TLW's Christmasscope™ (Christmas Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Dec. 18, 2018. Last Update: Jan. 8, 2019.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to the history of Christmas and Christmastide. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
On June 24, 4 B.C.E. Judean Jewish prophet (of voice crying in the wilderness eating locust and honey fame) (St.) John the Baptist (Baptizer) (d. 32 C.E.) is born to Jewish priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth; according to the Gospel of Luke 1:5-25 he is conceived 6 mo. before Jesus on the night of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which would be in late Sept. *Sept. 24?) or early Oct. - so what's this I hear about you're fall and I'm spring? On Dec. 25, 4 B.C.E. Judean Christian Messiah Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Joshua or Yehoshuah bar Joseph) (d. 33) is born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary and Joseph (a carpenter or stoneworker), both of the House of David; don't ask about the In-Vitro Fertilization Technique used?; the official Roman Catholic Church position is Dec. 25, although the shepherds are in the fields with the flocks at the time of his birth, which would more likely be spring or summer, which might make John the Baptist the only Dec. baby?; Jesus is crucified on the day of his conception (Mar. 25)?
About 200 C.E. Athens-born Christian saint Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens) (150-215) writes the soundbyte: "There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20]... Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21]"; about the same time Smyrna-born Christian bishop of Lyon #2 St. Irenaeus (Gr. "peacemaker") of Lyon (130-202) writes that Christ was born on Dec. 25.
About 200 C.E. Roman-born Christian bishop St. Hippolytus of Rome (170-235) writes Philosophoumena (Refutation of All Heresies), and Treatise on Christ and Antichrist (204?), a commentary on the Book of Daniel that feeds Millennium Fever for cents., using the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant to set the date for the Second Coming of Christ as the year 500, exactly 6K years after the creation of Adam, containing the soundbyte: "For the first advent of our Lord in the flesh, when he was born in Bethlehem, was December 25th, Wednesday, while Augustus was in his forty-second year, but from Adam, five thousand and five hundred years. He suffered in the thirty-third year, March 25th, Friday, the eighteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, while Rufus and Roubellion were Consuls"; also Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades - who sucks worse, Minos, Rhadamanthus, or Aeacus? He is martyred in Sardinia in 235 C.E., leaving Chronicon, a history of the world from Creation to 234 C.E., which claims that Jesus Christ was born 9 mo. after the anniversary of the Creation (Mar. 25), i.e., Dec. 25.
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus? On May 16, 218 C.E. rebel troops set up Varius Avitus Bassianus (b. 203) (grandnephew of Julia Domna, the Syrian wife of Septimius Severus) as a rival emperor in Emesa, Syria; on June 8 Roman emperor (since 217) Macrinus (b. 165) and his son Diadumenianus (-218) are KIA in Cappadocia by the rebel army, and teenie-bopper Sun god priest Elegabalus (Heliogabalus) (Varius Avitus Bassianus) (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus) (203-22), the last of the Antonines becomes Roman emperor #25 (until 222), changing his name to Marcus Aurelius to legitimize his rule, claiming to be Caracalla's son, going on to marry famous male athlete Zoticus, along with his slave Hierocles; he soon begins promoting the licentious cult of El-Gabal (Elagabalus) (Heliogabalus) ("El of the Mountain"), Sun god of his hometown (whose priest he has been since early youth), while his iron lady grandmother Julia Maesa (-226) really rules things, making him adopt his cousin Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus Alexianus (Alexander Severus) (208-35), son of her sister Julia Avita Mamaea (181-235) - hey, king Tut did it? Elagabalus orders the Elagabalium built on the E side of the Palatine Hill to house the black conical meteorite holy to the faith, supposedly sent from Heaven and containing a rough picture of the Sun in its markings, incorporating the Roman Sun god Sol Invictus (Lat. "Unconquered Sun"); he forces senators to watch him dance around the altar to the sound of cymbals and drums, leading a big festival each summer solstice where he distributes food; too bad, he tries to place his god above Jupiter, and incorporate all other religions, even Judaism and Christianity, causing everybody to detest him? - the original Islam?
In 221 C.E. Jerusalem-born Libyan Roman Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus (160-240) finishes his Chronographies (Chronographiae), a history of the world from Adam in 5500 B.C.E. to 221 C.E., which Bishop Eusebius Pamphili of Caesarea later corrects errors in; it dates Creation at 5500 years before the birth of Christ, and dates Christ's birth three years earlier than the usual, on Dec. 25 (winter solstice), based on his conception on the day of Creation, Mar. 25 (equinox), which is later adopted by the Eastern Christian churches; his work is lost except for fragments in Eusebius' Chronicon et al.
In Feb.-Mar. 274 C.E. Roman emperor #44 (since 270) Aurelian (Lucius Domitius Aurelianus) (214-75) defeats pretenders Tetricus I and Tetricus II at the Battle of Chalons-sur-Marne in Gaul, sparing their lives and setting daddy up as gov. of S Italy, and reintegrates Gallia (Gaul) and Britannia (Britain) into the Roman Empire, then celebrates a 2nd triumph in Rome, adorned by his trophies Zenobia and Tetricus; on Dec. 25 he orders the cult of Sol Invictus (Lat. "Unconquered Sun") made official, and inaugurates the Temple of Sol Invictus in Rome; all emperors go on to celebrate his birthday until Constantine, who goes Christian, after which the cult lasts until the 5th cent.; the last inscription referring to Sol Invictus is made in 387; Aurelian eestablishes trust in the monetary system, single-handedly restoring the Roman Empire while making Dec. 25 a commercial holiday, giving the Christians a burning desire to steal the day for their Son-god's b-day?
On Dec. 6, 343 C.E. wealthy Patara, Lycia-born St. Nicholas (b. 270), bishop of Myra (modern-day Demre) in Lycia, S Turkey, who attended the 325 Council of Nicaea dies after allegedly once hearing of a poor man who couldn't pay for the wedding dowries of his three daughters, causing him to throw a sack of gold through his window two nights in a row, and on the 3rd night drop one down the chimney after the guy closed the window, where it landed in the girls' stockings as they were drying in the fireplace, then decided to obey Jesus' words to "sell all you own and give the money to the poor", becoming the patron saint of Russia and Greece, sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students; known for secret gift-giving, he evolves into Sinterklaas then Santa Claus (Saint Nick), with St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 5/6.
On Aug. 28, 430 C.E. African-born (modern-day Algeria) Roman Catholic theologian St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) dies, leaving 12 Christmas sermons (#s 185-196), backing the Dec. 25 date for Christmas as coinciding with the winter solstice in the Roman calendar, with the soundbyte: "Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase."
In 567 C.E. the Council of Tours sets the dates of Christmas and Epiphany as Dec. 25 and Jan. 6, and names the Twelve Days of Christmas between them as the Christmas season; the Eastern Churches go on to celebrate Christ's baptism on Jan. 6, while the Western Church celebrates only the Visitation of the Magi to see the newborn Christ on Jan. 6.
The Lion Trinity is born in Rome? On Dec. 23, 800 C.E. after being sent back to Rome by Charlemagne and kept in protective custody, Pope Leo III clears himself of Roman accusations of moral turpitude and is reinstated; on Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) Frankish king (since 768) Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus) (Karl der Grosse) (Charles the Great) (742-814) is crowned emperor of Rome by surprise as he is kneeling in prayer in the 4th cent. Church of St. Peter in Rome before St. Peter's tomb, and triple-threat Leo III pops up from the shadows and places a crown on his head, hailing him as Caesar and Augustus, with the rehearsed clergy and people shouting "Charles Augustus, crowned great and peace-loving emperor of the Romans, life and victory", causing Charlemagne to allegedly utter the soundbyte that he would never have entered the church that day if he had known the pope's intentions (he wanted to be crowned emperor in France sans the pope so he wouldn't owe him?); the First Reich begins (ends 1806); the term "Holy Empire" is used in 1157, and "Holy Roman Empire" in 1254; after trying to mollify the outraged Byzantines for stealing their imperial title by satisfying himself with "emperor, king of the Franks and Lombards", Charlemagne tries to erase the lost years since 476 C.E. and refound the Western Roman Empire (ends 1806), while his master the pope tries to make himself the supreme bishop of Christendom, reserving the title of Pope (Papa), and introducing azymes (unleavened bread) into the Eucharist; too bad, Leo III becomes the only pope in history to bow before an earthly king, but he later backtracks and asserts the right of popes to crown all emperors, who must bow before them, and later artists redraw the scene to make it PC; "... the only authentic nobility is the nobility of Visigothic/Merogingian origin. The Carolingians, then all others, are but usurpers. In effect, they were the functionaries of the king, charged with administering lands - who, after transmitting by heredity their right to govern these lands, then purely and simply seized power for themselves. In consecrating Charlemagne in the year 800, the Church perjured itself, for it had concluded, at the baptism of Clovis, an alliance with the Merovingians which had made France the eldest daughter of the Church" (Mathieu Paoli); too bad, after stirring up the Norse Vikings, the resurrected Western Empire lasts less than 30 years after Charlemagne's 814 death (until 843); at first the game is to challenge the Byzantine emperor's claim of universal temporal sovereignty and not get their butts kicked, and of course he refuses to recognize Charlemagne's newfangled imperial title, but Big C starts out to change their minds the tried and tested way with negotiations to marry Empress Irene and unite the two empires (by the power of Dick Almighty, oh those Slim Tips?); meanwhile new Roman emperor Charlemagne requires all males above age 12 to renew their oath of allegiance to both the empire and Christianity, making it a capital offense to refuse baptism, and tries to improve the admin. by dividing the empire into districts ruled by counts who defend the frontiers, while new missi dominici (imperial messengers) are hired to create a comm network; like any good emperor wanting to promote culture, he imports architects from Ravenna to Worms and Cologne to develop Romanesque Architecture (characterized by semi-circular arches, massive thick walls and symmetrical plan, sturdy pillars, groin vaults, large towers, and decorative arcading), and has poems sung to music at his court, which becomes a mecca for learned men from the empire, building up libraries of Greek and Roman mss., while Charlemagne sets an example by learning Latin and Greek (as well as German) and writing a grammar of his own language; his court has twelve peers called Paladins (from "palatine") (palace officers) (great knights) (douzepers) (actually a later fiction mixing up the old Roman Emperor and his Palatine Hill with King Arthur of Britain and his Knights of the Round Table); he also establishes a fleet to guard against Viking attacks in the Channel, causing them to invade Germany instead, discovering the Faroe (Sheep) Islands.
