In celebration of one of the best-loved and commemorated holiday, here’s a look at some interesting Christmas facts and traditions.
The tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney came from England, where the story was told that Father Christmas dropped some gold coins from his pockets and they were caught in socks that were hanging by the fire to dry. Most countries of Europe traditionally leave out shoes for Santa, rather than socks.
Christmas trees have only been popular in Britain and America since the 1800s when Queen Victoria brought the tradition over from Germany.
In Portugal, Christmas is a celebration for the living and the dead. Extra places are sent for the souls of the deceased at the dining table.
The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in London is always from Norway: a gift in commemoration of British support of Norway in World War II.
In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.
The Germans also made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
Finns often visit saunas on Christmas Eve.
The Twelve Days of Christmas in the song does not refer to the twelve days leading up to Christmas, but rather Christmas day and eleven days after, which is also, when you include Christmas Eve, the traditional Northern European Jul festival.
American kids leave cookies for Santa Claus, while British kids leave mince pies for Father Christmas, and Danish kids leave rice pudding for Tomte.
Many cultures have an evil sidekick that follows Santa Claus to punish children who misbehave, like Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands, Knecht Ruprecht in Germany, Krampus in Austria and Le Père Fouettard in France.
In the city of Caracas, Venezuela it has become tradition for everyone to roller skate to church for the Christmas mass. Some roads are even closed to cars in order to accommodate the crowds of roller skaters.
Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo or “mass of the Rooster” on Christmas Eve. Some people bring roosters to the midnight mass, a gesture that symbolizes the belief that a rooster was the first animal to announce the birth of Jesus.
Mistletoe was considered an important plant in druid traditions pre-dating Christianity. In Scandinavia it was associated with the goddess of love, Frigga, which may be the reason for kissing under the mistletoe.
Approximately, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2,106 million children under age 18 in the world. If there are on average 2.5 children per household, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve travelling 221 million miles.
All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts!
Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.
Each year there are approximately 20,000 “rent-a-Santas: across the United States who undergo training on how to maintain a jolly attitude.
Christmas wasn’t officially declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836.
Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday in 1907.
At Kasperek & Co. Accountants, we would like to wish everyone a happy and peaceful holiday season.