Skip to main content

Christmas Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 3:24 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
A man prays during Mass in Guwahati, India, on Christmas Day, December 25. Take a look at Christmas celebrations from around the world: A man prays during Mass in Guwahati, India, on Christmas Day, December 25. Take a look at Christmas celebrations from around the world:
HIDE CAPTION
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
Christmas around the world
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
>
>>

(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need to know about Christmas, a popular Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. In 2013, December 25th falls on a Wednesday.

Facts:
Celebrated December 25th in the United States and other countries.

Christmas is celebrated on January 7 in some Eastern Orthodox countries, such as Russia.

The real date of Jesus' birth is not known.

The Christmas story is told primarily in the Gospels of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew in the New Testament.

Considered the most popular Christian observance, Christmas is also celebrated as a secular family holiday.

The word Christmas is derived from the Old English phrase Cristes maesse (Christ's mass).

The tradition of substituting X-mas for Christmas has its origins in the early Christian church. The first letter of Jesus Christ's name is X in the Greek language.

Many of the customs and symbols traditionally associated with Christmas originated with ancient pagan festivals and winter solstice rituals.

The modern Christmas tree (typically evergreen conifers-usually pine, balsam or fir species) originated in Germany in the 16th century and became popular in England by the mid-19th century thanks to Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert.

St. Nicholas, the real person on whom Santa Claus is based, lived in the 4th century AD in the province of Lycia on the southwest coast of Asia Minor.

Cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with creating the current image of Santa Claus based on his illustrations that began appearing in Harpers Weekly in 1863.

Economic Impact:
Expected holiday spending for November and December 2014 is $602.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, an increase of 4.1% over 2013. The federation notes that spenders are more sophisticated shoppers. They are taking advantage of an improved economy by shopping earlier and smarter.

The United States Post Office is anticipating 450 to 470 million packages this holiday season. That is 12 percent more packages than the previous year. Online shopping is cited as one reason for the increase.

December 17 and December 18 are expected to be the busiest days for mail and package deliveries respectively, according to the United States Post Office.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Christmas
updated 1:43 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Any old city can string up a few lights downtown and call it a holiday celebration.
updated 7:48 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Christmas in the United States is a combination of traditions from around the world.
updated 10:29 AM EST, Mon December 8, 2014
There, glaring in red and green at the bottom of the holiday party Evite, lurks the season's most vague directive: "Dress festively."
updated 9:56 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Need gift ideas? We're here to help.
updated 5:36 AM EST, Mon December 24, 2012
Jen Best from Liberty, Misouri, snapped this adorable picture of her six month old nephew, Grayson, playing with fairy lights after seeing the idea on Pintrest.
Christmas is synonymous with colorful decorations, festive markets and extravagant quantities of food.
christmas pudding
As winter arrives, British minds turn towards comfort food, and there's nothing more comforting than a traditional suet pudding. Suet, as in, beef fat? In a dessert? Why yes, actually.
updated 8:51 AM EST, Sun December 23, 2012
Santa's reindeer have a story and a history all of their own, one tied to the oldest indigenous culture in Northern Europe and accelerated by an American entrepreneur.
Throughout the years, Magnum's photographers have captured Santa Claus around the globe in humorous circumstances.
Where did the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe come from? And is the plant a tree-killer?
updated 10:45 AM EST, Sat December 22, 2012
Here's a partridge-in-a-pear-tree approach to dealing with anything (and anyone) that the season throws your way.
updated 7:08 AM EST, Thu December 20, 2012
Don't let squabbles over traditions and simple things ruin your holiday this year. Here are tips and tricks on how to avoid family feuds and failed friendships.
updated 6:43 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, yet for many, they trigger deep feelings of sadness and anxiety.
updated 4:33 PM EST, Wed December 19, 2012
I'm not a Grinch or a Scrooge or any of the other soot-stained slurs hurled by people fed up with a loved one's reluctance to join the reindeer games. What I am is depressed.
updated 10:22 AM EST, Sun December 23, 2012
For something intended to bring pleasure to loved ones, Christmas shopping in the Internet age can be a peculiarly joyless and atomized activity. But European Christmas markets are pure magic.
updated 8:00 AM EST, Mon December 10, 2012
Prepare yourself: Some of these are pretty quirky. How much do you know?
updated 4:36 PM EST, Mon December 23, 2013
With Christmas comes Christmas trivia. Here's a look at the holiday by the numbers:
updated 8:50 AM EST, Wed January 2, 2013
Roy Pickler lay on the floor, dripping with sweat, as trainer Bob Harper quipped, "You look like you got run over by a reindeer."
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT