Christmas songs from Europe were sung in America for decades in the early 1800s. In 1849 American composers began to write new Christmas songs in English. The first Christmas carol was written in America by a minister, Edward H. Sears – “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.”
James Lord Pierpont wrote a song in 1857 called – “One Horse Open Sleigh.” The name for this song today is “Jingle Bells”. When Pierpont wrote this song he originally intended it to be a Thanksgiving song.
In 1863 a minister named John Henry Hopkins wrote the song – “We Three Kings Of Orient Are.” A lot of the songs written for Christmas were used in church hymnals.
From 1800 to 1850 – Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers and other Protestants continued to regard December 25th as a day without religious significance, a day of normal business. During Reformation and up until 1850, Christmas was not celebrated, because partying and merry making was seen as unchristian.
In 1821 a book called, “The Children’s Friend” was written. This was the first book written about Santa Claus. It pictured Mr. Claus as a jolly old man from the North, who rode in a flying sleigh, pulled by one reindeer. (Apparently he gained weight over the years and needed to add more reindeer to pull his sleigh – Mrs. Claus must be a very good cook)
In 1823 a poem was written called – “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”. The name of this poem was later changed to – “The Night Before Christmas.”
The bottom line: There are conflicting stories everywhere about why Christmas is celebrated on December 25. For many years, in numerous areas of the world, Christmas was celebrated on January 6. Today in America Christmas Day is truly a mix of religious celebration and commercial interests.