I’ve been trying to get all the decorations up, the Christmas cards done (they’re not) and the Princess Nagger has been randomly racked with a spiking fever off-and-on since Friday (6-year molars? Teeth coming in where her two baby ones are loose? Plague?) Not sure what, but she’s randomly miserable which can make her randomly a handful.
But fear not! In spite of my brain waves running on fumes from the lack of sleep watching over the tossing, turning and scalding hot coughing Nagger, I have found some quite entertaining Christmas Trivia just for you!
This is not a picture of my living room – but I’m trying to get Kristina P. to come decorate it like this for me… First she’ll need to build a nice big fireplace, so she might be busy for a while.
Did you know…
An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place.
As early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. was worried by the amount of extra mail at Christmas time. His preferred solution to the problem was to limit by law the number of cards a person could send. Even though commercial cards were not available at that time, people were already sending so many home-made cards that sixteen extra postmen had to be hired in the city.
Postmen in Victorian England were popularly called “robins.” This was because their uniforms were red. The British Post Office grew out of the carrying of royal dispatches. Red was considered a royal color, so uniforms and letter-boxes were red. Christmas cards often showed a robin delivering Christmas mail.
“Hot cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. “Hot cockles” was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.
It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction.
Long before it was used as a “kiss encourager” during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.
Mistletoe, a traditional Christmas symbol, was once revered by the early Britons. It was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.
Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday. This tradition began in 1836.
In 1907, Oklahoma became the last US state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
Although many believe the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year, it’s actually the fifth to tenth busiest day. The Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the two busiest shopping days of the year.
“Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill” – to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.
A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.
In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbock. Made from straw, it is a small figurine of a goat. A variety of straw decorations are a usual feature of Scandinavian Christmas festivities.
America’s official national Christmas tree is located in King’s Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the “General Grant Tree,” is over 300 feet (90 meters) high. It was made the official Christmas tree in 1925.
Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch conservationist, banned Christmas trees in his home, even when he lived in the White House. His children, however, smuggled them into their bedrooms.
Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.
Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.
Christmas trees are known to have been popular in Germany as far back as the sixteenth century. In England, they became popular after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, who came from Germany, made a tree part of the celebrations at Windsor Castle. In the United States, the earliest known mention of a Christmas tree is in the diary of a German who settled in Pennsylvania.
Cultured Christmas trees must be shaped as they grow to produce fuller foliage. To slow the upward growth and to encourage branching, they are hand-clipped in each spring. Trees grown in the wild have sparser branches, and are known in the industry as “Charlie Brown” trees.
When Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, died on December 4, 1894, he willed his November 13 birthday to a friend who disliked her own Christmas birthday.
Frustrated at the lack of interest in his new toy invention, Charles Pajeau hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with “Tinker Toys” in a display window at a Chicago department store during the Christmas season in 1914. This publicity stunt made the construction toy an instant hit. A year later, over a million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold.
In 1996, Christmas caroling was banned at two major malls in Pensacola, Florida. Apparently, shoppers and merchants complained the carolers were too loud and took up too much space.
The red Christmas kettle debuted in San Francisco in 1891 in the guise of a crab pot. A depression had thrown many out of work, including hundreds of seamen and longshoremen. The campaign proved so successful that by 1900 it was imitated nationwide.
In Britain, eating mince pies at Christmas dates back to the 16th century. It is still believed that to eat a mince pie on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring 12 happy months in the year to follow.
Go forth and be Random!