The first state to recognize Christmas as an official United States holiday was Alabama in 1836. Arkansas and Louisiana officially recognized Christmas 2 years later. Christmas was an important seasonal holiday in the South while the Northern states typically saw the celebration as sinful.
Interest in Christmas increased in the 1820s due to literature such as "A Visit From St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore. In 1850, the idea of the Christmas tree was introduced to the U.S., and it became a common practice by the 1870s. Old Puritan customs in New England originally kept Christmas from being a cheerful celebration, and the holiday saw a transition in the area in the 1850s. By 1860, 14 states, including several from the New England region, had made Christmas a legal holiday. It became a federal holiday in 1885.