Festive facts in the spirit of the season
Put yourself to the test with our collection of weird and wonderful Scottish Christmas Facts. How many did you know?
1. Robert Louis Stevenson, gave someone a very unusual Christmas present – his birthday! Just three years before his death in 1894, Stevenson learned that the daughter of Henry Clay Ide, the US commissioner to Samoa and his personal friend, was upset with the timing of her own Christmas day birthday. He wrote to twelve-year-old Annie Ide enclosing a mock legal document that transferred his November 13 birthday to her. He said that he had no further use for it and he believed that she would make a much better day of it.
2. If you’re always leaving your festive shopping to the last minute, maybe you should move to the island of Foula in the Shetlands. Christmas here is celebrated two weeks after everyone else! The tiny community of around 30 people still adhere to the Julian calendar which was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46BC. Their Christmas is January 6 and their New Year, January 13.
3. Whilst the invention of Christmas cards is generally attributed to an Englishman John Calcott Horsely, who designed them in 1843, he was actually pipped to the Christmas post by Charles Drummond of Leith, who sent New Year greeting cards to people in 1841. They proved so popular that the notion of sending seasonal cards took off. The concept really blossomed with the invention of the adhesive stamp – another Scottish gift to the world, courtesy of James Chalmers of Dundee.
4. A man from Ayrshire had to be hospitalised after eating too many Brussels sprouts at Christmas in 2011. The traditional vegetable contain lots of vitamin K which promotes blood clotting. However, this counteracted the effect of anticoagulants the man was taking for a heart problem. Doctors were baffled at first but eventually realised that too many sprouts were to blame. Happily, the man’s condition stabilised after the diagnosis.