"Noel" is one thing -- but "Christmas"???
Last night, a little elf sat on my shoulder and asked me,"How many notable people have 'Christmas' in their name?"
I swatted him with a bundle of Christmas cards. But as squarely as I had shaken that elf, I could not shake his question. Turning to my library's online Gale Biography Resource Center, I found 16 people of distinction with Christmas as their last name (or as part of a compound like Boldt-Christmas). I found nine people with Christmas as a middle name or their name before marriage and one person with Christmas as a first name.
Most festive among the names were Christmas Carol Kauffman (an author of books on Christian themes) and Merrie Christmas Patch (a special education teacher). The list included 17 Americans, seven Britons, and one person each from Australia, Canada, Denmark and Sweden.
Most (six) were writers, three were educators, two were nurses, two were politicians, two were lawyers, and there was one person in each of these professions: actor, airline executive, architect, cardiologist, multimedia producer, immunologist, physician, public relations executive, museum curator, soldier, surgeon and urological surgeon.
Two men had dual careers: one explorer/soldier and a physician/prime minister.
Among the most interesting entries was Joseph Christmas Ives (1828-1868) served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant, exploring the Colorado River (1857 to 1858), as architect and engineer of the Washington Monument (1859-60), and then as surveyor of the boundary between California and the intervening U.S. territories (1860-61). When the Civil War broke out, however, Ives served the Confederacy under Gen. Robert E. Lee as chief engineer for the coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia and eastern Florida. Promoted to colonel, he strengthened the defenses of Charleston and Savannah (1861-1862) and in December of 1864 aided Gen. Pierre Beauregard in the defense of Charleston. (Source: Frank Edward Ross in the Dictionary of American Biography.)
English author Charlie Christmas Bush (1885-1973), wrote more than 60 mystery novels under the pen name of Christopher Bush. Crimes in Bush's stories were intricate puzzles to be solved, where clever detectives used clocks and telephones to unravel felons' "airtight" alibis. (Source: Contemporary Authors Online.)
Eric Christmas was born in England in 1916, and he immigrated to Canada. Although an actor and director in a number of stage productions, he was most active as a movie and television actor from 1970-1997, with a preponderance of roles as military, priest, lawyer, senator and judge types. Christmas appeared in the films "Harold and Maude" (1970), "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" (1978), and "Bugsy" (1991), among others. Soap opera fans knew him as Father Francis on NBC's series, "Days of Our Lives" from 1995 through 1996. (Source: Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television.)
Joyce Christmas (1939- ) is a Connecticut Yankee and one writer likely to second-guess her editor. "I began my career as an editor," she told Contemporary Authors, "and found the transition to ghosting nonfiction an easy one. It was easier still to move from there to writing my own fiction and anything else that needed to be written." Her mystery series (Lady Margaret Priam, Betty Trenka, and two novels involving both of these characters) obviously feature women detectives.