In typical Internet-like fashion, when a big event is up and coming, this means it’s time to welcome it with a series of fun facts. With the holidays around the corner, it hasn’t been a better time to drop some Christmas trivia into the mix! It’s easy to get absorbed into the festive vibes and completely miss out on the opportunity to ask some questions regarding the most celebrated holiday on the planet. This is why we’ve decided to do the undoable and provide answers to some questions we doubt you ever asked.
Jingle those bells and let’s wait for Santa’s arrival with a dose of Christmas trivia.
#1 The X and Jesus Christ
It’s no secret that many people choose to save up time by abbreviating the holiday’s name to “Xmas.” There are some people that this is mostly a marketing strategy meant to not scare away non-religious people from their holiday-themed advertisements. That’s not true, as Christmas trivia has it.
Way back in the 1100s, Christianity was spelled as “Xianity” curtsy to the Greek habit of using an X as a symbolic syllable for the word “Christ.” Over time, this spelling evolved and turned into “Xmas.” In that regard, it’s safer to say that Xmas turned to Christmas specifically so that that it can remind us of the holiday’s roots.
#2 “Santa Tracker” Was a Mistake
One of the most exciting parts about Christmas in modern days is the multitude of “Santa tracking” apps and features. The most famous of them all, though, have to be NORAD’s iPhone app and Google’s thorough program. You might be surprised to hear that no one intentionally thought up this idea.
Way back in the 1950s, a newspaper publication printed a phone number supposed to belong to a store. Children could ring it and leave their wish list for Santa. However, there was an error in the number and, thus, tens and tens of kids ended up calling the US Continental Air Defense instead. Director of Operations and Colonel Harry Shoup decided that it would be better to give the kids updates on Santa’s journey rather than to turn them away.
#3 Donner and Blitzen Went through a Makeover
They didn’t undergo any physical changes per se, but in the original draft of A Visit from Saint Nicholas, they actually appeared with the names Dunder and Blixem. Both names came from Dutch, meaning “thunder” and “lightning” respectively. Likely due to various aesthetic reasons, after numerous variations and rewritings, the names switched to Donner and Blitzen.
#4 Jesus Wasn’t Born on December 25
He could have, we guess. There is one chance in 365 that he was. The Church really isn’t sure when Jesus Christ was born, with different versions spawning across the entire calendar. Some say it was in November, some say it was even in March. Anyway, what we know for sure is that December 25 is mostly a symbolic date rather than an actual birthday.
The Church established this day in the fourth century, likely because it was the celebratory day for two other similar pagan holidays. The Birthday of Mithra and the Feast of Saturnalia respectively both greatly influenced the creation of Christmas.
#5 Santa and His Jolly Image
Did you know that Coca-Cola allegedly gave us the image of Santa that we know and love today? If you didn’t, get ready to be hit with yet another piece of shocking Christmas trivia: apparently the company DIDN’T do that. Santa’s image is the result of years and years of illustrations, drawings, and reimagining. It’s safe to say that all Coca-Cola did was set in stone the modern Santa.
#6 Candy Cane’s Origins
Candy cane is an iconic Christmas symbol, but what’s its story? It used to be a prominent element in Europe since as early as the 1670s, having only risen to popularity in the USA in the 19th century. The shape of the candy represents the cane Jesus used to shepherd his sheep while the colors represent purity and sacrifice.
#7 Stockings’ Origins
Stockings are yet another recurring symbol of Christmas. The story has it that three unmarried girls did their laundry and hanged three stockings above their fireplace. Knowing they couldn’t marry because they had no dowry, Saint Nicholas snuck in and dropped some gold in the stockings.
#8 Christmas and Celebrations
About 1 in 3 people celebrate Christmas every year. Out of over 7 billion people, there are approximately 2.1 billion Christians worldwide, many of which celebrate Christmas.
#9 “Jingle Bells,” a Thanksgiving Song?
It’s as true as it is puzzling, folks. The iconic Jingle Bills was intended to be hummed in November. Composer James Lord Piperpont wrote the song in sweet memoir of the Medford sleigh races. Kids and adults alike loved it so much that they changed up the lyrics and turned it into a winter holiday anthem.
#10 Christmas is Very Young in America
The holiday only became federal in 1870! This is because Christmas had some very strong pagan vibes to it despite the fact that it clearly celebrates something of religious value. Christian Puritans and their strict views on Christmas stirred a lot of trouble for those celebrating the holiday throughout the decades.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bell rock. Curtsy of this Christmas trivia, now you know you were supposed to sing this to your Thanksgiving turkey and more. Try using this knowledge to break off the awkwardness at the family dinner.