The halls have been decked, evergreen trees glitter with ornaments and lights, and the stockings hung with care. This time of year, candy canes are the sweets du jour, and Santa hats are in fashion. Christmas is upon us.

“Christmas is like candy; it slowly melts in your mouth sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever.” - Richelle E. Goodrich

The holiday season is a magical time when friends and family gather together. It's a time for cozy nights by the fireplace, sipping hot cocoa or cider or bundling up in coats and mittens to carol in the snow. Christmastime is full of traditions, some of which have surprising origins.

Historians guestimate that the first Christmas celebration occurred in ancient Rome around 336 C.E. - over a thousand years ago -. If you count its ties to pagan festivals, the holiday is still older.

Christmas in the United States has its fair share of influence over today's holiday customs. One could argue that between Cocoa Cola and Clement Clarke Moore, the U.S. helped create the modern image of Santa (but we'll get to that later.) Today's Christmas grew from a fascinating mix of ancient customs and modern-day traditions.

Discover 24+ Tree-mendously Surprising Christmas Facts

Have you ever wondered why we hang stockings above the fireplace? Did you know that Santa Claus was a real person? Where did the idea for a Christmas tree come from? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and many more unique Christmas facts.

24+ Surprising Facts About Christmas (How Many Do You Know?)

Historians date the first 'Christmas' celebrations back to 336 C.E. in ancient Rome. In its thousand-plus years of history, the holiday has evolved into a celebration with unique traditions and cultural significance across the globe. Let's dive into fascinating nuggets of Yuletide trivia, historical facts, and surprising truths about the Christmas holiday!

Gallery Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media Laramie/Cheyenne