Christmas: Top 10 facts about the festive period

1. The date of December 25 was chosen to celebrate Christ’s birthday at the Council of Nicaea in AD325. 

2. The date was earlier used by the Romans to celebrate the winter solstice and the Sun God. 

3. The first evidence we have of Christmas being celebrated on December 25 was in Rome in AD336.

4. December 25 was also chosen as being nine months from March 25, which was said to be when archangel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary. 

5. Some Eastern Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar, with Christmas on our January 7. 

6. The town of Christmas in Florida claims to have the largest alligator-shaped building in the world. 

7. The name of the town dates back to December 25, 1837 when a force of US Army soldiers built a fort in the area and called it Fort Christmas. 

8. The first recorded reference to a Christmas Carol in English was in 1502. The earliest known reference to a Christmas pudding was in 1858. 

9. The type of haemophilia once called “Christmas disease” was so named as the first sufferer diagnosed, in 1952, was named Stephen Christmas. 

10. Shops over 280 square metres in size must close on Christmas Day in England and Wales.