In the 12th cent. C.E. the Twelve (Holy) Days of Christmas (Christmastide) (Dec. 25-Jan. 5) are created from Saturnalian traditions in Italy combined with the Forty Days of St. Martin (Nov. 11-Dec. 25), beginning on the feast of St. Martin of Tours (Nov. 11) (AKA the Advent).
On Dec. 25, 1376 aging king Edward III holds a Christmas feast at Windsor Castle, seating 10-y.-o. prince Richard (future Richard II) at his side to mark him as a heir; he is crowned 7 mo. later.
On Dec. 25, 1377 new king Richard II holds a Christmas feast at which 28 oxen and 300 sheep are eaten.
In 1599-1602 Stratford-upon-Avon, England-born #1 playwright-poet William Shakespeare (1564-1616) writes the tragedy The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, based on the story of Amleth in Gesta Danorum, a history of Denmark to 1187 in 16 vols. by Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus (1150-1220); a first vers. was written in 1588-93?; set in Elsinore (Helsingor) (site of Kronborg Castle); it contains a rare reference to Christmas: "Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes/ Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,/ This bird of dawning singeth all night long;/ And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,/ The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,/ No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,/ So hallow'd and so gracious is the time." (1.1.11-17)
On Dec. 25, 1620 (Old Style) the Pilgrims of the new Plymouth Colony show their contempt for Christmas by working all day.
In Dec. 1629 London-born English Anglican poet John Milton (1608-74) writes On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, becoming a tradition to read at Christmastide.
In 1640 the Scottish Parliament officially abolishes the observance of Christmas as part of a gen. abolition of "all superstitious observation of days"; Christmas is not restored as a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.
In Sept. 1642 the new (since Nov. 3, 1640) Puritan Long Parliament wastes no time 'getting' Shakespeare, forbidding all stage plays and closing all theatres; in 1644 Christmas and Christmas carols are banned in England by the mirthless Puritans, incl. taking the day off from work, decorating with greens, and mince pies (first brought back from the Middle East by 13th cent. Crusaders) for associations with Roman Catholic idolatry; in June 1647 the Long Parliament confirms the abolition of the feast of Christmas; in 1660 after the Restoration all Puritan legislation since 1642 is declared null and void, allowing the theaters to reopen and the Twelve Days of Christmas to be celebrated again - so I quit the police department and got myself a steady job?
In 1659 a law is passed in Boston, Mass. calling for a five shilling fine for celebrating Christmas; it stays on the books for more than 20 years until English gov. Edmund Andros revokes it in 1681, which doesn't stop Puritans from frowning on the holiday until the mid-19th cent.; meanwhile other North Am. cities incl. Jamestown, Va., Wachovia, N.C., New York City, and Penn. Dutch settlements continue to make merry on Christmas,, incl. Moravian settlers of Bethlehem, Lititz, and Nazareth, Penn., who put up the first Christmas trees and Nativity scenes in North Am.
In 1686 after he is used by Royalist political pamphleteers as a symbol of the good old days of feasting and good cheer to lobby for the Restoration, Josiah King pub. The Examination and Trial of Old Father Christmas, Together with his Clearing by the Jury in London, England, promoting Father Christmas, the English personification of St. Nicholas, known for Christmas feasting and merry-making sans mention of children, gift-giving, nocturnal visits, chimneys and stockings; after the Am. version of Santa Claus arrives in England in the 1850s, the images are merged by the 1880s.
On Mar. 9, 1706 obscure Nuremberg, Germany-born Baroque composer-organist Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) dies, leaving Pachelbel's Canon in D (written around 1680), which isn't rediscovered until 1919, becoming a Christmas standard. In 2005 South Korean bedroom guitarist Lim Jeong-hyun (1984-) AKA Fun-Two releases his version of Canon Rock on YouTube, which becomes a viral hit.
On Apr. 13, 1742 after moving to England in 1712, Halle-upon-Saale, Magdenburg, Brandenburg, Prussia-born Baroque composer George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel) (1685-1759) debuts his Bible-theme oratorio (The) Messiah (HMV 56) in New Muck Hall, Dublin, which he composes in 24 days to save his flagging career, performed by 26 boys and 5 men, and this time he found he finds an audience of eager Bible-thumpers, Hallelujah, God save the king; the 1743 London debut is attended by George II, who stands up during the Hallelujah Chorus, leading some to surmise that he wasn't so moved by the music as tired and needing to stretch his legs; the first 7th-inning stretch?; becomes a Christmas standard; watch video.
They partied hearty all night and planned on sleeping till noon? On Dec. 25, 1776 (6 p.m.) knowing the Germans' love for feasting and drinking on Christmas (which they shun as an English custom), after requisitioning heavy open boats used to bring pig iron into Philly, Gen. Washington and 2.6K men march to McKonkey's Ferry, cross the Delaware River in a hailstorm with the help of Col. John Glover and his Marblehead mariners, and land on the N.J. bank at 3 a.m. on Dec. 26, the boats going back to fetch 18 field guns and horses; at 8 a.m. they surprise 1.5K Hessian troops under the command of Col. Johann Gottlieb Rall (b. 1726) outside Trenton, N.J. (at the headwaters of the Delaware River) and score a major V of such stuff as legends are made in the Battle of Trenton, becoming the first U.S. V; 100 Hessians are KIA and 948 POWs are taken (the rest flee), while the halo-wearing rebels suffer only six wounded, incl. Lt. James Monroe (1758-1831), who had dropped out of the College of William and Mary this year to join the 3rd Va. Regiment near New York City and had taken part in the battles of Harlem Heights and White Plains; Rall is shot from his horse and mortally wounded, and formally surrenders to Washington before he croaks on Dec. 28; news of the Big V reaches every colony, raising spirits.
On Jan. 1, 1801 the 1800 Acts of Union with Ireland comes in effect, dissolving the Irish Parliament, giving it 32 peers in the British House of Lords and 100 members of the House of Commons, with the new U.K. Parliament meeting on Jan. 22; English king (since Oct. 25, 1760) George III (1738-1820) becomes king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (until Jan. 29, 1829); his wife (since Sept. 8, 1761) Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818) becomes queen, adding the title to electress of Hanover of the HRE until her hubby is promoted to king of Hanover on Oct. 12, 1814, allowing the Christmas tree to be introduced to England; Ireland begins to be all about nationalist movements springing up to get it repealed and regain home rule, lasting well into the 20th cent.
In 1821 the Pennsylvania Dutch of Lancaster introduce the Germanic custom of the Christmas tree to the U.S.; the Germans also get credit for Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Easter eggs.
On Dec. 23, 1823 New York City-born scholar Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) anon. pub. the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) in the N.Y. Sentinel of Troy, N.Y., claiming authorship in 1837; written after meeting a plump bearded Dutchman?; "'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house/ Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;/ The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,/ In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;/ The children were nestled all snug in their beds,/ While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads"; introduces Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen; popularizes the tradition of exchanging gifts on Christmas, launching annual Christmas shopping, bringing the question of the true meaning of Christmas into the public arena; dedicated to his children as a Christmas Eve present; he fails to copyright it so it gets widely pirated, and others, incl. Maj. Henry "Holly Jolly" Livingston Jr. (1748-1828) are claimed as the real author.
In 1832 after reaching one-third of the pop. of the Am. colonies by 1750, then accelerating in 1830, there are 10K+ German immigrants in the U.S., with immigration accelerating after the failed Revs. of 1848, reaching 200K by 1854, and 5M by 1900, bringing German culture with them, incl. love of beer, sauerkraut, bowling, the tuba, the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, along with a tradition of organized recreation on Sundays, which was forbidden by the Puritans, going on to found the first kindergarten and introduce physical and vocational education along with gymnasiums into public schools; in the late 19th cent. mass German immigration into New York City makes it the hub of bowling in the U.S.
