Christmas was first celebrated in 336 A.D, during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine. But Christmas wasn’t always celebrated on December 25th. Though the Romans were the first to celebrate it on that day.
Before Christmas was celebrated on December 25th, in the Eastern Christianity the birth of Jesus was already celebrated on January 6th, this was called the Epiphany. Later, the December 25th celebration was imported into the east towards the end of the 4th century.
In the Early Middle Ages, Epiphany overshadowed Christmas. The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned emperor. Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Gift giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as a tenant or a landlord.
In 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans (a group of English protestors) strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas. The Catholic Church still promoted the festival though, but it was in a more religiously oriented form. In 1647, England’s Puritan rulers banned Christmas. During that time many protested the ban. Years later, the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban. Many Puritans still disapproved of the celebration.
In Colonial America, the Puritans of New England shared their disapproval of Christmas. The celebration was then outlawed in Boston in 1659. 22 years later, in 1681 the ban by the pilgrims was revoked. But it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that Christmas became popular in Boston region.
Now we have many traditions in America, like putting up a Christmas tree, which became popular by the 1870’s. Or giving out Christmas cards to friends and family member, which was started in 1875. Christmas was finally declared as a United States federal holiday in 1885.