Tongue tied at the Staff Party? Unable to respond when the kids say they’re bored? Want to impress that certain passenger on the 8.15am from St Margarets? Why not astound everyone with your esoteric knowledge of Christmas trivia? Guaranteed to break the ice at parties!
- The first literary conception of ‘Santa Claus’ came in 1835 when the German poet Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben introduced ‘Weihnachtsmann’ in his poem ‘Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann’…
"Tomorrow Santa's coming, Coming with his gifts. Drum, pipes and gun, Flag and saber and still more."
- The first image of a bearded man in a hooded fur mantle, garlanded with holly, appeared in 1825 in “Herr Winter” by Moritz von Schwind.
- The first Christmas ’Santa’s Grotto’ was opened in ’Lewis’s Bon Marché Department Store’ in Liverpool in 1879 and called “Christmas Fairyland”. It was a huge success and over the years was extended to over 10,000 square feet. Many Liverpudlians, over many generations, had their first meeting with Santa in the ‘Bon Marché’
- In the same year as the opening of the first ’Santa’s Grotto’ American artist Thomas Nast revealed to the world that Santa’s workshop was at the North Pole. Nast should know because in 1861 he first drew the familiar red-coated bearded fellow that we know today as Santa Claus.
- There has been many disagreements about where Santa’s Workshop really is. The Danes say he lives in Greenland. Norwegians say his home is in Drobak in Norway. The Swedes direct all children’s post to Tomteland , in Mora, Sweden. The Finns opt for the multi syllabled ‘Korvatunturi’ in Lapland where Santa is locally known as ‘Joulupukki’.
- It is possible to write to Santa at his workshop. The Canadian Postal Service ‘Post Code’ for the Workshop is H0H 0H0. For young Americans the address is North Pole, Alaska, Zip code 99705
- Oliver Cromwell who came to power in 1642 was a ‘party pooper’ par excellence. Such was his intense dislike of anyone having a good time that on 3rd June 1647 he passed a law banning Christmas… “The Feast of the Nativity of Christ, with all other holidays should no longer be observed.”
- The Germans have dozens of names for Santa Claus. The four main ones are Weihnachtsmann, Nickel, Klaus and Niglo closely followed by Aschenmann, Bartl, Boozenickel, Hans Trapp, Klaubauf, Krampus, Pelznickel, Ruhklas, Ruprecht, Hans Muff and Schmutzli.
- Santa Claus is married. Although her first name is not known, Mrs Claus, aka Mother Christmas, has been referred to as Mary, Annalina, Jessica, Layla, Ahoop, Seeki, Martha, Kasey, Gretchen and Santarina.
- Mrs Claus first appeared in 1849 in the short story “A Christmas Legend” by James Rees, a Philadelphia-based Christian missionary. In the story, an old man and woman, weary and carrying heavy bundles, are given shelter on Christmas Eve. The next morning, the children of the house find an abundance of gifts for them, and the couple is revealed to be not “old Santa Claus and his wife”, but the hosts’ long-lost elder daughter and her husband in disguise!
- On December 9th 1963 the Beatles sent all their Official Fan Club members a ‘Flexidisc’ recording wishing them a happy Christmas. This holiday tradition continued until 1969 when the band had effectively broken up. A rare copy of the 1963 Christmas ‘Flexidisc’ is currently on sale on Ebay for £269.
The Beatles 1963 Christmas Flexidisc
- According to druidical rite mistletoe, Viscum Album, should be cut in mid-summer with a golden knife and allowed to fall to the ground where it is caught in a white cloak. In Victorian times it was quite the thing for lovers to kiss beneath a sprig of mistletoe.
And finally, after a cocktail or two, when your friends begin to sing … “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” interrupt proceedings by firmly pointing out that the song really should begin with the introductory verse that is always forgotten…
"The sun is shining. The grass is green The orange and palm trees sway. There's never been such a day in Beverly Hills, LA But it's December the 24<sup>th</sup> and I am longing to be up north..."
They will appreciate it and you’ll be the star of the show! Remember – being called a “Clever Dick” can be taken as a compliment!
The Carpenters singing the full version of “White Christmas”
Written by Irving Berlin in La Quinta, California in 1940.
“Christmas!” Is there any other word in our whole English vocabulary that calls forth such a flood of joyous emotions as that which designates the Festival of Humanity – the day which we are accustomed to regard as peculiarly the Home and Household Festival of England?
“CHRISTMAS AND CHRISTMAS LORE” T.G Crippen pub 1923
— from Martyn Day