Christmas is bursting with traditions: buying presents, leaving mince pies out for Santa, kissing under the mistletoe, carving the turkey... so here are a few things you might not know to get you into the festive spirit.

1. In A.D. 350, Pope Julius I, Bishop of Rome, named December 25 the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ.

2. Christmas is shortened from “Christ’s Mass,” which comes from the Old English phrase Cristes mæsse first recorded in 1038.

3. Our modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek bishop, and gift-giver who lived during the 4th century in Turkey.

4. Based on population figures, Santa will deliver gifts to 1.6 billion children. This requires visiting 5,556 homes a second and eating 150 billion calories in mince pies!

5. THE highest-grossing Christmas movie is 1990’s Home Alone which has raked in $285.76m so far.

6. Parts of a Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C when made into a tea.

7. All the gifts in the song ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ song would equal 364 gifts. Imagine how much that lot would cost!

8. Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole (1808-1883), British illustrator John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) invented the first Christmas card in 1843.

9. Mistletoe is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads though bird droppings. Hmmm maybe think twice about that Xmas kiss!

10. During the Christmas season, nearly 28 sets of LEGO are sold every second.

11. In 2008, the people of Bethel, Maine, built the worlds biggest snowman or to be more precise the snow woman called Olympia. She was 122 feet tall!

12. And, with 3.2 million to date, the most downloaded Christmas song of all-time is Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’,.

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