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10 Surprising Facts To Step Up Your Holiday Trivia

When it comes to the holidays, it's OK to be a know-it-all. ;) Happy holidays, courtesy of GEICO!

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1. "Jingle Bells" was originally written for Thanksgiving.


James Lord Pierpont wrote the tune back in 1857 in honor of Thanksgiving, but it became so popular that it was adapted into a Christmas song.

Bonus trivia: "Jingle Bells" was also the very first song heard from space when astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford played it in a message to Earth on December 16, 1965!

2. It takes about five minutes for Santa to deliver all of his presents.

Courtesy of National Archives / / Via

After doing the math, Santa "expert" Larry Silverberg theorized that Santa Claus would take five Earth minutes to distribute all his presents, provided he was traveling at the speed of light, getting help from his elves, and making use of "relativity clouds," which would allow him to "stretch time like a rubber band."

3. The dreidel was originally used as a decoy gambling game.


Reading the Torah was illegal under the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, before the Maccabees had their revolt. If a soldier passed by, Jewish people would pull out a dreidel and pretend to be gambling instead.

4. "O Holy Night" was played during the first radio broadcast ever, in 1906.


On Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden transmitted the first radio broadcast ever when he beamed a Christmas concert to the ships of the United Fruit Company out in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, including a performance of "O Holy Night" played on Fessenden's violin.

5. Rudolph's nose is red because of...parasites?


We all have a fondness for one particular shiny nosed reindeer, but scientist Odd Halvorsen makes a strong case that Rudolph's nose is red due a parasitic infection. It might sound less whimsical, but it makes for great holiday trivia!

8. Santa Claus was a real person.


Historically, St. Nicholas originated with the Bishop of Myra, in what is now Turkey. Nicholas dedicated his life to helping the poor and was known for leaving secret gifts around town, including dropping coins and treats in the shoes that children would leave out.

9. Christmas trees were not readily accepted in the U.S. when first introduced.


The tradition of decorating a home with a tree began in Germany then was carried over into Pennsylvania by German settlers in the 1830s, but most Americans saw this as a pagan symbol and rejected it. It wasn't until Queen Victoria was sketched standing around a Christmas tree with her children that the trend became fashionable in East Coast American society.

10. There are 364 presents in the "The Twelve Days of Christmas."


Someone did the math, and in case you're wondering:

"Partridges: 1 × 12 = 12; Doves: 2 × 11 = 22; Hens 3 × 10 = 30; Calling birds: 4 × 9 = 36; Golden rings: 5 × 8 = 40; Geese: 6 × 7 = 42; Swans: 7 × 6 = 42; Maids: 8 × 5 = 40; Ladies: 9 × 4 = 36; Lords: 10 × 3 = 30; Pipers: 11 × 2 = 22; Drummers: 12 × 1 = 12 for a

total of 364."

Did you know that over 3 billion holiday cards are sent every year? And did you know that GEICO has a 97% customer satisfaction rating?

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