In 1832 future British Queen Victoria writes about her delight in her German Christmas tree, complete with lights, ornaments, and presents underneath; after her 1841 marriage to Prince Albert, the Christmas tree custom begins to spread, and in 1848 the Illustrated London News pub. an image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, creating a sensation, causing it to be repub. in the U.S. in 1850, doing ditto; by the 1870s Christmas trees are common in the U.S.
In 1833 English solicitor and antiquarian William Sandys (1792-1874) pub. Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, which launches a revival of the Christmas carol; incl. The First Noel, I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In), Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (mentioned in Charles Dicken's 1843 "A Christmas Carol"). In 1852 he pub. Christmas-tide, Its History, Festivities and Carols, with Their Music.
On Dec. 25, 1834 Christmas Day becomes a bank holiday in England; Boxing Day (St. Stephen's Day) (Dec. 26) is added in 1871.
On Dec. 19, 1843 (Tues.) Portsea, Portsmouth, England-born novelist Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-70) pub. A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas; illustrated by John Leech; 28K words, 80 pages; written in six weeks to pay off his debts while finishing "Martin Chuzzlewit", it sells 6K copies in its first week, causing him to write four more "Christmas books", creating a genre; "a Ghostly little book... which shall not put my readers out of humour... with the season"; mean old miser Ebenezer Scrooge, his downtrodden employee Bob Cratchit and his children Tiny Tim, Peter, Martha, Belinda and two nonames, his business partner Jacob Marley, his nephew Fred, his old employer Fezziwig;, Dick Wilkins, laundress Mrs. Dilbert, undertaker's asst. Sparsit, fence Old Joe Hoggs, Caroline and her hubby; begins: "Marley was dead, to begin with"; ends: "And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!"; popularizes the phrase "Merry Christmas; "Bah! Humbug!" Scrooge becomes a synonym for a miser; has "staves" instead of chapters, since musical notation is written on five staves; "Stave I: Marley's Ghost"; "Stave II: The First of the Three Spirits" (Ghost of Christmas Past); "Stave III: The Second of the Three Spirits" (Ghost of Christmas Present); "Stave IV: The Last of the Spirits" (Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come); "Stave V: The End of It"; Dickens reads it at Birmingham Town Hall on Dec. 27, 1852 in his first-ever public reading - moral: go out and spend big bucks every Christmas? In 1850 Dickens pub. the book A Christmas Tree, calling it a "pretty German toy".
In 1843 the first Christmas Cards are sold in England by Sir Henry Cole (1808-82), who hires artist John Calcott Horsley (1817-1903) to design one showing people feeding and clothing the needy and celebrating; later cards feature Santa Claus, snowmen, and trees; Nativity scenes don't become popular until the 20th cent.
In 1849 Mrs. Santa Claus first appears in the short story "A Christmas Legend" by Philly-based Christian missionary James Rees (1802-85).
On Dec. 10, 1854 French Romantic "Symphonie fantastique" composer Louis-Hector Berlioz (1803-69) debuts his Christmas oratorio The Infant Christ, Opt. 25 (L'enfance du Christ) at the Salle Herz in Paris, based on the Holy Family's flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:13).
In 1854 the town of Santa Claus, Ind. (modern-day pop. 2.4K) is founded after the name Santa Fe (pr. "fee") is refused by the U.S. Post Office, going on to become the only post office on Earth with the name Santa Claus, causing it to receive thousands of letters from chilren each year addressed to Santa Claus, and a special group of volunteers called Santa's Elves to send replies starting in 1914.
In 1863 after his wife reads Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" to him, Bavarian-born Harper's Weekly cartoonist ("Father of the Am. Cartoon") Thomas Nast (1840-1902) ditches the tall thin look and creates new images of Santa Claus as a "round jolly old elf" who lives in the North Pole.
In 1878 Irish journalist William O'Brien (1852-1928) pub. a series of articles titled Christmas in the Galtees in the Freeman's Journal, describing the "shock horror" conditions in which the Irish are forced to live by the English, based on the tenants of the Buckley Estate on the S slopes of the Galtee Mts., writing the book after being acquitted of a libel action brought by the land agent Patten Bridge; "The Widow Condon spent Christmas night, having begged a meal of bread and tea from her neighbours as her Christmas dinner. Her holding is one swampy field upon which the rent has been raised from 2/6 to 25/-. She spent 30/- for manure and 10/- for labour in an attempt to grow a quarter of an acre of potatoes, but it produced not a stone... She hasn't a cow, sheep or even a hen... As I drove away this evening to Cahir, past Lord Lismore's ample demesne, past the rich expanses of luxuriant grass and deep corn... it was hard to think that I still breathed the air of the same county."
G.E. has a bright idea? On Oct. 21, 1879 Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) of the U.S. invents the Electric Incandescent Light (light bulb), then gets it patented in the U.S. next Jan. 20, and tries to take all the credit, even though British inventor Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) already patented it in Britain in 1878, and he was knowingly copying it; he privately demonstrates it in Menlo Park, N.J. on Dec. 20, then publicly demonstrates it there on Dec. 31, scoring two firsts by putting on the first public display of Christmas lighting so that people coming on the nearby railroad tracks will get a thrill; he doesn't think to put them on a Christmas tree; in 1883 Edison and Swan set up a joint Edison & Swan United Electric Light Co. to sell lamps made with Swan's cellulose filament, which he invents in 1881, while the Edison Co. continues to use inferior bamboo filaments until it merges with Gen. Electric in 1892.
On Dec. 18, 1892 Russian composer Peter (Pyotr) Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) debuts his ballet The Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse", with libretto by Marius Petipa; Clara gets a you know what for Xmas; features the Celesta (pr. chel-ES-ta) (small metal bars struck by felt hammers with piano-like keyboard), which is used in "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"; a flop, causing Tchaikovsky to extract a 20-min. Nutcracker Suite that becomes a success; incl. Overture, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Trepak Dance, Dance of the Toy Flutes, Waltz of the Snowflakes; too bad, the complete ballet remains a flop until the San Francesco Ballet stages it on Xmas Eve, 1944, and the New York City Ballet performs George Balanchine's staging in 1954, becoming a Christmas standard.
On Sept. 21, 1897 after 8-y.-o. Manhattan, N.Y.-born Laura Virginia O'Hanlon (1889-1971) writes to New York Sun ed. Francis Pharcellus Church (1839-1906) asking if there really is a Santa Claus, he pub. the famous reply: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", which becomes so popular that they reprint the correspondence every year until 1949 when the paper goes out of business, becoming the most reprinted English language newspaper editorial (until ?).
In 1910 David City, Neb.-born Joyce Clyde Hall (1891-1982) founds Hallmark Card Co. in Kansas City, Mo., starting by quitting high school in Norfolk, Neb. and going store-to-store in Kansas City, Mo. with two shoe boxes full of greeting cards, expanding to Valentine's Day and Christmas Cards in 1915, and inventing wrapping paper in 1917, going on to become an Am. success story and become friends with Eisenhower, Churchill, and Truman.
On Dec. 24, 1914 (Xmas Eve) Denver electrician David Dwight "D.D." Sturgeon starts the Christmas holiday tradition of stringing up red-green lights on a tree for his sick 10-y.-o. son David Jonathan Sturgeon, causing a craze that results in the Denver Post sponsoring the first outdoor lighting contest, and the Denver Civic Center displaying its first lights in 1919, followed in 1935 by the Denver City and County Bldg.; in 1947 the public reacts against a too-restrained display.
The war could indeed have ended by Christmas, but Satan trumps Christ? On Dec. 24, 1914 (eve.) the Germans, British, French, and Belgians along the 475-mi. Western Front (English Channel to Swiss Alps) take time out to celebrate together in No Man's Land in the surrealistic no-white-flags-needed 1914 Christmas Truce, which starts after the Germans begin singing "Silent Night", causing the English and French to put down their guns and chime in, share food and photos, play soccer, and agree to continue the truce long enough to bury their dead on Dec. 25; later soldiers on both sides are reprimanded and punished for fraternizing with the enemy - blood is thicker than kidney pie and braunschweiger?
On Dec. 22, 1920 a Christmas Radio Concert is transmitted from the Funkerberg in Konigswusterhausen, Germany, becoming the first German radio broadcast.
On Dec. 24, 1923 after First Lady Grace Coolidge persuades her husband to implement a plan of students from Washington, D.C. to put up a lighted Nat. Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House, he throws the switch for the unveiling ceremony, which becomes an annual tradition called the Nat. Tree Lighting; Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first to make formal remarks during the ceremony; in 1954 the event marks the start of the mo.-long Pageant of Peace, with the Pathway to Peace composed of smaller trees representing the U.S. states, District of Columbia, and five territories; the ceremony is not held in 1942-4 due to WWII; the sources of the Nat. Christmas Tree vary each year, with cut evergreen trees used in 1923 and 1954-72, and living trees from 1924-53, and 1973-present.
