Noteworthy Events That Happened On Christmas Day

Scroll down for a unique, colorful, contemporary classic, featuring History Facts from Christmas days past.

This page features Chapter 10 of Yule Log. Additional chapters are linked below. 

For more Christmas History Facts, along with related links and and other free printable items, scroll further down the page. 


by Judee Shipman


1967 – Birth of Jason Thirsk, American bass player. He dies at the age of 28.

1968 – Frank Borman gives a holiday reading as Apollo 8 orbits the moon. In Viet Nam, 134 casualties are reported during a one-day Allied truce.

In India, 42 Dalits are burned alive in Kilavenmani village, in retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit laborers. 

1969 – Reporter William F. Buckley writes in the Kokomo Tribune that 80 percent of the war casualties he saw were South Vietnamese, and 20 percent were American soldiers.

1970 – In Seabrook, Texas, the local dog catcher sends Christmas cards to all the town's dogs.

In Chicago, Illinois, a nun wears a clown suit instead of a traditional habit because “People talk to clowns more than to nuns.”

1971 – The wife of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau gives birth to the couple's first child. Justin Trudeau will one day become the new Canadian Prime Minister. 

Meanwhile, the worst hotel fire in history kills 163 guests at Taeyokale Hotel in Seoul, Korea.

Above: Taeyokale Hotel, Seoul, 1971

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1972 – Tourists flock to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, as great archeological discoveries are made.

In America, the Okinawa returns from Viet Nam with 500 people on board.

Elsewhere, aftershocks of an earthquake continue in Managua, Nicaragua, where anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 are killed.

1973 – Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his wife now have two children, both born on Christmas. 

All over America, gasoline stations remain open. The price of gas is highest in Brooklyn, New York, at almost one dollar per gallon. Some gasoline stations resort to selling gasoline to the highest bidder.

Skylab III astronauts spend this day in orbit. Astronauts Gerald Carr and William Pogue take a space walk to photograph the comet Kohoutek.

ABOVE: Skylab, Christmas Day 1973

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1974 – At 7:00 am, a man crashes his car through the White House gates.

In Australia, Cyclone Tracy virtually destroys the city of Darwin.

1975 – Fire destroys sound stages and Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Hollywood. The stages are used for the filming of two major TV shows, Cannon and Barnaby Jones. Damages exceed 3 million dollars. The suspected cause of the fire is a Christmas party held there the previous night.

Also, in Australia, a fire at a Sydney backpacker's hotel kills 13 people.

1976 – An Egyptian ship known as the SS Patria sinks in the Red Sea, killing about a hundred passengers.

1977 – Begin and Sadat meet in the Mideast for the Christmas Summit.

Immortal silent film star Charlie Chaplin dies in Switzerland at age 88.

ABOVE: Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in a 1921 silent classic called 'The Kid.'

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1978 – In a hateful rage against America and the Shah, three terrorists kill a Colorado oil tycoon with machine guns.

Meanwhile, in the sacred city of Mashad, nine demonstrators are killed and 81 are wounded.

1979 – The USSR invades Afghanistan; 

Overseas phone calls from America exceed 550,000, keeping 3,500 of the phone company's 9,000 operators very busy on Christmas day. 

1980 – Four clergy members hold Christmas services for hostages in Iran. A Catholic priest is transported blindfolded to meet with the hostages. 

Also on this day, the death of former Nazi Commander Karl Doenitz.

1981 – Soviet President Brezhnev responds directly to U.S. President Reagan, “calling upon you and the government of the USA to end at last the interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

1982 – Four people in New York die from drinking tainted eggnog. Meanwhile in Lebanon, more feuding between rightist Christians and leftist Druse militiamen.

1983 – The first live telecast of the Macy's Christmas Parade. 

Also on this day, Spanish artist Joan Miro dies. 

Above: "Dog Barking At The Moon," by Joan Miro, 1952 

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1984 – NBA Basketball star Bernard King scores 60 points in a single game.

1985 – In Seattle, a Right-wing extremist named David Lewis Rice is arrested for the Christmas eve murders of Charles Goldmark, a civil rights attorney, along with Goldmark's wife and two children. Rice said he dd it because he suspected the family of being Jewish, not to mention Communist. Not that it matters, but they weren't.

1986 – An Iraqi Airways plane crashes in Saudi Arabia, killing 62 people.

1987 – The U.N. Security Council enforces a truce between Iran and Iraq.

Above: A map of Iran and Iraq

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1988 – The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon is a New York Times bestseller. 

1989 – Japanese scientists achieve a temperature of -271.8 C, the coldest temperature ever recorded.

