10 facts to show off your Christmas expertise

On your marks, get set, go!

1. 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!

2. 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!

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

5. 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!

6. The 12 Days of Christmas 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

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

8. 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!)

9. 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)

10. 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!



Advent & Christmas – Catholic Customs and Traditions
Re-discovering the rich Catholic heritage of the Church’s seasons
by Joanna Bogle



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