December 1: Adolfo López Mateos takes office as President of Mexico. - Our Lady of the Angels School Fire: At least ninety students and three nuns are killed in a fire in Chicago.
December 5: Subscriber trunk dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by the Queen, when she dials a call from Bristol to Edinburgh and speaks to the Lord Provost. - The Preston bypass, the United Kingdom's first motorway, opens to traffic for the first time. This stretch is now part of the M6 and M55 motorways.
December 6: The 3rd launch of a Thor-Able rocket, carrying Pioneer 2, is unsuccessful due to a 3rd stage ignition failure.
December 9: The right-wing John Birch Society is founded in the USA by Robert Welch, a retired candy manufacturer.
December 14: The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition becomes the first ever to reach the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility.
December 15: Arthur L. Schawlow and Charles H. Townes of Bell Laboratories publish a paper in Physical Review Letters setting out the principles of the optical laser.
December 16: A fire breaks out in the Vida Department Store in Bogota, Colombia and kills 84 persons.
December 18: The Bell XV-3 Tiltrotor makes the first true mid-air transition from vertical helicopter-type flight to fully level fixed-wing flight.
December 19: President Dwight D. Eisenhower broadcasts a message from a Project SCORE satellite.
December 21: General Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France with 78.5% of the votes.
December 24: A BOAC Bristol Britannia (312 G-AOVD) crashes near Winkton, England during a test flight.
December 25: Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker (the George Balanchine version) is shown on prime-time television in color for the first time, as an episode of the CBS anthology series Playhouse 90.
December 28: The Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants 23-17 to win the NFL Championship Game, the first to go into sudden death overtime and "The Greatest Game Ever Played".
December 29: Rebel troops under Che Guevara begin to invade Santa Clara, Cuba. Fulgencio Batista resigns two days later, on the night of the 31st.
December 31: Tallies reveal that, for the first time, the total of passengers carried by air this year exceeds the total carried by sea in transatlantic service. (source: Wikipedia)