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How Christmas Went Commercial: A Brief History

It took Christmas a while to become what it is today. In fact, in the 4th century, Pope Julius I chose the date that, a few hundred years later, we’d come to associate with carols, pine trees, gifts, mistletoe, and annoying uncles. There was a time when it was banned in half the country, before President Grant declared it a federal holiday. When companies realized they could make a ton of cash off Christmas, they started sponsoring cute animated movies to sell their brand. That’s right–A Charlie Brown Christmas isn’t quite as anti-consumerist as you might think.

Watch the video to learn more about the origins and evolution of the holiday–and how Santa came to shill for everything from cigarettes to cereal to motorcycles.

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