Xmas is stuffed full of tradition, turkey and Christmas myths, but which of them are actually true? Forget what you thought you knew about Christmas. Burn your mistletoe and ban Jingle Bells. Coz it’s all festive fake news! And thus begins our Christmas history lesson…

Myth #1: Jesus was born on Christmas Day

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Let’s not get into a theological debate on who Jesus was. That’s for next week’s blog. Almost everyone agrees that Jesus was a real human being, born in Bethlehem, who became a preacher and religious leader. But was it on Christmas Day?

Nobody knows for sure. Even the birth year is debatable, dated between 6BC and 4BC. No account from the time gives a specific date, and many scholars believe Christmas Day lands on the 25th because it was an evolution of or replacement for the winter solstice, which started on the 17th and ended on the 25th. But let’s celebrate anyway, shall we!

Myth #2: Boxing Day has something to do with boxes

TRUE!

Ah, the second day of Christmastide, how I miss thee. Don’t know about you, but I loved Boxing Day when I was a kid, as we got Round 2 of presents, each valued at a tenner or less. That doesn’t get you much these days, so we’ve canned it. Anyway, onto the real meaning of the day otherwise known as the 26th December.

Nope, it’s not coz of heated debates after a few Baileys. Boxing Day may have origins in alms boxes left in churches to raise money for the needy, or boxes used by tradesmen to collect tips from their customers at Christmas. Either way, there’s a box involved.

Myth #3: Father Christmas is Santa Claus

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If you have a flexible relationship with space and time, then yes, Santa, Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas are basically the same guy. But it’s more accurate to say that Saint Nicholas came first in the 4th century, with some still celebrating the 6th December, the day Nick died and was sainted.

The character of Father Christmas appeared around 1,000 years later, while Santa Claus, a modified version of Sinterklaas, introduced to the US in the 20th century.

Myth #4: Jingle Bells is a Christmas carol

FALSE!

Originally called One Horse Open Sleigh, this yuletide staple was actually penned in America in September. The song recounts the sleigh races that were the subject of many similar songs of the time.

Although it had no xmas meaning at all, Jingle Bells was adopted by choirs around the turn of the 20th century, who rightly felt it could be repurposed as a carol. Good call, I say.

Myth #5: You need snow on the ground for a white Christmas

FALSE!

To you and me, a white Christmas means snow on the ground outside your house. Simple. But to the bods in the Met Office (and presumably the bookies), all they need is “one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK”. Pretty low bar then!

In actual fact, we haven’t had an official white Christmas since 2017, nor a proper one since 2010, and we’ll even fewer as our space rock continues to heat up. Keep your sledge in the garage until February, I say.

Myth #6: Mistletoe can make you sick

TRUE!

One of the lesser known Christmas myths, this one. Mistletoe has been a symbol of peace or good luck in some cultures, as well as a good excuse for a smacker or two. But this scentless plant can actually make you sleepy or sick if you eat it, which I imagine no one ever has.

It’s also viewed as a troublesome weed in many parts of the world (who either dislike kissing or need no plant-based encouragement), as it can smother trees and stunt their growth. Be warned!

Myth #7: The mincemeat in mince pies used to contain meat

TRUE!

The mince pies we scoff these days are all dried fruit and booze. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea and no wonder, with a filling called mincemeat. First cooked up in the 15th century, the original mincemeat concept was a mix of fermented meat, spices and fruit.

Slip some beef mince in yours this year and see what the family makes of your authentic recipe?

Aviva

Aviva is the Content Manager at PlayOJO and writes blogs, copy and all things OJOey. A copy/content marketer for over 7 years, she gets her creative juices flowing by singing, dancing (around her living room), and belly laughing regularly.

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