Tis the season… to find out all the fun facts about Christmas! It is the most wonderful time of the year and we are sure you want to know everything about this fun holiday time.
Searching for other fun facts about history, people or places? Make sure you check out our other Fun Facts for Kids!
Here are a few of the top things you need to know about Christmas:
- Christmas isn’t always celebrated on 25 December.
- Santa Claus has many other names including Sinterklass, Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas.
- Food is a big part of celebrating Christmas – yum!
- Millions of pieces of mail, including packages of presents, Christmas cards and letters to Santa are delivered over the festive season.
Christmas is the festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion, however the date it is celebrated differs around the world and no one actually knows what date he was born!
Many countries celebrate on the evening of 24 December which is thought to be the original silent and holy night. On this night families gather and share a meal and exchange gifts.
Other countries celebrate on 25 December, and children wake up and open presents. Families will often gather for a meal at lunchtime or dinnertime.
Countries that celebrate an orthodox Christmas celebrate on 6 or 7 January, as they follow the Julian calendar. These celebrations can last for up to 3 days.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you will celebrate Christmas in winter. In the north, traditions often centre around snow and gathering in the cold frosty weather.
In the south, Christmas is often celebrated outdoors, enjoying the sun and trying to keep cool.
Some countries in the southern hemisphere celebrate Christmas in July with fun events and meals throughout the month as it is cooler and more like their northern hemisphere cousins events!
Around the world, children eagerly await presents on Christmas, but who delivers them can be very different.
In many countries Santa Claus delivers presents. He lives in the north pole and has elves who help him to make the toys. He can also be called Saint Nicholas (Saint Nick), Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and Papa Noel.
In some parts of Europe and Latin America the Christkind, a childlike angelic figure that is used to represent Jesus Christ as a child, brings presents.
In Italy a kind witch called La Befana flies around on a broomstick delivering presents to children and in Iceland Yule Lads (mischievous trolls) leave sweets for children in their shoes!
Christmas markets are outdoor markets that originated in the German speaking part of Europe during the late middle ages. Selling everything for Christmas, these beautiful markets have uniquely decorated stalls and twinkling lights and can now be found in many parts of the world.
One of the largest Christmas markets is in Cologne, Germany getting millions of visitors each year.
Wondering why Christmas is sometimes written as Xmas? The letter ‘X’ represents the word ‘Chi’ in the Greek alphabet, the first letter in the Greek word for Christmas!
Stockings are hung in houses at Christmas time and are then filled with presents or sweets. Originally children hung their socks up for presents but eventually this evolved to Christmas stockings.
The use of Christmas Trees date back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans who used fir or pine trees during the winter solstice to signify that spring would return.
Modern Christmas Trees originated in Germany in the 16th Century where they were decorated with fruit and nuts.
Often these days many people have an artificial Christmas Tree, especially in the warmer climates where it is harder to grow a fir or pine tree.
In many countries the tree will be put up and decorated in the lead up to Christmas. Other countries celebrate by the tree ‘appearing’ lit up and decorated on the night of Christmas, surprising and delighting kids.
Christmas Carols are songs all about Christmas and are thought to have originated from hymns. People who gather in public spaces or go door-to-door and sing carols are known as carollers.
Popular Christmas Carols include:
- Silent Night
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- Joy to the World
- 12 Days of Christmas
- Oh Come all Ye Faithful
Songs have evolved to include lyrics about Santa, reindeers and everything related to Christmas. People still gather in public spaces to sing as local towns will host Christmas Carol sing-a-long events. A mix of hymns and songs will be sung and candles waved.
Fun fact – Jingle Bells was the first Christmas Carol played in space in 1965!
Advent is the period of time marked by the four Sundays in the lead up to Christmas. Some countries celebrate by creating a wreath with 4 candles and lighting a candle each Sunday before Christmas.
An Advent calendar is a calendar that helps to count down the days to Christmas. Calendars contain a small chocolate or gift behind a sealed ‘door’ that can be opened each day.
Mistletoe is a plant commonly associated with Christmas. It is said that if two people stand under mistletoe they must kiss or it is bad luck.
Sometimes in all the hustle of Christmas, it can be wonderful to sit down and enjoy some quiet time and watch a Christmas movie.
The first appearance of Kris Kringle (Santa) in a movie was in 1898.
Some famous Christmas movies include:
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- Home Alone (1990)
Fun Fact – The movie ‘The Grinch’ was released in 2018 and is the highest-grossing Christmas film of all time.
What people eat for a Christmas meal differs all over the world, especially because of the weather.
If you are celebrating a cold Christmas, you might enjoy a roast with stuffing and cranberry sauce, whereas if it is hot, you might have a bbq or cold meats with salad.
Some of the most famous Christmas food includes:
Eggnog is a warm drink made of milk, egg and spices. It is a warming drink that is great to drink in winter.
In cooler climates it is common to bake Christmas cookies in the lead up to Christmas. These can often be given as gifts.
This is a sweet pudding that is eaten for dessert and usually contains fruit.
These are lollies or sweets that are shaped like a cane and coloured red and white stripes. It is thought that candy canes were originally used to keep choir boys quiet while in church.
Other popular foods include:
- Fruit mince pies
And don’t forget food for Santa! It is custom in many countries to leave out a snack for Santa (cookies and milk) and his reindeer (carrots).
- People do a lot of shopping in the lead up to Christmas with the Friday and Saturday before Christmas being the busiest shopping days of the year.
- Children will write letters to Santa with their Christmas wishes and send them to him at the North Pole.
If you still need a stocking for Christmas, you will find a great range of them here. That’s a wrap on Christmas! We hope you loved these fun facts about Christmas. Merry Christmas!
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