Did you know that royalties from Bing Crosby’s recording of “Silent Night” and Adeste Fidelis all go to charities? Here are some other fascinating facts about Christmas you may not have known:
- The word “carol” comes from a Greek word meaning to dance and to play the flute.
- America’s first Christmas carol was written and sung in the language of the Huron Indians. Called Jesus Is Born, it was composed by Father Brebeuf, a French missionary to the Indians, in 1630.
- Alabama was the first state to grant legal recognition to Christmas in 1836. By 1890, all states and territories acknowledged the holiday, including the District of Columbia.
- It was illegal to celebrate Christmas Day in the Massachusetts colony from 1659 until 1681.
- The first true Christmas cards were written by St. Francis of Assisi and his followers in the 13th century. The idea was to tell biblical stories in song in order to reach more people.
- The first Christmas card as we know it was sent in 1843. The greeting: “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.”
- There are at least two towns named Santa Claus in the U.S.A. in Indiana and Idaho.
- There’s a Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean and a Christmas Island in the Pacific’s Gilbert Island.
- The first department store Santa Claus in the nation was James Edgar of Brockton, MA. As owner of the Edgar’s Store in Boston in 1890, he donned the Santa costume himself to begin the tradition.