Christmas officially became a federal holiday in the United States in 1968 and is the only religious holiday recognized by the United States government. In 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant called Christmas one of the first federal holidays as a way to reduce absenteeism.
Until 1870, Christmas was illegal in the United States, because it was considered a pagan holiday: the festivity was banned in 1660 and for almost 200 years celebrating Christmas was crime.
Alabama was the first state to legalize it in 1836, followed by the other states, by Congress in 1870 and, finally, by Oklahoma in 1907.
However, federal vacations only extended to federal employees who worked in the District of Columbia during that time.
It was only when the Monday Holiday Law was passed by Congress in 1968 during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson that Christmas was considered a federal holiday, in which all federal employees nationwide were given a day off on December 25 each year.
Christmas was once illegal in the United States since 1659, celebrating the holiday was against the law in Boston under Puritan rules, which considered it a pagan holiday.
Approximately 35 million Christmas trees are sold each year in the United States, and the average tree grows for 15 years before being harvested for the holidays.
The Salvation Army tradition of ringing Santa’s bells to solicit charitable donations dates back to 1890.
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