* The use of a Christmas wreath as a decoration on a front door, mantel or bay window symbolizes a sign of welcome and long life to all who enter.
* Christmas caroling began as an old English custom called Wassailing — toasting neighbors to a long and healthy life.
* The biggest selling Christmas song of all time is Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
* All modern references of Santa coming down the chimney can be traced to the famous poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” written in 1822 by Clement C. Moore. In it he describes “And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.”
* Due to the time zones, Santa has 31 hours to deliver gifts.
* The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
* Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.
* Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorate Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook, and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during services. It wasn’t until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.
* A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.
* The Santa Claus suit was developed when the Coca-Cola Company hired American artist Haddon Sundblom in 1931 to redesign Santa Claus. Sundblom chose the official colors of Coca-Cola, red and white.
* In America in 1822, the postmaster of Washington, D.C., complained that he had to add 16 mailmen at Christmas to deal with cards alone. He wanted the number of cards a person could send limited by law. “I don’t know what we’ll do if this keeps on,” he wrote.
* An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and get 28 cards in return.
* According to a survey, 7 out of 10 dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.
* In 1836, Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
* In 1907, Oklahoma became the last state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
* In 1947, Toys for Tots started making the holidays a little happier for children by organizing its first Christmas toy drive for needy youngsters.
* According to Christian theology, the true Christmas season begins at sundown on Dec. 24 and lasts through sundown on Jan. 5. For that reason, this season is also known as the Twelve Days of Christmas.
(c) 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.