Christmas is a wonderful time of year and at Smith & Wollensky we are ready and waiting to share all the fun of the festive season with you. With only a couple of weeks before the Big Fella in Red arrives, we hope we can get you into the festive mood with some surprising and interesting Christmas facts.
It’s A Wonderful Life
“It’s A Wonderful Life” is possibly the most famous and best loved Christmas movie of all time, however did you know that the FBI opened a file on the movie, believing it to be a communist plot? In 1947 some of the high ranking FBI officials genuinely believed that the movie was a communist ploy to undermine bankers.
‘Twas the Night before Christmas’
This famous Christmas poem, also known as ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas,’ almost stayed locked in the draw of author Clement Clarke Moore. He’d written it as a ditty for his children, but never intended it to be published as the writer felt the poem was beneath his talents. When a friend sent it to the Sentinel Newspaper, anonymously, it became an overnight sensation. Moore was so embarrassed that he denied authoring it for nearly 15 years. It was eventually included in an anthology of Moore’s work, thanks to the urging of his children.
Donner and Blitzen were not Santa’s originally reindeer
Following on from Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, even Santa’s reindeer have undergone a spot of rebranding. In the original draft of his famous poem the verse dedicated to naming Santa’s reindeer called them Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. The final two reindeer where named so after the Norse gods of thunder and lightning. However, the newspapers altered their names to Donna and Blitzen. Of course, Rudolf came somewhat later in 1939 as a marketing ploy, written by an American advertising executive called Robert May.
Christmas Tree Tea
When you think of Christmas food and drink, you think of turkey and eggnog, satsumas and nuts. However, Pine Needle Tea has long been a favourite of traditional and indigenous peoples, both for its refreshment and its medicinal values. You may not realize that Pine Needle Tea contains 4-5 times the Vitamin C of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and is high in Vitamin A. So when you have finished with your Christmas tree – pop the kettle on and tuck in!
NORAD’s “Santa Tracker” Started Due to an Error in a Newspaper Advertisement
In 1955 a Sears ad printed the phone number of their Colorado Springs store in a local newspaper, so children could tell Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas. The number was a misprint and instead sent children to the hotline for Colonel Harry Shoup, Director of Operations for the US Continental Air Defense. As the calls poured in, rather than blocking them, the kindly Colonel ordered his staff to give children updates on Santa’s flight coordinates. The rest, as they say, is history. NORAD Tracker is now the most popular Santa Sleigh Tracker in the world.
Jingle Bells in Space
It is generally believed that the first, or at least the most famous song to be sung in space was Jingle Bells. The story goes that on 24th December 1965 two cheeky astronauts called into the NASA Command and Control Centre from their space craft, to tell them that they had seen a UFO. They then claimed that the UFO had one main command module and eight smaller modules in front. NASA took the report very seriously. The astronauts went on to say that the pilot was wearing a red suit. Somewhat alarmed, NASA began to open a UFO file, until the mischievous pair began to sing Jingle Bells!
Most Expensive Christmas Tree
We all like to blow the budget a bit on Christmas decorations. Whatever you are thinking of spending on your Christmas tree and decorations this year, we doubt you will be able to top Yves Piaget who spent a whopping £10.4 million on decorating his Christmas tree. The tree was erected on 7 December 2002 at the Tsunamachi Misui Club, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, and was lavishly decorated with 83 pieces of jewellery.
The Red Breasted Robin of Christmas Fame Refers to a British Postman
The Robins was the British nickname for postmen due to their red breasted uniforms. Back in the nineteenth century putting a robin on a Christmas card started as a joke and was a play on words, or rather images. The Robins were sending out Christmas cheer.
If you are looking for the ultimate Christmas experience, or a merry evening out with friends, see the Smith & Wollensky Christmas Menu or book a table for some festive fun. For private dining enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7321 6007.