There is a Jewish “tradition” (primarily among Jewish Americans) of eating Chinese food on Christmas.
In 1935, the dispute began between two toy and candy companies, both based in the town of Santa Claus, Indiana. On one side there was Santa Claus, Inc. On the other side was Santa Claus of Santa Claus, Inc. The former alleged that the latter shouldn’t have chosen such a similar name.
In response, Santa Claus of Santa Claus, Inc. charged that its rival illegally put up a 25-foot, 20-ton Santa statue on land leased to Santa Claus of Santa Claus, Inc.
The lawsuit, Santa Claus, Inc. v. Santa Claus of Santa Claus, Inc., eventually made its way up to the Indiana Supreme Court.
In the end, Santa Claus of Santa Claus, Inc. won the fight. But either way you look at it, Santa Claus won.
Christmas celebrations were illegal in New England in parts of the 17th century, because the Puritans found no scriptural justification for celebrating it and associated the celebration with paganism and heavy drinking.
In 2009, Marion Davis of Randallstown, Maryland got a design patent for this “Nativity scene decoration including Santa Claus and Rudolph”.
Instead of cookies and milk, some Irish families leave a pint of Guinness for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Tolkien wrote yearly letters to his children as if they were from Father Christmas. They started off as simple Happy Christmas letters but grew more complex including a polar bear sidekick, the man on the moon, goblins, snow-elves, pictures, and he even developed an Arktik language.
10th century Norwegian Viking ruler King Haakon the Good made the household production of Juleøl (Christmas Beer) a law. Families that did not have beer at their Christmas feast were issued a fine.
Long before Christianity made its way to the native Germanic peoples, Norwegians celebrated the winter solstice by brewing and drinking beer to honor their Norse gods. To celebrate “Jul,” a Norwegian word that in modern vernacular refers to the Christmas season, Vikings brewed and consumed strong, barley-based beer while in the throes of winter’s coldest and dreariest months. They also used the ale to make offerings in hopes to entice the gods to bring back the summer sun.
According to “The Geography of Beer,” King Haakon the Good, who ruled from 934 to 961, later used the ancient Jul celebration to push a Christian agenda. As part of his efforts to introduce Christianity to the Norwegian people, King Haakon the Good implemented a pagan-meets-Christian mash-up, making it a law to celebrate Christmas with beer. Those who didn’t have beer at their Christmas feast were issued a fine. Norway became Christianized in the 11th century.
Natives in Canada had a traditional gift giving holiday nearly identical to Christmas called Potlatch until it was outlawed for being unchristian, hundreds of natives were sent to prison for continuing to celebrate it from 1921 until the law was finally repealed in the 1950s.
Many Christmas traditions come from the Roman holiday Saturnalia. During Saturnalia, work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed, and the normal social patterns were suspended.
People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery, and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia, but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases, they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them.
Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts. Wax taper candles called cerei were common gifts during Saturnalia, to signify light returning after the solstice.
Every Christmas season, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families treat themselves to Kentucky Fried Chicken, in what has become a nationwide tradition.