Historical Events on December 25

  • 1 1st Christmas, according to calendar-maker Dionysus Exiguus

Roman Empire

274 Roman Emperor Aurelian dedicates a temple to Sol Invictus on the supposed day of the winter solstice and day of rebirth of the Sun.

  • 337 Earliest possible date that Christmas was celebrated on Dec 25th
  • 352 1st definite date Christmas was celebrated on Dec 25th
  • 390 Roman emperor Theodosius admits debt on mass murder in Thessalonica
  • 496 King Clovis I is baptized a Roman Catholic in Reims cathedral - first Germanic king to do so, according to Henry of Tours (year disputed)
  • 597 England adopts Julian calendar
  • 604 Battle at Etampes (Stampae): Burgundy beat Neustriers

Roman Empire

800 Pope Leo III crowns Charles the Great (Charlemagne), Roman Emperor

  • 875 Charles the Bald crowned emperor of Rome
  • 967 John XIII crowned Otto II the Red German compassionate emperor
  • 969 Johannes I Tzimisces crowned Emperor of Byzantium
  • 999 Heribertus becomes bishop of Cologne
  • 1000 Monarch Istvan crowned king of Hungary
  • 1046 Pope Clemens VI crowns Henry III as Holy Roman Emperor
  • 1048 Parliament of Worms: Emperor Henry III names his cousin Count Bruno van Egisheim-Dagsburg as Pope Leo IX

Norman Invasion of England

1066 William the Conqueror is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, completing the Norman conquest of England

  • 1100 Boudouin I of Boulogne crowned King of Jerusalem
  • 1101 Henry I of Limburg becomes Duke of Lower Lorraine
  • 1121 Norbertus van Xanten finds order of the Norbertijnen

Event of Interest

1130 Anti-pope Anacletus II crowns Roger II the Norman king of Sicily

  • 1194 Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI crowned King of Sicily in Palermo Cathedral

Event of Interest

1223 St Francis of Assisi assembles 1st Nativity scene (Greccio, Italy)

  • 1261 John IV Lascaris of the restored Eastern Roman Empire is deposed and blinded by orders of his co-ruler Michael VIII Palaeologus.

Event of Interest

1482 English King Edward IV holds a lavish Christmas feast for 2,000 people at Eltham Palace

Santa María

1492 Christopher Columbus' flagship the Santa María runs aground and sinks on the north coast of Hispaniola. The crew are left to found a colony as Columbus returns to Spain

  • 1522 Ottoman troops occupy the island of Rhodes after a six-month siege
  • 1553 Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeats the Spanish conquistadors and exetutes the governor of Chile Pedro de Valdivia.

Gregory Conquers Julius Caesar

1582 Zealand and Brabant adopts Gregorian calendar, yesterday was Dec 14th

  • 1599 The city of Natal, Brazil, is founded.
  • 1613 Johan Sigismund of Brandenburg becomes protestant

Event of Interest

1621 Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony (now in Massachusetts) forbids game playing on Christmas Day

  • 1640 Pierre de Fermat writes to Marin Mersenne about Fermat's church thesis
  • 1641 Emperor Ferdinand III makes appointments with Sweden and France
  • 1643 Christmas Island founded and named by Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company vessel, the Royal Mary.
  • 1651 Massachusetts General Court ordered a five shilling fine for "observing any such day as Christmas"

Pendulum Clock

1656 Dutch astronomer and mathematician Christiaan Huygens creates the first pendulum clock

  • 1683 English Whig leader Duke of Monmouth flees to Holland

Event of Interest

1688 British King James II lands in Ambleteuse, France

Event of Interest

1711 St Paul's Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is officially declared complete after 35 years construction, by the British parliament [1]

  • 1717 Floods ravage Dutch coast provinces, thousands killed

Event of Interest

1741 Astronomer Anders Celsius introduces Centigrade temperature scale

  • 1745 Prussia and Austria sign Treaty of Dresden giving much of Silesia to the Prussians
  • 1758 Return of Halley's comet 1st sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch
  • 1760 Jupiter Hammon, an African American slave, composes poetry broadside "An Evening Thought" (1st poetry published by an African American 1761)
  • 1769 First Christian service in New Zealand; Mass is celebrated in Doubtless Bay by Father Paul-Antoine Léonard de Villefeix of the de Surville expedition

Catholic Encyclical

1775 Pope Pius VI encyclical on the problems of the pontificate

Event of Interest

1776 American Revolutionary War: George Washington crosses Delaware River into New Jersey, surprises and defeats 1,400 Hessians

