December is another original passed down from the Roman calendar. As it was structured then, December was the tenth and final month of the calendar year ("dece" meaning "ten" in Latin). With the additions of July and August, December was pushed to its position of twelfth calendar month. It is one of seven months composed of 31 days.
The Romans used this month for Saturnalia, a weeklong party dedicated to the god Saturn. There were festivals, gift-giving events, cookies and dancing. Like my birthday. The tradition continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries C.E., and some historians contend the customs of Saturnalia influenced our modern winter holiday traditions.
In the Northern Hemisphere, meteorological winter begins on December 1. The winter solstice falls on December 21. On that day, the northern end of Earth's axis will be pointed at its maximum angle away from the sun. While most unenlightened simpletons call this the "first day of winter," they are fools and morons. The solstice marks an astronomical occasion. Also worth noting: the Earth will not end on this day.
December is National Tie Month and Universal Human Rights Month. World AIDS Day is December 1. The 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks are remembered on the 7th. December 14 is the birthday of my home state, Alabama. Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 8. Christmas Day is the 25th. And we welcome in a brand new year at midnight New Year's Eve, December 31, the 366th and final day of 2012.
Baseball birthdays this month include Justin Smoak (December 5, 1986), Eric Chavez (December 7, 1977), Joe Blanton (December 11, 1980), Tyler Pastornicky (December 13, 1989), Chase Utley (December 17, 1978), David Wright, James Shields, David DeJesus and Aubrey Huff (all born on December 20 in 1982, 1981, 1979 and 1976, respectively), Cody Ross (December 23, 1980) and Michael Bourn (December 27, 1982).