We made it! Christmas Day has come and gone here in the States, and as the Holiday season wraps up, we wondered: how did people around the world spend their holidays?
And because we’re a speculative blog, that question in turn led us to wondering: how did people not on this world spend their holidays?!
So, a-searchin’ for answers we went, and we found some fun facts about how Christmas is celebrated in Outer Space …
Santa Claus Visited The ISS In 2010
When the crew in the American section of the ISS awoke on Christmas morning, back in 2010, they each found a stack of presents outside their doors.
The most interesting part? No one on board had brought the gifts up with them.
Did Santa head off-planet and visit the ISS?
Well … some say the gifts were sent up with an earlier crew in April of that same year, but those of us who read and write in the SF/F world—we know magic and wonder do exist—so feel free to explain that one any way that ‘suits’ you best (see what we did there? 😉 )
Either way, what a fun surprise to wake up to on Christmas Day in the Outer
Jingle Bells Was The First Song Broadcast From Space — (as a prank)
One of the most easily recognizable songs on Earth, well, ever, is Jingle Bells.
And now, it might be one of the most recognizable songs in Outer Space, also!
As it’s told, Jingle Bells is the first piece of music broadcast into Space … and it was (maybe) all a prank!
Back in 1965, on December 16, during the Gemini 6 mission, two of the astronauts thought they’d play a little holiday prank.
So, Walter Schirra Jr and Thomas Stafford radioed over to mission control advising them that they had spotted a UFO—and it was circling the planet!
The two Astronauts then went on to tell ground that they were receiving a signal from the strange craft.
And well, you can probably guess the rest …
The two men pulled out a harmonica and sleigh bells and began playing Jingle bells through their comms-system.
Here’s the actual recording (according to the interwebs) of the famous song that—maybe—the astronauts played, but maybe … just maybe … they actually recorded sounds from Santa’s sleigh in outer space.
The First Christmas Tree In Space Was Made From Food Cans
While the crew of Skylab weren’t the first folks to spend December 25th in Space, they did have a ‘first’ of their own.
In 1973, the crew took a good hard look around the space station and realized: there’s a real lack of Christmas trees on board this here space station … what they did have however, was lots of recycling—in the form of empty food cans.
So, off these brilliant space men went and engineered themselves a sparkly (dare we say “shiny”) new Christmas tree.
The First Food Baked In Space Was Christmas Cookies — (kind of)
In December 2019, an experiment was held aboard the ISS to see if they could cook in Space, and how that would turn out, if tried.
So, what was the first food stuffs we as people would attempt to cook if we were trying to cook something in Outer Space?
You guessed it … chocolate chip cookies. A rather yummy Christmas time tradition.
One of the crew members, Christina Koch, who took part, even tweeted about it.
Just in time for Christmas, the astronauts aboard the space station baked the pre-made dough (which was provided by the hotel chain DoubleTree) one cookie at a time in their Zero G oven and made five cookies!
Wonder how these two decided who got the fifth cookie!
The First On-Screen Appearance of Mrs. Claus …
… was in the SF/Christmas Film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
If you’re not a cult-classic film buff, you might have missed this one (it’s no Alien, if you know what we mean), but its iconic and prevails through pop-culture, MST 3000 (best way to watch this one) has even shown it as an episode.
The movie, from 1964, has Martians coming to Earth to capture Santa—gasp! shock! awe!—and they do it all just to stop Christmas from coming … wow, that sounded a lot like another Christmas classic just then.
While the movie may reek of stinky cheese (camembert, anyone?), it does, excitingly enough, feature the first portrayal of Mrs. Claus, played by actress Doris Rich.