10 Fun (and Little Known) Facts about Christmas
Christmas is observed by billions of people around the world. Since it first began as a religious celebration for Christians, Christmas has become a widely celebrated religious and secular holiday. It drives significant economic activity in the United States where Christmas purchases account each year for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.
Conversation Starters at Your Next Holiday Party
With so many of us visiting friends and family, we have found some interesting and fun facts about Christmas that will add to your conversations.
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th of December.
President Benjamin Harrison placed the first Christmas tree in the White House in the Second Floor Oval Room (then used as a family parlor and library) in 1889. It was decorated with candles, toys, and other ornaments designed to impress the Harrison grandchildren.
President Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.
All letters addressed to Santa in the United States go to Santa Claus, IN.
“Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. “Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space.
Between the 16th and 19th centuries the “little ice age” occurred where global temperatures were several degrees lower than normal. It is for this reason that many Christmas carols and songs make reference to and stress a “White Christmas”.
Nearly all of the most popular Christmas songs including ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Chestnuts roasting…’, and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ were written by Jewish song writers.
The Irving Berlin song “White Christmas” is the bestselling single in history with over 100 million copies sold.
An artificial Christmas tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be “greener” than buying a fresh-cut tree annually.
Many families send out Christmas cards to friends, family and loved ones. The tradition started in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, who helped set up the Public Records Office which is now the United States Postal Service, and artist John Horsely. Cole and Horsely created the first Christmas card to encourage people to use the mail delivery service.