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Christmas Trivia and Facts - Conversation Starters

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Handy, dandy Christmas trivia, facts and factoids of historical interest or import.

One use of these tidbits might be for Christmas trivia games.

If you're looking for a clever way to start a conversation, some of them work beautifully.

If Christmas conversation starts to go South at your gathering, an interesting Christmas factoid might serve as fightus interruptus and save the dinner!

First US Christmas Stamp
  • The US postal system issued it first Christmas stamp in 1962.
  • The ten most popular Christmas movies, maybe:
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
    • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
    • Scrooged (1988)
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
    • White Christmas (1954)
    • A Christmas Story (1983)
    • Elf (2003)
    • Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
    • It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    • A Christmas Carol (1951)
    (Open-ended question --"What's your fave and why do you like it?")
  • "Everytime a bell rings an angel gets its wings" - famous line from the movie "A Wonderful life."
  • Christmas Day in 1830, the first regularly scheduled passenger train in the US began operation. Edison Christmas Lights
  • The first company to manufacture Christmas tree lights was Edison General Electric Company.
  • The first mass production of Christmas tree lights began around 1890.
  • During WWII, the Rockefeller Christmas tree was not lit due to restrictions on electricity use.
  • North Pole temperature almost never rises above freezing.
  • Kids consume up to 6000 calories of food and candy on Christmas day - four times the recommended allowance.
  • Crowds gathered in Times Square during WWII to celebrate the holiday with moments of silence followed with chimes. Rubik's Cube
  • Christmas in 1980 - Rubik's Cube was top-selling gift of the year.
  • Alabama became the first state in the US to declare Christmas a legal holiday - in 1846.
  • Christmas was declared a Federal holiday in the US on June 26, 1870.
  • 2005 - the XBox 360 was the holiday gift that sold the most units.
  • Because it's usually a hot summer's day in Brazil on December 25th, Christmas trees are decorated with cotton to resemble snow.
  • "Silent Night" has been translated into more languages than any other Christmas song. Tickle Me Elmos
  • In 1996, the demand for Tickle Me Elmo was so great that the $30 doll sold some places for up to $2500.
  • Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is the best-selling Christmas single of all time.
  • The sale of Christmas tress began in the US in 1851.
  • The beloved Christmastime ballet, The Nutcracker, based on the fairy tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, flopped when it premiered in 1892.
  • The celebration of Yule occurs between December 20-22, depending on the sun's position in the sky.
  • Bethlehem, PA is also known as the Christmas city.
  • Christmas trees are useful in removing dust and pollen from the air.
  • The first school to train professional Santas was established in Albion, NY, in 1937.
  • In Paris, the favorite Christmas seafood dish is oysters. Hungry Hippos
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos, the game featuring plastic hippos competing for marbles, was the year's best-selling gift of Christmas in 1978.
  • Coca-Cola received letters asking about Mrs. Claus after one of the company's ads depicted Santa without a wedding ring.
  • President Andrew Johnson granted total amnesty to all Southerners on Christmas Day in 1868.
  • In Holland, the bringer-of-gifts is an eight-footed horse.
  • President Calvin Coolidge introduced the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 1923.
  • In Costa Rica, tamales are traditionally served after midnight mass. Christmas pig
  • Traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.
  • Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories after "A Christmas Carol," one each year, but none was ever as successful as the original.
  • More diamonds are purchased at Christmas-time (31 percent) than during any other holiday or occasion during the year.
  • Candy canes started out as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorate Christmas trees. (A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided bend one end in order to represent shepherd's crook and passed the canes out to children to keep them quiet during services. Someime in the 20th century candy canes acquired red stripes.) Pointettia
  • Christmas trees are actually edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C, while pine nuts are rich in calories (oils), vitamins, antioxidants and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals.
  • Play-Doh originally entered the market as wallpaper cleaner in 1956.
  • The poinsettia originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the "Flower of the Holy Night" and was brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.
  • For every one Christmas tree cut down, roughly three are planted.
  • There are two Christmas Islands. The Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean was formerly called Kiritimati. Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is 52 square miles.
  • In Norway on Christmas Eve, after a big dinner and the opening of presents, all the brooms in the house are hidden. Ancient Norwegians believed that witches and mischievous spirits came out Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms for riding.
  • Mistletoe, the traditional Christmas symbol, once revered by the early Britons was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.

