• The bible doesn't mention a specific date for Jesus' birth. In the fourth century, when the Catholic Church decided to recognize it as an official holiday, Pope Julius I chose December 25th for the "Feast of the Nativity."Well, that's it for now. Geezer is booking off for the Holidays. I'll be back in the new year from my winter hideout in beautiful Venice, Florida, where there are no snowdrifts and the Margaritas are always in season.
• The U.S. was almost a century old before Congress proclaimed Christmas to be a federal holiday.
• In Puritan New England of the 17th century, you could be fined five shillings for celebrating Christmas.
• Santa Claus' name is derived from that of a real Saint Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Legends speak of his generosity, and his ability to perform miracles of gift-giving.
• At one time or another, Saint Nicholas has been the patron saint of Russia, Greece, children, sailors, prisoners, bakers, pawnbrokers, shopkeepers and wolves.
• The modern Christmas tree tradition came from medieval Germany where it was called a paradise tree, and was decorated with apples and cookies. These cookies led eventually to the tradition of cookies and milk being left out for Santa.
• The notion of Saint Nick flying through the sky in a sleigh first appeared in an 1819 short story by Washington Irving.
• Santa's reindeer first showed up four years later in Clement C. Moore's account of A Visit from St. Nicholas.
• Rudolph the red nosed reindeer was created in 1939 by an advertising copywriter for the Montgomery Ward department store.
Very best wishes for happy times with your own family and friends at this special time of the year.