOh and what would Christmas be without Christmas carols, Christmas shows on the television and Christmas books to read? Boring, I tell ya! But did you know . . .

  • White Christmas, as sung by Bing Crosby, is the best selling Christmas song EVER. Over 50 million copies sold worldwide. Irving Berlin wrote the world famous song in 1940 for the movie Holiday Inn. The song spent 11 weeks as #1 on the charts.
  • The highest grossing Christmas movie of all time is How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carey. But the best-selling Christmas movie of all time is A Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara. (I own that one!)
  • Charles Dickens’ book A Christmas Carol was written in six weeks. He finished it the first week of December and published it December 19 that same year. No revision hell for Mr. Dickens!
  • Did you know the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas was first published anonymously? It’s attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, but who knows? Do any of you have this memorized in it’s entirety like I do?
  • After “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original.
  • The Christmas Story – “you’ll shoot your eye out!” was narrated by the author Jean Shepherd. Want to know what happened to the Christmas Story crew?

1326260_xmas_treeAnd finally, what is Christmas without food, beautiful food? Whether you opt for slow-cooked prime rib or ham sandwiches for your Christmas meals, here’s a few fun and interesting facts:

  • Did you know your Christmas tree is edible? The needles are a good source of Vitamin C. And here I thought they were only good for sticking in your socks the day after Christmas!
  • If you’re eating turkey on Christmas Day, you can thank King Henry VIII. He’s the one who started the tradition, but mostly just the turkey leg.
  • Eggnog was used for medicinal purposes in the 17th century–served to those “serfs” who were under the weather. After awhile, everyone decided eggnog tasted too good to be medicine, added some liquor to it, and voila. Happy Christmas!
  • What the heck is figgy pudding anyway? It’s the English version of bread pudding. Figs, cinnamon, bread crumbs, nutmeg and milk, baked.
  • In 1580, the Christmas feasts of Sir William Petrie included 17 oxen, 14 steers, 29 calves, 5 hogs, 13 bucks, 54 lambs, 129 sheep and one ton of cheese. Wow. Just wow.

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Everyone knows Christmas time is full of family traditions. From when the tree is put up, to what is eaten to what movies are watched on television. So now YOU tell ME what your favorite Christmas traditions are!

Joins us on Wednesday – Jennifer Tanner is hosting a Thank You But You Shouldn’t Have –  Holiday Gifts and The Aftermath Christmas writing contest!

***

Bio: Carrie Spencer writes smart ass romance. She belongs to Romance Writers of America, Yosemite Romance Writers, Romance Writers Online, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Group and was a former Girl Scout. Her badges included Collecting, Leadership and the coveted World Trefoil Pin. Carrie works as a restaurant manager, jewelry and website designer, and is learning how to use a flat iron. Her claims to fame include: lifting 50-pound bicep curls, stirring up a mean Mai Tai and concocting an even meaner Long Island Iced Tea. She lives on a farm in Iowa with six cats and her English husband. For more about Carrie, head over to http://smartassromance.com/.

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13 Responses to “Everything you Wanted to Know about Christmas, but were Afraid to Ask”

  1. Carrie, FUN trivia!! I love learning about the origins of traditions and words. Animal crackers are one of my favorite cookie treats–never knew that about the handle!

    My husband and I started a tradition of our own, several years ago. I make King Crab Legs and lemon butter. Hubby puts in the movie Little Women (Winona Ryder version). We watch Jo March work her way through youthful enthusiasm, disappointments, adventure, death and, finally, self-fulfillment and love. It’s heart-warming and makes me tear up every time.

    My husband is a good egg, don’t you think?

    Hugs and happy holidays, RU!!
    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | December 24, 2012, 7:28 am
  2. Carrie –

    Now that I know what figgy pudding is, I really want the answer to What in God’s name are paw-paws?? No, they have nothing to do with Christmas, but I want to know why people pick ‘em up and put ‘em in baskets!

    Since my son was little, we’ve always read The Polar Express on Christmas Eve. Sometimes we watch the movie too. A new tradition started last year was having chicken pot pie for Christmas Eve dinner. Then on Christmas day, we do a big brunch and just snack the rest of the day. No big turkey for us. That’s a hand-me-down tradition from my family.

    Wishing you and yours a very, merry holiday!
    K-

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | December 24, 2012, 8:13 am
  3. Hi Carrie,

    Great research for Christmas! Love ‘White Christmas’, but only the Ella Fitzgerald version. Charles Dickens came up with Scrooge, Marley, and Tiny Tim in less than two months? That’s awe-inspiring and depressing at the same time.

    Merry Christmas Eve, RU!!

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | December 24, 2012, 9:50 am
  4. Hey, Carrie!

    I make rugelach (cookeies)and tiramisu every year. Our family has a white elephant gift exchange. We’ve played several versions and this year, we’ve instituted a “no fruit” rule. I’ve received three 1,000 word emails regarding this year’s game rules. Goes to show we take the game very seriously!

    Happy holidays, everyone!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | December 24, 2012, 12:33 pm
  5. If there’s a Trivial Pursuit: Christmas Edition, I feel like I’m now equipped to play it! Thanks for all the fun details – and here I thought I knew about Christmas!!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 24, 2012, 12:36 pm
  6. Always wondered about that figgy pudding. Now, knowing it’s basically bread pudding, I’m sure I’d love it.

    Going to share these tidbits with my sons.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Posted by PatriciaW | December 24, 2012, 1:17 pm

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