Don’t let the warm air fool you. December is in full swing and it’s almost time for Christmas. You likely celebrate in some way or another each year, but how much do you really know about Christmas?
Check out some little-known facts about this December tradition, and feel free to use them the next time someone accuses you of engaging in a “war on Christmas.”
Happy Birthday…Whatever Day it Might Be
Each year, you’re encouraged to remember the “reason for the season,” with that reason being the birth of Jesus.
Only there is a problem with that.
The Bible doesn’t mention Jesus’ birthday, and historians believe if he did live, he was born sometime in the spring.
So, why is Christmas celebrated on December 25?
You can thank the pagans.
Many historians believe early Christians appropriated the pagan festival of Saturnalia.
Saturnalia was celebrated around December 25, and it had many of the trappings of modern-day Christmas. Feasting, gift exchanges, and goodwill to others were all common themes of Saturnalia.
There was just one thing missing.
It Used to Be Illegal to Celebrate Christmas
Christians like to bemoan the “war on Christmas.” This isn’t a war in a traditional sense. Instead of throwing bombs, evil liberals do crazy things like saying, “happy holidays.”
Apparently, it’s quite cruel to send wishes of goodwill that don’t include the word “Christmas.”
If Christians want to find a true war on Christmas, they need to go back to the 1600s.
The Puritans saw Christmas for what it was (i.e. a pagan holiday), and they didn’t want to have anything to do with it. They made it illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston from 1659 to 1681 and fined people up to five shillings for celebrating.
That – not well wishes – is a true war on Christmas.
And Now a Word from Our Sponsors
You can thank advertisers, not the Bible, for many of the most popular Christmas figures and traditions.
Take Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, for instance. A Montgomery Ward copywriter created the little guy in 1939 in an effort to get more people into the store.
Then, there’s Coca-Cola. The soft drink giant is credited for popularizing the modern-day Santa Claus. Coca-Cola started featuring him in ads in the 1920s, and in 1931, it hired illustrator Haddon Sundblom to create a new version of the man in the red suit.
These are just a couple of ways the season has been commercialized. The list goes on and on.
‘Tis the Season to Do Some Good
Here’s one more fact that doesn’t get as much press.
Humanists have long used the Christmas season to do some good. From raising money for charities to donating toys and time, we put our big hearts to use during the holiday season.
We do remember the reason for the season. And that reason is helping our fellow human beings.
So, happy holidays and do your best to spread some cheer!