  • 1809 Physician Ephraim McDowell performs the first abdominal surgery in the U.S, an ovariotomy to remove a 22 lb ovarian tumor
  • 1814 Reverend Samuel Marsden of the Church Missionary Society holds the first Christian service in New Zealand on land, at Rangihoua
  • 1818 1st known Christmas carol ("Silent Night, Holy Night" - "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht) sung (Austria)
  • 1818 Handel's "Messiah", premieres in the US in Boston, performed by The Handel & Haydn Society
  • 1831 Louisiana & Arkansas are first states to observe Christmas as holiday
  • 1837 Battle of Okeechobee - US forces defeat Seminole Indians
  • 1843 1st theatre matinee (Olympic Theatre, NYC)
  • 1848 New Haven Railroad opens
  • 1848 William & Ellen Craft escape from slavery in Georgia, arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; later move to Boston where they become abolitionists [1]
  • 1862 40,000 watch Union army men play baseball at Hilton Head, South Carolina

Event of Interest

1868 Despite bitter opposition, US President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all persons involved in Southern rebellion (Civil War)

  • 1875 Lambs Club in New York forms
  • 1888 First indoor baseball game played at fairgrounds in Philadelphia; 2,000 watch the Uptowners beat the Downtowners, 6-1
  • 1894 1st midwestern football team to play on west coast, University of Chicago defeats Stanford 24-4 at Palo Alto, CA in football

Music History

1896 "Stars & Stripes Forever" written by John Philip Sousa

  • 1899 Shelling on besieged Ladysmith during the Boer War includes one shell containing a plum pudding
  • 1900 Arthur Schnitzler's novel "Leutnant Gustl" ("None But The Brave") banned in Germany due to its unflattering portrait of military protocol
  • 1901 Battle at Tweefontein: British force camped on a hill is surprised by a Boer attack at 2am

Theater Premiere

1902 Clyde Fitch' play "The Girl with the Green Eyes" premieres in NYC

Event of Interest

1902 Pope Leo XIII, at his annual Christmas reception, endorses the Christian Democratic movement now emerging in Europe as an attempt to offer an alternative to more radical movements

  • 1905 V Herbert/H Blossoms musical "Mlle Modiste" premieres in NYC
  • 1911 Edward Knoblock's "Kismet" premieres in NYC
  • 1914 Legendary "Christmas Truce" takes place on the battlefields of WWI between British and German troops. Instead of fighting, soldiers exchange gifts and play football

Music Premiere

1915 Irving Berlin & Harry B Smith's musical revue "Stop! Look! Listen!" premieres at the Globe Theater, NYC; runs for 105 performances

  • 1917 "Why Marry" 1st drama to win Pulitzer Prize, premieres in NYC
  • 1917 Louis Hirsch and Otto Harbach's musical "Going Up" premieres in New York City
  • 1921 Last major Potlatch (ceremony) by Chief Daniel Cranmer (Kwakwaka’wakw) from Alert Bay, British Columbia. Twenty-six people arrested, their masks and regalia sold by Canadian government. [1]

Event of Interest

1922 -Dec 26] Lenin dictates his "Political testament"

  • 1923 Imperial Theater opens at 249 W 45th St NYC

Event of Interest

1926 Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan assumes the throne upon his father, Emperor Yoshihito's, death

  • 1928 NSW (v Vic) go from 8-74 to 9-113 to be 9-367 at stumps
  • 1929 Grimmett takes 6-146 for SA, Queensland all out 380 Crowd 5,390
  • 1930 Mt, Van Hoevenberg bobsled run at Lake Placid, NY opens; first American bobsled run open to public
  • 1930 Slinger Nitschke scores 142 SA v Qld at Adelaide before 5,422
  • 1930 Tasmania all out 280, WI 2-139 at Hobart Crowd 2,500
  • 1931 Albert Lonergan scores 137 SA v Qld at Adelaide before 5,697
  • 1931 Fleetwood-Smith takes 5-69 Victoria v Tas at Hobart
  • 1931 NY's Metropolitan Opera broadcasts an entire opera over radio
  • 1932 7.6 magnitude earthquake ravages Qansu, China, kills 275

Event of Interest

1932 During King George V's Christmas dinner speech his chair collapses

  • 1933 Another Christmas Day five-wicket haul by Clarrie Grimmett
  • 1933 Belgian Working people's party accept Henry de Mans Plan of Labor
  • 1933 Stan Smith takes 8-33 for Victoria v Tasmania at Hobart
  • 1934 Four centuries for SA as they make 7-644 v Qld before 6,180
  • 1934 Samson Raphaelson's "Accent on Youth" premieres in NYC
  • 1936 Belgian bishops condemn fascism & communism
  • 1936 Ron Hamence scores 104 for SA v Queensland before 4,865

