Little-Known Facts about Classic Christmas Foods

From Christmas dinner to candy canes, there are a lot of Christmas food facts
Christmas Pudding


History's largest Christmas pudding weighed in at 7,231 pounds.

For many of us, the biggest day of the holiday season is Christmas, and after all the presents are opened, that day’s main event usually involves food. We bet that there are a lot of things you didn’t know about classic Christmas fare.

Little-Known Facts about Classic Christmas Foods (Slideshow)

Just like the rest of the world, the United States has its own collection of traditional Christmas foods, and while it may appear that candy canes, turkey or ham, and sugar plums (whatever those are) have been deeply engrained in Christmas tradition for as long as the holiday has existed, in reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

We tend to think of Christmas dinner as rather set, sticking to a tried-and-true formula; a roast of some kind, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and maybe some roasted root vegetables seem to be the norm (with some regional variations), with pie or Christmas pudding for dessert. In reality, Christmas traditions have developed over time and vary across the globe — and there is often an unexpected story behind the foods we take for granted.

From the origin of fruitcake and candy canes to just how many calories are in that Christmas dinner, there are a lot of things about Christmas food that you may not know. Read on for 10 things you didn’t know about Christmas foods.

Animal Crackers Were Originally a Christmas Treat

Animal crackers were first introduced around Christmastime in 1902. The string on the box was originally intended to be used to hang the boxes on Christmas trees.

Candy Canes Were Invented to Keep Kids Quiet

Legend has it that candy canes were invented in 1670, when the choirmaster of the Cologne Cathedral commissioned candies shaped like a shepherd’s crook so they could be handed out to children attending the church’s crèche scene in order to keep them quiet. The stripes came later. 

This article was originally published in December 2014.

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