It’s time to find the real stories behind Christmas legends and holiday myths. With over 2,000 years of history, the Christmas holiday comes with a host of myths, legends, lies, misconceptions, and commonly believed things that are just completely wrong. From the origin of the holiday itself, to the historical date and year of Christ’s birth, to the modern marketing of iconic Christmas figures like Santa Claus, much of what is commonly believed about Christmas simply isn’t true. How accurate is the Bible Christmas story? What’s the real history of Christmas trees? And are we really losing Christ in Christmas?
It’s easy to put aside historical falsehoods and simply enjoy the festivities of the holiday season. But what Christmas stories are not real? Is the date of Christmas really Jesus’ birthday? Are there any true Christmas myths? If you really want to know where Santa comes from, when Jesus might have been born, and what U.S. state banned Christmas for a while, check out these widely believed Christmas myths below and get the real story of Christmas.
These Christmas myths and legends are probably stories you’ve never even questioned, but will completely change how you see this Christian holiday. Before you hang the lights, trim the tree, and put out Santa’s milk and cookies, be sure to read up on the Christmas facts you didn’t know weren’t even true.
Jesus was born on December 25.
There is no scriptural justification for this particular date being Jesus’s birthday. The date actually comes from scholar Hippolytus of Rome, who determined it early in the third century, assuming that the conception of Jesus took place at the Spring equinox, which he placed on March 25. He then added nine months, taking advantage of winter festivals that were already celebrated around that time.
Of course, there are a number of errors in this reasoning, the least of which is that the human gestation cycle is actually 40 weeks, which would put Jesus’s birth sometime in mid-January. Not only that, but Luke makes a specific reference to shepherds grazing their sheep in the fields, which only took place in the warmer months of the year. December 25th wasn’t celebrated as Christmas until at least the 4th Century CE, when it became a vehicle to deter Christians from celebrating the Pagan winter solstice.
Christmas trees have meaning relative to Jesus.
Evergreen trees were already popular in Pagan rites before Jesus’s birth, but they didn’t become a widely-held symbol of Christmas until the Renaissance. German Protestants began bringing home and decorating the large trees that grew in their local forests, and the custom spread throughout the various German dukedoms, then jumping to England with the ascension of a German king to the British monarchy. German-settled cities in America began using the custom, and it spread from there.