The holiday season is full of traditions, some shared and some unique. For many, Christmas requires a tree, greeting cards, parties, food and the sharing of gifts and fellowship. The history of how Americans celebrate the holidays is as diverse and fascinating as the population.
3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. each year.
Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.
It takes about 15 years to grow the average Christmas tree.
Alabama was the first state to officially recognize Christmas in 1836. Oklahoma was the last, in 1907.
President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1901.
Approximately 35 million living Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.; more than 45 million are planted.
Holiday purchases account for one sixth of all yearly retail sales in the U.S.
“White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best-selling single record of all time, with over 100 million sales, worldwide.
All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.
The tradition of Christmas trees goes all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans, who decorated with evergreens during the winter solstice to signify that spring would return. Evergreens reminded them of all the green plants that were to grow once the sun returned.
Christmas wreaths are religious symbols. The custom of bringing evergreens into the home began in the 16th century among northern and eastern Europeans, primarily Germans, as a means of cleaning up the Christmas tree and making it more uniform. Instead of throwing out cut-off greens, people wove the excess into wreaths. However, the religious significance is that the circular shape and evergreen material of the wreath represent eternal life. The circle, which has no beginning or end, "symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul and the everlasting life we find in Christ."
"Silent Night" is the most recorded song. We all know the same few handfuls of Christmas songs play at stores and on the radio in a loop all season long. But one of them has been adapted more than others. "Silent Night" is actually the most recorded Christmas song in history. It's had more than 733 different versions copyrighted since 1978.
Luke 2:12-14: "And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'"
Revelation 12:5: "And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne."
Titus 3:4-6: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior."