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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! That’s right, the festive season is fast approaching, so let’s warm up with these facts about Christmas and kickstart the festivities!

Who doesn’t love Christmas? It’s a time filled with excitement, magical stories, sparkling lights and family reunions. But what else do you know about Christmas? This year, incorporate these Christmas facts into your dinner conversation and really impress your relatives and friends!

Prepare for the festive season by reading our fun facts about Christmas below…

1. The NORAD Santa Tracker was created due to a typo

child looking at santa in sky

Our first fun Christmas fact dates back to 1955! Each year on Christmas Eve, children and adults across the globe visit the official Santa Tracker (not currently live) to see where Santa Claus is delivering gifts.

The company began in 1955 when an American newspaper misprinted the wrong phone number in a ‘dial Santa ad’. The number belonged to Colonel Harry Shoup, Director of Operations at the Continental Air Defense Command, causing children to call up and ask for Santa Claus.

Shoup told the children he could track Santa’s location on his radar, and the tradition was born!

2. The UK spends up to £48,000,000 on Christmas puddings

christmas pudding on fire

This traditional British dish is a staple on the Christmas dinner table.

However, £48 million is a whole lot of Christmas puddings, so make sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy during the flaming brandy ritual, just in case!

3. On Chrismas Day in Japan, people eat KFC

Fried chicken bucket and chips

Fancy an alternative thing to do this Christmas? Then, why not tuck into some mouth-watering fried chicken?

This unusual tradition dates back to 1974 when a KFC in Japan received a strange request for someone to dress up as Santa Claus and deliver buckets of fried chicken to a nearby Christmas party. This became a hit and prompted KFC to launch its first Christmas campaign in 1974.

Orders have to be booked two months in advance and queues stretch out to the street around Christmastime!

4. St Nicholas inspired the jolly character of Santa Claus

St Nicholas mural

Next on our list of fun facts about Christmas is all about the historic St Nicholas. The inspiration for the famous Santa Claus figure originated from the generous Christian bishop, St Nicholas.

During his life, St Nicholas helped the poor and needy by giving money to those in need, saving falsely accused prisoners and nursing the sick. Following his death, stories about his kindness inspired the jolly and bubbly character of Santa Claus that we know today.

5. Coca-Cola helped create Santa’s iconic ‘image’

Santa Claus with Coke bottle

While we usually picture Santa Claus as a round, jolly, bearded man dressed in a big red suit, he hasn’t always looked like this. The original Santa Claus was thin and spooky, dressed in Norse huntsman’s animal skin. The original depiction was created by Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast who continued to alter the image over 30 years.

It wasn’t until the 1920s when the Coca-Cola Company began Christmas advertising and featured the iconic image of the Santa Claus we know and love today.

6. Boxing day is only celebrated in a few countries

baby at christmas tree

The annual celebration of Boxing Day falls on the 26th of December and is celebrated by several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

This tradition dates back to the 1800s when the rich would let their servants have a day off to go home.

If you’re celebrating Boxing Day in the UK this year, make sure to catch a full programme of football matches alongside you’re leftover turkey sandwiches and chocolate! Alternatively, use this time to discover the best places to visit in Winter!

7. The first Christmas crackers were made in 1847

family pulling christmas crackers at table

London-based baker and confectioner Tom Smith invented the Christmas cracker in 1847 after being inspired by French bonbons and his crackling log fire.

8. Santa visits 822 homes at 650 miles a second

Santa giving presents under tree

A scientific theory by US scientists worked out that if Santa Claus was real, he would logistically have to visit 822 houses at 650 miles a second. That’s a lot of reindeer power!

9. One of the largest gingerbread houses was the same size as a real house

gingerbread house

Next on our fun facts about Christmas is sure to make your festive season sweeter.

In 2013, a Guinness World Record was made for the largest gingerbread house ever made in Texas. The house was 60ft long, 42 ft wide and 10.1ft tall, amounting to a whopping 1,110.1 cubic metres, as well as 35.8 million calories!

10. Spider’s webs are Christmas decorations in Eastern Europe

Spider web christmas decoration

One of our fun facts about Christmas could be disguised as a creepy Halloween fact! The legend of the Christmas Spider is an Eastern European folktale, about a poor widow who couldn’t afford to buy her gifts for her children on Christmas, causing tiny spiders to decorate the tree with webs at night.

From here, people have decorated their Christmas trees with decorative webs, shiny tinsel and colourful spiders.

11. Jingle Bells was the first song played in space

astronaut in space with christmas tree

During NASA’s Gemini 6A space flight on the 16th of December 1965, Jingle Bells broke a Guinness World Record for being the first song played in space.

The astronauts on flight played a joke to Mission Control stating that they could see an “object travelling at a low trajectory from north to south”, followed by a rendition of the famous Christmas song.

12. Christmas wasn’t always on December 25

Couple on christmas day

While Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, the date of the big event has been lost to history. According to many historians, Jesus was most likely born in the spring, not December 25. The date of the festival may have been chosen because it coincided with Saturnalia, a pagan festival honouring Saturn, the agricultural god.

13. It was the Dutch who first thought of leaving milk and cookies for Santa

Milk and cookies

The practise of leaving cookies and milk for Santa might be traced back to Norse mythology. People would leave hay and goodies for Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipner in the hopes that the deity would visit them on his Yule hunting adventures. This custom was passed down to Dutch children who left sweets for Father Christmas’ horse.

14. Carolling dates back to the 13th century

Christmas carols

First performed in the 13th century, carols date back hundreds of years. In the beginning, it wasn’t always about Christmas or even singing, but was a story told to others. The early days of wassailing were spent going from house to house to wish people well during the colder months. St. Francis of Assisi took this old custom and turned it into what we call carolling today.

15. The smallest Christmas card on earth is invisible to the naked eye

woman writing christmas card

Do you need some inspiration for Christmas crafts? Our final fun fact about Christmas is sure to intrigue you. In 2017, British scientists created the world’s smallest Christmas card, 200 million times smaller than a stamp.

The card includes complex inscriptions of a snowman and festive messages, making it invisible to the naked eye.

Did you enjoy our Christmas facts? If so, discover these picturesque places to spend Christmas at one of the many Christmas towns in the UK. Alternatively, have yourself a merry little Christmas and discover our Christmas Eve box ideas!

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