On Nov. 27, 1924 (Thanksgiving Day) the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in New York City from Central Park West to Herald Square on Broadway, from 145th St. down to 34th St., watched by 250K, with employees dressed in costumes, with floats, bands, and bears borrowed from Central Park Zoo, which scare the kids so much that balloons replace them in 1927, starting with silent cartoon star Fritz the Cat.
On Dec. 2, 1928 (first Sun. after Thanksgiving) the first annual Hollywood Christmas (Santa) Parade (Santa Claus Lane Parade) is held in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif. along a 3-5mi. stretch on Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd.; in 1942-44 it is suspended due to WWII; in 1946 George Autry rides his horse in the parade.
In Nov. 1931 the first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is erected by workers in front of the unfinished Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, N.Y., only 20 ft. tall; in 1933 the first official tree is 50 ft. tall; starting in 1997 the lighting is broadcast live on NBC-TV on the first Wed. after Thanksgiving, with the New York City mayor doing the honors; the tree is donated, and is usually a Norway spruce 69-100 ft. (21m-30m) tall; it is taken down in early Jan.
In 1931 Coca-Cola debuts its Pause that Refreshes ad campaign in The Saturday Evening Post, featuring a jolly Santa drawn by Muskegon, Mich.-born artist Haddon Hubbard "Sunny" Sundblom (1899-1976), who depicts him in a red suit with white fur trim, black belt, and black boots, based on the 1860s work of Thomas Nast and the 1822 Clement Clarke Moore poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", creating the modern image of Santa Claus; he goes on to create Santa's mascot Sprite Boy in 1942.
In Nov. 1934 New York City-born singer-dancer Eddie "Banjo Eyes" Cantor (Edward Israel Itzkowitz) (1892-1964) debuts Santa Claus is Coming to Town, composed by John Frederick Coots (1897-1985) and James Lamont "Haven" Gillespie (1888-1975), selling 400K copies by Xmas, becoming a Christmas standard covered by 200+ artists incl. Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (1947), The Crystals (1963), Frank Sinatra (1948), The Four Seasons (1963), The Jackson 5 (1970), The Carpenters (1974), The Partridge Family (1971), Bruce Springsteen (1985), Andy Williams (1990), The Pointer Sisters (1987), Mariah Carey (1994), Michael Buble (2011), and Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks (2012).
In 1934 Newark, N.J.-born bandleader Herbert Richard Himber (1899-1966) and his Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra release Winter Wonderland, composed by Felix Bernard and lyricist Richard B. Smith, who was inspired by Central Park in his hometown of Honesdale, Penn.; the song becomes a Christmas standard covered by 200+ artists incl. Artie Shaw (1934), Johnny Mercer (1946) (#4 in the U.S.), Perry Como (1946) (#10 in the U.S.), and the Eurythmics (1987).
On Dec. 25, 1939 Montgomery Ward dept. stores pub. the booklet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, written by ad writer Robert L. "Bob" May (1905-76) for his 4-y.-o. daughter Barbara; the co. buys the rights and prints it for customers, then gives the rights back to him in 1946 after his wife becomes too sick to pay for medical expenses; watch video; in 1949 after his brother-in-law "A Holly Jolly Christmas" songwriter John David "Johnny" Marks (1909-85) composes the music, Tioga, Tex.-born singing cowboy Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (1907-98) makes it a #1 hit song - Rudolph is a Marksist plot, that's why he has a red nose? In 1947 Autry releases his song Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane) (#9 in the U.S.) (#5 country); watch video. In 1998 Bruce Springsteen covers "Here Comes Santa Claus".
On Dec. 25, 1941 Tacoma, Wash.-born crooner-actor Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (1903-77) debuts White Christmas by Russian-born composer Irving Berlin (Israel Beilin) (1888-1989) at the Kraft Music Hall, then records it in Los Angeles for Decca Records on May 29, 1942 along with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers; on July 30 it is released, becoming #1 for 11 weeks, becoming Bing's best-selling record, best-selling Xmas single, and best-selling single of all time (50M copies) - somehow with all them corpses in the Russian snow, this song is a little macabre? On Aug. 4, 1942 Mark Sandrich's Holiday Inn (Paramount Pictures) debuts, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as rival song-and-dance men Jim Hardy and Ted Hanover, who woo the same women (Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale) while working to turn a Conn. farm into an entertainment inn only open on holidays 15 days a year; a vehicle for the 12 Irving Berlin songs incl. "Easter Parade", "White Christmas", and "Be Careful, It's My Heart"; Astaire performs the Firecracker Dance; Crosby stinks himself up in blackface in Abraham; does $3.75M box office; remade in 1954 as guess what "White Christmas"? On Oct. 1, 1943 Crosby records the song I'll Be Home for Christmas with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records, peaking at #3; compoed by Walter Kent (1911-94), Kim Gannon, and Buck Ram; on Dec. 7, 1944 he performs it at the Kraft Music Hall; about a WWII soldier stationed overseas, it becomes the most requested song at USO shows; meanwhile the BBC bans it; watch video. In 1945 he releases the album Merry Christmas (#1 in the U.S.) (15M copies), which features "White Christmas", "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "Jingle Bells", and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". On Oct. 14, 1954 Michael Curtiz' White Christmas (Paramount Pictures) ($30M box office, highest-grossing film of 1954) debuts, a musical film loaded with Irving Berlin songs sung by Bing Crosby (1903-77) (as Bob Wallace), Danny Kaye (1913-87) (as Phil Davis), Rosemary Clooney (as Betty Haynes), and Vera-Ellen (as Judy Haynes) in a financially unstable Vermont inn for charity, incl. White Christmas; first film released in VistaVision; Donald O'Connor contracts an illness from Francis the Mule, giving Kaye the part. Covered by The Drifters.
On Nov. 22, 1944 Vincente Minnelli's Meet Me in St. Louis (Nov. 22) (MGM), the first Hollywood musical with songs that advance the story line, written by Fred Finklehoffe and Irving Brecher based on the book by Sally Benson about the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair stars Judy Garland as Esther Smith, Margaret O'Brien as Tootie Smith, Lucille Bremer as Rose Smith, Joan Carroll as Agnes Smith, four marriageable sisters whose daddy Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames) and mommy Anna (Mary Astor) are about to move them to New York City despite their love entanglements; Minnelli meets future wife Garland on the set, marrying in 1945-51; does $6.5M box office on a $1.9M budget; incl. the 1904 song Meet Me in St. Louis by Kerry Mills and Andrew B. Sterling, plus new songs by Hugh Martin (1914-) and Ralph Blane (1914-95), incl. The Trolley Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane), The Boy (Girl) Next Door.
On Dec. 21, 1946 Frank Capra's B&W It's A Wonderful Life (RKO) debuts, the ideal postwar escapist white Am. flick, based on the story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern, starring James Stewart as George Bailey, Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey, and Lionel Barrymore as mean old Henry F. Potter in Bedford Falls, who persecutes George for mismanagement of $8K, causing him to attempt suicide on Christmas Eve, only to be rescued by his guardian angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), who shows him what the world would have been like if he never lived; Ward Bond plays Bert the cop; Thomas Mitchell plays Uncle Billy; Todd Karns plays brother Harry; score by Dimitri Tiomkin; debuts on Dec. 21 after a Dec. 20 preview for charity at the Globe Theatre in New York City; does $3.3M box office on a $3.18M budget; voted most inspirational film of all time by Americans in 2006; watch trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip; view clip.
In 1946 Montgomery, Ala.-born jazz pianist-singer Nathaniel Adams "Nat King" Cole (1919-54) and his trio record the song The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), which becomes a big pop/R&B hit, causing him to record it again in 1953 with a full orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle, and again in 1961 in stereo, becoming the most-loved seasonal song with women aged 30-49; composed in 1945 by Mel Torme (1925-99) and Robert Wells (1922-98) as a way to keep cool during a hot summer; top Christmas song of the cent.? On July 5-7, 1960 Cole releases his album The Magic of Christmas (#1 in the U.S.), which becomes the best-selling Christmas album of the 1960s (6M copies in the U.S.).
On May 2, 1947 George Seaton's B&W Miracle on 34th Street (The Big Heart) (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on a story by Valentine Davies, starring English actor Edmund Gwenn (Kellaway) (1877-1959) as Kris Kringle, who is hired by Macy's and faces the cynical boss' daughter Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara), while her believing daughter Susan, played by Natalie Wood (Natasha Nikolaevna Zakharenko) (1938-81) also acts as matchmaker for Fred Gailey (John Payne); scenes of the real thing in the film popularize Macy's Christmas Parade; the house at the end is located at 24 Derby Rd., Port Washington, N.Y.; Kringle proves his sanity by stating that J.Q. Adams' vice-pres. was Daniel D. Tompkins, when it was really John C. Calhoun (Tompkins served under James Monroe); refilmed in 1994.