Radio Premiere

1937 Arturo Toscanini conducts 1st "Symphony of the Air" concert over NBC Radio

  • 1937 Queensland all out for 93 v SA in front of 10,436

Film & TV History

1938 George Cukor announces Vivien Leigh will play Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With The Wind"

  • 1939 Grimmett & Ward rip through Qld except Bill Brown (156)
  • 1939 Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the 9th red-nosed reindeer

Cricket History

1940 Cricket master batsman Don Bradman is dismissed for a Xmas Day first ball duck (0) for South Australia v Victoria in a Sheffield Shield match at the Adelaide Oval

Music Premiere

1940 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "Pal Joey", starring Gene Kelly and Vivienne Segal, opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (later transferring to Shubert, and then the St. James), NYC; runs for 374 performances

  • 1941 Japan announces surrender of British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong
  • 1941 Japanese aircraft carriers Akagi/Kagu back in Kure, Japan
  • 1942 Admiral Dalans murderer of Bosinier de la Chapelle, sentenced to death
  • 1942 British Colonel S W Bailey reaches Mihailovics headquarter
  • 1942 Soviet artillery and tank battle on German armies at Stalingrad
  • 1946 Constitution accepted in Taiwan
  • 1947 Constitution of the Republic of China comes into effect
  • 1947 Taiwan passes Human Rights laws (Day of Earth Law)
  • 1950 Coronation Stone, taken from Scone in Scotland by Edward I in 1296, stolen from Westminster Abbey & smuggled back to Scotland
  • 1951 West Indies wrap up 6 wicket defeat of Australia on first Christmas Day of Test cricket, the 3rd day of 3rd Test at the Adelaide Oval
  • 1953 Avalanche of lava kills 150 from Ruapehu volcano in New Zealand
  • 1953 KNEV (95.5 The Vibe) radio broadcaster in Reno, Nevada begins broadcasting
  • 1954 WSFA TV channel 12 in Montgomery, AL (NBC) begins broadcasting

Catholic Encyclical

1955 Pope Pius XII encyclical on sacred music & popular music

Sports History

1956 Detroit's future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Gordie Howe picks up a Xmas hat-trick & 3 assists in Red Wings' 8-1 win over NY Rangers; most points he scores in a single game in entire 26-year NHL career

Murder of Interest

1957 Ed Gein found not guilty by reason of insanity for a series of murders

Music History

1957 Liverpudlian teenager Richard Starkey (later better known as Ringo Starr) receives his first drum set

  • 1959 A synagogue in Cologne Germany desecrated with swatstikas

Event of Interest

1959 Bishop Karol Wojtyla (future Pope John Paul II) celebrates outdoor Mass at midnight of Christmas morning to demonstrate the need for a Catholic church in the community of Nowa Huta

  • 1959 Sony brings transistor TV 8-301 to the market

To Kill a Mockingbird

1962 "To Kill a Mockingbird", a film adaptation of the novel by Harper Lee, directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Gregory Peck, is released (Gregory Peck - Best Actor Academy Awards 1963)

  • 1962 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • 1963 Walt Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" is released
  • 1965 The Yemeni Nasserite Unionist People's Organisation is founded in Taiz

Event of Interest

1965 US President Lyndon B. Johnson orders a halt to bombing operations in North Vietnam, hoping to spur peace talks

Engagement of Interest

1967 Beatle Paul McCartney and British actress Jane Asher get engaged; engagement publicly broken six months later

  • 1968 42 Dalits are burned alive in Kilavenmani village, Tamil Nadu, India, a retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit labourers

Event of Interest

1968 Frank Borman's Christmas reading while orbiting the Moon

  • 1969 5 Israeli gunboats escape from Cherbourg harbor
  • 1969 India all out for 163 at Madras v Aust, Ashley Mallett 5-91
  • 1971 Longest game in NFL history as Miami Dolphins beat KC Chiefs, 27-24 in 2OT in AFL playoff game; duration: 82 minutes and 40 seconds
  • 1971 Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) formed by Jesse Jackson
  • 1971 Worst hotel fire in history kills 163 at Taeyokale Hotel in Seoul

The Sting

1973 "The Sting" directed by George Roy Hill, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, with music inspired by Scott Joplin, premieres in Los Angeles and New York (Best Picture 1974)

  • 1973 1st pictures of a comet from space (Comet Kohoutek), taken by NASA astronauts Jerry Carr and William Pogue during a spacewalk from Skylab 4
  • 1973 Arab oil ministers cancel January 5 percent production cut; Saudi Arabian oil minister promises 10 percent OPEC production rise

