holidays — December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas

by Bob Williams

Merry Christmas

In honor of our usual chatter about income, deductions and extensions, what say we have a little Christmas fun instead?

Like a lot of holidays, Christmas has a lot going on behind the scenes. Since it’s one of those rare American holidays that’s also celebrated around the world, we’ve got some interesting facts about Christmas from all over.

It’s a Guy Thing

Ever notice how most of Santa’s reindeer all have male names? Dasher, Donner, Blitzen, and so forth? The problem is that male reindeer usually shed their antlers around Christmastime, so we wonder if Santa has a herd of girl reindeer doing the honors on Christmas Eve instead.

The tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25 started way back in A.D. 350, when Pope Julius I proclaimed the day as the official birthday of Jesus Christ. The date had previously been used for the pagan Winter Solstice celebrations and Julius apparently wanted to put the pagans out of business.

Because they were associated with the pagan celebrations, holly and ivy were banned from Christmas celebrations by the Christian Council of Braga back in the sixth century. Holly had been used to signify the masculine, while ivy stood for the feminine. Apparently that wore off though, since both plants are widely used in Christmas decorations today.

In England, the Puritan Oliver Cromwell was a particular sourpuss when it came to Christmas. Yuletide celebrations and even carols were forbidden during his 11-year tenure as Lord Protector.

Over on this side of the pond, Christmas was declared an official holiday in the U.S. in 1870. Alabama was the first state to do so, back in 1836. Oklahoma was the last state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.

Go Have Fun!

We know you probably have better things to do than to sit in front of your computer. And while we appreciate the visit, we hope you have a fun-filled holiday. And if you do want to dig a little bit into that Christmas history thing, visit our friends over at They’ll fill you in on all the funny, strange and outright weird things about our Christmas tradition.

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