In Nov. 1947 Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, fronted by Texas City, Tex.-born blues pianist-singer Tony Russell "Charles" Brown (1922-99) releases the R&B Christmas single Merry Christmas Baby, composed by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter, which becomes a Christmas standard covered by Chuck Berry, Etta James, Mae West, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, The Monkees, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, Booker T. & the MGs, Christina Aguilera, Bonnie Raitt, Cheryl Crow, Hanson, Melisa Etheridge et al. In 1960 Brown releases the album Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs, featuring the single Please Come Home for Christmas (#76 in the U.S.), which is covered in 1978 by The Eagles, becoming the first Christmas song to reach the U.S. top-20 (#18) since Ray Orbison's "Pretty Paper" in 1963; on Oct. 20, 1992 1992 Jon Bon Jovi covers it in the holiday album A Very Special Chritmas 2, with a promo video featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford.
In 1948 Max Fleischer's animated film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer debuts, based on the 1939 Robert L. May poem; view film.
On June 9, 1949 Edward Buzzell's Neptune's Daughter (MGM) debuts, a Technicolor musical romantic comedy starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, and Ricardo Montalban, becoming the first pairing of Williams and Montalban, and one of the first films to depict a television being used; does $5.77M box office on a $2.2M budget; features the song Baby, It's Cold Outside (written in 1944 by Frank Loesser), becoming a Christmas standard; too bad, it is seen at a church social in Greeley, Colo. by Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), freaking him out with the lewdness of Am. women, after which he moves back to Egypt and joins the Muslim Brotherhood, working to restore Sharia, spawning al-Qaida; in Dec. 2018 Am. PC police get the song banned from radio stations for its alleged suggestion of date rape, although it really glorifies the empowerment of women even before the arrival of the birth control pill? Watch video; watch video.
In 1949 Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979 and the Boston Pops Orchestra release Sleigh Ride, which becomes a Christmas standard; composed in Feb. 1948 by Leroy Anderson (1908-75), with lyrics added by Mitchell Parish (1900-93) in 1950; covered by Leroy Anderson (1950), the Andrews Sisters (1950), Johnny Mathis (1958), The Ronettes (1963), TLC (1993), and the Spice Girls (1996).
In 1950 Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (1907-98) and The Cass County Boys release the single Frosty the Snowman (Snow Man) (#7 in the U.S.) (#4 country) (Columbia Records), composed by Steve Edward Nelson (1907-81) and Walter E. "Jack" Rollins (1906-73); it is later covered by Nat King Cole (1950) (#9 in the U.S.), Guy Lombardo (1950) (#28 in the U.S.), Jimmy Durante (1953) (#7 in the U.S.), Perry Como (1957) (#74 in the U.S.), Jan and Dean (1963) (#11 in the U.S.), Johnny Mathis (2003) (#29 in the U.S.), Kimberley Locke (2007) (#1 in the U.S.), and Whitney Wolanin (2012) (#13 in the U.S.).
On July 15, 1952 Jayess, Miss.-born singer Jimmy Devon Boyd (1939-2009) records the hit single I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (#1 in the U.S.) (#3 in the UK.), composed by Tommie Connor; commissioned by Saks Fifth Avenue to promote their Christmas card featuring artwork by Perry Barlow; banned in Boston, making it more popular?; watch video; covered by Spike Jones (1952), The Ronettes (1963), The Jackson 5 (1970), John Mellencamp (1987) et al.
On Oct. 2, 1953 North, S.C.-born singer Eartha Kitt (Eartha Mae Keith) (1927-2008) releases her hit song Santa Baby (500K copies); composed by Joan Javits (niece of Sen. Jacob K. Javits), Philip Springer, and Tony Springer; "Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me/ Been an awful good girl/ Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight"; watch video; covered by Madonna (1987), Holly Cole (1995), Kylie Minogue (1997), The Pussycat Dolls (2000), Calista Flockhart (2000), Pink Martini (2001), Emilie-Claire Barlow (2007), Lina (2007), Taylor Swift (2007), The Puppini Sisters (2010), Michael Buble (2011), Cast of Glee (2011), Tamar Braxton (2013), Ariana Grande (2013), Megan Nicole (2013), Rev Run (2014), Miley Cyrus (2018).
On Dec. 24, 1955 NORAD (originally Continental Air Defense Command or CONAD) in Colorado Springs, Colo. begins an annual tradition of tracking Santa Claus on his flight from the North Pole after Sears in Colo. Springs places an ad in the Colo. Springs Gazette telling kids to call Santa on the phone, and they mistakenly give NORAD's number, causing commanding officer Col. Harry Shoup to go along with it, issuing a press releasing saying "CONAD, Army, Navy and Marine Air Forces will continue to track and guard Santa and his sleigh on his trip to and from the U.S. against possible attack from those who do not believe in Christmas"; actually it was one 5-y.-o. kid, who misdialed the number in the ad>; on Dec. 24, 1948 the USAF already issued a communique stating that an "early warning radar net to the north" had detected "one unidentified sleigh, powered by eight reindeer, at 14,000 feet [4.3Km], heading 180 degrees", which was pub. by Associated Press; watch video.
On Sept. 21, 1957 Hoboken, N.J.-born crooner Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra (1915-98) releases the album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, his first full-length Christmas album, featuring the Ralph Brewster Singers along with the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra; features Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
On Oct. 15, 1957 Tupelo, Miss.-born "King of Rock and Roll" Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-77) releases Elvis' Christmas Album (It's Christmas Time) (#1 in the U.S.), which incl. Blue Christmas.
In Oct. 1957 Helmsburg, Ind.-born country singer Robert Lee "Bobby" Helms (1933-97) records Jingle Bell Rock (#6 in the U.S.) (#13 country) (100M copies), composed by Joseph Carleton "Joe" Beal (1900-67) and James Ross "Jim" Boothe (1917-76); "Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock/ Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring/ Snowin' and blowin' up bushels of fun/ Now the jingle hop has begun"; "Giddy-up, Jingle Horse, pick up your feet/ Jingle around the clock/ Mix and a-mingle in the jinglin' beat/ That's the Jingle Bell Rock"; the Anita Kerr Quartet sing backup; it goes on to be covered by Max Bygraves (1959), Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell (1961), Hall & Oates (1983), George Strait (2000), Aaron Tippin (2002), Rascal Flatts (2008), Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (2012); watch video.
On Nov. 24, 1957 Springfield, Mass.-born writer-poet-cartoonist Theodor "Ted" Seuss ("Dr. Seuss") Geisel (1904-91) (AKA Theophrastus Seuss, Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone) pub. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Random House), about the solitary Grinch, with a heart "two sizes too small" who lives on snowy Mount Crumpit with his dog Max steals all the Christmas presents and decorations from Whoville, and is about to dump them in them abyss when he hears them singing, causing his heart to grow three sizes larger and return them, receiving the honor of carving the Roast Beast; "Maybe Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more"; filmed in 1966 as a TV special, in 2000 starring Jim Carrey, and in 2018. watch video.
In 1957 Capitol Records releases the album Merry Christmas to You!, containing Christmas hits by Frank Sinatra, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mercer, Les Baxter, Billy May, Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, and Yogi Yorgesson; watch video.
On Oct. 6, 1958 Gilmer, Tex.-born pop singer John Royce "Johnny" Mathis (1935-) releases his Christmas album Merry Christmas (#3 in the U.S.), becoming the #10-selling Christmas album in the U.S. (5.24M copies); watch video.
On Oct. 19, 1958 4'9" Atlanta, Ga.-born singer ("Little Miss Dynamite") Brenda Lee (Brenda Mae Tarpley) (1944-) records Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (#14 in the U.S., #6 in the U.K.), written by Johnny Marks; it sells only 5K copies the first year, but goes viral in 1960 and sells 25M copies by 2008; watch video.
On Nov. 17, 1958 David Seville and The Chipmunks (later Alvin and The Chipmunks) release the hit single The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) (#1 in the U.S.) (4.5M copies), a speeded-up version of "Around the World" (1956), created by Fresno, Calif.-born Rostom Sipan "Ross" Bagdasarian (1919-1972), who goes under the stage name David Seville, and voices the singing chipmunks Alvin (black spectacles), Simon, and Theodore, becoming the first Christmas song to reach #1 in the U.S. (until ?), winning three Grammys; in 1962 they release the Christmas album Christmas with The Chipmunks, followed by "The Chipmunks Vol. 2" in 1963; watch video.
In Nov. 1959 Newark, N.J.-born pop singer Connie Francis (Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero) (1937-) releases her only Christmas album Christmas in My Heart, recorded in Aug. at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London dir. by Geoff Love, then repepackaged and re-released by MGM Records in Oct. 1962.
In 1959 Warner Bros. orchestra conducted by Ted Dale releases the album The 22 Best Loved Christmas Piano Concerts, featuring Westerly, R.I.-born pianist George Greeley (Georgio Guariglia) (1917-2007); watch video.
In 1959 the John Birch Society pub. the pamphlet There Goes Christmas, which claims the existence of an atheistic Communist plot to "take the Christ out of Christmas" and replace Christmas decorations with U.N. icons, part of a plot to stamp out all religion and destroy U.S. sovereignty.
On Nov. 15, 1964 Nicholas Webster's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Jalor Productions) (Embassy Pictures) debuts, starring John Call as Santa Claus, and Doris Rich as Mrs. Claus, becoming her first film portrayal until "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on Dec. 6; about some Martians who see Santa Claus on TV and decide to kidnap him to help their children learn to have fun, but later decide to let Martian Dropo (Bill McCutcheon) be Santa, returning the real one to Earth; worst film ever made?; watch trailer.
