Christmas wasn't always celebrated the way it is today.  The Puritans of Massachusetts banned any observance of Christmas and those caught observing the holiday were fined.
Connecticut had a law that forbade the celebration of Christmas and the baking of Mince Meat Pies.


The Pennsylvania-German's are credited with being the first to introduce the Christmas Tree to America.

Alabama was the very first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday in 1836 (Oklahoma was the last in 1947).

In 1856, President Franklin Pierce decorated the first White House Christmas Tree (for Sunday-school children).

In 1879, Edward H. Johnson, an employee of Thomas Edison, had the very first Christmas tree bulbs made for himself.

In 1891 a crab pot was set down on a San Francisco street to raise money for a charity Christmas dinner--becoming the first Salvation Army Collection kettle.

On Christmas Eve, 1926, the world's first singing commercial aired on the radio for Wheaties cereal.

In 1947, Toys For Tots started their first toy-drive.


The ancient Romans, during the winter festival of Saturnalia, which honored Saturnus, the god of agriculture, decorated trees with small pieces of metal.  

During the Middle Ages, Evergreen trees (Paradise tree) were decorated with apples as a symbol of the feast of Adam & Eve, held on the 24th of December.

In 1531, Christmas trees were sold in Alsace at local markets.  These trees were brought home, but were not decorated.

The oldest record of a decorated Christmas tree comes from an entry in a diary in 1605 (in Strasburg, then Germany, France).  Decorations included paper roses, apples & candies.

During the 17th & 18th Centuries in Austria & Germany, the tops of Evergreens were cut and hung upside down in the corner of a room.  Decorations included apples, nuts, and strips of red paper.

The first record of a Christmas Tree in America was for the children in the German Moravian Church settlement in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1747.  Wooden pyramids, covered with evergreen branches and decorated with candles.

Most early accounts of Christmas Trees (in America) were among the German settlers in eastern Pennsylvania.

In 1842, Charles Minnegrode reportedly introduced the custom of "decorating" Christmas trees, in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The first 'retail' Christmas tree lot opened in the United States in 1851, by Mark Carr, in New York.

It takes 10 years for an Evergreen tree to grow to full maturity.

The official National Christmas Tree of the United States of America, "General Grant Tree", is located in King's Canyon National Park in California.  (It was made official in 1925)

A spiderweb found on Christmas morning in your tree is believed to bring good luck in some areas of the world.

Most artificial trees are made in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.


There are 34 "Reindeer" place names in the United States; with 27 being located in the state of Alaska.

Poinsettias are the number one flowering potted plant in the United States.

President Theodore Roosevelt banned Christmas trees from the White House (and at his home) while in office.

"Jingle Bells" was originally titled, "One Horse Open Sleigh".

The largest wreath was constructed in Sweden on the 4th of September, 1982 by the Gothenburg Florists.  It weighed 4,368 pounds and measured 68 feet and 4 inches in diameter.

The Friday & Saturday before Christmas are the 2 busiest shopping days of the year.

More diamonds are purchased at Christmas time than during any  other holiday or occasion during the year.


Christmas in America

Pennsylvania German Christmas Traditions

The North Pole

The Antique Christmas Lights Museum

Pagan-Claus: The Real History of Christmas Customs

Christmas History

Holiday Traditions in the United States of America


Copyright 2008; Cathy Wentz & Contributors
All Rights Reserved.