December 24th

President Bush pardoned former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Caspar Weinberger
NORAD's Santa tracking service begins. The event is now a Christmas tradition where the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa Claus as he travels around the world delivering presents to children. The event began after a printing error in a Sears catalog asking children to call Santa Claus. The number that was printed was the number of Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.
NORAD Tracks Santa
Libya gains independence from Italy. The North African country had been ruled by Italy since 1912. After independence, it became a constitutional monarchy under King Idris. King Idris was overthrown in a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969.
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of Allied Forces by President Franklin Roosevelt.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
1st radioactive isotope medicine administered in Berkeley, California.
Ernest Lawrence
Christmas Truce begins. A much-studied event in war and peace studies, the Christmas Truce was a brief unofficial ceasefire between British and German troops along the Western Front of World War I. During the truce, soldiers from both sides sang carols, shared food, exchanged gifts and played football (soccer). Subsequent attempts to hold similar ceasefires around Christmas time failed.
Christmas Truce of 1914
Daniel Stover & William Hance patent bicycle with back pedal brake.
Ida Stover Eisenhower
Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida premiered in Cairo, Egypt, at the opening of the Suez Canal.
Ku Klux Klan created. The extremist white supremacist organization, also known as the Klan, was created in Pulaski, Tennessee by Confederate Army veterans.
Ku Klux Klan
Eggnog riots begin at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Also known as the Grog Mutiny, these riots began on Christmas Eve after cadets consumed copious amounts of eggnog made with smuggled whiskey. The riots lasted until December 25.
Eggnog Riot
'Silent Night' was composed by Franz Joseph Gruber.
Silent Night
The War of 1812 between America and Britain ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.
Treaty of Ghent
Compromise of the Nobles in Habsburg Netherlands closes against inquisition.
Compromise of Nobles
Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama died in Cochin, India.
Vasco da Gama