Many holiday traditions we assume have existed for thousands of years. But then there's Elf on the Shelf, which only started in 2005. What are the stories behinds other Christmas traditions? 

The First Christmas Movie

The first Christmas movie was made in 1898 The silent film Santa Claus is only a minute long, but was very advanced for its time. It used special effects to show parallel action and to create the illusion of a disappearing Santa. CRACKED.COM

Source: BFI

I'm Dreaming of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is responsible for the image of an idyllic white Christmas Dickens' writing inspired the idea that the perfect Christmas is snow-filled. Не grew up in the coldest decade in England since the 17th century, and his popular Christmas stories included his nostalgia for cold childhood holidays. CRACKED.COM

Source: BBC

A Very Merry Grimm Brothers Christmas

Gingerbread houses became popular at the same time as Hansel and Gretel Which came first: a gingerbread house or the Grimm fairy tale? We don't know, but we do know they rose to popularity in Germany in the 16th century. CRACKED.COM

Source: PBS

Santa Used to Have a Lot to Say

Kids used to receive letters from Santa, not write them to him Before they were wish lists, Santa used to write kids as a form of discipline. For example in the 1850s, the wife of the poet Henry Wadsworth wrote her three children letters each Christmas that told each kid how they could improve their behavior for the year. CRACKED.COM

Source: Smithsonian

How Rudolph Saved His Writer From Debt

The author of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer used the money to pay off his late wife's cancer bills by Robert L. May was a copywriter at a department store. Не was tasked to come up with a kid's book to give out to customers for free and created Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Since he was work-for-hire, May didn't receive any money for his incredibly famous character until he managed to convince the head of the department store to sign off the licensing to him, 8 years later. CRACKED.COM

Source: Snopes

Christmas Was Illegal in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

In the colonial New England, Christmas was un-American The Puritans that populated the New England colonies frowned on Christmas celebrations since they didn't believe the Bible told us to celebrate it, even briefly outlawing it in the 17th century. CRACKED.COM

Source: New York Times

Caroling is for Drunks

Christmas carols were traditionally about being drunk The first (English) written mention of carols were in 1426, but it wasn't until the Victorian era that Christmas carols started being associated with the church over the pub. So if you really want to honor the tradition, get wasted and join in at karaoke at a bar. CRACKED.COM

Source: BBC

Donner and Blitzen Aren't Canon

Santa's reindeer were named Dunder and Blixem H SHAMARYA SALAFEL AD& RAB KAR H OOTHIES EBANESE CUISINE AR лее SAR The original version of the 1821 poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas originally had the names as Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!/On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixem! Reprints included Donner and Blitzen instead, and it stuck over time. CRACKED.COM

Source: Snopes

Wrapping Paper Was Created by Hallmark

Hallmark created wrapping paper to sell more paper Hallmark gets a lot of blame for creating unncessary holiday traditions, but it's historically accurate to blame wrapping paper on them. In 1917, Rollie and Joyce Hall were running out of tissue paper so they started selling paper used to line the inside of envelopes, and it took off. CRACKED.COM

Source: The Atlantic

Cops Came Up with Black Friday

Whiny Philadelphia cops named it Black Friday NS14 PHILADELPHIA POLICE adidas SERVICE INTEGRATION In the 1960s, tourists would come into Philadelphia after Thanksgiving for an Army-Navy football game on Saturday. Local police officers called it Black Friday because they had to work long hours, deal with bad traffic, and unfavorable weather. CRACKED.COM

Source: New York Times

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