On Christmas Day in 1914, British and German troops emerged from the trenches of World War I as weeks of bad weather cleared and called a truce. It was spontaneous and not approved by any higher-ups, but many soldiers on both sides ended up taking part. Soccer games were played between the British and German troops before they returned to their respective sides at dusk and continued fighting.

The Christmas Truce, as it is known today, is for many an illustration of the power Christmas holds over humanity's collective imagination. Christmas is generally thought of as a time for family, togetherness, compassion, and generosity. However, the ways people celebrate and think of the holiday continue to change as society evolves.

To see how Christmas has changed over the last century, Stacker explored how popular traditions, like food and decorations, emerged and evolved from 1920 to 2019 in the U.S. and around the world. Stacker also found when some of the most popular Christmas songs, movies, and books entered the canon of the holiday season and gifts that topped many Christmas lists over the years.

LOOK: See what Christmas was like the year you were born

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