41 Facts About Christmas


Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.

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Traditional Christmas narrative recounted in the New Testament, known as the Nativity of Jesus, says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies.

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Celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.

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English word "Christmas" is a shortened form of "Christ's Mass".

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Xmas is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi in Greek Khristos, although some style guides discourage its use.

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Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century.

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In Puritan England, Christmas was banned, with Puritans considering it a Catholic invention and associating the day with drunkenness and other misbehaviour.

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Christmas was promoted in the East as part of the revival of Orthodox Christianity that followed the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378.

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Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus' birth, with some claiming that certain elements have origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity.

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The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has continually evolved since the holiday's inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century transformation.

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The celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain groups, such as the Puritans and Jehovah's Witnesses, due to concerns that it was too unbiblical.

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The forty days before Christmas became the "forty days of St Martin", now known as Advent.

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Prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in 800.

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Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens.

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Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord.

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The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants.

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However, in 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of popery" or the "rags of the Beast".

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Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans.

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Whereas in England, Wales and Ireland Christmas Day is a common law holiday, having been a customary holiday since time immemorial, it was not until 1871 that it was designated a bank holiday in Scotland.

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The ban on Christmas observance was revoked in 1681 by English governor Edmund Andros, but it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region.

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Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom.

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In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century by the German-born Queen Charlotte.

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In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it.

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Up to the 1950s in the UK, many Christmas customs were restricted to the upper classes and better-off families.

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Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian.

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Christmas Day, is a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, a holy day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church, and a Principal Feast of the Anglican Communion.

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Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer.

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The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language.

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Since the 16th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas carrying the Christian symbolism of the Star of Bethlehem; in that country it is known in Spanish as the Flower of the Holy Night.

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Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts.

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In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night.

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Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day.

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Christmas cards are purchased in considerable quantities and feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season.

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Christmas is typically a peak selling season for retailers in many nations around the world.

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In most Western nations, Christmas Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce; almost all retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed, and almost all industries cease activity, whether laws require such or not.

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In England and Wales, the Christmas Day Act 2004 prevents all large shops from trading on Christmas Day.

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One economist's analysis calculates that, despite increased overall spending, Christmas is a deadweight loss under orthodox microeconomic theory, because of the effect of gift-giving.

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Christmas has at times been the subject of controversy and attacks from various sources, both Christian and non-Christian.

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Today, some conservative Reformed denominations such as the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America likewise reject the celebration of Christmas based on the regulative principle and what they see as its non-Scriptural origin.

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Christmas celebrations have been prohibited by atheist states such as the Soviet Union and more recently majority Muslim states such as Somalia, Tajikistan and Brunei.

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In 1984, the U S Supreme Court ruled in Lynch v Donnelly that a Christmas display owned and displayed by the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, did not violate the First Amendment.

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