Christmas facts

Top 10 Curious Christmas Facts

Did you know these interesting facts about Christmas?

by Iva Rizova

Christmas is the most significant Christian holiday. Celebrated for centuries, it has become imperative in every family’s home. Although it has existed for so long and is eagerly awaited every year, Christmas constantly surprises us with new facts about itself. We at The Dope Lists have selected 10 of the most interesting facts to learn more about your favorite holiday.

The first Christmas card

Today, the exchange of beautiful paper Christmas cards may have given way to virtual ones. Still, the tradition originated longer than you think. This happened in 1843 thanks to the British artist John Horsley. Until then, people exchanged handwritten wishes. But civil servant Henry Cole was too busy to write personal letters to all his relatives.

So he came up with the idea of making a drawing with a common wish to everyone. The card’s message was Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you. Gradually they gained popularity, and the tradition spread all over the world. One of the first Christmas cards with the image of Santa Claus was painted by the American artist Louis Prang in 1886.

The Christmas tree

It is unclear exactly when the tradition of decorating a tree dates back because many people have had one. The ancient Egyptians decorated the palm trees and later the German – evergreen branches at the end of the year. The Romans trimmed trees with small objects and candles during the Saturnalia. However, it was not until 1597 that entire evergreen trees (fir trees, firs, pines) began to be decorated as a symbol of eternal life.

Christmas tree

Toys insensibly became more and more diverse, but a real revolution in their production occurred in the 19th century with the advent of glass balls and paper garlands. In 1882, electric lights were patented, and parents began to leave gifts under the Christmas tree for their children. The Christmas tree took on the appearance we know today.

The birth of Jesus

We’ve all seen the ornate American houses in the movies, attracting the attention of meters with the bright flicker of lights. In front of the house door, there is a large space for the scene of the birth of Jesus, which has become an integral part of American decoration. But do you know where it comes from? Or rather, when was the first stage in the world created to recreate the birth of the Son of God?

It happened a really long time ago. The Roman Catholic monk, founder of the Franciscan Order – St. Francis of Assisi, built the first stage in the world showing the manger with the birth of the baby Jesus in 1223 in the Italian village of Grecho.
The tradition of exchanging gifts

Presents have become a mandatory element of the celebration. We start choosing gifts for our relatives weeks before Christmas and spend hours looking for the perfect ones. But do you know where this custom comes from? We bet you won’t guess.

Contrary to popular belief, the tradition of exchanging gifts is actually pagan and has nothing to do with Christianity. Still, we clearly feel the need to make our neighbors happy and, of course, to make ourselves happy. On the day we celebrate as the Nativity of Christ, the Romans celebrated the god of agriculture Saturn, from which comes the name of the holiday – Saturnalia. They organized large feasts and exchanged presents as a symbol of equality.

The poinsettia


Every year we buy a new Christmas toy and a poinsettia to decorate the table. This plant with green and red leaves that blooms precisely at this time of the year has become a symbol of the holiday almost worldwide. Few people know that its homeland is Mexico, and it is actually a shrub that can reach a height of 4 meters.

According to one of the Aztec legends, the appearance of the flower is associated with a little girl who wanted to leave a gift in front of the statue of the Son of God on the eve of Christmas, but she had nothing. Then his father reassured her that Jesus would accept any present, as long as it was given from the heart. The girl went to the field, picked a bouquet of dried flowers and placed it in front of the statue of the Savior. On Christmas Eve, the dry bouquet bloomed in large scarlet flowers.

The biggest Christmas present

We have already clarified how the tradition of exchanging gifts came about, but have you ever wondered what is the most fantastic present ever given? Even if you haven’t thought about it after this question, your curiosity has certainly aroused, and the answer is more apparent than you think.

The Statue of Liberty was donated by France to the United States as a token of friendship between the two nations and to mark the 100th anniversary of the United States’ independence.

The statue, designed by Frederic Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel, depicts the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas. The impressive monument weighs over 200 tons. It is around 46 meters high, together with the platform on which it is placed over 55 meters. It definitely deserves recognition from Guinness for the greatest Christmas gift ever made.

The first celebration of Christmas

Even though the birth of Jesus Christ marks the beginning of the new countdown, Christmas begins to be celebrated much later. Amid a series of bloody persecutions of Christians in the Roman Empire in 313, Emperor Constantine the Great issued the Edict of Milan, which proclaimed tolerance of Christianity and it became the state religion.

In 354, influenced by the time of the year in which Saturnalia was celebrated, Pope Liberius announced December 25 as the day on which the Nativity of Christ would be honored. Since then, the 359th day of the year has been eagerly awaited by young and old, and it is the warmest and most cozy holiday – a symbol of the family.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas as a threat

The most popular Christmas song is Jingle Bells. On December 16, 1965, it became the first song broadcast in space. The second most popular one is We Wish You a Merry Christmas. In the beginning, it was used as a threat by the low-class servants who sang the song, demanding alcohol from their masters. The threat was that they would protest until they received the desired drink.

Christmas facts

It owes her popularity to Arthur Warrell, a professor at the University of Bristol, who adapted the tune for the choir he led. In December 1935, the song was performed at a concert, and the composition was published in the Press of Oxford University. In the early 60’s it was republished in a collection of Christmas songs and has been performed every year since.
Santa’s Journey

When we were kids, our parents began to tell us how Santa took his long journey on Christmas Eve to please all the obedient children during the year. We describe the same story to our children two or three decades later. So it is passed down from generation to generation. Perhaps the most embarrassing question you had to answer is how the Good Old Man manages to orbit the whole Earth in just one night.

A study has found that to give presents to more than 1.6 billion children, Santa Claus has to travel more than 2 billion kilometers. It turns out that thanks to the rotation of the Earth, he has 32 hours for this journey, not just one night, but he will still need 200,000 deers, which fly at a speed 200,000 times faster than the speed of sound, to be able to please every child.

The Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies

In early December, the smell of freshly baked cookies with cinnamon, ginger, or orange begins to waft in the air, causing a spectacle of emotions. Every family has a strictly kept recipe for the most delicious sweets passed down from generation to generation. Like any other tradition, cookies have their own history. Have you ever wondered what it is? During the reign of Queen Victoria, many Christmas traditions emerged: the Christmas tree was popularized, Christmas cards and images of the royal family appeared in the newspapers.

Cookies are no exception. 1847 is the debut year. Initially, they were prepared based on French candy. Still, the chefs became bolder and more inventive and added ginger and cinnamon. Although today we can not imagine Christmas treats without the aroma of these fragrant spices, the first sweets were not particularly popular. But how has this changed? With a pinch of love. Confectioners put love messages on cakes and thus gained mass popularity and became a favorite present.

Were we able to surprise you with some of these facts? If you’re obsessed with Christmas, we may not have succeeded, but we’ve probably lifted your Christmas spirit. So keep calm cause Christmas is coming…

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