The top 5 things you definitely didn’t know about Christmas

 

1. The Christmas Day ceasefire

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Five months into the first World War in 1914, troops along the Western front from Germany and the United Kingdom took a break on Christmas Eve from fighting and began to sing carols to one another across the battlefield. The next morning, Christmas Day, German soldiers bravely emerged from their trenches and began to approach the Allied troops while calling out "Merry Christmas" in English. Amazingly, the British soldiers then also came out onto what had previously been the battlefield and greeted them and shaking hands, and some even exchanging cigarettes as gifts and engaging in a game of football. This event would later become known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.

2. Santa’s logistics issue

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Although it’s pretty nice to imagine the jolly old man traversing the world delivering presents individually to each and every child on the planet, realistically, Santa Claus would definitely not be able to make the rounds all by himself. According to UNICEF, there are 2,106 million children in the world under the age of 18. If there are an average of 2.5 children per household, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, and travel 221 million miles. To reach all the stops, he would need to travel between houses in 2/10,000 seconds, and accelerate at 12.19 million miles per second from each stop.

3. Girl power

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Santa’s team of brave reindeers who carry him across the world to deliver presents on Christmas Eve is actually all female. That’s right, male reindeer lose their antlers once mating season is over in early December. Females, however, keep their antlers through all of winter. If all the depictions and drawings are to be believed, then it’s a crew of ladies pulling Santa and his gifts along for Christmas.

4. Busy post office

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Little kids all over the world write letters every year to Santa Claus. Ever wonder where those letters go? To Santa Claus, Indiana, that’s where. The city of Santa Claus is the only in the world to have a post office bearing the moniker, which means that thousands of letters pour in annually addressed to the big bearded man in the North Pole. The town has since embraced that fact and welcomed the letters. Each Christmas season, a group of volunteers who call themselves “Santa's Elves” gather in the town and write back to the children, ensuring that each child receives a reply from Santa Claus himself, a tradition which has been in existence since around 1914!

5. Christmas in space

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On December 16, 1965, two astronauts: Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra on Gemini 6 sent a message to Mission Control. This message was: “We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit… I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit….”, clearly referencing to Santa Claus and his slegih. The pair then proceeded to sing Jingle Bells, with a harmonica and bells, that they had previously secretly smuggled aboard the spacecraft. That is when Jingle Bells became the first ever song broadcast from space.