Did You Know? Countdown to Christmas (12/21)

dyk-christmas09

Did You Know?
Facts, Figures &
Folklore about Christmas

Dec 21 : 04 days till Christmas

Did you know that Rudolph and the rest of Santa’s reindeer are very much a modern addition to Christmas tradition?

The legend of Santa’s reindeer began in the famous poem, “The Night Before Christmas.” Written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822, it introduced the notion of Santa’s sleigh being magically pulled by eight mythical reindeer.

Did you know that there is no Rudolph, the most famous of all the reindeer, in Moore’s poem?

Rudolph wasn’t born until more than a century later. In 1939 the Montgomery Ward company wanted to give away a Christmas booklet as a promotional gimmick. The store tapped one of its best copywriters, Robert L. May, to author the booklet. His vision led him to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, an underdog champion outcast for his glowing red nose. Printed in 1939, the booklet reached a distribution of more than 2.4 million copies through nationwide Montgomery Ward stores. By 1946, more than 6 million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had been given out.

In 1949, Gene Autry recorded the musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer which went on to become the second best-selling song of all time (“White Christmas” is #1). And a special place for Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer in America’s Christmas culture was codified in 1964, when an animated version of the story was telecast for the first time. That beloved show has been aired every year since, making it one of the top Christmas shows of all time.

Christmas is the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and is a central part of the winter holiday season. Although traditionally a Christian holiday, Christmas is widely celebrated worldwide by many non-Christians.

Santa Claus, a popular mythological figure, is also an important part of the celebration and is associated with the bringing of gifts for children.

Join us for a new Did You Know holiday fact each day as we countdown to Christmas. This year Christmas Eve will be celebrated Friday December 24, Christmas Saturday December 25.

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