Cheerful church groups love Christmas caroling, but the tradition was actually started by a bunch of lushes. Back when "Christmas" was actually a celebration of the winter solstice, poor carolers would go from house to house singing ... and also threatening to break windows if they were not plied with food and drinks, a History Channel exec tells AOL News. "They would get very, very rowdy," David McKillop says.
That's not the only Christmas tradition with a weird origin: Jolly old St. Nick was originally kind of a jerk, McKillop says. Instead of elves, he was joined by a devil creature named "Krampus" who was quite mean—especially to naughty kids, whom he kidnapped, beat up, or at the very least tortured with bad gifts. For more truth behind holiday traditions, including the turning point in 1823 that gave us the Christmas we know today, click here.