Wild Christmas Headlines You Forgot About

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Donald Trump
Win McNamee / Getty Images

Trump Pardons Manafort, Stone, and Charles Kushner

Christmas came early last year for GOP political operatives Paul Manafort and Oliver Stone, and Charles Kushner, father of President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump issued pardons for all three along with dozens others. Manafort had been convicted of bank and tax fraud, while Stone had been convicted of lying to Congress. Real-estate billionaire Charles Kushner was convicted in 2005 of tax evasion and witness tampering, and was released from prison in 2006.

Downtown Nashville music entertainment establishments

Christmas Morning Explosion Rocks Nashville

Sometimes Christmas news is tragic and puzzling. Last year, America's "Music City" was the scene of a devastating and bizarre explosion early on Christmas morning when an RV exploded downtown. Prior to the blast, there was a recorded warning from the RV that announced there would soon be an explosion. The warning was also accompanied by a recording of Petula's Clarks hit song "Downtown." Authorities evacuated the area. The blast was heard miles away, damaged numerous buildings and injured at least three people. Killed in the blast was the bomber himself, Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, of Antioch, Tennessee, who told a neighbor before Christmas, "I'm going to be so famous Nashville will never forget me," according to the CNN

Related: Famous Crimes Scenes You Can Visit Across America

Flipping money

Bank Robber Throws Cash in Air, Shouting 'Merry Christmas'

On Christmas Eve in 2019, it was reported that David Wayne Oliver robbed a Colorado bank only to throw all of the stolen cash in the air while exclaiming "Merry Christmas," to those who happened to be passing by at the opportune moment. The 65-year-old man was later arrested at a nearby Starbucks. 

iraq flag
Derek Brumby/istockphoto

Iraq Makes Christmas Day a National Holiday

What better day to pass a law recognizing Christmas as an official holiday than … Christmas? That's exactly what happened in 2018 in Iraq, when the country's cabinet approved a law to mark Christmas Day across the country. "The Cabinet voted on an amendment to the national holidays law in the country that Christmas Day is a holiday for all Iraqis, and not only for the Christian community, as it had been for decades," CNN reported. "Happy Christmas to our Christian citizens, all Iraqis and to all who are celebrating around the world," the Iraqi government said on Twitter

Surprising Holiday Traditions From Around the World

ceramic squirrel
viktor girnik/istockphoto

Woman Arrested for Stabbing Husband With Ceramic Squirrel

A South Carolina woman who didn't get her beer fix on Christmas morning apparently lost her patience and stabbed her husband with a ceramic squirrel in 2013. The 44-year-old woman, Helen Williams, was later charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, according to jail records and a TV news report. Williams attacked her 41-year-old husband when he returned home without beer, at which point she grabbed a ceramic squirrel and hit him over the head and then stabbed him in the shoulder and chest.


Couple Arrested in Christmas Day Brawl Over Video Game

File this one under: Be careful what you buy your loved ones for Christmas. On Christmas Day in 2008, a New Hampshire couple got into an all-out brawl over some major gift disappointment. Heath Blom, 26, and his girlfriend Randi Young, 24, came to blows when Blom became disappointed over not getting the present he really, really wanted. "Heath Blom wanted a remote-controlled airplane for Christmas, and not the Wii," Portsmouth Police Sgt. Kuffer Kaltenborn said. Blom and Young, both bruised from the fight, were arrested and slapped with misdemeanor charges of "domestic-related" simple assault.     

Related: Nintendo to Hatchimals: 20 Gifts That Sparked Black Friday Insanity

james brown
james brown by Heinrich Klaffs (CC BY-SA)

The Godfather of Soul Dies

Certainly not wild or wacky, but completely unexpected, James Brown passed away on Christmas day in 2006. Brown was 73 and was initially reported to have died of congestive heart failure. But in the days and weeks after his death, conspiracy theories began swirling suggesting Brown may have been murdered. Those raising the questions include Dr. Marvin Crawford, who signed Brown's death certificate, but later said the cause of death did not make sense.

25 Strangest American Conspiracy Theories


Jerry Seinfeld Announces Namesake Sitcom Will End

Much to the dismay of millions of fans worldwide, Jerry Seinfeld announced on Christmas Day 1997 that his wildly popular television comedy would be coming to an end. ''I wanted to end the show on the same kind of peak we've been doing it on for years,'' Seinfeld said at the time. ''I wanted the end to be from a point of strength. I wanted the end to be graceful.'' Yes, the end of the most popular show of the 1990s may have been graceful, but it's departure also left a giant hole in many hearts.    

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gorbachev by RIA Novosti (CC BY-SA)

Gorbachev Resigns, Ending Soviet Era

Mikhail Gorbachev chose Christmas Day in 1991 to resign from his role as president of the Soviet Union. The last leader of the world's first communist state announced his resignation during a live television broadcast and within a half-hour of his announcement, the Russian flag was seen flying above Gorbachev's Kremlin office, a sign that the Soviet Union had officially come to an end, and Soviet communism had collapsed.

bucharest palace

Romanian Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu Executed

One of the more morbid but historic Christmas Day headlines: Romania's tyrannical communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was executed by firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989. The execution followed a bloody battle that triggered the collapse of what had been one of Europe's most repressive communist administrations. Ceaușescu  and his wife, Elena, were lined up against a wall and the dictator sang the political anthem "The Internationale" in the moments before he was shot.   

charlie chaplin
Herbert Dorfman/Getty

Charlie Chaplin Dies

Again, not an entertaining headline, but certainly unexpected on Christmas day. In 1977, Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest comic actors in motion picture history, passed away in his sleep on Christmas morning just a few hours before the family's holiday festivities were to begin. The 88-year-old Hollywood legend had been in failing health for quite some time. "All the presents were under the tree. Charlie gave so much happiness and, although he had been ill for a long time, it is so sad that he should have passed away on Christmas Day," his wife, Oona Chaplin, said.

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