BEDFORD COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
PART OF THE PAGENWEB
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS IN AMERICA
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
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
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
More diamonds are purchased at Christmas time than during any other
holiday or occasion during the year.
German Christmas Traditions
Antique Christmas Lights Museum
The Real History of Christmas Customs
Traditions in the United States of America