Three women who couldn’t afford a marriage dowry came up with the tradition of Christmas stockings.
Three women who couldn’t afford a marriage dowry came up with the tradition of Christmas stockings. Thinkstock

A few fun facts from the festive season: Christmas

CHRISTMAS is coming. Hooray!

In less than 100 days, in fact. I adore Christmas. Quite often it looks like Santa threw up in my house, we have so many decorations. In fact, I counted six Christmas trees last year. I get carried away in the after-Christmas sales.

Apart from the food and gift aspect of December 25, the most fascinating thing I find is the Christmas trivia about the big day - you might be surprised at these facts.

NORAD's Santa Tracker

I remember every single Christmas Eve watching the nightly news updates on Santa's GPS positioning thanks to the NORAD Santa Tracker. But did you know this tradition started in 1955 quite by accident?

The American store Sears advertised a phone number in the newspaper for children to call Santa to let them know what they wanted for Christmas. Unfortunately, they made a typo in the phone number and the calls ended up being directed to a Colonel Shoup from the Colorado Springs Continental Air Force Command.

The Air Force Command was inundated with phone calls from children, and rather than telling them they had the wrong number, Colonel Shoup ordered his staff to tell the children Santa's current location - and NORAD was born.

The NORAD Santa Tracker website is active from December 1 every year.

Santa's formal address

If you wanted to write a letter to Santa, all you would need to write is:

Santa Clause

C/- North Pole

However, there are lots more formal addresses out there that will still get to the jolly man in red. He is rumoured to live at 1 Reindeer Lane, North Pole. Of course, Santa is tech savvy these days so you can also email him.

Christmas stockings

Although not popular here in Australia, the tradition of Christmas stockings was started by three girls who could not afford a dowry to get married. They were doomed to live life as penniless maids.

One night, they hung their stockings by the fire to dry. In the morning they woke to find each stocking contained gold coins, and they had a dowry to marry.

A kindly man called St Nicholas of Myra used to travel around and help with the poor and underprivileged. He had heard about the girls' dilemma so he dropped the coins down the chimney and they fell into the stockings.

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: