This Month In History – December

December 1st, 2014

It seems like only yesterday that you were toasting the beginning of 2014, but now it’s December and 2015 is coming up fast!  December is one of the busiest months of the year, with the observance of Hanukkah the 16th-24th, Christmas on the 25th, and Kwanzaa beginning on the 26th.  Winter begins on the 21st, and many people gather for the Airing of Grievances during their Festivus meals on December 23rd.  As you scramble to finish your holiday shopping and start formulating your New Year’s Resolutions, it’s important to reflect on the real reasons why we celebrate these winter holidays.  Whether your festivities are secular or religious, the holiday season is meant to be shared with those you love.  We’ve compiled a list of significant events that have occurred on every day of December over the course of history that you might like to share with your family and friends.  These events could give you new reasons to celebrate and reflect every day of the month.

1: In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a public bus.  Her arrest catalyzed the modern Civil Rights Movement.
2: Napoleon Bonaparte became the Emperor of France in 1804.
3: In 1967, a team of surgeons led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa performed the world’s first heart transplant.
4: In 1954, the first Burger King restaurant was opened in Miami, Florida.
5: In 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed and Prohibition officially ended.  The amendment was in place for fourteen years, during which time the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol was illegal.
6:  Slavery was abolished in 1865 when the 13th Amendment was ratified.
7:  In 1941, nearly 200 Japanese war planes attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor, located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.  Described by President Franklin Roosevelt as a date that would live in infamy, this event symbolized the United States’ official entry into World War II.
8: Mark David Chapman assassinated influential songwriter and former member of the Beatles John Lennon outside of his New York City apartment building in 1981.
9:  In 1993, two American astronauts successfully completed a five day in-space repair of the Hubble Telescope.
10: The Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War and gave the United States control of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico, was signed in 1898.
11:  IN 1941, Japan’s allies Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, which symbolized a turning point in World War II.
12: In 1800, Washington D.C. was established as the capital of the United States.
13: Woodrow Wilson became the first U.S. President to visit Europe while in office when he arrived in France in 1918.

14: Saturday Night Fever, a film which has become synonymous with the disco era, premiered in New York City in 1977.
15: In 1966, Walt Disney died of acute circulatory collapse caused by lung cancer.
16: Colonial activists disguised as Native Americans boarded British ships and dumped nearly 350 containers of expensive tea into Boston Harbor in 1773.  Known as the Boston Tea Party, this event escalated tensions that led to the Revolutionary War.
17: The longest running American animated television program, The Simpsons, premiered on FOX in 1989.
18: The animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Boris Karloff premiered on CBS in 1966.
19: Charles Dickens’ classic novella, A Christmas Carol, was published for the first time by Chapman & Hall in 1843.
20: In 1606, the Virginia Company expedition departed from England with three small ships to establish the first permanent English settlement in what would become Jamestown, Virginia.
21: The first feature-length animated Disney film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was released in 1937.
22: Colo, the first gorilla born in captivity anywhere in the world, was born at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio in 1956.
23: Clement C. Moore’s poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” better known as “The Night Before Christmas,” was published in 1823.
24:  Frank Borman, James Lovell, Jr., and William Anders became the first men to orbit the moon aboard the Apollo 8 shuttle in 1968.
25: In 1776, George Washington and his troops famously crossed the Delaware River to stage a surprise attack against Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey.
26: “Galveston Jack” Johnson became the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight championship title in 1908 when he defeated Tommy Burns.
27: The original play Peter Pan, written by J.M. Barrie, was performed for the first time in London in 1904.
28: Stan Lee, the chairman of Marvel Comics and creator of classic superheroes like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, was born in New York City in 1922.
29: In 1851, the first YMCA was established in Boston, Massachusetts.
30: Priced around $1,200, color television sets went on sale for the first time in 1953.
31: In 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated his incandescent light bulb for the first time to the public at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

If you’re trying to make your Christmas celebration a unique and unforgettable experience for your family, we offer a great selection of costumes, accessories, and decorations that can help you start new traditions.  Some of the events listed above, like the publication of A Christmas Carol and “The Night Before Christmas” offer a chance for you to teach your kids about history while sharing timeless stories.  You could also throw a costume party for your friends to take your minds off of Santa Claus and snowmen for a night, and you might find some timely inspiration in these events.  No matter how or what you’re celebrating this month, Anytime Costumes hopes that you have a happy and safe holiday!