Declaration of <br />CHRISTMAS<br /> Christmas was not a Holiday in EARLY America.<br /> It was not until June 26, 1870 that Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States of America.<br />
Christmas History Facts<br />In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.<br />
Christmas during The Middle Ages<br />During the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous – a lot like today’s Mardi Gras parties.<br />
SANTA CLAUS<br /><ul><li> Contemporary 'Santa Claus' was born in the United States - thanks to a myriad of artists, writers, legends and the evolving nature of our country at the time.
'Santa Claus' is claimed to have been the Dutch word for St Nicholas, Sinterklaas.
Although the Dutch had brought him with them in the 17th century, he did not become an important person at Christmas until the Novelist Washington Irving put him in a novel that he wrote in 1809.
This first Santa Claus was still known as St. Nicholas, he did smoke a pipe, and fly around in a wagon without any reindeer, but he did not have his red suit or live at the North Pole, he did however bring presents to children every year.
In 1863 He was given the name Santa Claus and bore the red suit, pipe, and his reindeer and sleigh.</li></li></ul><li>Rudolph the REDnosed Reindeer<br />Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all," was the product of Robert L. May's imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.<br />
The STOCKING<br />According to the legend, a kindly nobleman grew despondent over the death of his beloved wife and foolishly squandered his fortune. This left his three young daughters without dowries and thus facing a life of spinsterhood. The generous St. Nicholas, hearing of the girls' plight, set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he rode his white horse by the nobleman's house and threw three small pouches of gold coins down the chimney where they were fortuitously captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry.<br />
The Christmas Tree<br /> The use of a Christmas tree indoors appears to have begun in Germany. German Christians would bring trees into their homes to decorate. <br /> In some areas evergreen trees were scarce so the families would build a Christmas pyramid, simple wooden structures which they decorated with branches and candles.<br />Early Christmas trees were often decorated with apples, nuts, cookies, colored popcorn and candles. The invention of electricity in the early 20th century and use of electrical Christmas lights helped spread the use of the Christmas tree.<br />
CELEBRATIONS<br />Christmas has had a long and varied history. It has been celebrated for many centuries by different people, at different times, in different places, and in many different ways. Christmas is now a mixed celebration of old and new traditions. Christmas celebrations vary greatly between regions around the world and even in different regions of the United States. These traditions can be as diverse as the culture and religious practices of each and every country in the world. <br />