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 5 surprising facts you probably didn't know about Christmas...
Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer Was a Promotion By a Popular Department Store
The red-nosed reindeer was created in 1939 by Robert L.May, an advertising copywriter for Montgomery Ward department store based in Chicago. Every year the store would give away free coloring books as holiday gifts to the children who visited the store. Rudolph's story sold 2.4 million copies in its first year of publication. The famous song was released in 1949 becoming one of the best-selling songs of all time.
You Can Thank Prince Albert For Your Christmas Tree You might want to brew a cup o' tea when decking your halls this year. The origin of Christmas trees goes all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who marked the winter solstice with evergreens as a reminder that spring would return soon. But it wasn't until Prince Albert of Germany introduced the tree to his new wife, Queen Victoria of England, that the tradition really took off. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas tree appeared in Illustrated London News way back in 1848 and as we say today, the idea went viral.
The First Department Store Santa Appeared in Massachusetts James Edgar was a department store owner in Brockton, Massachusetts. In 1890, he dressed as Santa Claus, which delighted his patrons as they brought their children in to greet him. However, Santa Claus wasn’t the only character portrayed by Edgar. In addition, he was known to dress as a sea captain, George Washington, and a clown, among others. Edgar was an imaginative, progressive man, instituting a layaway policy in his department store.
Celebrating Christmas Used to be Illegal .By the time the Puritans settled Boston, celebrating Christmas was outlawed. Talk about missing the Christmas spirit! From 1659 to 1681, anyone caught making merry would face a fine for celebrating the once-pagan day. And after the Revolutionary War, the new Congress found the day so unimportant that they even held the first session on December 25, 1789. Christmas wasn't proclaimed a federal holiday for nearly another century, proving that the Grinch's notorious hatred of the holiday was alive and well long before he was.
Edward Johnson Invented Electric Christmas Lights Edward Johnson was an inventor that never created anything of value. The highlight of his career was that he often worked with the legendary Thomas Edison. All this changed in 1882, when Johnson created the first-ever electric Christmas lights, for personal use at his home in New York. Though very much a one-hit wonder, these lights were enough of a hit to permanently etch his name onto the long list of great American inventors.