Though Christians have celebrated Christmas on December 25 since at least the 4th century, it did not become a federal holiday in the United States until President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law in 1870.

But, even before then, Christmas was designated as a state holiday in different parts of the country. 

Who was the first?

A simple Google search will tell you “Alabama,” citing a Southern Living article from earlier this year. The article claimed Alabama declared Christmas a legal holiday in 1836.

“Alabama” has also been an answer to the same question on a New York Times crossword puzzle at least once. 

The History Channel once listed the claim on its website, though it no longer does. 

However, some sources say otherwise. 

Snopes.com in 2022 claimed that no historical records existed to back up this claim and said the Alabama Department of Archives and History told them that “staff under four different directors … have found no evidence to support the claim.” Consequently, Snopes dubbed it “Unproven.”

An article by Medium in 2016 agreed that Alabama made Christmas a legal holiday in 1836 but said Georgia beat us to it in 1831. 

So, who was first?

Perhaps we’ll never know.

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