• twitter.com/travel1000place
  • facebook.com/avel1000places
  • Visit us:
This article:

U.S. Inside/Background

Christmas Facts & Holiday Traditions

• The first Christmas tree originated in the eighth century, when St. Boniface of Crediton, an English missionary in Germany, reportedly chopped down a sacred oak, beneath which human sacrifices had been made. As the large tree fell, a young fir was said to have appeared in its place.

• The modern Christmas tree was popularized in England by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, whose picture in front of a Christmas tree in 1848 was printed around the world.

• The first Christmas card was designed in 1842 by John Horsley for England's Sir Henry Cole. By 1860, the British postmaster general already was advising people to mail their cards early.

• The record for Christmas cards sent is believed to be held by Werner Erhard, of San Francisco, California, who sent 62,824 greetings in 1975.

• The modern-day image of Santa was created in 1931 by Swedish-American artist Sundblom, whose widely popular oil paintings of jolly ole Saint Nicholas appeared in a long-running series of holiday advertisements for Coca-Cola. Sundblom produced more than 40 original paintings of the “Coca-Cola Santa” over a span of 33 years, and the illustrator’s works evolved into the quintessential look of Santa recognized around the world.

• The name Santa Claus was Anglicized from “Sinterklass,” the Dutch word for Saint Nicholas. Other early, local-language names for Santa have included “Sanct Herr ‘Cholas,” “Christkindlein” and “Kris Kringle.”

• The largest Christmas pudding weighed 7,231 pounds (3,280 kilos) and took the villagers of Aughton, England, seven days to make.

• In 1652, Christmas was abolished in England by the Puritans, who took over the country following the English Civil War. The holiday was revived in 1660 when the monarchy was restored.

• Holly originally was hung to ward off witches. Mistletoe was prized by the ancient British Druids as a fertility symbol.

• According to legend, the original Saint Nicholas (first known as the Bishop of Myra, in fourth-century Asia Minor, now Turkey) once secretly gave three bags of gold to three poor sisters whose father could not afford a dowry. Nicholas tossed the gold down their chimney, and it landed in the girls' stockings hanging to dry. This is believed the origin of the Christmas stocking.

• English Christmas carols, which date to the 13th century, were once banned from the church because they had gotten too theatrical and raucous. Carol singers resorted to wandering around towns and villages, hence the tradition of singing door to door.

• The exchanging of food at midwinter – to mark the passing of harsh weather and the coming of spring – preceded the sharing of presents. In ancient Rome, it was once believed that failure to give gifts during midwinter festival brought bad luck. Early Christians also incorporated the custom into their own traditions.

• The Nativity scene was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi, who was so impressed by Christmas reenactments in Bethlehem that he asked the Pope for permission to create the scene in his village of Grecchio, Italy. St. Francis built his first Nativity in a cave and used real animals.

• On December 20, 1999, a towering Eucalyptus regnans, measuring 80 meters (262 feet) high, became the tallest Christmas tree in the world. Using 3,000 holiday lights, The Wilderness Society transformed this massive tree into a powerful beacon of hope for the threatened tall forests in the Australian state of Tasmania. The tree, in the valley of the Styx River, has since grown to more than 84 meters (275.5 feet). Among earlier claims of “world’s tallest Christmas tree” was one erected in 1950 at a shopping center in Seattle, Washington. That tree stood 67.4 meters (221 feet) high.

The title “Father Christmas” goes by these translations in the following countries and regions:

  • "Babadimri" (Albania)
  • "Gaghant Baba" (Armenia)
  • "Julemanden" (Denmark)
  • "Babbo Natale" (Italy)
  • "Papai Noel" (Brazil)
  • "Ježíšek" (Czech Republic)
  • "Święty Mikołaj" (Poland)
  • "Pai Natal" (Portugal)
  • "Moş Crăciun" (Romania)
  • "Weihnachtsmann" or "Nikolaus" (Germany)
  • "Daidí na Nollag" (Ireland and Scottish Highlands)
  • "Le Père Noël" (France and French Canada)
  • "Joulupukki" (Finland)
  • "Julenissen" (Norway)
  • "Jultomten" (Sweden)
  • "Dyado Koleda" (Bulgaria)
  • "Noel Baba" (Turkey)
  • "Deda Mraz" (Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina)
  • "Papá Noel" (Spain and Mexico)
  • "Baba Chaghaloo" (Afghanistan)
  • "Goosaleh" (Iran and South Africa)
  • "Viejito Pascuero" (Chile)

Candy Cane
Candy Canes



Document Information
Source: Coca-Cola® Company; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070515
copyright ©2018 DENALImultimedia llc; magazineUSA.com and/or respective owner(s). All rights reserved.
By accessing and using this website you agree to comply with our Terms of Use / Disclaimer / Copyright Info.

FTC and Amazon Disclosure:
On our pages we might offer product suggestions and provide a link to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases a small commission, however, it does not increase the price of the product and it doesn't cost you anything.

Connect with us on:
  • twitter.com/travel1000place
  • facebook.com/travel1000places