16 Random but Somewhat Interesting Christmas Factoids

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I love Christmas. I love trivia. I love lists. And away we go…

1. Santa Claus was originally depicted as an elf until 1931 when Coca Cola portrayed him as human (thank goodness…elves freak me out!).

2. The first White House holiday tree was a live 24-foot Douglas fir. It cost $700. Holy moly.

3. Each year, 30-35 million Christmas trees are “produced” in the United States.

4. “O Holy Night” was first sung at a midnight mass in France in 1847.

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5. More than 5 miles of lights are used to decorate the tree at Rockefeller Center.

6. The 1822 poem that we know as “The Night Before Christmas” was originally titled, “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” Sounds like f-u-n!

7. Although every U.S. state produces Christmas trees, the top producers are Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and California.

8. It is a tradition to hide a pickle ornament on your Christmas tree. The first person to find it is supposed to get good luck!

9. Irving Berlin had this to say about his song “White Christmas”: “Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it’s the best song anybody ever wrote.”

christmas tree farm MF

10. It takes approximately 15 years for a sapling to mature into the Christmas tree that winds up in your home.

11. Woolworth Five and Ten is credited with the idea of giving employees a a Christmas bonus. (thank you, Woolworth!).

12. For every Christmas tree cut down, approximately three are planted.

13. There is an actual town in Indiana called “Santa Claus.” The United States Postal Service routes all letters addressed to Santa to this town! Seriously?

14. Rudolph’s original name was…Rollo. It was changed to Rudolph by Robert L. May in the 1939 song.

15. “Silent Night” has been translated into more languages than any other Christmas song.

16. More than 350,000 acres of land in the United States is used for growing Christmas trees.

Where did I soak in all this information? From reading all the trivia that comes across the screen while watching/listening to the Traditional Holiday Music channel on Comcast’s Music Choice. All. Afternoon. So, if you dispute any of these “facts,” take it up with Comcast. I’m just the messenger, folks.

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Comments

  1. Shelby G says

    Don’t forget North Pole, Alaska! There’s a Santa look a like that lives there, too. If I remember correctly, you can have a letter from Santa sent from there – so cool for kids, because it will be postmarked “North Pole”.

  2. Jassi says

    15 years for a sapling to mature into a Christmas tree?!! Makes me feel bad I cut tree’s down! Oh well it helps the economy. Love these little trivia’s. I guess I have to get a pickle ornament this year now!
    Jassi

  3. Vanessa says

    There is a Christmas, Florida, too. I live in Central Florida and we would go there for field trips in elementary school.

  4. Linda Szymoniak says

    I actually knew most of these facts, but it’s always fun to be reminded of where some of our traditions come from. I’m from Indiana, so I know about the town of Santa Claus. I’ve always wanted to go there. Maybe I’ll put it on our schedule for 2014. A good friend of mine has cancer and I think she’d love to go there, too.

  5. Yvonne Ruff says

    I’ve been searching for a stuffed “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and learned an interesting fact from reading your blog that his name was originally “Rollo”

    • Mike Francis says

      Interesting, but not true. in the original manuscript of the book introducing the story by Robert May, the reindeer is named “Rudolph.”

      And May didn’t write the song; his brother-in-law did.

      • says

        Thanks, Mike…you’re right. Robert May had toyed with the names Rollo, then Reginald, before landing on Rudolph. His brother-in-law did adapt the story into a song. Wow, that “factoid” that I got directly from Comcast was WAY OFF. I should have researched it before repeating it. What a doofus. I try not to make those kind of mistakes anymore. But, thanks for pointing that out!

        Interestingly, while looking this up (and feeling like an idiot), I learned that May wrote this story for Montgomery Ward, because they commissioned this story as a holiday promotion to give away to children in their stores. That’s actually more interesting than the name issue, which is somewhat inaccurate. So, lesson here: Don’t believe everything you hear/see on TV. 😉

  6. Sharon says

    Wow, fascinating trivia! I love “Oh Holy Night!” Can’t believe Santa was originally an elf.. guess he got promoted “big time!”
    Merry Christmas! :)

  7. Sue Hull says

    Those are really cool facts I didn’t know.We have some really cool tree farms in Martinez,Ca.Thank you for sharing some fun facts :)
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  8. Lynne says

    I love trivia too – and thanks! We go to trivia nights (they are big fundraisers for organizations here in my neck of the woods) about once a month with a group of friends. We usually do pretty well, and some of these trivia facts just might help us win our next one!

  9. Lynne says

    I’m sorry if this is a duplicate….I’m not sure my first one “took” thanks for the trivia! It just might help us win a future trivia night!

  10. Becky VanGinkel says

    Thanks for sharing! I love this list! My favorite one is about Wisconsin being one of the top producers of Christmas tree because… that’s right.. I’m a Wisconsin girl :) lol I read these aloud to my husband and our kiddos and everyone loved them. My 10 year old son loved the pickle one! lol

    babydjs_mom@yahoo.com

  11. says

    Hi again Kristin,

    The actual fact is that I’m European, not American born at all…

    Which is probably why I’m so freakishly fascinated with the English language :+)

    Sometimes, when we’re bored, the hubs (also European) and I will go into one of the local pubs on a weekend’s night and just start throwing some big words around…

    Curmudgeon anyone? No, no??

    How about dyspeptic, commiserate, impecunious, ameliorate, juxtapose, surreptitious…no??? nobody…

    I’m kind of weird that way I guess, OK – maybe REALLY weird!

