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In North America, children put stockings out at Christmas time. Their Dutch counterparts, however, use shoes. Dutch children set out shoes to receive gifts any time between mid-November and December 5, St. Nicholas' birthday.

The word "Christmas" comes from Cristes mæsse, an old English phrase that means "Mass of Christ."

French peasants believed that babies who come into the world on Christmas are born with the gift of prophecy.

More than 1,000,000 acres of land have been planted with Christmas trees.

Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company.

More diamonds are purchased at Christmas-time (31 percent) than during any other holiday or occasion during the year.

More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.

It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.

According to tradition, giving a lump of coal in the stockings of naughty children comes from Italy.

In 1937, the first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria.

During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the United States.

According to a 1995 survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their owners.

An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and receive 28 cards in return.

"Wassail" comes from the Old Norse "ves heill"— to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.