Monday, December 16, 2013

The History of Christmas in the U.S.
Christmas was not always a popular holiday in America as pointed out by the above link on the history of Christmas.  In fact it was not declared a federal holiday until 1870.  Some of the early Puritanical forces in America outlawed Christmas, and showing Christmas spirit was subject to a fine in Boston.  However other areas celebrated Christmas. 
Christmas went through a reformation in America.  In Europe it was often a raucous holiday, with merriment and a carnival type atmosphere.  Washington Irving did much to rewrite Christmas tradition.  He published a series of stories in the early 1800s redefining Christmas and making it a day to reach out and extend love between classes.  Children's stories and books played an important part in Christmas tradition.  "A Night Before Christmas" written by Clement Clarke Moore was published in 1822. 
Christmas, interestingly, was more embraced in the South then the North.  However, after the Civil War Christmas spread throughout the country, becoming a family oriented holiday and a time of peace.  Harper's magazine began published pictures of Santa every year in 1863.  The story of Virginia O'Hanlan took place in 1897.  The CocaCola Santa pictures were introduced in 1931.
Of note in recent years is the commercialization of Christmas in recent years, and attempts to remove Jesus from the celebration. 

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