- 1818 – The Christmas carol "Silent Night" by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber was first performed in a chapel in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.
- 1871 – Aida, one of Giuseppe Verdi's most popular operas, made its debut in Cairo, Egypt.
- 1914 – World War I: British and German soldiers interrupted fighting to celebrate Christmas, beginning the Christmas truce (pictured).
- 1953 – A railway bridge at Tangiwai on New Zealand's North Island was damaged by a lahar and collapsed beneath a passenger train, killing 151 people.
- 2008 – The Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, began attacks on several villages in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing hundreds and committing numerous atrocities.