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Christmas Trivia

It's always good to have a little Christmas trivia at your finger tips, whether you're just trying to sound impressive at a xmas party or entertaining the family on December 25th.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... If you received all of the gifts in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, you would receive 364 gifts. It would seem quite a challenge to deliver 12 swans a swimming.

Many London stores open late in the run up to Christmas, and some of the smaller boutique stores actually hand out free drinks and cakes to get everyone into the festive mood. The tradition of giving away glasses of mulled wine has almost disappeared in London due to a crackdown on serving alcohol from unlicensed premises!

In the UK the 'Christmas number one' is the highest selling single in the week before Christmas Day. Traditionally novelty songs, charity songs or songs with a Christmas theme have often been at the top of Christmas charts but recently songs from TV talent shows like the X-Factor have taken over.

Santa is a relatively new name for the fellow who brings presents - he was previously known as Old Father Christmas, Sir Christmas, and Lord Christmas. Originally he was pictured wearing a green costume but he was re-branded at the start of the 20th Century and is now generally seen in red.

Charles Dickens wrote 'A Christmas Carol' in just six weeks. It's not clear whether Ebenezer Scrooge was based on a real character, but his transformation from miserable miser is echoed in the movie 'It's a Wonderful Life'.

The official definition of a white christmas in the UK comes from the British Met Office and requires that snow is seen falling in any quantity in the 24 hours of Christmas Day. If there's snow on the ground, but it fell in the days before the 25th, it doesn't officially count.

The first broadcast royal speech on Christmas Day was from King George V in 1932. Originally only on the radio, today the message is broadcast on television, radio, and the internet by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066 at Westminster Abbey in London. What many people don't know is that the famous invasion that same year was actually blessed by Pope Alexander II.

Jingle Bells was originally a song for Thanksgiving (not Christmas) in America in 1857. Called "One Horse Open Sleigh" it was eventually renamed to the catchier title and went on to become a xmas classic.

If you're interested in seeing some sport at Christmas in London, Boxing Day (26th December) always has Premiership and League football games - the biggest London clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and West Ham United, but there are many others in the lower divisions where ticket prices will be less.

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You May Not Know

European Crusaders brought the mince pie back to England in the 12th Century. It was filled with meat, as well as fruits and spices. Although it has kept the same name, there is no longer any meat in a British mince pie. Well not normally.

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