Abilene certainly has a hustle and bustle to it these days. Everyone is taking on preparations for Christmas. The meals and activities are being planned, and it's shaping up to be a great time of year. But, how much about the holiday do you know?

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An article from Good Housekeeping has several surprising Christmas facts that you may not know. From the origins of Christmas trees to candy canes, take a look at some interesting facts about Christmas.

LOOK: 15 INTERESTING THINGS I BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT CHRISTMAS

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December 25 Isn't the Literal Birthday of Jesus

Though Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, his actual birth date is unknown. Most historians deduce Jesus was probably born in the spring.

St. Nick Was More Generous Than He Was Jolly

In all actuality, the Saint didn't have a white beard and he didn't wear a red suit. This Christian bishop gave away his wealth to the poor and rescued women from servitude.

Leaving Milk and Cookies Came From the Dutch

December 6th is Saint Nicholas Day, also called the Feast of Saint Nicholas. It's then that Dutch children leave goodies in exchange for St. Nick's gifts.

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The Hanging of Stockings Started Accidentally

Legend has it that the tradition of hanging stockings is thanks to a poor man. Generous St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down the chimney where the poor man's daughters had hung their stockings to dry. The tradition continues today.

Black Friday Isn't the Busiest Shopping Day of the Season

Procrastinators unite. Black Friday is no doubt a busy shopping day, but the craziest shopping days are seen just before December 25. Plan accordingly if you're visiting the Mall of Abilene.

Christmas Wreaths Are Religious Symbols

The first Christmas wreaths were a symbol of Christ. The circle of holly represents the crown of thorns He wore, the red berries the drops of blood He shed. The tradition continues in many forms today.

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"Jingle Bells" Began as a Thanksgiving Song

James Lord Pierpoint wrote the song "One Horse Open Sleigh" for a Thanksgiving concert at his church in the mid-19th century. The song was later released under the title we all know today and has become one of the most popular Christmas songs to date.

"Silent Night" Is the Most Recorded Christmas Song

We all have that handful of holiday songs we know and love. However, "Silent Night" earns the title of being the most-recorded Christmas song ever. It's had over 700 versions copyrighted since 1978.

At One Time, Christmas Was Illegal

From 1659 to 1681, colonists in North America could face a fine for making merry and celebrating Christmas. It wasn't until almost a century later that December 25 was recognized as a federal holiday.

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Christmas Decorating Sends Nearly 15,000 People to the ER Every Year

This one is shocking. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates nearly 15,000 people visit emergency rooms in November and December due to holiday decorating incidents.

Settlers Introduced the First American Eggnog

It was the Jamestown settlers who developed the first American eggnog, though it didn't bear much resemblance to the modern holiday drink. Early nogs were made with rum and didn't have the milky base we know today.

Ham Reigns Supreme as the Christmas Favorite

It turns out that Google searches for both ham and turkey increase in December. However, spiral-cut ham edges out turkey as the most popular dish on holiday tables.

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Mistletoe Is an Aphrodisiac?

Mistletoe isn't just for decoration. In ancient times it was seen as a sign of fertility and vitality. The Druids considered it sacred.

Candy Canes Started in Germany

The striped candies all started when a German choirmaster gave them to kids to maintain quiet during long church services. It wasn't until 1847 that candy canes became popular as Christmas candies.

Tinsel Has a Past

Invented in Germany in 1610, tinsel was originally spun from real silver. At one point the U.S. government banned tinsel because it contained poisonous lead. Nowadays tinsel is plastic, but it should still be kept away from children and animals.

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I'll admit, I thought I knew a lot about Christmas. But after discovering these interesting tidbits, I'll tell you there's plenty to learn about the holiday. Christmas has a rich past with many origins and traditions. The above only scratches the surface.

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