Christmas ...

1. Christmas is a contraction of "Christ's Mass," coming from the Middle English 'Cristemass' and Old English 'Cristesmæsse' said to be first recorded in 1038.Green tree

2. Putting up stockings comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas's donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.

3. Boxing Day gets its name from all the money collected in church alms-boxes for the poor.

4. The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by civil servant Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. Featuring a family drinking wine, one sold for £8,469 in 2014.

5. The christmas cracker was invented by a London sweet shop owner, Tom Smith. In 1847, after spotting French bonbons wrapped in paper with a twist at each end, he sold similar sweets with a "love motto" inside. He then included a little trinket and a "bang". His "Bangs of Expectation" included gifts such as jewellery and miniature dolls. By 1900, he was selling 13 million a year.

6. Red, gold and green are seasonal colours. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.

7. Mistletoe (Viscum album) is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means "little dung twig" because the plant spreads though bird droppings.


8. Santa hasn't always dressed in red. Pre 1930s there were many different variations of Santa, sporting a variety of different coloured garments and ranging in size from big to small. Some people claim the modern day image of Santa Claus was created by Coca-Cola, but this isn't strictly true. The original red-suited Santa became popular in the US and Canada in the 19th century due to the influence of caricaturist and cartoonist Thomas Nast. Coca-Cola commissioned their depiction of Santa in 1931.
9. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was invented for a US firm's Christmas promotion in 1938.

10. Holly and Ivy have been used to decorate homes since the 9th century because they symbolise everlasting life. The holly represents Christ's crown of thorns and the berries his blood.

11. The word "Carol" actually means dance or song of praise and joy, and they used to be sung during all four seasons, but the tradition of only singing them at Christmas is the only one to survive.
And finally:
US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world's presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.
6 million- The number of rolls of sellotape that will be sold in the UK in the run up to Christmas (5.99 million - the number of rolls where you can't find where the tape ends).


13%of families in the UK always attend church on Christmas Day.

27%of families sit down to watch the Queen's Speech.

According to a survey conducted in 2016, 57% of adults in the UK would gladly sacrifice seeing relatives on Christmas day if it meant they could spend more time on Facebook.