Saturday, 3 December 2011

10 things I bet you didn't know about Christmas

1) Father Christmas has two addresses, Edinburgh and the North Pole. Letters addressed to 'TOYLAND' or 'SNOWLAND' go to Edinburgh, but letters addressed to 'THE NORTH POLE' have to be sent there because there really is such a place!

2) Father Christmas' reindeers are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Eight of these names are taken from Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas," and the ninth from the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (NB. Donder is also known as Donner.)

3) The last time we had a White Christmas with snow falling across the UK was 2004, although large parts of the southeast England missed significant falls.

4) Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are more likely to have a white Christmas than England.

5) Christmas pudding originates from an old, Celtic dish known as 'frumenty'.

6) 25th December was not celebrated as the birthday of Christ until the year AD 440.

7) The Queen's Christmas speech was televised for the first time in 1957.

8) Christmas crackers were invented by Thomas Smith. He had imported some French novelties to sell as Christmas gifts, but these were not popular until he wrapped them up and added a snapper.

9) In Germany, Twelfth Night is known as 'Three Kings Day'.

10) The popular Christmas song "Jingle Bells" was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont, and was originally called "One-Horse Open Sleigh". It was actually written for Thanksgiving, not Xmas.