With Noddy Holder’s voice blaring out of the radio and the TV full of over the top perfume ads once again, it’s fair to say that the Christmas countdown has well and truly begun. Now of course we all know that Christmas isn’t just about the presents… it’s about the drinking too and that means you’ll probably be spending a good few nights down your local boozer over the coming weeks so we thought we’d give you some fun facts to share with your drinking partners so you can stand out and shine bright like the star on top of a Christmas Tree. Let’s begin…
- December is a time to smile… if you’re a dentist anyway. According to a survey more dentists have birthdays in December than in any other month.
- The song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” was originally meant as a threat. The ever-popular song was originally sung, loudly and repeatedly, by crowds of rowdy, lower-class servants demanding booze from their masters… or else. (I.e. “We won’t go until we get some!”
- December 25 was originally a pagan celebration. Nobody really knows when Jesus of Nazareth was born and nobody celebrated his birthday for hundreds of years. December 25 was co-opted from pagan rites connected with the winter solstice. For all we know, Jesus could have been a summer baby.
- The stock market tends to do better in December than any other month and this annual behaviour is known as the ‘Santa rally’. The rally is generally attributed to anticipation of the of additional funds due to come into the marketing in January, and to additional trades which must, for accounting and tax reasons, be completed by the end of the year.
- We all know December as the 12th month of the year, but it’s not always been that way. Back in the old roman calendar, December was actually the 10th month and there were only 304 days in a year.
- The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and travelled the countryside helping the poor and the sick.
- The nativity story resulted in several wars. In the first few centuries of the Christian era, controversy over whether or not Jesus was divine at birth created political and social unrest that frequently burst out into full-scale warfare.
- Mistletoe kissing originated with fertility rites. A hanging sprig of mistletoe is a very ancient symbol of virility. At the time anybody standing beneath it would be signalling that he or she was sexually available.
- The name Santa Claus evolved from Saint Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society’s annual meeting. The background of the engraving contains now-familiar Santa images including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace.
- Christmas and Christmas trees didn’t always go hand in hand. Victorian intellectuals (like Clement Moore) invented the tradition as part of a social movement to consciously reform Christmas away from its tradition of raucous drinking… that didn’t work then.
So there you go, 10 great December related facts. Now you can become truly festive and appear as a wise man (or woman) as you regale them at the pub on the run up to Christmas.