2017-12-06 / Front Page

Christmas Tales And Traditions

By Liz Goff

Have you ever wondered how large the largest Christmas ornament was? Or what will happen if you sit under a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve?

The following is a compilation of little known Christmas facts and traditions:

  • Holly is a symbol of rebirth
  • The first-ever singing commercial was aired on Christmas Eve, 1029, for Wheaties Cereal
  • Did you know Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving one week earlier, to extend the Christmas shopping season?
  • The name, “Teddy Bear” was coined by the press during the holiday season after Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill a bear cub during a hunting trip in 1902
  • The first Christmas tree angels appeared atop trees in 1831
  • Dickens’ 1843, “A Christmas Carol,” has been filmed more than 800 times
  • Electronic football games first appeared under Christmas trees in 1949 and featured players that moved across a vibrating field
  • The largest Christmas angel ornament measured 5.5m tall – and it was made of 2,944 beer bottles
  • It’s tradition in Germany for the mother to trim the Christmas tree
  • The first Radio City Christmas Spectacular premiered on December 27, 1932
  • Rockettes performing in the 2017 Radio City Christmas Spectacular will make a total of 1,300 costume changes
  • The Rockettes have only 78 seconds to make costume changes during the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
  • The orchid is the Christmas flower of Costa Rica
  • Dutch children still receive wooden shoes filled with candy and toys on Christmas morning
  • The original “Dino The Dinosaur” balloon featured in a dozen Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades was inducted into a display at the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History
  • Mistletoe was sacred to Celtic Druids and North American Indians
  • Legend has it, if you sit under a pine tree on Christmas Eve, you can hear angels singing
  • In 1907, Oklahoma became the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday
  • 3.3 million Cabbage Path Kids were sold as Christmas gifts in the U.S. in 1983. The “kids,” that came complete with Birth Certificates, are now 28 years old. Do you ever wonder what became of them?
  • The classic, “A Christmas Carol,” was first published in the 1822 poem, “An Account Of a Visit From St. Nicholas”
  • Got a sweet tooth? Neiman Marcus is offering a life-sized gingerbread house for only $1,500 each
  • Barnum & Bailey animal crackers are packaged in a box with a string – so kids could hang the colorful boxes on their Christmas trees
  • The 1969 TV cartoon, “Frosty The Snowman,” was the first time Frosty was shown with four fingers, instead of five
  • In mid-1400s England, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, banned Christmas – and while the holiday was banned, Mince Pie was outlawed
  • In Baveria, Germany villagers dress in traditional costumes on Christmas Day and fire hand-held cannons to celebrate the birth of the Christ child
  • Only nine per cent of Americans roast chestnuts over the holiday season
  • Christmas was declared a national holiday on June 26, 1876
  • “Xmas” is not irreligious – Christ in Greek is “Chi,” written identical to the letter “X”
  • Who is “Rich Uncle Pennybags,” and what traditional Christmas gift board game does he reign on?
  • The song, “Silent Night” has been translated to more languages than any other holiday tune
  • Christmas carols were originated as a way to tell the Nativity story to people who cannot read
  • Christmas decorations originated as a way to celebrate the end of long winter nights
  • In Ireland, the youngest child lights the Christmas candles
  • Children in Germany leave letters to “Christkind” on windowsills during the Advent season
  • The Christmas Eve meal can’t be served in Hungary until a twinkling star is seen in the sky
  • Streets are closed on Christmas Eve in Caracas, Venezuela so people can roller skate to church
  • In 1836, Alabama became the first U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday

And in case you don’t know, “Rich Uncle Pennybags” is the name of the familiar character that welcomes players to a game of Monopoly!

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