DID YOU KNOW? The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
DID YOU KNOW? The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.

13 things you didn't know about Christmas

TIS the season to be...well informed.

We all love Christmas, but how much do any of us actually know about why Christmas is the way it is?

Here is 13 facts about Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and Rudolph that you (probably) didn't know.

1. Christmas tinsel was invented in Germany in 1610. It was originally made of real silver.


2. The 12 days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany (January 6) and represent the length of time it took for the wise men from the East to visit the manger of Jesus after his birth.


3. Candy canes used to be white. Few things say Christmas more than those sugary sticks of deliciousness. While no one knows exactly who gave candy canes their stripes, one (unproven) theory has it that the "J" shape was once meant to stand for Jesus and the three stripes represent the Holy Trinity.


Candy cane
Candy cane Arina Habich

4. Before turkey became popular, a traditional Christmas meal featured a pig 's head and mustard.


5. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was initially conceptualised as a moose named Reginald. The moose was later changed to a reindeer because the artist thought that reindeer were more friendly.


6. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.


7. The traditional three colours of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth, red symbolises the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.


8. Many of the most popular Christmas songs, such as White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Christmas Song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I'll Be Home for Christmas were written or co-written by Jews.


9. Christmas trees were first decorated with foods such as apples, nuts and dates.


10. Mistletoe was believed to be an aphrodisiac. The holiday flora is an ancient symbol of fertility and virility - and the Druids believed it was an actual aphrodisiac. And the name even has a funny meaning: The mistle thrush bird eats the berries, digests seeds, and the droppings eventually grow into new plants. So, the Germanic word for mistletoe literally means "dung on a twig".


11. We frequently abbreviate Christmas as X-mas because of ancient tradition. X is the Greek letter "chi" which is an abbreviation for the word "Christ" in Greek.


12. Some zoos take donated Christmas trees and use them to feed their animals.


13. The well-known reason we give presents at Christmas is to symbolise the gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise men.


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