Ballon d'Or

1973 Ballon d'Or: Ajax forward Johan Cruyff wins his second award for best European football player ahead of Juventus goalkeeper Dino Zoff and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Müller

  • 1973 The ARPANET crashes when a programming bug causes all ARPANET traffic to be routed through the server at Harvard University, causing the server to freeze
  • 1973 Tommy Chambers (Scotland) finishes 51 yr cycle tour (799,405 miles)
  • 1974 Cyclone Tracy virtually destroys Darwin, Australia
  • 1974 Marshall Fields drives a vehicle through the gates of the White House, resulting in a four-hour standoff.
  • 1976 Egyptian SS Patria sinks in Red Sea, about 100 killed
  • 1976 Takeo Fukuda becomes Japanese premier

Meeting of Interest

1977 Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Egypt

  • 1979 Ballon d'Or: Hamburg's English forward Kevin Keegan wins his 2nd consecutive trophy as best football player in Europe; beats Bayern Munich forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Ajax sweeper Ruud Krol
  • 1979 Soviet forces invade Afghanistan to prop up the Communist government, beginning a disastrous and failed ten-year war

Sports History

1982 Mudassar Nazar scores 119 in Pakistan's 2nd innings 452 before Imran Khan takes 6 Indian wickets in 2nd Test in Karachi; he finished with 8/60 on the final day

  • 1983 1st live telecast of Christmas Parade at the EPCOT Centre, Disney World Florida

Ballon d'Or

1984 Ballon d'Or: Juventus' French midfielder Michel Platini is named Europe's best football player for the 2nd consecutive time; beats Bordeaux midfielder Jean Tigana and Verona striker Preben Elkjær

  • 1984 Knicks basketball forward Bernard King scores 60 points, but New York loses, 120-114 to the New Jersey Nets on Xmas Day at Madison Square Garden
  • 1987 Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, who escaped 2 days earlier, recaptured
  • 1989 Japanese scientist achieve -271.8°C, coldest temperature ever recorded

Music History

1989 Leonard Bernstein conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in East Berlin's Schauspielhaus to celebrate fall of the Berlin Wall. Broadcast worldwide to audience of 100 million.


1989 Trial of Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena on charges of genocide and personal enrichment; the couple are found guilty and executed by firing squad the same day.

The Godfather Part III

1990 "The Godfather Part III" directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino, Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia premieres

  • 1990 Ballon d'Or: Inter's German sweeper Lothar Matthäus is named best football player in Europe ahead of Juventus striker Salvatore Schillaci and Inter defender Andreas Brehme
  • 1991 Last day of a washout Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Gujranwala

Event of Interest

1991 Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigns as President of USSR in a televised speech

  • 1994 "Comedy Tonight" closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 8 performances

NFL Record

1995 Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith scores NFL record 25th touchdown of the season in 37-13 win against Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe AZ

  • 1996 1,500 year anniversary of Catholicism in France commemorating the baptism of Clovis I in Rheims
  • 1997 For 1st time US movie box office receipts pass $6 billion

Television Finale

1997 Jerry Seinfeld announces the final season of his TV show "Seinfeld" will air the following year

  • 1999 Opening of doors of St. John Lateran Pope John Paul II
  • 2003 The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe which was released from the Mars Express Spacecraft on December 19, disappears shortly before its scheduled landing.
  • 2004 Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005.

NBA Record

2008 Phil Jackson becomes the sixth coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games as his LA Lakers beat Boston Celtics, 92-83 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles

Liu Xiaobo Sentenced for Subversion

2009 Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years in prison in Beijing, China for "inciting subversion of state power"

  • 2009 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab unsuccessfully attempts a terrorist attack against the US while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253
  • 2012 27 people are killed after an Antonov An-72 plane crashes near Shymkent, Kazakhstan
  • 2012 8 people are killed and thousands left homeless after two fires strike Manila, Philippines

The Wolf of Wall Street

2013 "The Wolf of Wall Street", starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, is released


2014 "Unbroken", drama film directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Jack O'Connell and Domhall Gleeson, released in the United States

  • 2016 Russian military defence plane crashes into the Black Sea after takeoff from Sochi airport, killing all 92 on board
  • 2020 An RV detonates in downtown Nashville, Tennessee causing damage to people and property; prior to detonating, a recorded message playing from speakers warned anyone in earshot to evacuate prior to an explosion
  • 2020 New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara equals Ernie Nevers 1929 NFL record of 6 touchdowns in a match in the Saints' 52-33 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • 2021 NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launched in joint effort with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America [1]