History of Christmas


Mia Allman, Contributor


Christmas morning, jump out of bed bright and early, wake up your parents to open all the presents under the tree. This is one of the most exciting days of the year. Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide tradition. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, last but not least, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.  

Where did Christmas originate/how was it celebrated

Christmas originally started in Rome around 336 A.D, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, but didn’t become a popular Christian festival till the 9th century. In 1870, President Grant and Congress declared Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, savior of the world, a national holiday.                                   

Saturnalia, held in mid-December, is an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. Saturnalia celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas. In ancient Rome, December 25 was a celebration of the Unconquered Sun, marking the return of longer days. A festival where people feasted and exchanged gifts. Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts

How Christmas changed

Christmas was originally celebrated exclusively at public gatherings, but changed in the early-19th century, when families started celebrating on their own. After World War II, Christmas became a more commercial holiday. A greater number of stores had Christmas decorations and music. 

Many people decorate their homes, visit family or friends and exchange gifts. Some people give to charity, give food and shelter to the homeless and handout gifts to orphans, etc. From eggnog to finding little surprises in your stocking, there’s tons of Christmas traditions today. Kissing under the mistletoe, leaving Santa milk and cookies, even leaving naughty kids coal. Christmas is one of the most exciting days of the year for everyone all over the world.