On Christmas Eve, 1776, British Colonel Rahl received an urgent note from infamous outlaw Moses Doan. He was too busy playing cards. After George Washington's Army attacked, the note was found on him and read, "Washington is coming on you down the river, he will be here afore long. Doan."
2. In Milwaukee, it is a Christmas tradition to eat raw ground beef and onions on rye bread.
3. During Christmas 2013 more than 250 passengers on Calgary-bound flights were part of a “Christmas miracle” done by WestJet. Santa Claus appeared on life-size screens at boarding gates and asked passengers what they wanted for Christmas. When the planes landed the gifts were on the baggage carousel.
4. On Christmas, 1992, George H. W. Bush pardoned 6 Reagan administration officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.
5. "Home Alone" has become a Christmas tradition in Poland, where it's known as "Kevin Sam w Domu" (literally "Kevin Alone in the House"), with Polish TV channels repeatedly airing the film around Christmas Eve for the last 25 years.
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6North Korean Christmas
Christmas is banned in North Korea and instead of Christmas, the birthday of Kim Jong-suk (grandmother of the current supreme leader of North Korea) is celebrated on Christmas eve. However, some North Korean Christian believers still celebrate Christmas in secret.
7. The Christmas pickle is a supposedly German tradition, where you hide a pickle in the Christmas tree, and whoever finds it first gets a reward. Apparently, this is a well-known tradition in the US, but not of German origin and in fact completely unknown in Germany.
8. People in Ireland leave out Guinness for Santa on Christmas Eve.
9. In 1978, Jimmy Carter had to leave a Christmas party for White House staffers "to receive emergency treatment" for a painful hemorrhoid that left him "almost completely incapacitated from participating in any kind of public events."
10. British band Iron Maiden released 'Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter' on Christmas Eve 1990 in order to "scare the living daylights out of Cliff Richard", who was promoting 'Saviour's Day'. Despite being banned by the BBC and rarely being played live, it remains the band's only UK #1.
11Babbs Switch Fire
The Babbs Switch Fire killed 35 people who attended a party on Christmas Eve when “Santa” knocked a candle off of the tree. New renovations to the building trapped people inside, which led to updated fire codes throughout Oklahoma.
12. Telling ghost stories around a fire was originally a Christmas Eve tradition. Beginning with Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" it was an annual tradition throughout the Victorian Era and only changed when Halloween became popular in the 1920s.
13. 10th century Norwegian Viking ruler King Haakon the Good made the household production of Juleøl (Christmas Beer) a law. Families that did not have beer at their Christmas feast were issued a fine.
14. During Christmas 2000/New Year's Eve 2001, Czech TV suffered a bizarre crisis that, among other things, left the public channel off the air for 2 days.
15. One of the annual public Christmas celebrations on the Hawaiian islands is the highly anticipated arrival of Santa Claus being conveyed on an outrigger canoe at Waikīkī Beach. This tradition is very recent and generally, Santa is met by cheering crowds, hula dancers, and musicians.
16Modern Christmas Tree
The modern Christmas tree originated in western Germany. They combined the Adam and Eve idea of the “paradise tree" with various Christ symbols (like candles, figurines, and stars). By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and the paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.
17. In China, for Christmas, it's popular to give apples as gifts because Christmas Eve (平安夜) sounds similar to apple (苹果).
18. Mummering is a medieval practice that continues today in places like Newfoundland. People dress up in disguises and visit houses during Christmas time.
19. Every Christmas Eve in the Netherlands dutch children honor the graves of Canadian soldiers who died liberating Holten at the end of World War 2.
20. The Bosheers family of Loretto, Tennessee celebrates Christmas by throwing fireballs at each other - as in “softball-sized balls sewn together from old clothes, soaked in kerosene overnight, and set ablaze” fireballs.
Sweden celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas day.
22. In 1659, the Massachusetts Bay Colony imposed a penalty for observing Christmas due to its pagan origins, calling it a “great dishonor of God and offense of others.”
23. Jimmy Boyd’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in Boston when it was released on the grounds that it mixed kissing with Christmas. Boyd was photographed meeting with the Archdiocese to explain the song. After the meeting, the ban was lifted.
24. A tree in Glastonbury, England, is said to flower on Christmas day and people were disappointed that it did not obey the switch to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.
25. Mari Lwyd is a Welsh Christmas tradition in which a horse’s skull is put on a pole and marched around by someone hidden under a cloth with an accompanying troupe. They march from house to house terrifying residents until they join in a singing competition.