Skip to comments.History of Christmas in America
Posted on 12/16/2011 7:33:44 AM PST by Chuckmorse
In colonial times Christmas was frowned upon in New England and observed mostly as a private feast in mid-Atlantic and Southern colonies. The strait-laced New England Puritans, partially motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment, banned Christmas in 1659 under the guise that the holiday was pagan and that it encouraged decadence. Colonial Americans celebrated a Christmas that contained both religious and secular elements thus establishing a uniquely balanced American approach to faith. Christmas harkens back to the ancient Roman celebration of the Saturnalia, a day in which all Romans, Emperor and slave, addressed each other on a first name basis.
Christmas was not celebrated by colonial Puritans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers but it was observed by Anglicans, Dutch Reformed, Lutherans and Catholics. Drawing from various old world traditions, Christmas in colonial America included bells, mistletoe, yule logs, wreaths, eggnog, gingerbread, and various Christmas foods. The Dutch settlers of New York contributed Sinter Klass and baked deserts. Christmas was a time for charity and for giving gifts to the poor. George Washington and other southern plantation owners were known to host lavish Christmas parties. Southerners of all economic levels celebrated raucous Christmas parties that included firing muskets into the air, banging pots, drinking, feasting, playing games, and generally taking time off from work. Bands of mummers, or folk-singers, dressed in costume, would roam Colonial towns on Christmas Eve caroling, acting in skits, and making revelry.
Christmas was proclaimed a federal holiday by an executive order that was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, June 26, 1870. Since that time, Christmas has been confirmed into law by various acts of Congress and by the States. The legality of Christmas as a federal holiday has never been challenged in any American court. The American tradition has been to observe the religious aspects of Christmas in church or in the home and the secular aspects in various public forms.
There should, therefore, be no controversy around the celebration of Christmas. Indeed wishing someone a Merry Christmas should be viewed as American as wishing someone a happy Fourth of July. The general theme of Christmas as it has come to be defined, Peace on earth, good-will toward men is a universal theme at ought to be embraced. But what about the undeniable Christian nature of Christmas? Is it appropriate for our secular government to officially recognize what is essentially a religious holiday? The answer, to a degree, is yes.
It is an undeniable fact of history that America has been and largely remains a Christian nation. Indeed, by not establishing Christianity as a state religion, and by establishing a system of government and a society that respects religious differences and that considers all citizens to be equal under the law, America is, by its nature, a Christian nation. Christianity, unlike Islam and certain other religions, and unlike the secular political faiths of Nazism and Communism, involves a personal relationship between the believer and Jesus.
While historically Christianity has been used from time to time by secular political leaders and movements as a vehicle to obtain and enhance state power, Christianity, per se, rejects this notion. Indeed, Jesus established in his ministry the separation of church and state. Carrying forth the moral and ethical precepts of the Torah, Jesus recognized that rights emanate from the creator and not from the state.
It is indeed our Christian heritage that has made us the most successful and prosperous society ever established in human history. It is, therefore, entirely appropriate and fitting that we, as Americans, celebrate Christmas and by doing so honor and reflect upon our Christian heritage.
We forget that many early Americans used to work, go to school on Christmas.
personally, I could do without all the snowman,reindeer,santa claus junk.
Even when I was younge I didn’t get into it.
Alth0ugh, it is futile to recist else the cheery people call you names..haha
If I were President, I would declare December 25th American Christian Heritage Day, to honor the undeniable contribution that Christianity has made to the founding of our Republic and the underlying worldview that once made America the greatest, freest and most prosperous nation on the planet.
BTW, I am not a Christian. I was raised Jewish (which I no longer practice), and in the course of my life I have explored Hinduism, Atheism and Buddhism.
I have never been a Christian, but I thank God that this nation was founded by people who were.
Totally off subject mostly. When I was a kids my grandmother used to put this white spun stuff on the tree, she called it angel hair. The junk was made out of spun glass.....would cut your hands to shreds. Weird what you will sometimes remember.
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Truly a unique man ... God bless you.
and Merry Christmas.
I remember my grandmother covering her tree with angel hair when I was a kid.
It did create a beautiful effect, though.
Each Christmas light had a beautiful colored halo around it.
The trick with the angel hair was to spread it very very thinly from top to bottom of the tree, not toss gobbs of it here and there.
Remember icicles? Some of her trees had icicles. A tree might have hundreds and she hung each on perfectly straight.
I remember these as very beautiful. Again, the trick was to hang each straight and not toss gobs of them here and there.
Does anyone use them any more?
Does anyone know if Mormons celebrate Christmas?
They don't make them like they used to. The old ones were made with a lead content, so they were heavy and hung nicely. Now they are so light and thin, they hang poorly and don't hold up in any draft.
Lovely thoughts. Have a merry holiday season and wonderful new year!
We have two sets of Christmas tree decorations, which we alternate from year to year. The set with traditional colored lights and balls, toys and candy canes has traditional silver tinsel; and the set with white lights, seashells, sandpaper ornaments, strings of pearls, bottle green glass balls and feathered doves has iridescent plastic tinsel.
Tinsel finishes a tree and increases its luminescence.
The incorporation of what is now New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada confirmed he Dutch actions....
I appreciate your sentiments. Might I suggest a book for you
this holiday season - one to make you reflect on your roots?
‘More than a Carpenter’ by Josh McDowell - it’s just a little paperback, easy read, but will make you think.
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