Christmas Trivia to Share with Family and Friends
As the holidays get underway, many of us will be enjoying (or enduring) lengthy conversations with family and friends. Christmas time is a great opportunity to catch up on happenings of the past year, discuss plans for the future and share valuable time together. However, as many of us know, some conversations tend to dry up quickly or need some extra material to fill in the awkward silent moments.
Today’s blog was designed to satiate all of those dry and awkward moments with some quality Christmas facts. Everyone likes to hear facts and trivia about Christmas and truCrowd has done all the research for you. We chose a good variety as well to give you a well-rounded approach to “oooing and ahhing” your audience.
Here are your fun and interesting Christmas facts (bookmark this page for easy access):
Christmas Music Facts
– The first Christmas song to mention Santa Claus was Benjamin Hanby’s “Up on the Housetop.”
– “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is one of the oldest secular Christmas songs, originating in 16th century England.
– Although we associate “Jingle Bells” with Christmas, the song was written to celebrate Thanksgiving.
– “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” were written by Jewish songwriter Johnny Marks.
– “White Christmas” was written by Jewish songwriter Irving Berlin.
– Berlin originally wrote “White Christmas” for a Broadway musical that was never produced. It was then picked up by Hollywood producers who used it in “Holiday Inn”, a 1942 film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
– Berlin hated Elvis Presley’s version of “White Christmas” so much that he tried to prevent radio stations from playing Presley’s cover.
– Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas” is the highest-selling single of all time.
– Bing Crosby’s version of “Silent Night” is the third highest-selling single of all time.
– “Silver Bells”, written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, was originally titled “Tinkle Bells.” They changed the name when Livingston’s wife explained that “tinkle” was often a synonym for urination.
(thank you to Buzzfeed for the all of these great references)
Christmas Food Facts
– Christmas cookies flavored with what we think of as Christmas spices and studded with dried fruit and nuts date to medieval times. Cut-out cookies have been traced back to the eighteenth-century tradition of Mummers, traveling players in England, who used them along with other foods as props in acting out Christmas stories. Large cut-out cookies also served as window decorations for Pennsylvania Dutch children in the 1800s.
– In medieval Germany, apples, wafers, and cookies were commonly used as ornaments. Once this tradition merged with Christianity and the tree became a symbol of Christmas, children began to notice the disappearance of edible tree ornaments. The disappearance was blamed on Santa so it became tradition to leave a plate of cookies by the fireplace to offer him a warm snack.
– Gingerbread dates back to Greece in 2400 B.C.E., and by the late Middle Ages, Europeans created their own version. Gingerbread houses, however, originated in Germany during the sixteenth century and soon became associated with Christmas. The largest gingerbread house on record was erected at Traditions Golf Club in Byran, Texas, in 2013. It required a building permit, covered 40,000 cubic feet, and was constructed of 4,000 gingerbread bricks.
– Eggnog, a favorite holiday treat, derives from the British aristocracy. The wealthy drank warmed milk and egg beverages laced with expensive spices and brandy or sherry to keep it from spoiling. The origin of the word nog is disputed, but it may come from noggin, a kind of wooden mug; there was also a kind of English ale called nog. Nogs were often made to toast to health, perfect for Christmastide special occasions. The first eggnog made in the United States might have been sipped in 1607 in Jamestown, according to reports by Captain John Smith.
(thank you to the Daily Meal for these fun facts)
Christmas Worldwide Facts
– The first Christmas was celebrated on December 25, AD 336 in Rome.
– In Germany and some other western European countries, St. Nicholas, or Nikolaus, arrives the night of December 5th (gifts are found the morning of December 6th). In preparation, children will shine and clean their boots and place them in front of a door or window. St. Nicholas will leave toys, nuts, oranges, apples and chocolate for the good children. Bad children receive a branch to be used by their parents for punishment.
– Guatemalan adults do not exchange Christmas gifts until New Year’s Day. Children get theirs (from the Christ Child) on Christmas morning.
– The poinsettia, a traditional Christmas flower, is originally from Mexico where it is known as the ‘Flower of the Holy Night’. Joel Poinsett first brought it to America in 1829.
– When visiting Finland, Santa leaves his sleigh behind and rides on a goat named Ukko. Finnish folklore has it that Ukko is made of straw, but is strong enough to carry Santa Claus anyway.
– When distributing gifts in Holland, St. Nicholas is accompanied his servant, Black. Black is responsible for actually dropping the presents down the chimney. He also punishes bad children by putting them in a bag and carrying them away to Spain.
– In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of fried fish, lettuce and spinach. Christmas Eve in Japan is a good day to eat fried chicken and strawberry shortcake.
– The day after Christmas, December 26th, is known as Boxing Day. Boxing Day was originally celebrated in England as the day when the servants “boxed up” all the left-overs from the rich people and brought them home.
(thank you to Funology for these great facts)
Thank you all for reading and have a great holiday!