11 Things You Probably Never Knew About Christmas
Something to impress your grandparents with at xmas lunch.
Thought you knew everything there was to know about Christmas? Think again, boo.
From Santa’s origin story to some pretty shocking news re: Rudolph, here’s 11 facts you need to know about the festive season.
1. Ummmm, so Christmas Day isn’t the birthday of Jesus Christ.
In fact, historians think the Bible’s account of shepherds herding animals means J-dawg was actually born in spring. When the Catholic Church made Jesus’ birth an official holiday, Pope Julius I chose December 25th, the same date as midwinter pagan festival Saturnalia. Basically Pope Jules just reckoned it was easier to combine the festivities for both celebrations. Thrifty.
2. Many of the Christmas traditions we still have today actually come from ancient pagan traditions, too.
Gift-giving was a big part of Saturnalia, and branches from evergreen trees were used during the pagan winter solstice, as a nod to the green plants that would grow in spring. OK so they didn’t have tinsel yet, but STILL.
3. During the 15th century, Christmas was illegal in some U.S. states thanks to its roots in Paganism.
In fact, early America gave zero f**ks about the Christian holiday, with Congress even scheduling a session on Christmas Day in 1789. It wasn’t recognized as a federal holiday for another century. Bah, humbugs.
4. Historians reckon the Germans were the first nation to start dragging actual trees inside and decorating them.
But the modern Christmas tree didn’t really take off until Germany’s Prince Albert brought one back to England for wifey Queen Victoria in 1846. A sketch of the royal couple standing in front of it went viral (lols), and then everyone wanted one. Sort of like those mermaid blankets all over instagram right now. Sort of.
5. The original Santa Claus was actually a Turkish bishop, known for giving away his inheritance to the poor and needy.
He was sainted after his death in the fourth century AD, becoming Saint Nicholas. In Dutch this translates as Sint-Nicolaas, or ‘Sinter Klaas’ for short. And the rest, as they say, is history.
6. Anti-capitalists look away now - because Santa’s iconic red suit was actually created by Coca-Cola for a Christmas marketing campaign.
Before that he was usually pictured in blue, white and green. ALWAYS thE REAL THING.
7. Santa sacks off (no pun intended) the sleigh in Finland.
According to Finnish folklore he rides a goat made out of straw instead, which is quite niche.
8. ‘Jingle Bells’ wasn’t actually written as a Christmas song at all - it was originally intended for Thanksgiving.
And was originally called ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ when composed by James Pierpont in 1857.
9. You know Rudolph? He was created by a department store called Montgomery Ward, to sell colouring books.
He was also going to be called Reginald at one point. YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES, REGINALD.
10. The highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey.
Oh, the who-manity.
11. Boxing day started as an English tradition for servants.
After Christmas, the servants were allowed to ‘box up’ all the leftovers their rich employers didn’t eat, and bring them home. The original doggy bag, people.
- Words by Lizzie Cox.
And here's a vieo on how to make your Christmas wrapping crazy instagrammable, just because we like you...