A curious Christmas story – 10 unusual facts about Christmas

The most contemplative season of the year has begun, and all world travelers and adventurers have returned home to roost, at least for a short time, to enjoy the Christmas holiday. But even at Christmas time, there’s still room to have a little fun – and luckily, Christmas’ litany of traditions, both ancient and modern, offer countless curiosities to put us in the holiday spirit. Voilà: Our collection of 10 Christmas curiosities!

  1. At the end of the 1990’s, a study considered whether or not Santa Claus could actually exist from a scientific perspective. Using the available statistical information, it was determined that Santa’s sleigh would have to move at a speed of 1040 km/hour to deliver his presents by morning.

    ©️ iStock.com/Choreograph
  2. Some people enjoy an imposing Christmas tree practically dripping with ornaments, while others take a more ecologically-centered approach, painting their tree directly onto a wall. But into the 20th century, it was actually common to hang the tree from the ceiling, like a gigantic piece of mistletoe. Great, more space for presents!
  3. In Great Britain and the USA, there are seminars for would-be Santa Clauses, where you can learn what it takes to be Santa. Together with a cadre of well-trained Christmas elves, they learn about the newest must-have toys, CD’s and computer games.
  4. Where does Santa Claus really live? Well, that depends on who you ask: In the USA and Europe, it’s believed he lives at the north pole. In Finland, tradition holds that he lives in Lapland (where he has even constructed his own Christmas village). The Swedish Tomte, in contrast, has no fixed residence at all. The same goes for St. Nicholas: While the Swiss believe he rides a donkey out of the Black Forest along with his “Schmutzli”, the Dutch say he comes by steamship from Spain.

    ©️ iStock.com/gpointstudio
  5. Everything seems to be a little bit different at Christmas time, and that includes fashion. During the holidays, you can throw your traditional fashion sense out the window, and revel in the exuberant tastelessness. A particular development of recent years has been the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” trend. You’ll see everything from winter landscapes to tinsel or even Christmas ornaments.
  6. Girl power! Male reindeer actually lose their antlers every year around the Christmas season. In contrast, female reindeer – who, by the way, are the only species of reindeer with antler-equipped females – don’t lose their antlers until much later in spring. That means that all of Santa’s reindeer should actually be female, and Rudolf should really be named Rudolfine.
  7. The University of Scranton analyzed letters written by children to Santa from 1998 to 2010, and concluded that children have become progressively more rude over time.

    ©️ iStock.com/inarik
  8. Everyone knows Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – in particular the joyful ending of most versions of the tale, where a previously bitter but freshly softened Ebenezer Scrooge dines with the poor Cratchit family. But in the original version of the story, Scrooge doesn’t share a Christmas feast with the Cratchits, but rather with his well-heeled nephew.
  9. The celebration of Christmas was banned in England from 1646 to 1660. Oliver Cromwell, head of state at the time, considered the festivities immoral and anyone caught indulging in the Christmas spirit was handed a lengthy prison sentence.
  10. There’s nothing more heartwarming than hearing a children’s choir sing “We wish you a merry Christmas”! But in the 16th century, this song was actually a drinking song. A bit like Halloween today, it was sung from house to house by friends and family as a type of kind-hearted “demand” for drinks and snacks. That explains many of the song’s odd lyrics, such as the line “We won’t go until we get some, so bring it out here.”

 

And with that, happy holidays!

Happy travels, happy new year! 5 last-minute New Year’s Eve destinations

Every year has to end, and we’re usually more than grateful for the chance for a new beginning – even if it’s just in our heads. After the quiet, contemplative Christmas season, some people like to stay cozy and warm, while the others say goodbye to the year with a wild, boozy party. Those of you who like to finish out the year with a trip may face more than your fair share of difficulties in finding a destination: London, Berlin and Paris have long since sold out of affordable flights and accommodations. But that’s no problem, since we’ve sleuthed out a few European destinations that are still up for grabs where you can enjoy a unique and memorable New Year’s celebration! … Read More

Beyond London: 5 English cities worth a visit

There’s no question, London is an unbelievably beautiful city that everyone should visit at least once. There’s also a good reason why the nearby university towns of Cambridge and Oxford are such popular tourist destinations. But it’s also worth your while to venture farther afield to see what England has to offer. Away from the London hub, England has no shortage of beautiful, exciting and unusual cities to explore. The following five cities are worth a visit and are sure to impress you with their unique character. … Read More

Cycling around the world – bicycle tours for leisure travelers

As someone once said: “Having a bicycle is the closest thing there is to have wings.” These days, a bicycle is much more than just a piece of sports equipment or a means to get from point A to point B, it has become an essential part of a lifestyle, the “slow bicycle movement.” And it’s not just for workplace commuting that people are reaching for their bicycles; travelers too, are reveling in this pleasurable mode of transportation, both for long cycling trips as well as easy little tours.

