As Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas march into the Winter Gardens to save Christmas, we've been getting into the festive spirit by finding out some strange and interesting Yuletide facts.
In America, some families hide a ‘Christmas Pickle’ ornament in their tree and whoever finds it first on Christmas morning gets an extra present, or a year of good luck. Even though there is speculation that this tradition, known as Weihnachtsgurke, comes from Germany, no one actually knows. That doesn’t stop pickle-lovers believing in the 'Christmas Eve Cucumber'. You couldn’t make it up. Except someone probably did.If you live in Caracas, Venezuela, going to Church on Christmas morning is wheely good fun because the city’s residents go to mass on roller skates. To keep people safe, no traffic is allowed from 8am on the day. If you’re visiting at Christmas and want to join in be sure to check your travel insurance!
Santa is without doubt THE fastest postman on the planet. US scientists have worked out he travels at 650 miles a second, delivering presents to 822 homes each second to complete his worldwide parcel run. No wonder he needs the rest of the year off to recover.
Some people believe that eating mince pies on Christmas Day is illegal. That’s because In 1944 the 25th December that year fell on a legally-mandated day of fasting. Christmas celebrations were later banned altogether but mince pies specifically weren’t, although they were disapproved of. So mince pie lovers can savour their festive pastry treat in the knowledge they won’t get arrested.
While we’re on the subject of food, various studies have found that the average person eats 5-6,000 calories on Christmas Day.
If you're fed up of the usual Christmas dinner you could always eat your tree. Some parts of spruce and fir trees are edible, however commercial ones may be sprayed with chemicals and yew trees are poisonous so definitely DON'T try this at home.
You may be dreaming of a white Christmas but it's much less likely than you might think - the chances of snow are just 1 in 10 for England and Wales. You could always slash the odds by decamping to Scotland or Northern Ireland where the odds are 1 in 6.
Rudolph was nearly called Reginald or Rollo and didn’t have a red nose to begin with. Everyone’s favourite reindeer was created by Robert L. May for Chicago department store Montgomery Ward to attract children to their colouring books. Red noses were viewed as a sign of excess alcohol so the retailer didn’t want him to look like a drunk.
According to findmeagift.co.uk adults in the UK spend around £330 each on Christmas presents, and between us we buy 83 square km of paper and £6 million rolls of Sellotape to wrap them.
In the earliest sightings of Santa he originally wore a green cloak but was inspired to swap it for a red one when he appeared in an advert for Coca-Cola. But remember when you’re leaving you’re leaving a treat for him on Christmas Eve - Santa prefers a drop of his favourite tipple sherry with his mince pie.
Our fun, family show Horrible Christmas runs until 29th December. Book tickets here.