Ready to impress your friends and family? This collection of seasonal fun facts is sure to make you the hit of any holiday party.
Have you ever wondered why candy canes are shaped the way they are? Or better yet, do you have any idea how much ribbon is used for wrapping presents this time of year? Well, we’ve got the answers. So if you’re ready to impress your friends and wow party guests with your endless wit and charm, take a look at these quirky holiday fun facts – sure to amaze even the toughest of crowds.
• According to a recent Gallup study, Americans plan on spending an average of $830 this year on Christmas-related purposes. These numbers are up considerably from last year’s average of just $720, a 15% increase. This statistic is at its highest ever since 2007, when the average Christmas spending of Americans was found to be $866.
• Holiday movie releases are big money-makers for Hollywood. So far, the biggest one yet was in 2009, when Sherlock Holmes grossed about $24.6 million dollars on Christmas Day (an all-time single-day record for Dec. 25). The reigning champ for New Year’s Day sales is Avatar. Another blockbuster for both days is 2004’s Meet the Fockers, grossing $19.5 million on Christmas and $18.3 million on New Year’s Day.
• Each U.S. president since 1979 (starting with Jimmy Carter) has attended a menorah-lighting ceremony to recognize Hanukkah. President Bill Clinton began the tradition of placing a menorah in the Oval Office in ’93, and President George W. Bush threw the first White House Hanukkah party in ’01. While the past three commander in chiefs have acknowledged Kwanzaa, the White House does not have an established set of customs surrounding the holiday.
• The U.S. produces an estimated 1 million tons of additional waste per week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This includes 38,000 miles of decorative ribbon, which is enough to tie a bow around the entire globe. If each family in the U.S. sent just one less holiday card, then the nation would save 150,000 cubic feet of paper, enough to fill 25,000 wheelbarrows.
• Between 2000 and 2010, the most-performed holiday song was “Winter Wonderland,” according to American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Recordings by The Andrews Sisters and Perry Como first popularized the song in the ’40s (it was written in 1934), but versions by Eurythmics, Jewel and Air Supply are frequently heard on the radio today.
• According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
• Although you might refer to the big guy in the red suit as Santa, he is also known by a number of other names, now and in the past. These include Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Père Noël, Babbo Natale and Father Frost, just to name a few. So where did the name Santa come from? One theory is that it’s short for the Dutch word “Sinterklaas,” a name for St. Nicholas. But some believe that it evolved from the working-class British accent pronunciation of St. Nicholas, which sounds like “Saint’ny Claus.”
• We love our candy canes in the U.S., with over 1.76 billion made each year. The first canes were created in 1670 by a German choirmaster, who gave out all-white sugar sticks, bent like the shape of a shepherd’s staff. This was to keep children in his congregation occupied between hymns. The treat first appeared in the U.S. as a straight, white stick of sugar, and remained in that form until the turn of the century. It’s unclear who exactly brought the stripes and new shape to America, but millions enjoy them as treats or decorations to this day.
• If you love Santa, you might want to join the thousands of fellow enthusiasts when they gather each December for what’s called SantaCon. Founded in San Francisco in the ’90s, this event takes place at 314 locations in 42 countries. It’s the largest public gathering of people dressed in festive gear and engaged in holiday-related revelry.
• The poinsettia, a traditional Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico, where it is also known as the Flower of the Holy Night. It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.
Tell us more!
Do you know of any additional fun holiday facts or traditions? Better yet, do you or your family members celebrate the holidays with unique traditions of your very own? We’d love to hear about them. Please share your comments or stories below.