5 fun facts about Christmas

Did you know...?


1. Christmas songs feature hanging up stockings for Christmas — but our Dutch friends and their kids put out shoes! It goes back to a legend about a bishop (of Myra in what is now part of Turkey) who was known for generosity. Named Nicholas, his name eventually got distorted to Sinterklaas, which is an easy step to Santa Claus. And they do this on December 6. Technically, the shoes are supposed to be filled with hay for Sinterklaas’ horse, and you get back a present or some candy…

2. “On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” A great chance to learn some cool maths! Ask your kids to figure out how many gifts “me” gets from their true love… Answers here!

3. It was believed that in many countries, plants and trees (Christmas trees, pine trees) that remain green all year round would keep witches, evil spirits, and illness away. Plus if you lived in the northern countries, guess what is likeliest to still be alive and green in the middle of winter (other than lichen)? Ask your littles what would have been different if Christmas had started out in the tropics…

4. The first Electric Light was used in 1854. Thomas Edison’s assistants came up with the idea of using electric lights for Christmas trees. And the New Jersey Fire Department probably collectively cried in relief because till then, the trees were carefully illuminated with small candles. (Then the firemen discovered the joy of short circuits setting the tree alight again.)

5. Before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig’s head and mustard.

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