Thursday Thirteen #18: Christmas Facts

1. Before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig's head and mustard.
Which is why we're all grateful we didn't live in England then!

2. The word Noel derives from the French expression "les bonnes nouvelles" or "the good news".

3. Robins on cards were a joke 150 years ago when postmen wore red tunics and were named after them. I guess that's what passed for humor in 1857--ditto on being grateful not to have been alive then!

4. Many parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C. I'll stick to a glass of oj, if it's all the same to you!

5. 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 last year. Which is $16,786.40--about the cost of sending anywhere via snail mail these days!

6. Astronomers believe the Star Of Bethlehem, which guided the wisemen to Jesus, may have been a comet or the planet Uranus. Interesting.

7. Upside-down artificial Xmas trees are sold to allow more gifts to be piled under. True, but it's just too weird an idea for me to contemplate!

8. The highest-grossing festive movie is 2000's How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which has raked in $350m so far. Which has nothing on the original animated one--love that dog struggling up the hill with the crooked antlers!

9. There are 13 Santas in Iceland, each leaving a gift for children. They come down from the mountain one by one, starting on December 12 and have names like Spoon Licker, Door Sniffer and Meat Hook. No comment necessary, is there?!

10. In the Czech Republic they enjoy dinners of fish soup, eggs and carp. The number of people at the table must be even, or the one without a partner will die next year. Yikes! Hostesses must stress out bigtime there!

11. James Pierpont's 1857 song Jingle Bells was first called One Horse Open Sleigh and was written for Thanksgiving. And was probably sung with that 'Over the River and Through the Woods' standard.

12. The long shopping spree before Christmas began in America when relatives of soldiers posted overseas in the Second World War were encouraged to mail gifts early. So that explains why stores put up Christmas decoration before Halloween?

and finally,

13. In Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany, workers get a Christmas bonus of one month's salary by law. Ok, now we know where we wish we DID live!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Samantha_K said…
Well, I do really, really enjoy mustard...
Happy Thursday, and great list!
Even though Im back from vacation and feeling blah, I took some time to post for my friends on my wordpress blog! check out my Thursday Thirteen!

! Come take a look, and visit my cruise pictures! myspace/maydakmom
YummY! said…
My tree is plastic...I don't think any of it is edible. -grin-

And the Icelandic santas have scary names. -shiver-

(my TT is at
Interesting List! I have a fake tree..sadly...and wow on the month salary in those mentioned countries! Merry Christmas!
Lori said…
You know, I think I'd rather eat the Christmas tree than the mustard and the pig's head. Of course, my dearl ole Granny used to cook a pig's head with black eyed peas for good luck on New Years (smile). Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! And all of that!
damozel said…
Nice list---and it would be nice to have a month off...but where would we shop? Or eat out?
damozel said…
Nice list---and it would be nice to have a month off...but where would we shop? Or eat out?
storyteller said…
Thanks for the education ... 'tis always good to know such things for conversation starters at holiday events.
Hugs and blessings,
Nicholas said…
Very interesting list.