Nobody is likely surprised to learn that Christmas is much more than exchanging gifts, donning holiday sweaters, and decking the halls with Christmas decorations that make your house look like Santa’s workshop. Christmas is a long-standing festival with a rich history of customs and strong symbolism underlying nearly every facet of the celebration.
It’s time to finish your holiday shopping, decorate your tree, and send out your Christmas cards as the season approaches. You might need an extra helping of holiday cheer this season because it’s been another long year.
The oldest and most enduring Christmas traditions include things like decorating a tree, sharing a kiss beneath the mistletoe, and drinking your favorite eggnog and Christmas drinks from Starbucks. However, have you ever considered where or how these traditions originated? We’ve compiled a list of interesting Christmas facts to help you brush up on your holiday knowledge and wow your loved ones this December.
- Coca Cola Played A Big Part Of Santa’s Image
The large, jovial figure in the red suit and white beard that we all know and adore as Santa Claus wasn’t always that way. In fact, many people are shocked to hear that Santa was portrayed in several ways before 1931, ranging from a tall, gaunt man to an eerie-looking elf. He has dressed in a Norse huntsman’s animal skin and even a bishop’s robe before what we all know him as.
The Coca-Cola business started running advertisements for its product in popular periodicals in 1931. The Coca-Cola Company executive Archie Lee intended the advertising campaign to feature a wholesome Santa who was both realistic and significant. As a result, Coca-Cola hired Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to create Santa Claus advertising graphics, depicting Santa himself rather than a person in a Santa suit.
In advertisements for Coca-Cola from 1931 through 1964, Santa Claus was depicted bringing toys, stopping to read a letter and sip a Coke, interacting with the kids who remained up to welcome him, and raiding the refrigerators at various residences. For Coca-Cola advertising in periodicals and on store displays, billboards, posters, calendars, and plush dolls, Sundblom’s original oil paintings were modified. Today, many of such objects are popular collectors items.
- Artificial Christmas Trees Were Once Made With Goose Feathers
Nowadays, materials used to create artificial Christmas trees are intended to replicate natural evergreens and last for as long as feasible. However, a long time ago, these artificial Christmas trees were made of goose feathers that had been colored green when they were originally presented in Germany around 1865.
Because the custom of harvesting live Christmas trees had severely reduced the area’s evergreen woods, the first artificial Christmas trees were created in Germany in the 1800s. Germans used goose feathers to create fake trees.
- Hanging Up Your Christmas Stockings Started By An Accident
According to a legend, we carefully hang stockings by the chimney as a result of a poor guy who was unable to afford the dowries for his three daughters. After the girls put their freshly washed stockings up to dry one night, generous old St. Nick threw a sack of gold down their chimney. The gold ended up there, and the custom persisted.
Fortunately, according to Smithsonian “While strolling through the town where the guy lived, St. Nicholas overheard locals discussing the difficulties faced by that family. Although he knew the man would reject any outright generosity, he still wanted to assist. Instead, one night, he slipped down the family’s chimney and, as the girls’ freshly laundered stockings dried by the fire, he stuffed them with gold money. After that, he vanished.” The family discovered the gifts in the morning, and the daughters were then able to get married. A Christmas miracle occurred!
- Tinsel Used To Be Made Of Real Silver
Tinsel was formed of thin strips of actual silver when it was originally used in Germany in the early 1600s. The metal was later replaced by a mixture of tin and lead since it tarnishes so easily.
- There Is A Christmas Tree In Spain Worth 15 Million Dollars!
The Christmas tree at the Kempinski Hotel Bahia, close to Marbella, Spain, is decorated with ornaments that have a different kind of worth than the majority of us, who cherish them for nostalgic reasons. In addition to jewelry from Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chanel, CNN reports that the tree is adorned with red, white, pink, and black diamonds. Additionally, there are $15 million worth of 3D-printed chocolate peacocks, feathers, ostrich eggs, and perfume bottles on the tree just for good measure.
- Christmas Wreaths Are Religious Symbols
The Christmas wreath was first used to represent Christ. The scarlet berries on the holly stand in for the blood Jesus shed, and the holly symbolizes the crown of thorns he wore at his crucifixion. Consequently, you’ll be reminded of the reason for the season when you see a wreath this Christmas.
- “Jingle Bells” Was Originally A Thanksgiving Song
It turns out that we initially began scurrying through the snow for a whole different holiday. In the middle of the 19th century, James Lord Pierpont composed the song “One Horse Open Sleigh” for the Thanksgiving celebration at his church. The song was then reissued in 1857 under the well-known and adored title. It’s still one of the most well-known Christmas tunes today.
- Celebrating Christmas Used To Be Illegal
Anyone seen celebrating in the colonies from 1659 to 1681 would have to pay a fee. By the Revolutionary War, the date had lost all meaning; in fact, Congress’s first meeting was conducted on December 25, 1789. Christmas wasn’t even declared a federal holiday for nearly another century.
- Mistletoe Kissing Myth
It’s possible that Norse mythology is where this common kissing custom originated. According to The History Channel, after the berry-filled plant saved the life of her son, Frigg, the goddess of love, vowed to kiss everybody who went beneath it. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the Christmas tradition gained popularity in England.
- Lowest Number Of Relationship Breakups Recorded Just Before Christmas
If you and your significant other make it to Christmas Day, you can probably take the day off from worrying that you’re going to call it quits. The holidays aren’t usually easy on romantic relationships. According to a Facebook survey from 2010, December 25 had the fewest number of breakups. We can’t say too much about the week leading up to Christmas though!