Nicolea Ceausescu, dictator of Romania, is executed along with his wife Helena. Also shot dead is Florica Murariu, a rugby player who had won 69 caps for Romania before becoming a soldier.

1990 – The first successful trial run of the system that would eventually become the world wide web, commonly known as the internet.

1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigns as President of the USSR.

1992 – The Chicago Tribune runs a story about a 19-year-old Chicago girl who gets caught with a small bag of weed and is arrested. Christmas must have been a quiet day for the newspaper's roving reporters. 

1993 – The NBA's Houston Rockets are defeated by the Phoenix Suns, with a final game score of 111 to 91.

1994 – Top Christmas movies showing in theaters on this day are the Santa Clause, The Ref, and a remake of Miracle on 34 th Street.

1995 – Singer-actor Dean Martin, famous for his excessive drinking, dies at the age of 78.

Above: Dean Martin in 1967

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1996 – Jon Benet Ramsey, a 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant from Colorado, is murdered in her home this Christmas day. 

1997 – U.S. Movie box office receipts top 6 billion.

An artist named Robert Cenedella makes a painting of a crucified Santa. It is displayed in the window of the New York Art Students League, and receives intense criticism from some religious groups. His painting is a protest, designed to show how Santa has replaced Jesus Christ as the most important symbolic figure at Christmas time.

1998 – Death of Mike McAlary, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist.

1999 – Popular holiday movies playing in theaters include Stuart Little, Toy Story II, Calcutta Christmas, and The Christmas Camel. 

2000 – A fire at a Christmas party in an unlicensed disco kills more than 300 people in Luoyang, China.

2001 – NASA releases its “Astronomy Picture of the Day.”

2002 – Katie Hnida becomes the first woman to play in a Division I football game.

2003 – The Beagle 2 Probe, released from the Mars Express Spacecraft on December 19 th , disappears on this day, shortly before its scheduled landing.

2004 – An earthquake in southeast Asia measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale causes major tsunamis the following day, eventually killing more than 200,000 people.

Also, the Cassini orbiter releases the Huygens probe, which lands successfully on Saturn's moon, Titan, almost three weeks later. 

2005 – A fire at a bar in Zhongshan, China, kills 35 people.

2006 – Ethiopia supports the UN backed government in Somalia, sending war planes to bomb Somalian villages that support the Islamic movement.

James Brown, legendary R&B, Gospel, Jazz & Funk musician, also known as the Godfather of Soul, dies of heart failure at the age of 73.

Above: James Brown 

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2007 – Three idiots at the San Francisco Zoo taunt a tiger with sling shots and lasers. The tiger escapes and kills one of its tormenters, unfortunately only wounding the other two.

2008 – Death of Eartha Kitt, iconic American singer. 

2009 – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallub unsuccessfully attempts a terrorist attack against the U.S., while traveling on Northwest Airlines flight 253.

The Taliban releases a video of a captured U.S. Soldier, and demands the release of captured insurgents in exchange for the soldier.

2010 – Movies released on this day include Gulliver's Travels and The Illusionist.

2011 – Victoria's State Emergency Service (SES) receives roughly 4,000 calls for help during severe storms in Melbourne on Christmas day.

2012 – A plane crash near Shymkent, Kazakhstan kills 27 people.

In the Philippines, the death toll from a tropical storm reaches 11, with many thousand more forced from their homes due to landslides and flooding.

France celebrates its 850 th anniversary at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and begins a year-long festival.

Above: Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Image credit: love

2013 – A storm system produced snowfall in central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. What a shock.

Movies released on this day include American Hustle, The Secret life Of Walter Mitty, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Grudge Match, among others.

2014 – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meets in Washington DC.

2015 – provides exclusive coverage of a Clippers-Lakers game.

Meanwhile, a heavy snowstorm makes its way across South Dakota.

2016 – New York rap artist Troy Ave (real name: Roland Collins) is shot twice and wounded while sitting in his car at an intersection. 


YULE LOG: Additional Chapters

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - INTRO

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter One

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Two

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Three

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Four

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Five

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Six

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Seven

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Eight

Christmas History Facts: Yule Log - Chapter Nine

Related Links

Free Christmas Printables And Gifts 

Christmas Coloring Pages

Christmas Snow Scenes

Snow Sculpture Competition Winners

Worst Christmas Gifts Ever! 


Crazy Horse Appearing - Introduction

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 1 

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 2

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 3

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 4

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 5

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 6

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 7

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 8

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 9

Crazy Horse Appearing - Chapter 10

Crazy Horse Appearing - Appendixes

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