In Nov. 1964 Hunt City, Ill.-born singer-actor Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (1909-95) releases his hit song A Holly Jolly Christmas (#30 in the U.S.) (#21 country), written by Johnny Marks (1909-85); watch video.
On Dec. 6, 1964 NBC-TV debuts the stop motion animated TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, based on the 1949 Johnny Marks song and narrated by Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman, featuring the voice of Canadian voice actress Billie Mae Richards (1921-2010) as Rudolph, and Paul Soles as Hermey the Elf, who wants to become a dentist instead of making toys (the original Carson Kressley?), going on to be telecast every year until ?, switching to CBS in 1972 and becoming the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in history (until ?); watch movie.
On Dec. 9, 1965 Lee Mendelson's animated TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, based on Charles M. Schulz' "Peanuts" cartoon debuts on NBC-TV, sponsored by Coca-Cola, ending up with a scrawny Xmas tree; stars the voices of Peter Robbins as Charlie Brown, Tracy Stratford as Lucy van Pelt, Chris Shea as Linus van Pelt, and Bill Melendez as Snoopy; "I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel. I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed" (Charlie Brown); "Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy is right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest" (Linus); the jazz soundtrack the A Charlie Brown Christmas (#175 in the U.S.) by the Vince Guaraldi Trio sells 3.4M copies; view clip; view clip
In Nov. 1966 Barnwell, S.C.-born "Godfather of Soul" singer-songwriter James Joseph Brown (1933-2006) releases album #17 James Brown Sings Christmas Songs. In 1968 he releases album #26 A Soulful Christmas, featuring Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto.
On Oct. 16, 1967 New York City-born singer Barbara Joan "Barbra" "Babs" Streisand (1942-) releases her first Christmas album A Christmas Album (#108 in the U.S.), becoming the #9-selling Christmas album of all time (5.37M copies); watch video.
On Nov. 27, 1967 Saginaw, Mich. child prodigy singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder (Stevland Hardaway Morris) (nee Judkins) (1950-) releases album #8 Someday at Christmas, featuring Someday at Christmas (#24 in the U.S.).
On Dec. 19, 1968 Arthur Rankin Jr.'s and Jules Bass' animated Christmas TV special The Little Drummer Boy debuts on NBC-TV, narrated by Greer Garson stars the voice of Teddy Eccles as Jewish orphan drummer boy Aaron, who hates all humanity and only plays his drum for his animal friends until he joins the Magi's caravan and meets Baby Jesus in Bethlehem and learns to love humanity again; becomes a Christmas standard; view clip; view clip; watch film.
In 1968 Jamaican reggae-ska-rocksteady musician Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley (1945-81) and The Wailers release the single Sound the Trumpet. On Nov. 10, 1992 the compilation album Reggae Christmas from Studio One is released.
On Dec. 7, 1969 Arthur Rankin Jr.'s and Jules Bass' Frosty the Snowman debuts on CBS-TV, based on the song, featuring the voices of Jimmy Durante (final film performance) as the narrator, Billy De Wolfe as Prof. Hinkle the Magician, and Jackie Vernon as Frosty; artwork is buy greeting card and Mad mag. artist Paul Coker Jr.; watch trailer; watch movie.
In Nov. 1970 blind Puerto Rican-born singer Jose (José) Monserrate Feliciano Farcia (1945-) releases Feliz Navidad (Sp. "Merry Christmas") (original title "Jose Feliciano"), which features Feliz Navidad, becoming one of the most popular Xmas songs ever.
On Dec. 14, 1970 Arthur Rankin Jr.'s and Jules Bass' animated Christmas TV special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town debuts, made using Japanese Animagic stop motion animation, starring Fred Astaire as narrator S.D. Kluger, Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle/Santa Claus, Keenan Wynn as the Winter Warlock, and Paul Frees as Burgermeisterr Meisterburger of Sombertown, featuring Santa's birth and infancy; it goes on to be aired every year on ABC-TV followed by ABC Family Channel (until ?); watch film.
On Oct. 28, 1971 The Plastic Ono Band, fronted by Liverpool, England-born ex-Beatles singer John Winston Ono Lennon (1940-80) and his wife (since 1969) Yoko Ono (1933-) release the song Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (#2 in the U.K.), which becomes a Christmas standard covered by Sarah McLachlan, Andy Williams, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Jimmy Buffett, Celine Dion, Carly Simon, The Moody Blues, REO Speedwagon, Miley Cyrus (2018) et al.
On Dec. 10, 1974 Jules Bass' and Arthur Rankin Jr.'s stop motion animated TV special The Year Without a Santa Claus debuts on ABC-TV, based on the 1956 Phyllis McGinley book, starring Shirley Booth (last acting credit) as the narrator Mrs. Claus, Mickey Rooney as Santa, and Dick Shawn as Snow Miser; view clip; watch movie.
In 1976 Gilmer, Tex.-born singer John Royce "Johnny" Mathis (1935-) releases the Christmas hit single When a Child Is Born (#1 in the U.K.), composed in 1974 by Italian composer Ciro Dammicco (1947-) (AKA Zacar) under the title "Soleado", and trans. to English by Fred Jay (Friedrich Alex Jacobson); covered by Matt Monro, Kenny Rogers, Judy Collins, The Moody Blues, The Seekers, Sarah Brightman, Boney M, Andrea Bocelli, Susan Boyle et al.
On Nov. 25, 1977 the English rock group The Kinks release the single Father Christmas, about a dept. store Santa Claus who is beat up by a gang of poor punks who demand money instead of toys; "Father Christmas, give us some money/ Don't mess around with those silly toys./ We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over./ We want your bread so don't make us annoyed./ Give all the toys to the little rich boys." watch video.
On Nov. 30, 1977 (Dec. 24 in the U.K.) Bing Crosby (1903-77) (who died on Oct. 14) debuts his Christmas CBS-TV special Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas (his last TV special); he and David Bowie (1947-2016) thrill viewers with a rendition of The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth; Bowie did it because his mother was a big Bing Crosby fan?
In 1979 Lexington, Ky.-born veterinarian and country singer Dr. Elmo Shropshire (1936-) and his wife (until 1985) Patsy Trigg Shropshire release Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (#64 country) (#87 in the U.S.); written by Randy Brooks; "Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve. You can say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and Grandpa, we believe"; watch video; covered by The Irish Rovers (1982), and Ray Stevens (2016).
On Dec. 25, 1982 NBC-TV debuts the annual 1-hour variety show Christmas in Washington, recorded at the Nat. Bldg. Museum in Washington, D.C., attended by the U.S. pres. and First Lady; it switches to TNT in 1998 until 2014; the debut show features a clip of Pres. Reagan reading the Christmas story "A Solitary Life" to a group of children.
On Nov. 18, 1983 Bob Clark's A Christmas Story (MGM) debuts, based on the 1967 autobio. novel "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" by radio personality Jean Parker "Shep" Shepherd (1921-99) (the narrator), immortalizing B-actor Darren McGavin (1922-2006) in a nostalgic story about the single-minded obsession of 9-y.-o. Am. white boy Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) of Cleveland, Ohio to acquire a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun (Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle) from Higbee's Dept. Store for Xmas in the boring 1950s despite everybody warning him "You'll shoot your eye out"; Melinda Dillon plays the mommy; he uses his decoder ring to decode the message "Drink your Ovaltine"; does $20.6M box office on a $3.3M budget; features the tongue stuck to pole scene; watch trailer.
On June 8, 1984 Joe Dante's Gremlins (Warner Bros.) (Amblin Entertainment) debuts, written by Chris Columbus and produced by Steven Spielberg is a comedy horror film starring Hoyt Axton as inventor Randall "Rand" Peltzer, who visits Chinatown and buys a cute small furry mogwai (Chin. "devil") from Mr. Wing's (Keye Luke) grandson (John Louie), who warns him that there are three mandatory rules: 1) Do not expose them to bright lights; 2) Do not let it get wet; 3) Never feed it after midnight"; he then returns to his home in Kingston Falls and gives it to local bank employee Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan), who names it Gizmo, then breaks the rules on Christmas Eve, creating a horde of hungry evil devils who take over the town; Phoebe Cates plays Billy's barmaid beau Kate Beringer; its massive success spawns the PG-13 rating; does $153.1M box office on a $11M budget; followed by "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990); watch trailer, view clip.
On Sept. 15, 1984 Chip Davis' and Jackson Berkey's Neoclassical New Age music group Mannheim Steamroller of Omaha, Neb. (founded in 1974) releases its first Christmas album (album #6) Christmas, becoming their first Billboard 200 charting album (#50 in the U.S.) (6M copies); they go on to release 25 more Christmas albums by 2015, incl. A Fresh Aire Christmas (Sept. 15, 1988) (#36 in the U.S.), Christmas in the Aire (Sept. 12, 1995) (#3 in the U.S.), Christmas Extraordinaire (Oct. 30, 2001) (#5 in the U.S.) (featuring Johnny Mathis singing "O Tannenbaum"), and Christmas Song (Oct. 9, 2007) (#5 in the U.S.). Listen.
