Historical Holiday Timeline
162 BC Jews victorious over King Antiochus
320 Dec. 25 set as the birthday of Christ by Pope Julius I
490 Advent established as a period of fasting
1561 Christmas trees mentioned for the first time in a printed document
1659 Massachusetts makes Christmas illegal
1681 Massachusetts legalizes Christmas
1838 Louisiana is the first state to make Christmas a legal holiday
1843 First Christmas card designed by Englishman J.C. Horsley; Charles Dickens writes A Christmas Carol
1844 Thomas Smith invents Christmas crackers, small cardboard tubes with toys or candy inside that burst open when pulled from both ends, in Great Britain 1
857 J. Pierpont writes "Jingle Bells"
1870 US Congress declares Christmas a national holiday
1946 Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed star in It's a Wonderful Life
1949 Gene Autry records "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
See Christmas History in America for more interesting reading on Christmases past.