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10 fun facts about Christmas

Generic picture of Santa, Father Christmas and Christmas tree.
Photo: Angela Sharpe
Copy: 
For: EDP File
Archant pics © 2008
(01603) 772434

Generic picture of Santa, Father Christmas and Christmas tree. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: For: EDP File Archant pics © 2008 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2008

Here’s a look at ten fun facts about the Christmas period, from what people in Japan eat for an alternative dinner to where the idea for crackers came from...

• The best-selling Christmas song of all time is White Christmas by Bing Crosby, which has sold over 50 million copies.

• Santa hasn’t always worn red, instead has been depicted wearing blue, white and green in the past. His iconic red suit is believed to have become tradition following a Coca Cola advert from the 1930s.

• The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is donated to the people of Britain each year by the city of Oslo, Norway. This has been a tradition since 1947 and is a token of gratitude for British support to Norway during the Second World War.

• Prior to making Love Actually, Richard Curtis had been working on turning Hugh Grant and Colin Firth’s character’s stories into separate movies, but ultimately decided to do “the best 30 scenes from 10 movies instead of one movie with three good scenes.”

• Rudolph was created in 1939 by a copywriter named Robert L. May as a marketing gimmick for Montgomery Ward’s holiday colouring books and was almost named Reginald.

• Xmas doesn’t remove Christ from Christmas. X in Greek is the first letter of Christ and in fact serves as a symbolic stand-in.

• People in Japan celebrate Christmas time with a meal from KFC. The American fast food chain’s Christmas promotion was created by Takeshi Okawara, who managed the first KFC restaurant in Japan. They offer customers a Christmas “party barrel” inspired by a traditional dinner, but with fried chicken instead of turkey.

• There are 13 Santas in Iceland, known as Yuletide-lads or Yule Lads. They are figures from Icelandic folklorewho who put rewards or punishments (rotting potatoes) into shoes placed by children on window sills during the last 13 nights before Christmas.

• Boxing Day takes its name from all the money collecting in church alms-boxes for the poor.

• The Christmas cracker was invnted by a sweet shop owner from London called Tom Smith. The idea came to him in 1847 after he spotted French bonbons wrapped in paper with a twist at each end, he decided to sell similar sweets with a love motto inside. He later included a little trinket, such as jewellery and miniature dolls and a bang. By 1900 he was selling 13 million a year.

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