On Nov. 9, 1984 Charles E. Selier Jr.'s Silent Night, Deadly Night (Slayride Productions) (TriStar Pictures) debuts, about disturbed psycho Billy Chapman (Robert Brian Wilson), who turns into an axe-wielding killer Santa Claus; "You made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas"; too bad, a backlash by outraged mommies causes TriStar to pull it after it does only $2.5M box office, which doesn't stop a later resurgence, with Quentin Tarantino et al. becoming fans; watch trailer; view clip.
On Dec. 3, 1984 the British-Irish charity supergroup Band Aid, founded by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure record Do They Know It's Christmas? (#13 in the U.S.) (#1 in the U.K.) (3.8M copies in the U.K.); watch video.
On Dec. 14, 1986 Alan Shapiro's The Christmas Star (Lake Walloon Productions) (Walt Disney Pictures) debuts, starring Edward Asner as con man Horace McNickle, who escapes from jail wearing a Santa Claus suit and tries to search for his stashed loot, only to be taken for the real Santa by two cute irresistible girls, creating an inner conflict, all the while being pursued by Det. Waters (Fred Gwynne); "Start checking all the chimneys"; watch trailer.
On Mar. 6, 1987 Richard Donner's Lethal Weapon (Mar. 6) (Silver Pictures) (Warner Bros.) debuts, set at Christmastime, starring Danny Glover as "I'm too old for this shit" LAPD homicide sgt. Roger Murtaugh, and Mel Gibson (after Bruce Willis turns it down) as 50-y.-o. LAPD narcotics sgt. Martin Riggs, who lost his wife in a car accident three years earlier and went suicidal, keeping a hollow-point bullet with him to do the job, getting him transferred to homicide, where they soon trade barbs and discover that they're both Vietnam vets; Gary Busey plays bad guy Mr. Joshua; Tom Atkins plays Vietnam vet Michael Hunsaker; does $120.2M box office on a $15M budget; spawns sequels incl. "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989), "Lethal Weapon 3" (1992), and "Lethal Weapon 4" (1998); written by Pittsburgh, Penn.-born UCLA grad Shane Black (1961-), known for stories featuring two main chars. who become friends and trade witty dialogue ("Shane Blackisms"), usually set during Christmas time, going on to write the screenplays for "The Last Boy Scout", "Last Action Hero", and "The Long Kiss Goodnight"; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Nov. 27, 1987 McAlester, Okla.-born country singer Reba Nell McEntire (1955-) releases album #14 (first Christmas album) Merry Christmas to You, becoming the last album to carry her surname on the front cover; watch video.
On July 12, 1988 John McTiernan's Die Hard (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, based on the 1979 novel "Nothing Lasts Forever" by Roderick Thorp, the sequel to his 1966 novel "The Detective", set on Christmas Eve at the Nakatomi Corp. HQ in Los Angeles, Calif., starring Bruce Willis (after Frank Sinatra, Arnold Schwarzenegger et al. turn it down) as NYPD officer John McClane, who fights a gang of 12 criminals led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his henchman Karl (Alexander Godunov) after they take the skyscraper and attempt to steal $640M in bonds then fake their deaths and earn 20%; Bonnie Bedelia plays McClane's wife Holly; Reginald VelJohnson plays Sgt. A. Powell; "Yipee-kai-yay muthafucka"; when Pres. Regan leaves office he gets an office in the same skyscraper; spawns "Die Hard 2" (1990), "Die Hard with a Vengeance" (1995), "Live Free or Die Hard" (2007), and "A Good Day to Die Hard" (2013); "40 stories of sheer adventure"; "Twelve terrorists. One cop. The odds are against John McClane... That's just the way he likes it"; makes Willis an A-lister; does $140.7M on a $28M budget; spawns sequels incl. "Die Hard 2" (1990), "Die Hard with a Vengeance" (1995), "Live Free or Die Hard" (2007), and "A Good Day to Die Hard (2013); view trailer; view clip; view clip; view clip; view clip; view clip.
On Dec. 1, 1989 Jeremiah S. Chechik's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Warner Bros.) debuts (#3 in the National Lampoon's Vacation film series), a comedy written by John Hughes based on his 1980 short story "Christmas '59", starring Chevy Chase as Clark W. "Sparky" Griswold Jr., who covers his house with 25K twinkle lights, Beverly D'Angelo as his wife Ellen, Juliette Lewis as their daughter Audrey, Johnny Galecki as their son Russ, and John Randolph and Diane Ladd as parents Clark W. Griswold Sr. and Nora Griswold; Brian Doyle-Murray plays miser boss Frank Shirley; William Hickey plays Uncle Lewis; Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn play deadbeat cousins Eddie and Catherine Johnson; does $71.3M box office on a $25M budget; watch trailer; view video.
On Dec. 14, 1991 the ABC-TV Christmas special Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too debuts, based on the Disney TV series "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh".
On Aug. 25, 1992 Tulsa, Okla.-born country singer Troyal Garth Brooks (1962-) releases his first Christmas album Beyond the Season (#2 in the U.S.) (#2 country) (2.65M copies). On Nov. 23, 1999 Garth Brooks releases his 2nd Christmas album Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas (#7 in the U.S.) (#1 country); on Sept. 25, 2001 he reissues the album under the title Songs from Call Me Claus, featuring Call Me Claus.
In 1992 the $16M white granite San Marga Iraivan Temple in Kauai, Hawaii (first all-stone temple in the U.S.) is begun under the dir. of Oakland, Calif.-born Shaivism convert Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Robert Hansen) (1927-2001) AKA Gurudeva, founder of the mag. Hinduism Today (1979), and 1985 inventor of Pancha Ganapti, the Hindu alternative to Christmas and Hanukkah; it is not finished until ?.
In Feb. 1993 Coca-Cola debuts its Coca-Cola Polar Bears in its "Always Coca-Cola" ads, drawn by artist Ken Stewart of Los Angeles, Calif. based on his Labrador Retriever Morgan.
On Oct. 26, 1993 New Orleans, La.-born singer Joseph Harry Fowler Connick Jr. (1967-) (Frank Sinatra singalike) releases his album When My Heart Finds Christmas (#5 in the U.S., #6 in the U.K.) (3M copies in the U.S.) (his best-selling album in the U.S.), which features When My Heart Finds Christmas.
On Nov. 1, 1994 Huntington, N.Y.-born singer-songwriter ("Songbird Supreme") Mariah Carey (1969-) releases album #4 Merry Christmas (5.5M copies in the U.S., 15M copies worldwide, featuring All I Want for Christmas Is You (#4 in the U.S.) (#2 in the U.K.), which becomes the best-selling ringtone in the U.S. (until ?).
On Nov. 11, 1994 John Pasquin's The Santa Clause (Walt Disney Pictures) (Buena Vista Pictures) debuts, starring Tim Allen as divorced ad exec Scott Calvin, who becomes Santa Claus; #3 movie of 1994 ($145M U.S. and $189.8M worldwide box office on a $22M budget); followed by "The Santa Clause 2" (2002), and "The Santa Clause 3" (2006); watch trailer.
On Nov. 22, 1994 Seattle, Wash.-born saxophonist Kenny G (Kenneth Bruce Gorelick) (1956-) releases album #7 Miracles: The Holiday Album (#1 in the U.S.), which sells 3.9M copies in 1994-5 (best-selling Christmas album in the U.S.), going on to sell 8M copies in the U.S.; he follows with album #10 Faith: A Holiday Album (Nov. 16, 1999) (#6 in the U.S.) (#4 R&B) (3M copies). watch video; watch video.
On Oct. 15, 1996 the Tampa, Fla.-based rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) releases its debut album Christmas Eve and Other Stories (3.4M copies), first in the Christmas Trilogy, incl. "The Christmas Attic" (1998) and "The Lost Christmas Eve" (2004); watch video; watch video; watch video.
On Nov. 16, 1996 Brian Levant's Jingle All the Way (20th Cent. Fox) debuts, produced by Chris Columbus is a comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as workaholic mattress salesman Howard Langston, who vies with postal worker Myron Larabee (Sinbad) for a Turbo Man action figure for their sons' Christmas; Jake Lloyd plays son Jamie Langston; Phil Harman plays divorced neighbor Ted Maltin, who has the hots for Howard's wife Rita Wilson; does $129.8M box office on a $75M budget; watch trailer.
On Dec. 1, 1996 25 Days of Christmas debuts on the Freeform cable network, featuring Rankin/Bass Productions except for "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman", becoming an annual event on the Family Channel, Fox Family, and ABC Family.
On Dec. 8, 1996 Mark Saltzman's TV special Mrs. Santa Claus debuts on CBS-TV, set in Dec. 1910 New York City, starring Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Santa Claus, Charles Durning as Santa Claus, and Michael Jeter as Santa's head elf Arvo, becoming the first original musical written for TV since Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in 1957; watch trailer.
