50 Magical Facts about Christmas – Part 2

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1US Embassy Xmas Party

US Embassy Xmas Party

The first Christmas party held at the US Embassy in the USSR featured three performing seals, who came into the room balancing a Christmas tree, a tray of glasses, and a bottle of champagne. Afterward, the seal's trainer (quite drunk), passed out, and the seals galloped freely in the house.

2. Christmas as we know it (family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, games, festive generosity, even saying Merry Christmas), is largely the result of Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.” Before 1843 Christmas was associated with countryside peasant revelry and disconnected from modern city life.

3. In Christmas 2010, the Colombian government covered jungle trees with lights. When FARC guerrillas walked by, the trees lit up and banners asking them to lay down their arms became visible. 331 guerrillas re-entered society and the campaign won an award for strategic marketing excellence.

4. In the UK, a White Christmas is defined as, “one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK.”

5. Every Christmas in Lexington, Kentucky, you can pay off your tickets with canned food donations.

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6Christmas Truces

Christmas Truces

The Christmas Truces during World War 1 were not official. Most of the higher ranked officers hated them and tried to stop them from happening, including a young Adolf Hitler. The truces happened anyway. While some lasted only for Christmas morning, some lasted until New Year’s Day.

7. The use of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration derives from a Norse myth. Norse God, Balder's only weakness was the mistletoe plant. On learning this, Loki, the god of mischief carved arrows from the branches of plant which were used to kill Odin's son.

8. The tradition of putting Christmas lights up outside started in Denver, Colorado on Christmas Eve, 1914. D.D. Sturgeon, the founder of Sturgeon Electric, wanted to give his ill son some Christmas joy, so he wrapped his pine trees with electric bulbs, which were dipped in red and green paint.

9. Winston Churchill spent Christmas 1941 in Washington as a guest of President Roosevelt. After electrifying Congress with a speech, he stayed up Christmas Eve watching a movie with his new BFF Roosevelt and the Canadian prime minister, then had a heart attack and shrugged it off.

10. Kotor, Montenegro celebrates Christmas to Christmas celebrations that include events, such as outdoor concerts and other revelries that stretch about two weeks from December 23rd to January 8th (from the Julian date of Xmas in Dec to the Orthodox Xmas in Jan).

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11Stuffed Animal Toss

Stuffed Animal Toss

An annual tradition at some minor league hockey games around Christmas is to throw stuffed animals on the field for charity when the home team scores a goal. The unofficial record is held by the Hershey Bears with 45,650.

12. The #1 Christmas singles from 2018 to 2020 on the UK charts were parody songs about sausage rolls.

13. On Christmas Eve, 1776, British Colonel Rahl received an urgent note from infamous outlaw Moses Doan. He was too busy playing cards. After George Washington's Army attacked, the note was found on him and read, "Washington is coming on you down the river, he will be here afore long. Doan."

14. In Milwaukee, it is a Christmas tradition to eat raw ground beef and onions on rye bread.

15. During Christmas 2013 more than 250 passengers on Calgary-bound flights were part of a “Christmas miracle” done by WestJet. Santa Claus appeared on life-size screens at boarding gates and asked passengers what they wanted for Christmas. When the planes landed the gifts were on the baggage carousel.

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16Iran-Contra Scandal

Iran-Contra Scandal

On Christmas, 1992, George H. W. Bush pardoned 6 Reagan administration officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.

17. "Home Alone" has become a Christmas tradition in Poland, where it's known as "Kevin Sam w Domu" (literally "Kevin Alone in the House"), with Polish TV channels repeatedly airing the film around Christmas Eve for the last 25 years.

18. Christmas is banned in North Korea and instead of Christmas, the birthday of Kim Jong-suk (grandmother of the current supreme leader of North Korea) is celebrated on Christmas eve. However, some North Korean Christian believers still celebrate Christmas in secret.

19. The Christmas pickle is a supposedly German tradition, where you hide a pickle in the Christmas tree, and whoever finds it first gets a reward. Apparently, this is a well-known tradition in the US, but not of German origin and in fact completely unknown in Germany.

20. People in Ireland leave out Guinness for Santa on Christmas Eve.

21Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

In 1978, Jimmy Carter had to leave a Christmas party for White House staffers "to receive emergency treatment" for a painful hemorrhoid that left him "almost completely incapacitated from participating in any kind of public events."

22. British band Iron Maiden released 'Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter' on Christmas Eve 1990 in order to "scare the living daylights out of Cliff Richard", who was promoting 'Saviour's Day'. Despite being banned by the BBC and rarely being played live, it remains the band's only UK #1.

23. The Babbs Switch Fire killed 35 people who attended a party on Christmas Eve when “Santa” knocked a candle off of the tree. New renovations to the building trapped people inside, which led to updated fire codes throughout Oklahoma.

24. Telling ghost stories around a fire was originally a Christmas Eve tradition. Beginning with Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" it was an annual tradition throughout the Victorian Era and only changed when Halloween became popular in the 1920s.

25. 10th century Norwegian Viking ruler King Haakon the Good made the household production of Juleøl (Christmas Beer) a law. Families that did not have beer at their Christmas feast were issued a fine.

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