Christmas Firsts

December 25, 2013

A brilliant red Christmas tree ornament nestled in fluffy pine tree.

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Ever wonder when Christmas started or why we celebrate with certain traditions? The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids, Volume 4, shares a few firsts for the holiday.

Christmas Firsts

1535: The first Christmas in Canada was observed by Jacques Cartier and 110 settlers on the banks of the St. Charles River near the city of Quebec.

1539: The first Christmas in the continental United States was observed by Hernando de Soto and his 600-member expedition near what is now Tallahassee, Florida.

1776: The first North American Christmas tree was set up by Henrick Roddmore, a German soldier who was captured in the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Bennington (Vermont).

1851: The first Christmas tree sales lot on the United States was set up by Mark Carr of Pennsylvania. He brought two sleds, each full of cut trees and pulled by oxen, from the Catskill Mountains to the sidewalks of New York City.

1856: The first U.S. president to set up a Christmas tree in the White House was Franklin Pierce.

1875: The first North American Christmas cards were printed and sold by Louis Prang of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

1923 – The first U.S. president to establish the National Tree Lighting Ceremony on the grounds of the White House was Calvin Coolidge.

1890: The first department store Santa Claus was James Edgar, who, during Christmas seasons, would wander about his store (the Boston Store) in Brockton, Massachusetts, dressed as Santa Claus, talking to the children of customers.

1898: The first Christmas postage stamp was released in Canada on December 7. It cost 2 cents and bore the words “XMAS 1898” as well as an image of the Mercator (projection) world map.

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