Everybody in America is knowledgeable when it comes to the topic of Christmas. Families put up a tree, pass around presents, and eat food. However, I bet there are a few things you didn’t know! Even the Grinches and Scrooges may not know these ten unusual Christmas facts:
- “Jingle Bells” was originally written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. James Lord Pierpont, the composer of this popular song, originally wrote it in the 1850s during Thanksgiving for his Sunday School class. His reason for this song was to commemorate the Medford sleigh races. This song became so popular that the lyrics were changed to fit Christmas.
- Candy canes used to be plain white. The candy cane’s origin goes back quite a way, but they didn’t start having stripes until the 17th century. It was at this time that Christians in Europe starting using the Christmas tree, and they developed decorations out of candy canes. The first reference to candy canes in America was in 1845. Fifty years later, the stripes first appeared on candy canes. No one is sure who started the popular stripe trend, but any Christmas card prior to this time had all-white candy canes.
- The author of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” didn’t want it to be published. Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem for his children. A friend of Moore’s took the poem and anonymously published it. Moore created other works, but he didn’t take credit until his kids insisted that he take acknowledgement for the poem that was read to them on Christmas Eve. The poem contained a description of the modern day Santa Claus. The poem describes him as having “a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.” It was originally titled “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”
- The NORAD Santa Tracker originated from an advertisement error. In 1955, Sears printed a phone number for children to call to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. It was supposed to be the number of a Colorado Springs store, but instead it was a hotline for Colonel Harry Shoup, Director of Operations for the US Continental Air Defense. He could’ve blocked the numbers, but instead, Colonel Shoup ordered his staff to update the children on Santa’s sleigh route. Colonel Shoup passed away in 2009. In an interview conducted by National Public Radio, Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, stated, "It got to be a big joke at the command center. You know, 'The old man's really flipped his lid this time. We're answering Santa calls."
- Rudolph was originally an advertisement for Montgomery Ward. Rudolph’s debut was in 1939, in a story written by Robert L. May. This story was published in a promotional booklet for a Montgomery Ward department store. This booklet was to be given out to the children. Since it was written for the store, the store is obtained ownership of copyright. May did not convince the store to give him rights to the reindeer until after he went bankrupt for the medical bills of his ailing wife.
Enjoy these fun Christmas facts, and have a Merry Christmas!