    But it’s been know to get a free drink or two and is always good for some lively discussions :+)

  12. says

    Color me IMPRESSED!!! Love curmudgeon. Impecunious…wow. That’s one I’ve not been able to work into a conversation.

    How about this one? Ready?

    Penurious.

    Extra points if you can name the old black and white movie (no Googling!) in which that word is used, I believe, twice. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably remember…because that dialogue sticks with you due to the context of the scene.

    I wish you two would come to a pub around here. We could use some high-brow conversation. 😉

  13. says

    Kristin,

    I know the word (poor) but not the movie and absolutely refuse to Google it.

    Any hints you want to send my way?

    My first thought is something along the line of “Grapes of Wrath”…

    Wrath being another word I absolutely love as I sometimes have to unleash my own…. :+)

  14. librarypat says

    I wasn’t familiar with the pickle tradition until a little over 5 years ago. My boss’ family did it and she hid one on our tree at work. That year she gave us all one as a gift for our trees.

    Check Oriental Trading. I think that may be where she got here pickle ornaments.

  15. says

    I applaud your refusal. That’s what I like to hear.

    I will send you a hint. A few, in fact.

    1. The line was, if memory serves, “Why, my penurious little darling…” (or something darn close) because the child insists on taking worn-down shoes to the shoemaker (ah, the “old days”) to extend their life.

    2. It was based on a book that introduced a very intriguing and controversial theory in the field of criminology.

    3. It was originally a play (quite a successful one), and the Broadway cast played the roles in the movie.

    If that doesn’t do it…this might be the clincher.

    4. This movie’s approach to criminal behavior was noteworthy — without giving away too much, the official ending was decided upon because of the strict “moral code” of movies in that era; the powers-that-be were of the opinion that criminals depicted in movies couldn’t go unpunished for their misdeeds and thus had to suffer consequences in some way for their actions.

    Do you know?

    (If you couldn’t tell, I am kinda fascinated with this movie. :) )

  16. says

    Kristin,

    I am utterly intrigued!

    The truth is, I really don’t watch TV or movies much, (as in almost ever), so I’m pretty well entirely discombobulated at this point…

    I honestly have no freaking idea of the particular movie to which you might be referring.

    Here’s the thing…

    Please don’t give me a hint.

    I’m totally admitting defeat at this point – just tell me the name please so that I may hang my head in shame and toddle (what a great word) off to bed…

    Thank you very much my dear :+)

  17. says

    OK, I’ll give.

    It’s “The Bad Seed.” If you haven’t seen it, keep an eye out for it. It’s definitely worth watching at least once in your life.

    I should be toddling off to bed as well. Thanks for the lively conversation!

    P.S. Kudos on the discombobulated. One of my favorite words. :)

  18. says

    Kristin,

    I never, ever, and I mean NEVER watch horror movies – not even at Halloween. (Freddie who?)

    But I’ll be ordering this just because you’ve made it sound so intriguing.

    Thanks so much for the lively discourse tonight, I think it may have just been the thing I needed to get me through a really nasty sort of day…

    And now.. GO TO SLEEP ALREADY!

  19. says

    ALSO not a horror fan (other than the Halloween movies, but they’re just silly)…The Bad Seed is more along the lines of a Hitchcock-type suspense/thriller. I can’t recall a curse word, and there is NO violence, other than the mother shaking her daughter for a moment to get her to tell the truth — and even her own act of aggression disgusts her. I suppose it’s a psychological thriller.

    Thank you as well…it has been a pleasure! And, believe it or not, I have also had a quite nasty day, and this was a most pleasant end to it and, for that, I do thank you.

    NOW…I hope I can sleep. My cat has flung one of her hairs in my eye and it is swollen and itchy. Ah, pets.

    Hopefully we will chat again sometime! :)

  20. says

    I live in northern Wisconsin so we do have a lot of tree farms here…Although we do not use real trees anymore, fire hazard, I do love the smell of them…thanks for sharing the info and Happy Holidays!!

  21. Carol L says

    I knew a few of these but found the rest interesting. I too find out more trivia via the music channel this year then I thought possible. Thanks for taking the time to list them all.
    Happy Holidays.
    Carol L

  22. Michelle H. says

    One day, I want to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree. “White Christmas” was first introduced in the film “Holiday Inn” which came out before “White Christmas”.

    • says

      First, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree? Amazing. I’ve seen it twice and it is quite the sight to behold.

      Second, you are indeed correct (about Holiday Inn and White Christmas), which I just learned for myself over the holidays. I was never much of a Bing Crosby fan, but I decided to give them a whirl this year…and I was surprised to hear “White Christmas” while I was watching Holiday Inn. LOL.

      • Michelle H. says

        My dad was a film buff and raised us kids on classic movies. “Holiday Inn” is my favorite Christmas movie and I could not find it on cable this year.

  23. Cynthia Cover says

    I had never heard of hiding a pickle ornament on the tree before. I think we will have to start that tradition next year!

  24. Cathy Jarolin says

    The Poster with Santa Drinking a Coca Cola..Love it.. Brings back a lot of childhood memories, along with the photo of the Woolworths five and ten cent store..I never heard of hiding a pickle ornament on the Christmas Tree.. I wanted to share this on my Facebook wall. I could not find the right links..Happy New Year!

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