Christmas is here and the staff at the Empire-Tribune gathered some fun facts to share. We hope these answer all your Christmas quandaries and enlighten you as much as it did us.

• Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzer, Comet and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati.

• Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

• The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.

• Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.

• All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.

• The “true love” mentioned in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” does not refer to a romantic couple, but the Catholic Church’s code for God. The person who receives the gifts represents someone who has accepted that code. For example, the “partridge in a pear tree” represents Christ. The “two turtledoves” represent the Old and New Testaments.

• The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.

• According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas is one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. However, Christmas Day is the least favorite day for breakups.

• Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.

• Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

• Each year there are approximately 20,000 “rent-a-Santas” across the United States. “Rent-a-Santas” usually undergo seasonal training on how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure from the public. They also receive practical advice such as not accepting money from parents while children are looking and avoiding garlic, onions or beans for lunch.

• A Yule log is an enormous log that is typically burned during the Twelve Days of Christmas (Dec. 25 - Jan. 6). Some scholars suggest that the word yule means “revolution” or “wheel,” which symbolizes the cyclical return of the sun. A burning log or its charred remains is said to offer health, fertility and luck, as well as the ability to ward off evil spirits.

• The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl (“flower which wilts”). For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity, and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.