In 1777, in the midst of the American Revolution, General George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, PA to camp for the winter. For many of them, it was the worst Christmas ever. Inadequate clothing and supplies, coupled with wet weather, meant the men were underfed, cold, and oftentimes sick. As many as 2,000 men are said to have died from typhoid, jaundice, dysentery, and pneumonia.
In 1843, Charles Dickens published the classic story A Christmas Carol, which taught us all the importance of generosity and the uselessness of locking doors against supernatural beings. Dozens of subsequent adaptations have ranged from the highly faithful (A Christmas Carol) to the fun and awesome (The Muppet Christmas Carol) to the completely stupid (Barbie in A Christmas Carol).