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So as the big event of the year is just around the corner...18 days and counting, here's a bit of Christmas culture over the years.

Santa hasn't always been red
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The typical image we all know of Santa Claus dressed in red clothes with white fur trim is actually an amalgamation of cultural input over many years. In fact, pre-1930's there were many different versions of santa, sporting a variety of different coloured garments and ranging from big to small. Santa even appeared as an elf in some depictions. Some people claim the modern day image of Santa was created by Coca-Cola, however this isn't strictly true. The original red-suited Santa became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. 

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In 1931 Coca-Cola commissioned the artist Haddon Sundblom to create images of Santa Claus drinking from a bottle of Coke for use in their advertising campaigns. Sundblom's depictions of the red and white Santa became very, very popular, but it's not accurate to say that Sundblom actually invented the modern image of Santa as it had already been around for some time.

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A white Christmas doesn't actually need to be that white

For many, a white Christmas means a complete covering of snow, however the official definition of a white Christmas (used most widely, notably by those placing and taking bets) is for a single snow flake (perhaps amongst a shower of rain and snow mixed) to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December.

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St Stephens day... I mean Boxing day

December 26 is actually traditionally known as St Stephen's Day, but is now more commonly known as Boxing Day. The origin of Boxing Day is unknown, however it is believed it may have begun with the lords and ladies of England, who presented Christmas gifts in boxes to their servants on December 26. Or it may have begun with priests, who opened the church's alms (charity) boxes on the day after Christmas and distributed the contents to the poor.

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It's illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day in England

As daft as this sounds, it is actually true. In the 17th century Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding, mince pies and anything to do with gluttony. That law has never been rescinded so mince pies are illegal in England on Christmas day. Although, I can't see Crimewatch picking that one up.

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1 in 3 men will wait until Christmas Eve to finish their shopping

And 1 in 6 men would like to get rid of all the "gift-giving nonsense". Bah humbug! So give Ebenezer the heave ho, if you want a very merry Christmas this year

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There is room at the inn

On Christmas Eve in 2001, the Bethlehem Hotel had 208 of its 210 rooms free. Typical.
 

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People love their pets

7 out of 10 cats & dogs will receive a present at Christmas in the UK.

Too many presents?
If you received all of the gifts listed in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" song, you would receive 364 presents. Now if my true love sent me 364 presents in 12 days it might cause the postman a few problems.


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Christmas is cancelled

English Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas between 1647 and 1660 because he believed such celebrations were immoral for the holiest day of the year...a bit more 'bah humbug' I'd say!


The Christmas tree

The Christmas tree was first introduced by Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert and his family in 1846. The Christmas tree displayed in Trafalgar square in London is an annual gift to the UK from Norway since 1947. The Norwegian spruce given is a token of appreciation of British friendship during World War II from the Norwegian people.
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How much?!

The most valuable Christmas card was sold at an auction in the UK in 2001 for £20,000.

Christmas - what does it mean?

The word Christmas is Old English and comes from the terms Christ's Mass.                                                                                                   

 


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