The History, Traditions & Symbols of Christmas

What are the origins of Christmas and when was Christ actually born? Why is the candy cane associated with the holidays? When was the first Christmas card sent? Who is Santa Claus? Why is Santa's sleigh pulled by reindeer and where did we get their names? How did the custom of Christmas trees begin? Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? Do we really have Montgomery Wards to thank for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Discover the facts, myths and theories behind many of the popular customs and symbols associated with the Christmas holiday.

The History of Christmas
Origins of Christmas »
Discover the history and theories behind a holiday now celebrated around the world.
The History of Christmas Trees
Christmas Trees »
Learn how Germany, Martin Luther and Prince Albert helped bring us the Christmas tree.

The History of Santa Claus
Santa Claus »
St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Santa... trace the history of this beloved Christmas figure.
The History of Holly and Ivy
Holly & Ivy »
Follow holly and ivy from ancient winter solstice celebrations to today's Christmas decor.

The History of Santa's Reindeer
Santa's Reindeer »
Magical goats, the god of thunder... fun reindeer facts and theories.
The History of Mistletoe
Mistletoe »
Druid priests, Norse mythology, kissing balls and other interesting mistletoe facts and legends.

The History of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer »
A Montgomery Ward employee creates one of our favorite Christmas characters.
The History of Poinsettias
Poinsettias »
U.S. ambassador to Mexico introduces the "Flower of the Holy Night" to America.

The History of the Candy Cane
The Candy Cane »
Contrary to popular urban legends, the candy cane was not created as a religious symbol.
The History of the Word Xmas
Xmas »
Despite being frequently maligned, "Xmas" does not remove the "Christ" from Christmas.

The History of Christmas Cards
Christmas Cards »
Short on time to write personal greetings, Henry Cole creates the first Christmas card.
The History of Hanukkah
Hanukkah »
Learn the origins of this religious celebration which occurs around the Christmas holidays.

The History of Christmas Stockings
Christmas Stockings »
Hung by children the world over, learn how the custom of hanging stockings came to be.
The History of Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa »
The history and symbols behind this African-American holiday celebrated each December.