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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas Traditions

Do you know the origins of popular Christmas traditions like mistletoe or candy canes? How about the 12 Days of Christmas song? Here are 10 fun facts about Christmas you can use to show off to your friends and family!

On your marks, get set, go!

1. Mistletoe isn’t as romantic as it sounds. It’s actually taken from the Anglo Saxon word mistletan meaning ‘dung twig’, because the plant is spread through bird droppings… think about that before you pucker up under it!

2. Santa Claus is a derivative of Sinter (Saint) and Cholas (Nicholas) who was known as the bishop who threw money at the poor and was the first to use the automatic door!

3. Calling Christmas, X-mas doesn’t make you a rebel, because the X stands for the Greek Letter Chi/Kie which was the symbol for Christ.

4. Candy Canes – or as the British ‘supposedly’ call them: Peppermint sticks – are actually Shepherd sticks in disguise: to symbolise the Good Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus Christ!

5. The 12 Days of Christmas song has serious Catholic undertones! Don’t believe me?! Take a look:

  1. Partridge in a Pear Tree = Jesus Christ, Son of God
  2. Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
  3. French Hens = The Christian trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  4. Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
  5. Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
  6. Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
  7. Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
  8. Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
  9. Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
  10. Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
  11. Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
  12. Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

6. The wreath of holly used symbolises Christ’s crown of thorns, and the wreath used during advent!

7. In Poland (and probably other places) Christmas actually starts on the 24th of December, and their dinner consists of 12 dishes!

8. Everyone knows that Christmas wasn’t actually Christ’s birthday, and that it is also the festival of the winter solstice for pagans, BUT did you know that that’s where the Christmas tree comes from as well? To early pagans, it used to be called the solstice branch!

9. For those who say ‘Christmas was invented to help Hallmark sell more cards’ you are wrong! Christmas is in fact the second oldest annual Christian holiday! Second only to Easter (the greatest Christian holiday!)

10. Finally, it’s not bad luck to keep your Christmas decorations up after Christmas! In fact, in some cultures they leave them up all the way through January, and only take them down on February 2nd – on the presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)