15 Unusual Things Yule Never Know About Christmas

After flying around the shops last minute looking for a decent enough Turkey, battling through the crowds to pick up those last minute gifts you get yourself home only to realise the fairy lights on the tree aren't working and you forgot the carrot for Rudolph! 

The thing is, have you ever stopped to think where these traditions come from? Well, have a look at these 15 unusual things you (probably) didn't know about Christmas...

 

  1. Tangerines

This strange one stems all the way back to 12th-century French nuns. The nuns would stuff socks full of tangerines, nuts and other fruit and leave them outside the houses of the poor.

     2. Baby Jesus

Nowadays Biblical scholars say that Jesus was most likely born in a cave, as opposed to the common portrayal of him being born in a stable. 

     3. Xmas  

Ever wondered why we use an X in the abbreviation of Christmas? Well now you do; X is the Greek abbreviation for Christ! 

     4. Tallest Tree

The world's tallest Christmas tree ever recorded stood at 221ft high in a shopping mall in Washington back in 1950. 

     5. Holly & Berries

The holly in a wreath symbolises the crown of thorns Christ wore on the cross, whilst the berries symbolise drops of blood. 

Christmas wreath hanging on a door.

     6. Christ's Mass

The word Christmas comes from the Old English term "Cristes maesse" which means "Christ's Mass".

     7. Upside Down Trees

Believe it or not, you can buy an artificial upside down Christmas tree. Why? So you can pile more presents underneath of course... 

     8. Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby's White Christmas is the best-selling Christmas song of all time. It has sold over 50 million copies across the world since 1942. 

Snow cabin in the forrest

     9. The Many Names of Santa

Santa has many names from all around the world. Le Bafana in Italy, Kriss Kringle in Germany, Deushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) in Russia and Pere Noel in France. 

    10. The Beatles No. 1 

The record for the most Christmas number 1 singles is held by The Beatles. They topped the charts in 1963, 65 and 67. 

    11. Santa in Iceland 

Iceland does not have just one Santa, oh no. They have 13! Each one comes down from the mountain one by one, starting on December 12th leaving a gift for children. They have fantastic names like Meat Hook, Spoon Licker and Door Sniffer. 

Person standing looking at the Northern Lights in Iceland

    12. First Christmas

It is thought that the first Christmas celebrated in Britain was in York in 521AD. 

    13. Czech Christmas

In the Czech Republic, they enjoy Christmas dinners of fish soup, eggs and carp. Now, this is the really strange bit; the number of people at the table must be even, or the one without a partner will die next year. 

    14. A Cracking Design

In 1847, London sweet maker Tom Smith created the first Christmas crackers. He based his design on the traditional sweet wrapper.  

    15. Mistletoe Kisses

Kissing under the mistletoe is thought to have come from Frigga, the Norse goddess of love. She was associated with the plant. 

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