  • Christmas gift-bearers from around the world:
    • France - Pere Noel
    • Holland - St. Nicholas or Sinter Klaas
    • England - Father Christmas
    • Latin America and Spain - the Three Kings
    • United States - Santa Claus
    • Germany - Christkind
    • La Befana - Italy Italy - La Befana, a kindly old witch.
    • Syria - children receive Christmas gifts from the smallest camel of one of the Three Wise Men.
    • Russia - Babouschka, a grandmotherly figure
    • Sweden - Jultomten, a gnome who rides a sleigh
    Afrikaans: Geseende Kersfees
    Afrikander: Een Plesierige Kerfees
    African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja: Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
    Albanian: Gezur Krislinjden
    Arabic: Milad Majid
    Argentine: Feliz Navidad
    Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
    Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
    Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
    Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
    Belarusian: (Z Bozym naradzenniem)
    Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
    Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
    Bosnian: (BOSANSKI) Cestit Bozic i Sretna Nova godina
    Brazilian: Feliz Natal
    Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
    Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
    Burmese: Christmas nay hma mue pyaw pa
    Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
    Cherokee: Ulihelisdi Danisdayohihvi
    Chile: Feliz Navidad
    Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
    Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
    Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
    Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo
    Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
    Corsian: Pace e salute
    Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
    Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
    Croatian: Sretan Bozic
    Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
    Danish: Glaedelig Jul
    Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
    Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
    English: Merry Christmas
    Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
    Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
    Estonian: Roomsaid Joulupuhi
    Ethiopian: (Amharic) Melkin Yelidet Beaal
    Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
    Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
    Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
    Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
    French: Joyeux Noel
    Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
    Galician: Bo Nada
    Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ur!
    German: Frohliche Weihnachten
    Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
    Haiti: (Creole) Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri'cho o Rish D'Shato Brichto
    Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
    Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
    Hebrew: Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
    Hindi: Shub Naya Baras (good New Year)
    Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
    Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
    Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
    Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
    Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
    Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
    Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
    Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
    Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
    Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
    Lao: souksan van Christmas
    Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
    Latvian: Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!
    Lausitzian: Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
    Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
    Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
    Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar
    Luxembourgish: Scheine Chreschtdaag an e gudde Rutsch
    Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
    Nalayalam: Christmas ashamshagal
    Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb / Millied hieni
    Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
    Maori: Meri Kirihimete
    Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh (good New Year)
    Navajo: Merry Keshmish
    Norwegian: God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
    Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
    Papiamento: Bon Pasco
    Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
    Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
    Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Ano Nuevo
    Philippines: Maligayang Pasko!
    Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
    Portuguese: Feliz Natal
    Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
    Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
    Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
    Romanche: (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
    Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele or Craciun fericit
    Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
    Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
    Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
    Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
    Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
    Sindhi: Chrismas joon wadhayoon
    Serbian: Hristos se rodi
    Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
    Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
    Slovene: Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto
    Spanish: Feliz Navidad
    Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar
    Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
    Tamil: (Tamizh) Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
    Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
    Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas
    Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
    Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym or Z RIZDVOM HRYSTOVYM
    Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
    Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Giang Sinh
    Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
    Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye'dun!

    Bottom Line:
  • "Hot cockles" was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. "Hot cockles" was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

    Suggestion: If none of the ice-breakers break the ice, and everyone is still all uptight after dinner, get out the Nerf bat - or long, cardboard gift-wrapping paper tube and try a game of "Hot cockles" until they get it out of their systems... then have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!

  • __________

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