Today in History: December 25 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: December 25

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
December 25

Merry Christmas!Christmas is the festival celebrating the birth of Christ and is observed in most countries on December 25. Christmas is sometimes called Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon) or Noel (from the French). Christian churches throughout the world hold special services on Christmas Day to give thanks for the birth of Christ.In addition to religious observances, Christmas is a time of merrymaking and feasting. North American customs are a combination of those of the various European countries from which the original settlers came. On Christmas Eve children hang stockings for Santa Claus to fill with gifts. The Christmas tree, usually an evergreen, was first used in Germany. Topped with a star or spire and decorated with colored lights and shiny ornaments, the tree plays an important part in the celebration.

Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids, priests of ancient Britain and Gaul. The Norse used holly and the Yule log to keep away evil spirits. Gifts were exchanged during the Roman celebration of the Saturnalia, a feast to the god Saturn. Gift-giving came to symbolize the gifts brought to the Christ Child by the Magi.

The most popular Christmas legend however, is that of Santa Claus, whose name came from Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children. Many of the qualities that Santa Claus is known for came from Clement C. Moore’s poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”

376 In Milan, Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, forces the emperor Theodosius to perform public penance for his massacre.
800 The pope crowns Charlemagne emperor in Rome.
1066 William I is crowned king of England.
1621 The governor of New Plymouth prevents newcomers from playing cards.
1651 The General Court of Boston levies a five shilling fine on anyone caught “observing any such day as Christmas.”
1776 Patriot General George Washington crosses the Delaware River with 5,400 troops during the American Revolution. Washington hoped to surprise a Hessian force celebrating Christmas at their winter quarters in Trenton, New Jersey.
1861 Stonewall Jackson spends Christmas with his wife; their last together.
1862 John Hunt Morgan and his raiders clash with Union forces near Bear Wallow, Kentucky.
1862 President and Mrs. Lincoln visit hospitals in the Washington D.C. area on this Christmas Day.
1912 Italy lands troops in Albania to protect its interests during a revolt there.
1914 German and British troops on the Western Front declare an unofficial truce to celebrate Christmas during World War I.
1918 A revolt erupts in Berlin.
1925 U.S. troops in Nicaragua disarm insurgents in support of the Diaz regime.
1927 The Mexican congress opens land to foreign investors, reversing the 1917 ban enacted to preserve the domestic economy.
1939 Finnish troops enter Soviet territory.
1941 Free French troops occupy the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon off the Canadian coast.
1944 Prime Minister Winston Churchill goes to Athens to seek an end to the Greek civil war.
1946 Chiang Kai-shek offers a new Chinese constitution in Nanking pledging universal suffrage.
1950 Scottish nationalists steal the Stone of Scone from the British coronation throne in Westminster Abbey. The 485 pound stone was recovered in April 1951.
1962 The Bay of Pigs captives, upon their return to the United States, vow to return to Cuba and topple Fidel Castro.
1965 Entertainer Chris Noel gives her first performance for the USO at two hospitals in California; she became a star on Armed Forces Radio and Television, entertaining troops in Vietnam; in 1984 the Veterans Network honored her with a Distinguished Vietnam Veteran award.
1973 U.S. astronauts onboard the Skylab space station take a seven-hour walk in space and photograph the comet Kohoutek.
1976 Over 100 Muslims, returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, die when their boat sinks.
1979 Egypt begins a major restoration of the Sphinx.
1991 Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s first and last executive president, resigns. The Soviet Union no longer exsists.
2006 James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul”, dies at age 73.
Born on December 25
1642 Sir Isaac Newton, English mathematician and scientist who enunciated the laws of motion and the law of gravity.
1841 Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross.
1870 Rosa Luxemburg, Polish-born founder of the Spartacus League which later became the German Communist Party.
1907 Cab Calloway, band leader; the first jazz singer to sell a million records.
1918 Anwar Sadat, Egyptian president (1970 to 1981) and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
1919 Paul David, founder of the Montreal Heart Institute.
1924 Rod Serling, screenwriter, producer; created The Twilight Zone TV series.
1925 Sam Pollock, general manager of the National Hockey League of Canada and the USA; a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame; a public square in Montreal is named in his honor.
1936 Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy; youngest granddaughter of King George V and Queen Mary.
1939 Bob James, Grammy-winning jazz musician, arranger and producer.
1945 Noel Redding, singer, songwriter, musician; a member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Noel Redding Band and other groups.
1945 Ken Stabler, pro football quarterback nicknamed “The Snake” for his ability to evade tacklers.
1946 Jimmy Buffett, singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, actor (“Margaritaville,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise”).
1948 Alia Baha Ad-Din Touqan, Queen consort of Jordan, third wife of King Hussein of Jordan; died in a helicopter crash in 1977; Amman’s international airport is named in her honor.
1948 Barbara Mandrell, country singer; twice Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year (“Sleeping Single in a Double Bed”).
1949 Sissy Spacek, actress; won an Academy Award for Best Actress portraying country singer Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980).
1950 Karl Rove, White House Deputy Chief of Staff in the George W. Bush administration.
1954 Annie Lennox, Scottish singer, songwriter, activist; a member of The Eurythmics band; winner of eight Brit Award, four Grammys, an MTV Video Music Award, a Billboard Century Award; won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Into the West” in the soundtrack of the film The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
1954 Steve Wariner, country singer, songwriter, musician (“All Roads Lead to You,” “Life’s Highway”).