It’s the most wonderful time of the year, full of festive decorations, delicious meals and treats, quality time with loved ones and presents galore. But Christmas wasn’t always this way. In fact, the holiday was illegal in Boston for several decades because the Puritans believed any kind of merrymaking was sinful and they didn’t like how the holiday had pagan origins. From 1659 through 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas or similar celebrations was forced to pay five shillings. The law was eventually repealed thanks to pressure from the British.
If you’re looking for more Christmas trivia to spread the holiday cheer, here are some other facts that will wow your loved ones.
1870 - The year Congress made Christmas a national holiday under President Ulysses S. Grant.
3.5 – The number of hours it took each day to apply and remove make-up on Jim Carrey in the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
1963 – The year Andy Williams released the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
14 – The average number of gifts a lucky child receives over Christmas.
20.3 – The average number of presents a woman wraps in a typical December holiday season.
9.9 – The average number of presents that a man wraps in a typical December holiday season.
74 – The percentage of adults who said that the female head of the household would be most likely to wrap all of the family’s presents.
27 – The percent of people who wrap their holiday gifts to others only one or two days before giving the present away.
$830 – What the average American will spend on Christmas-related purchases this year, up 15 percent from $720 last year.
95 – The percent of Americans who celebrate Christmas.
18.2 – The percent of U.S. households that display a real tree.
7.7 – The percent of Americans who say smell is the most important factor when choosing a Christmas tree.
47 – The percent of Americans who attend church on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or another special service during Christmas week.
75.5 – The approximate size in feet of the tree at Rockefeller Center.
40 – The percent jump in suicide rates after Christmas.
2.7 million – The number of candy canes that the Spangler Candy Co. manufactures each day.
1901 – The year the world’s first Christmas tree farm was planted in New Jersey.
30 million – The approximate number of real Christmas trees that are sold each year.
15,000 – The number of Christmas tree farms in the U.S.
100,000 – The number of people who work full-time or part-time on a Christmas tree farm.
335 – The number of Christmas trees that two men stole in Arlington, VT in early December.
91.8 million – The number of houses Santa will visit on Christmas.
822.6 – The number of visits Santa has to make per second on Christmas in order to reach every household.
650 mps – The speed that Santa’s sleigh must travel to make all of those visits, which is over 3,000 times the speed of sound.
1955 – The year the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) created the Santa Tracker.
1912 – The year the U.S. Postal Service provided an address for Christmas wish lists. The USPS estimates that it receives millions of letters to Santa every year.
1.5 billion – The number of Christmas cards that Americans send annually.
15.8 billion – The number of cards, letters and packages that the USPS delivers each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.