On Oct. 30, 1998 Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada-born singer Celine Marie Claudette Dion (1968-) releases album #6 These Are Special Times (12M copies) (#8-selling Christmas album in the U.S.), which features the singles I'm You're Angel (w/R. Kelly), and The Prayer (w/Andrea Bocelli).
On Sept. 21, 1999 Natalie Maria Cole (1950-2015) and the London Symphony Orchestra release the Christmas album The Magic of Christmas (#157 in the U.S.) (#84 R&B), featuring The Christmas Song (w/daddy Nat King Cole).
On Oct. 25, 1999 Peoria, Ill.-born singer Daniel Grayling "Dan" Fogelberg (1951-2007) releases the album The First Christmas Morning, featuring the single The First Christmas Morning.
On Nov. 9, 1999 Alex Mann's et al.'s animated TV special Once Upon a Christmas debuts, produced by Walt Disney Video Premieres, narrated by Kelsey Grammer; followed by "Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas' (2004); watch movie.
On Nov. 8, 2000 Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Imagine Entertainment) (Universal Pictures) debuts, based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss children's book and narrated by Anthony Hopkins, starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who, and Jeffrey Tambor as Mayor Augustus May Who; Josh Ryan Evans plays the boy Grinch; does $345.1M box office on a $123M budget (#6 film of 2000); watch trailer.
On Dec. 10, 2000 Tibor Takacs' Once Upon a Christmas debuts, filmed in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, starring Kathy Ireland as Santa's daughter Kristin Claus, who tries to change the Morgan family from Santa's Naughty List to Santa's Nice List; followed by "Twice Upon a Christmas" (2001).
On Oct. 23, 2001 the double album Now That's What I Call Christmas! is released by Universal Music Group as part of its Now! series by mixed artists, becoming the best-selling Christmas album in the U.S. in 2001-2, going on to sell 3.48M copies in the U.S.; watch video; watch video.
On Dec. 2, 2001 Peter Werner's Call Me Claus (One Ho Productions) (Columbia TriStar Television) debuts on TNT, starring Whoopi Goldberg as LA shopping network exec Lucy Cullins, and Nigel Hawthorn (final performance) as Santa Claus, whose 200-year reign is up and chooses her as his replacement; watch trailer.
On Nov. 7, 2003 Jon Favreau's Elf (Guy Walks Into a Bar Productions) (New Line Cinema) debuts, starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, who discovers he's really Buddy Hobbs the human, and travels from the North Pole to New York City to see his father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) and his stepmother Emily Hobbs (Mary Steenburgen) during Christmas; Maurice LaMarche voices Buddy's burp; #4 movie of 2003 ($173M U.S. and $220M worldwide box office on a $33M budget); "I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins"; inspires the 2010 Broadway musical "Elf: The Musical", and the 2014 NBC-TV animated TV special "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas"; "This holiday discover your inner elf"; watch trailer; view clip.
On Nov. 26, 2003 Terry Zwigoff's Bad Santa (Tryptich Pictures) (Dimension Films) debuts, starring Billy Bob Thornton as alcoholic sex-addicted dirty-talking dept. store Santa Claus Willie T. Soke, and Tony Cox as his midget Little Helper Marcus Skidmore, who end each season by robbing the store; Brett Kelly plays fat kid Thurman Merman; Lauren Graham plays Soke's babe Sue; Bernie Mac plays Gin Slagel; does $76.5M box office on a $23M budget; followed by "Bad Santa 2" (2016); watch trailer; view clip.
On Dec. 9, 2003 the animated Christmas TV special I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown debuts on ABC-TV, based on the "Peanuts" cartoons of Charles M. Schulz, featuring the voices of Adam Taylor Gordon as Charlie Brown, Ashley Rose Orr as Lucy van Pelt, Corey Padnos as Linus van Pelt, and Bill Melendez as Snoopy/Spike/Woodstock; watch trailer.
On Oct. 21, 2004 Robert Zemeckis' 3-D computer animated film The Polar Express (Castle Rock Entertainment) (Warner Bros. Pictures) debuts, based on the 1985 Chris van Allsburg children's novel, starring Tom Hanks in motion-capture mode, with Daryl Sabara doing the voice of Hero Boy; does $310.6M box office on a $165M budget; watch trailer.
On Nov. 24, 2004 Joe Roth's Christmas with the Kranks (Revolution Studios) (1492 Pictures) (Columbia Pictures) debuts, written by Chris Columbus based on the 2001 John Grisham novel "Skipping Christmas", starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis as empty nesters Luther and Nora Krank of Riverside, Ill., who decide to skip Christmas while daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) is in Peru, bringing down the neighbors on them led by Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) along with Luther's co-workers, only to flop fast when Blair suddenly returns on Christmas Eve morning; Tom Poston (last film role) plays Father Zabriskie; does $96.6M box office on a $60M budget; watch trailer.
On Dec. 20, 2005 David Steiman's Santa's Slay (Media 8 Entertainment) debuts, a black comedy horror Christmas film starring prof. wrestling star Bill Goldberg as an evil Santa who drives a sleigh pulled by hell-deer and arrives at Hell Township, proceeding to slaughter the pop. based on his Naughty List; "I'm just trying spread a little yuletide fear"; "Christmas is over when I say it's over"; watch trailer; view clip.
On Oct. 9, 2007 Los Angeles, Calif.-born singer Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban (1981-) releases album #4 Noel (Noël), which sells 3.7M copies in 2007 (#1-selling album in the U.S. for 2007), and 5.8M copies by Oct. 2015, becoming the 2nd best-selling Christmas album in the U.S. after Kenny G's 1994 "Miracles: The Holiday Album"; watch video.
On Nov. 8, 2010 Scottish singer Susan Magdalane Boyle (1961-) releases album #2 (first Christmas album) The Gift (#1 in the U.S.) (#1 in the U.K.) (2.18M copies); watch video.
On Oct. 24, 2011 Burnaby, B.C., Canada-born singer Michael Steven Buble (Bublé) (1975-) releases album #7 Christmas (#1 in the U.S.) (3.39M copies), which becomes the first Christmas album to win a Juno Award for album of the year; watch video.
On Nov. 30, 2012 Steven C. Miller's Silent Night (Buffalo Gal Pictures) (Anchor Bay Films) debuts, a remake of Charles E. Seller Jr.'s 1984 "Silent Night, Deadly Night", starring Malcolm McDowell as Sheriff James Cooper, and Jaime King as Deputy Aubrey Bradimore, who chase a killer Santa Claus in a town filled with Santas; watch film; view clip.
On Dec. 8, 2012 The 12 Disasters of Christmas debuts on Syfy, becoming its most watch TV debut, set in the small town of Calvary, starring Magda Apanowicz as Jacey, who is left a mystical ring by her grandmother, which tells her that she is the chosen one to stop the end of the world prophesied by the Mayans for Dec. 21 by helping solve a hidden message in the Christmas standard song "The 12 Days of Christmas"; watch trailer.
On Dec. 20, 2014 Christmas Icetastrophe (Cintel Films) debuts on Syfy, starring Victor Webster and Jennifer Spence as Charlie Ratchet and Alex Novak, survivors of a meteorite strike that causes their small town of Lennox to flash freeze, while turning another area into a tropical zone; watch trailer.
On July 20, 2015 Grant Harvey's, Steven Hoban's, and Brett Sullivan's anthology horror film A Christmas Horror Story (Image Entertainment) debuts, four interwoven stories centering around DJ Dangerous Dan (William Shatner); watch trailer.
On Nov. 20, 2015 Michael Dougherty's Krampus (Legendary Pictures) (Universal Pictures) debuts, a scary Christmas movie about the dysfunctional Engel family, incl. Tom (Adam Scott), Sarah (Toni Collette), and Max (Emjay Anthony), who are chased by a you know what (Gideon Emery) to punish them for losing the Xmas spirit; does $61.5M box office on a $15M budget; watch trailer; view clip; view clip.
On Sept. 22, 2017 John McPhail's Christmas zombie musical film Anna and the Apocalypse (Blazing Griffin) (Orion Pictures) debuts, starring Ella Hunt as Anna, whose sleepy town of Little Haven is threatened by zombies; on Nov. 30, 2018 it is relaunched in the U.S. and U.K.; "'Twas the night before Christmas, and all the through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Anna was nestled, all snug in her bed, not knowing that tomorrow, she'd meet the undead"; "Oh no, Justin Bieber's a zombie"; watch trailer.
On Oct. 26, 2018 Montreal, Quebec, Canada-born "Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek" actor William Shatner (1931-) releases the album Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album feat. Henry Rollins, Brad Paisley, Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, Judy Collins & Billy Gibbons.
On Nov. 22, 2018 Clay Kaytis' The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix) (1492 Pictures) debuts, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, who makes a true believer out of teenie boy Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis); watch trailer. view clip; view clip.
On Dec. 25, 2018 Pres. Trump talks to 7-y.-o. Collman Lloyd on the phone, asking her if she is "still a believer in Santa, because at 7, it's marginal, right?", pissing-off the anti-Trumpers, causing Mike Huckabee to defend Trump, asking if this makes him Glenn Close in the film "Fatal Attraction", who boiled Michael Douglas' daughter's pet rabbit in a pot after he scorns her.