Who’s ready for some holiday cheer? Christmas has been a federal holiday since 1870, so we’re pretty accustomed to having a couple of days off to spend with family and drink too much eggnog. Christmas wasn’t always such a big party, however. Throughout most of human history, important political figures didn’t let a pesky holiday get in the way of their plans.

Let’s check out a few of the most significant historical events that happened on December 25.

1066: William the Conqueror Was Crowned King

Ever heard of William, Duke of Normandy? What about his more ominous nickname William the Conqueror? The man was a pretty big deal. In October of 1066, he invaded the British Isles and defeated King Harold II at the legendary Battle of Hastings. After his victory, he wasn’t going to keep his boring old title. What better day to get a new one than Christmas?

On Christmas Day at Westminster Abbey, William was crowned king of England. This was the beginning of a highly influential 21-year long rule. True to his French roots, the Norman king fused his own culture and language to those of the English people he governed. In doing so, he changed the development of the English language. He also offered generous land grants to his French allies. This was partially responsible for the birth of the feudal system that continued throughout most of the Middle Ages.