Little-Known Facts about Classic Christmas Foods

For many of us, the biggest day of the holiday season is Christmas, and after all the presents are opened, that day's main event usually involves food. We bet that there are a lot of things you didn't know about classic Christmas fare.

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Just like the rest of the world, the United States has its own collection of traditional Christmas foods, and while it may appear that candy canes, turkey or ham, and sugar plums (whatever those are) have been deeply engrained in Christmas tradition for as long as the holiday has existed, in reality, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

We tend to think of Christmas dinner as rather set, sticking to a tried-and-true formula; a roast of some kind, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and maybe some roasted root vegetables seem to be the norm (with some regional variations), with pie or Christmas pudding for dessert. In reality, Christmas traditions have developed over time and vary across the globe — and there is often an unexpected story behind the foods we take for granted.

From the origin of fruitcake and candy canes to just how many calories are in that Christmas dinner, there are a lot of things about Christmas food that you may not know. Read on for 10 things you didn't know about Christmas foods.

Check out the slideshow above for these little-known facts about traditional Christmas foods.

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