Christmas films like A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation go right along with mistletoe, carols, and cookies as staples of the holiday season.  And in celebration of the 12 days of Christmas, here are 12 bits of trivia you may not know about some of your favorite Christmas movies.

*All trivia via IMDB

(Image via 20th Century Fox)

1.  Being one the first western-made films aired in Poland after the fall of communism, 'Home Alone' is considered a Polish Christmas tradition, airing on prime time every Christmas season since 1990. In 2011 it aired on Polish television on December 23 to an audience of five million people, making it the most popular show during the Christmas season in Poland.

2.  The picture of Buzz’s girlfriend to which Kevin says, “Buzz, your girlfriend! Woof!” was actually a picture of a boy dressed as a girl. Director Chris Columbus felt it would be too cruel to cast an actual girl for a single scene where her appearance was bashed.

(Image via Warner Bros)

3.  'National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation' was the last film for Mae Questel (Aunt Bethany), who started her career in 1930 as the voice of Betty Boop, and continued to do the voice all the way up to 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'

4.  Cousin Eddie asks Clark if his company “killed all those people in India.” Though it may have made sense at the time, it’s a dated reference that most don’t understand today, referring to the Bhopal Disaster or the Union Carbide Disaster, where leaks from a Union Carbide pesticide plant vented into the air causing thousands to get sick and die.


(Image via MGM)

5.  The “tongue stuck to the flagpole” scene was achieved by having actor Scott Schwartz put his tongue on a small hole on the pole connected to a suction tube.

6.  The house from 'A Christmas Story' was purchased in auction in 2005 by a fan and renovated to look exactly as it did in the film, inside and out (some of the interior shots were filmed on a sound stage in Toronto), turning it into a tourist attraction.  The buyer also purchased the house next door and turned it into a museum and gift shop.


(Image via 20th Century Fox)

7.  Hans Gruber’s death fall was filmed at 300 frames per second, as opposed to the standard 24 fps, to produce the desired slow motion effect. Alan Rickman was also dropped before he was ready to achieve the genuine look of shock.

8.  In the scene where John McClane drops down the elevator shaft, the intention was for the stuntman to impressively catch the ledge to the first vent shaft. Instead, the stunt man missed the vent and fell, but the shot looked so realistic that it was used in the final cut of the film, making McClane look more realistic, as opposed to the superhuman hero known in '80s action films.


(Image via New Line Cinema)

9.  The supervisor Elf, Ming Ming, is played by an uncredited Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in 'A Christmas Story.' Billingsley regularly works with his friends Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, acting as a producer and/or extra.

10.  Buddy’s 12-second belch was dubbed by voice actor Maurice LaMarche, best-known for voicing animated characters Brain in 'Pinky and the Brain' and Egon in 'The Real Ghostbusters.' LaMarche was experienced with belching voice work, doing the belching opera in the 'Animaniacs' episode 'The Greak Wakarotti'.



(Image via Universal Pictures)

11.  There were several plot lines cut out of the final version, such as Emma Thompson’s son being a problem child, the love story between the school’s principal and her partner who is dying from cancer, Sam being an accomplished gymnast, and Rowan Atkinson’s character revealed to be Cupid. And for the US television broadcast, the subplot of John and Judy, the two who meet as stand-ins for the sex scene on a film set, is cut out entirely due to content.

12.  The idea of the surprise band playing 'All You Need Is Love' during Peter and Juliet’s wedding was inspired by Jim Henson’s funeral, which director Richard Curtis attended, where the puppeteers brought their Muppets and sang a song in honor of Henson.