Today is Christmas Day
This day remains the most popular holiday in the Western World, and much of the rest of the world, in spite of the inroads of commercialization, the return of the seven day a week workweek, and the blathering of commercial entertainment, which offers up, in this season, such pathetic offerings as the televised seasonal stupidity of Chevy Chase and other such alleged comedic attempts. May you all have a Merry and Joyous Christmas, in the true sense of the words and in keeping with the true meaning of the holiday.
In terms of history, in recent years it is often claimed that the December 25 date was chosen by the Church for Christ's Mass as it would override existing Pagan feast days, but this is a myth. The most common claim involves Sol Invictus, but the problem with this assertion is that the earliest recording of that Pagan day being celebrated on December 25 comes from the year 354, and even that is unclear as to whether the day was honoring "The Unconquerable Sun" or something else. There are claims for earlier dates in the 270s, but the record doesn't support a clear date until 354, to the extent that date is even clear. The earliest indication of Christians celebrating the Birth of Christ on December 25 comes from 206, over a century and a half earlier, and in a form suggesting that the date was generally accepted, which would indicate it having been established for some time. Some will cite to 336 as the year in which the date was established, but this fails to acknowledge that the 336 date reflects a recorded Christ's Mass, when earlier Christian writings were noting that the December 25 date for Christ's birth. Even the 336 date doesn't reflect the establishment of the date as a Christian Holy Day, but rather notes a Mass being celebrated for the Holy Day.
Another claim is that it overrides the date for a festival committed to Saturnus, but in fact that event occurred earlier in December, lasted several days, and was over by December 23.
1866 Portugee Phillips arrives at Ft. Laramie after a harrowing several day ride from besieged Ft. Phil Kearny. Contrary to myth, Phillips did not make the entire ride alone, but had other civilian volunteers in his company except for the very last section of the ride. Their mission was essentially complete when they arrived at Horseshoe Station, where news of the Fetterman defeat was telegraphed to Omaha. But Phillips went on alone, an additional hours ride, to bring the telegram and news to Ft. Laramie, arriving at 11:00 p.m. as a party was going on in Old Bedlam, the bachelor's officers quarters, which his arrival interrupted and made somber. Phillips was given the gift of a fine horse by Company F of the 2nd Cavalry for his efforts.
1882 First recorded turkey dinner in Wyoming takes place at Ft. McKinney.