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Did you know? 15 Fun facts about Christmas

Sunday - 12/25/2011, 7:40am  ET

AP: ba0a63b8-81b8-41eb-bc48-48c182f670c0
Germany made the first artificial Christmas tree out of goose feathers dyed green. Today's artificial trees are more realistic. (AP)

WASHINGTON - As you celebrate Christmas Sunday, here are some fun facts about the holiday you might not know about:

  • In 1836 Alabama became the first U.S. state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.
  • In 1907 Oklahoma became the last state to make it official.
  • In 1926, the first singing jingle played over the radio airwaves on Christmas Eve. It was "Have you tried your Wheaties."
  • A Jewish man wrote "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and a few other classic Christmas songs.
  • The real St. Nicholas lived in Turkey where he was a bishop in the early 4th century.
  • The Dutch turned the bishop into a Christmas gift-giving guy. When Dutch settlers migrated to the U.S. they brought the St. Nick tradition with them. Eventually, he eventually became known at Santa Claus.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt was a bit of a scrooge when it came to Christmas trees. As a conservationist he banned Christmas trees in the White House. Some say his kids would sneak Christmas trees into their rooms, against his wishes.
  • Germany made the first artificial Christmas tree out of goose feathers dyed green.
  • Electric lights for Christmas trees were first used in 1895.
  • "It's a Wonderful Life" appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.
  • Rudolph the Red_Nosed Reindeer was actually created by department store Montgomery Ward in the late 1930s for a holiday promotion.
  • The poinsettia plan was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800s.
  • In Greek, X means Christ, which is how the word "X-mas" came to be.
  • In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year.
  • And the saying really wasn't "Bah Humbug." It was "Bah Christmas."

WTOP's Kathy Stewart contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)