Many people shy away from multi-day bicycle tours, maybe because they don’t have a fully-equipped high tech bicycle, or because they don’t think they’re fit enough – but they couldn’t be more wrong! It doesn’t have to be the Tour de France, there are plenty of routes that are perfectly suited for casual cyclists. In this post, we’ll tell you what makes traveling by bike such an incredible experience, what you should look out for along the way, and even take the opportunity to give you suggestions for the best routes! … Read More

5 Everyday surprises you’ll experience on your trip to India

Some surprises are good, and some are a bit less so. Whatever else might be said about the country of India, one thing certainly rings true, it’s a land of undeniable surprises. If you’re planning a trip to India, we guarantee the following five things will make your jaw drop!

©️ iStock.com/Radiokukka

1. Traffic

On the streets of India, you’ll witness tuk tuks, cows, expensive sports cars, donkeys, artfully painted vans and motorcycles packed with entire families and seemingly operating against the laws of physics, all competing for space.

In general, traffic functions very differently to what we expect in the West. In India, legal regulations are viewed more as well-intentioned guidelines. But the formal rules of the road and what actually happens on the streets have exceedingly little in common. It often seems as if he who honks loudest wins. The “No Honking” signs, a common sight in areas of high congestion, seem almost ironic against the ear-splitting backdrop of the frenetic traffic. One way streets are commonly used as regular two-way thoroughfares, in particular by the small, agile tuk tuks. Rickshaw drivers are a common, almost iconic part of traffic in India. … Read More

Pack up and go – Backpacking tips for beginners

They travel along like snails in their shells, these intrepid, freedom-loving backpackers, with their possessions balanced carefully on their backs. Backpack travel is deeply connected with feelings of romance, freedom and adventure, with minimal belongings but plenty of spontaneity. And these are feelings we can definitely connect with. If you’re new to the world of backpacking, you absolutely don’t have to start with a trip across Mongolia: we recommend you start with well-developed, modern destinations, ideally ones which are frequented by lots of other backpack tourists and are geared for this type of travel. We’ve put together some tips for you, including things to avoid and which areas are particularly well-suited for your very first backpack trip! … Read More

The new tripwolf Trip Planner

It’s finally here! The new update, including our new Trip Planner, is live in the App Store and Google Play Store.

For months we’ve been collecting your suggestions, discussing them in detail, making a plan, and putting it into action. The result of our efforts is a new and improved Trip Planner! Now you can do a whole lot more than just adding the best tripwolf tips to your trips; you can arrange them just the way you want them, and separate your trip into individual days. In addition, we’ve made the routing function much simpler. Instead of just seeing the route from A to B, you can now view the complete travel route for your entire day!

We don’t want to spoil all the surprises, so we’ve put together a video showcasing the best new features.

Curious? Then download the update now for your iPhone, iPad, smartphone or tablet and try out the new Trip Planner for yourself!
 

Try the new Trip Planner now

 
And for anyone who just can’t wait through the video, here’s a quick overview of the most interesting new features:

  • Plan your trip day-by-day! Starting now, you can add a start and end date for your trip, allowing you to plan each day individually. You want to spend your arrival day getting settled and enjoying a quiet bite to eat, and really dive into sightseeing on day two? No problem!
  • If you’ve just planned a quick weekend getaway, it’s especially important to use your time as efficiently as possible. That’s why we’ve created Trip Optimization! With just one click, you can automatically sort your trip according to distance from your starting position.
  • View your trip on the map: It’s been possible in the past to view all of the points of a trip on the map, but now you can see your route on the map too! This means at any time, you can see where you’re currently located and how to get from A to B, from B to C… and so on.
  • Add multiple locations to your travel guide simultaneously: You can select all the locations you’re interested in from a list, and then add them to your trip at the same time. With just one click!

 

We’d love to hear your feedback anytime via email at support@tripwolf.com. Thanks for using tripwolf!

iStock.com/JANIFEST

Canada – where untouched nature and lively cities meet

Canada is all the rage these days. And not just as a running gag for many Americans who have threatened to emigrate since the start of the Trump presidency. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, known for his good looks and magnetic charisma, has managed to become somewhat of an internet sensation, warming the hearts of people from all across the world as a positive example of tolerance, diversity and light-hearted diplomacy.

Clearly this country, the world’s second largest by landmass, is worth a closer look. The First Nations arrived first, followed by the Inuit, the French, and the English, all of whom have shaped Canada’s diversity. We’ve tried our hand at crafting a little overview and some travel tips for this gigantic North American country, with its stunning nature and multicultural society!  … Read More

Under the stars – 5 exceptional camping spots in Europe

Although tents are one of the oldest types of dwellings, even today people still enjoy tucking themselves away in tents, yurts and tepees, to awake in the morning surrounded by nature. Nowadays, you don’t have to sacrifice luxury and comfort for the sake of mobility. Whether you’re on the road in an RV or a devoted fan of the newest craze known as “Glamping,” one thing is for certain: a well outfitted, clean place to stay is an absolute must. Today, we’ll introduce you to 5 of the best camping spots in Europe, in the very nicest locations! … Read More

10 Travel Instagrammers we just can’t get enough of

With over 700 million users, Instagram is one of the biggest social media channels worldwide. It’s incredibly popular among travelers – especially for getting inspired for your next vacation or just simply sharing your trip with your friends and family as well as strangers.

To celebrate the launch of our Russian app, we wanted to give a shout-out to ten of our favorite travel instagrammers from Russia, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan and share their amazing stories.  … Read More