Conversations With Spirits

By E O Higgins

The story of a dissipated genius in a borrowed hat and coat

Monday, 23 December 2013

Festive facts and fancies

Ten festive facts to bore people down the pub with.

1. Scientists in the United States calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve. He would also have to travel at 650 miles a second.

2. Before turkey was imported from the new world, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig’s head and mustard.

3. Despite what my mum would tell you, the abbreviation ‘Xmas’ isn't actually irreligious. The letter X is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.

4. The word ‘Noel’ derives from the French expression ‘les bonnes nouvelles’ or ‘the good news’. (And isn’t actually a reference to Noel Edmonds, at all!)

5. The tradition of putting tangerines in stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks full of fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor.

6. Despite many hymns and carols on the subject, there is no reference to angels singing anywhere in the Bible.

7. The chances of a white Christmas are just 1 in 10 for England and Wales. Whereas, Scotland and Northern Ireland have a 1 in 6 chance.

8. Most parts of the Christmas tree are edible. The needles are actually a very good source of Vitamin C.

9. In Iceland there are 13 Santas, each of them leaves a different gift for children. They come down from a mountain one by one, starting on December 12th. (They also have excellent names - like ‘Spoon Licker’, ‘Door Sniffer’ and ‘Meat Hook’.)

10. In Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany, workers get a Christmas bonus of one month's salary by law.

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