Interesting Facts About Christmas For Kids
The festival of Christmas and its traditions have some very interesting beginnings. Here are some interesting Christmas facts for you and your child.
By Arun Sharma • 9 min read
Every year, the December chill brings with it the warmth of Christmas infused with the gift of piety. And, this year is no different. With only a few days to go for Christmas, the spirit of festivity, humanity and togetherness is already in the air.
Step into or out of your home and it feels as though it’s all about Christmas — the smell of cakes being baked, roadside shops selling Christmas cards, giant lit-up stars hanging in the porch of many houses and a smile on most faces.
As you and your family come together to prepare for Christmas celebrations, share a few Christmas facts with your children for them to understand the significance of this festival. To help you get started, we have put together a few little-known facts about Christmas.
Interesting facts about Christmas
- The word ‘Christmas’ comes from the phrase ‘The Mass of Christ’ or ‘Christ’s Mass’.
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem to Mary who was betrothed to Joseph. His parents had to travel to Bethlehem to register for the census ordered by the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus.
- In Hebrew, the name Bethlehem means House (beth) of bread (lehem).
- The birth of Jesus was first announced by an angel to a group of shepherds. The angel also told them where they would find baby Jesus.
- It was almost 300 years after the birth of Jesus, in the mid-fourth century, that December 25 was fixed as the date for celebrating Christmas.
- The exact date of the birth of Jesus is not known to anyone. However, historians believe that he was born between the 6th and 4th century BC.
- After his birth, Jesus was visited by three wise men from the East, namely Gaspar (or Caspar), the King of Sheba; Melchior, the King of Arabia; and Balthazar, King of Tarse and Egypt.
- The three wise men, also called Magi, brought with them the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh for Jesus.
- It was an angel who told Mary that she would give birth to a son. The angel also told Mary to name her baby boy ‘Jesus’.
- Although Jesus is known as Jesus Christ, he did not have a surname. The word ‘Christ’ comes from the Greek word Christos, which means ‘anointed one’.
- 'Jingle Bells' was written for Thanksgiving (not for Christmas) in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published with the title, 'One Horse Open Sleigh'. It was the first song to be broadcast from space on December 16, 1965, sung by astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra.
- The Christmas wreath originally symbolised Jesus. The holly referred to his crown of thorns and the red berries signified the blood he shed on the cross.
- The 'X' in 'Xmas' is for the Greek letter 'Chi' which is the first letter of 'Christ'.
- One thousand copies of the first Christmas cards were sold in 1843. The idea was that of Sir Henry Cole and the cards were printed by his friend, John Calcott Horsley.
- As early as thousands of years ago, carols were sung in Europe. But, they weren't Christmas carols. They were pagan songs that were sung during the Winter Solstice celebrations. While singing, the people danced round stone circles. In fact, the word carol initially meant to dance to something.
Christmas tree facts
- The first recorded evidence of a decorated Christmas tree dates to the year 1501 from Riga, Latvia.
- In the past, even cherry and hawthorns were used as Christmas tree. However, the Nordmann fir was the tree of choice.
- In the 17th and 18th centuries, Christmas trees were hung upside down from the ceiling like chandeliers. This was done to keep the goodies out of the reach of children.
- In Ukraine, the Christmas tree is decorated with artificial spider webs and spider-shaped ornaments.
- It was only in 1851 that Christmas trees began to be sold in stores in the United States.
- The 16th century reformer Martin Luther was the first to light up the Christmas tree using candles.
- Edward Johnson, assistant of Thomas Edison, came up with the idea of decorating the Christmas tree with light bulbs.
- Artificial Christmas trees first originated in the 19th century in Germany. They were made using dyed goose feathers and wires.
- Millions of Christmas trees are sold every year, which makes it a billion-dollar industry.
Facts about Santa Claus
- The name Santa Claus comes from Sinterklass, the Dutch name for St. Nicholas.
- St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children and used to give them gifts.
- Cartoonist Thomas Nast (1863) is credited with changing the image of Santa Claus by giving him the portly look. After him, others like L. Frank Baum, Frank A. Nankivell, Norman Rockwell and Haddon Sundblum also added their bit to create the modern-day Santa.
- Santa Claus was a bachelor until 1849, when James Rees introduced Mrs Claus in his short story ‘A Christmas Legend’.
- It was in a book written by Washington Irving in 1812 that Santa first slid down the chimney.
- Only letters addressed to a specific North Pole address of Santa Claus are sent there. The address of Santa Claus given on the United States Postal Service website is Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888.
- Two towns claim to be the home of Santa Claus. One of them is the town of North Pole in Alaska, and the other is the town of Rovaniemi in Finland.
- Santa Claus was issued a pilot’s license by the United States government in 1927. He received it from William P MacCracken, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics.
- In a study conducted in 2013, it was found that Santa received the greatest number of letters from France, with Canada coming second.
- Santa’s elves work throughout the year, making toys for children.
- The names of the 8 reindeers of Santa are Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donner, Prancer and Vixen. However, if we also count Rudolph, then the number increases to 9.
While you share these Christmas facts with your children, also impress upon them that this is also the time to spread some smiles by sharing gifts with those who aren’t as lucky as them.
About the author:
Written by Arun Sharma on 17 December 2019
The author was associated with the healthcare industry before becoming a full-time writer and editor. A doting father to two preteens, he believes in experiential learning for his children. Also, he loves mountain trekking and nature trips.
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