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Christmas Facts For Kids

Did you know that more than two billion people celebrate Christmas around the world? These people live in more than 160 countries. In the United States, 90 percent of people celebrate Christmas.

This is a lot of people! 

It is no wonder Christmas is named the most popular holiday. A 2015 Harris poll found that 46% of surveyed Americans chose Christmas as their favorite holiday, well above the 19 percent for Thanksgiving in second-place.

Christmas tree

This is not a surprise. After all, Christmas is fun!

Let’s explore more fun facts about Christmas history!

What is Christmas?

Christmas is a holiday observed on December 25 to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is an annual celebration that is part of the Christian calendar.

Today, Christians and non-Christians alike observe it.

eastern-orthodox-church

Here are some fun Christmas facts about the word itself! 

“Christmas” means “mass on Christ’s day.” 

You have probably heard of Yule, which comes from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl. This translates to the feast of the winter solstice. 

Interestingly, the nativity is translated to refer to Christmas in Spanish (Navidad), Italian (Natale), and French (Noël).

spain-flag

As Christmas gains recognition worldwide and transforms into a secular holiday, people are most familiar with the tradition of exchanging gifts among loved ones. Although, Santa Claus delivers all Christmas gifts for children. 

Here are fun Christmas facts that will impress your friends and family!

monument-circle-Christmas

1. Origins of Christmas Day

The Christmas fact that may surprise you the most is that there is no historical data that links December 25 to the day Jesus Christ was born. Many historians believe Jesus was born in the springtime. 

The day may have been selected because of its connection to the pagan festival that celebrated agriculture. Saturnalia, which is named after the god Saturn.

In Roman mythology, this god was believed to help sow seeds and ensure good harvests.

saturn-god
god Saturn

2. How is Christmas celebrated?

There are a lot of different ways this holiday is celebrated. Many families have unique traditions for Christmas eve, the day before Christmas, and Christmas day.

For example, some families may play trivia about Christmas or watch their favorite Christmas movies.

Here are three common traditions:

From Christmas cards to elaborate gifts, exchanging gifts with loved ones is the most popular way to celebrate Christmas. 

winter-trees

Many people also decorate Christmas trees. A Christmas tree is typically an evergreen conifer variety. It is commonly fir, spruce, or pine. Artificial Christmas trees have also gained popularity in recent years.

While it does not happen as frequently, Christmas caroling still occurs in gatherings at churches, malls, and major events during the Christmas season.

Popular Christmas songs include “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Silent Night,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

santa-rudolph-penguin

3. Why do we hang stockings?

Why do we hang stockings at Christmas? Like most traditions, it began as a folktale. The story goes, a poor man did not have enough money for his three daughters to get married.

Generous Santa Claus, also known as St Nicholas, put a bag of gold in one of the stockings the daughter had hung up to dry by the chimney. Now we all do it in hopes of gold too! 

gold and riches

4. What are the five most unusual Christmas traditions from around the world?

People around the world celebrate Christmas differently. People in other countries may think it’s odd we sing about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Here are five unusual things about Christmas from around the world:

In Austria, Santa Claus or St Nicholas shares the day with his evil accomplice Krampus, a half-goat, half-demon. This originated from an old folktale in Austria, southern Germany, Hungary, and even northern Italy.

Krampus searches for misbehaving children to punish them.

In Norway, families will burn spruce logs to stop evil spirits from entering the home from the chimney on Christmas eve. They are also known to hide their brooms so they are not stolen for a midnight ride by a witch.  

In Japan, families enjoy a KFC dinner on Christmas eve because of the 1970s marketing campaign, Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii (or “Kentucky for Christmas”).  

first-kfc-corbin

In Venezuela, people rollerblade to mass on Christmas morning. This tradition is so popular that Caracas’ capital city will close down some streets to traffic so people can skate safely.

A Christmas tree is not complete without a particular bauble, which varies around the world.

In Germany, parents hide a pickle ornament. The first child to find it gets a special treat.

In Ukraine, spider web ornaments are used to remember a folktale about a poor widow and her children who found a Christmas tree in their garden that was naturally decorated by a spider’s web that turned silver and gold in the light.

spider web ornament Ukraine

In Sweden, a goat ornament celebrates an 11th-century story that a goat accompanied St Nicholas to ward off the devil. 

5. What are some fun facts about Christmas in England?

The United Kingdom celebrates boxing day, as well as Christmas eve and Christmas day. Boxing day is the day after December 25.

gift-present

It began because the wealthy would spend the day boxing gifts for the poor. The extra holiday was to give servants and staff an extra day with families. 

Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s German husband, popularized the Christmas tree because he wanted to bring some of his hometown traditions to England.

Today, you’ll see Christmas trees, wreaths, mistletoes, and twinkling lights everywhere!

Since 1952, the Queen gives an annual Christmas speech at 3 p.m. on Christmas day. 

Related: Fun Facts About Queens

Queen Elizabeth George HW Bush

The speech is about 10 minutes and can cover a range of topics. The Christmas tradition came from George V, who gave a Christmass address over the radio in 1932. 

Have you seen Christmas crackers? They were invented in the 1840s by candy-maker Tom Smith. The crackers are small paper tubes filled with trinkets like a paper crown and riddles.

People will pull them apart at the table before they begin to eat. 

6. Christmas facts you probably do not know

Here are random Christmas facts you can use to impress your family and friends.

You probably thought a Christmas tree could only grow in certain parts of the U.S. However, every state, including Hawaii and Alaska, grows Christmas trees.

Christmas trees White House

Jingle Bells was originally a song for Thanksgiving and not Christmas. James Lord Pierpont wrote the song for Thanksgiving in 1857.

It was called “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and later became Jingle Bells when it was reprinted in 1859.

Another popular Christmas song is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” However, if you received all the gifts in the song, you would have 364 gifts!

We often debate if we should get a real or fake tree at Christmas. It may surprise you to find out that an artificial Christmas tree is only environmentally friendly if you use it for 20 years.

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