December 25 is Christmas Day, and it has been celebrated since the year 336 A.D. when the Roman Emperor Constantine held the first celebration. Here are 6 surprising facts you probably didn't know about Christmas...
Christmas Wasn’t Always Celebrated on December 25 While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, there is no mention of December 25 in the Bible. Most historians actually posit that Jesus was born in the spring. And his birthday itself didn't become the official holiday until the third century. Some historian believe the date was actually chosen because it coincided with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honored the agricultural god Saturn with celebrating and gift-giving.
You Can Thank Prince Albert For Your Christmas Tree
Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to his wife, Queen Victoria of England, because decorated trees had been a tradition in his homeland of Germany as far back as medieval times. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas tree appeared in Illustrated London News in 1848 and as we say, the idea went viral.
Coca-Cola Played A Part In Santa's Image In the early days, Santa was depicted as tall and gaunt, and in some cases, he appeared as a spooky elf with a bishop’s robe and animal skin. In 1931, Coca-Cola illustrator Haddon Sundblom redesigned Santa’s image to use in the company’s magazine ads, and that is the figure recognized today as the jolly old elf.
“Jingle Bells” Was Originally Written For Thanksgiving "Jingle Bells” is a classic song sung at Christmas time, but it didn't start out that way. First published in 1857, it was written by James Lord Pierpont, to celebrate Thanksgiving — not Christmas. Pierpont wrote a song called "One Horse Open Sleigh” for a children's Thanksgiving play. When the song was reissued two years later, it had the more familiar title of “Jingle Bells.” Although “Jingle Bells” is now a Yuletide staple, there is no mention of Christmas anywhere in the song. The holiday ditty became associated with Christmas decades later.
President Theodore Roosevelt Banned Christmas Trees At The White House President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid outdoorsman, and environmentalist banned Christmas trees from the White House during his presidency. The president feared that real Christmas trees would lead to deforestation. Roosevelt refused to display a Christmas tree in the White House, fearing that to do so would be sending the wrong message to the public. Roosevelt's action was intended to inspire Americans to just say no to Christmas trees. But Roosevelt’s son, Archie, didn’t share his ecological principles. He dragged in a small tree and hid it, fully decorated, in a closet.
Many Iconic Christmas Songs Were Written By Jewish People
Check out pretty much any list of the most iconic Christmas songs and about half of them were written by Jewish people. Johnny Marks may be the most prolific, he wrote "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "A Holly Jolly Christmas." In addition to the songs listed above, you can also credit Jewish songwriters with "Silver Bells," "White Christmas," "Let It Snow," "Santa Baby," "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and plenty more. So how do you explain this religious contradiction? According to Emmy Winner Michael Feinstein, "The Christmas songs that are popular are not about Jesus, but they're about sleigh bells and Santa and the trappings of Christmas." In other words, Christmas songs are really just about winter and family and being "Home for the Holidays." (Also written by a Jewish person).