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10 Weird Facts About Christmas Foods

Here are some fun and weird facts about Christmas foods that might have you rethinking your own holiday menu and traditions.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Thinking of going solo to your Christmas dinner this year? Think again. According to Czech lore, an uneven number of guests at the holiday table means the odd man out will die next year. And would you care to guess which British monarch had hogs and eels on the holiday menu? And what's with those tangerines in the Christmas stockings? Where did that come from? With Christmas only a day away, we bring you some fun and weird facts about Christmas foods that might have you rethinking your own holiday menu and traditions.

Check out these 10 weird facts about Christmas foods:


Santa Snacked on Christmas Trees

In Medieval Germany, it was custom to decorate paradise trees with apples, wafers and cookies. According to SantaClaus.com, once this tradition merged with Christianity, the tree became a symbol of Christmas. It didn't take long before children noticed Santa (or little mice) had snacked on the edible tree ornaments before taking off for his next stop. Soon it became tradition to leave a plate of cookies by the fireplace mantle to keep them warm for Santa and away from the mice.  

How to Kill Your Guests at Christmas

Carp is a common Christmas dinner menu item in the Czech Republic, according to the Daily Mirror. But guests who dine on traditional fish soup and carp should beware: lore says if there aren't an even number of guests at the Christmas table, the person without a partner will die after the New Year.

Candy Canes Make for a Silent Night

Thank a bunch of noisy kids for the invention of candy canes. According to FoodReference.com, a German choirmaster circa 1670 wanted to keep kids silent during the creche scene so he had candies made in the shape of a shepherd's crook. It worked—today more than 1.75 million candy canes are sold around Christmas.

A Different Kind of Christmas Grocery List

King John of England (he did that Magna Carta thing) had quite the Christmas 1213 dinner menu: 3,000 capons, 1,000 salted eels, 400 hogs, 100 pounds of almonds, and 24 casks of wine, according to FoodReference.com.

Fruitcake Goes the Distance

According to TLC, Europeans baked fruitcake with nuts at the end of the nut season and saved them for one year to be eaten at the beginning of the next harvest for good luck. Apparently, eating fruitcake was prohibited other than on special occasions because it was "sinfully" rich and delicious. 

Tangerines in Your Stocking

Everyone knows that bad children get a lump of coal in their stocking for Christmas, but in the UK good children traditionally get a tangerine. It's a old tradition that began in 12th-Century France when nuns gifted poor children tangerines in stockings, according to the Daily Mirror.

And the Largest Christmas Cracker in the World Measured … 

The largest Christmas cracker in the world measured 150 feet long and almost 10 feet wide, according to the Daily Mirror. It was made in Australia in 1991. 

Mincemeat Pie Effigy

Mince pies are commonly made of fruit today, but when they originated in Medieval times, they were a Christmas Eve treat made of chopped beef, nuts and spices with dried plums, according to FoodReference.com. Unlike today's versions, they were crustless and adorned with a pastry effigy of the infant Jesus.

Kick Off Christmas WIth a Radish Festival

Every year on Dec. 23 in Oaxaca City, Mexico, residents celebrate El Festival de los Rabanos—the Festival of the Radishes—and adorn the plaza with miniature radish carvings, according to Grub Street San Francisco.

It Costs What to Feed Santa and His Reindeer?

According to QuickMoneyAnswers.com, every year it costs $188,906,668.97 to feed Santa and his reindeer cookies, milk and carrots on Christmas night. 


More from Kitchen Daily: 
Christmas Dinner S.O.S.: When the Cake Crumbles and the Sauce Burns
12 Holiday Side Dish Recipes Take Center Stage
Unique Holiday Desserts for Your Christmas Table
How Pie Birds Will Save Your Holiday Fruit Pie
The Secret to Making Creamy Mashed Potatoes
9 DIY Foodie Gifts that Practically Make Themselves
Easy Way to Dress Up Your Christmas Cookie Recipes
Traditional Red Berry Holiday Trifle Recipe

This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere. 

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