Artist: Edmund Restein
As we enjoy the Christmas season, many people are thinking about tradition. For us here in America, Christmas has become a time of family traditions, where we look back to a simpler time and rekindle memories of our youth and imagined memories of our grandparents’ youth, as well.
But the traditions we think of as “old traditions” aren’t as old as we like to think. The Christmas celebration, as we know it, is much different than Christmas of old. While many of the symbols we recognize as being part of Christmas existed in the beginning of the 1800s, they weren’t all widely used. It was through the years of the 1800s that our Christmas traditions, as we know them today, became widespread American traditions.
This was actually an important part of American history, as the country was very divided through the 1800s. Not only did we fight the Civil War during that time, but society as a whole was fragmented. Cultural groups were widely separated and geographic distance made it difficult for there to be any cohesion in a land as vast as the United States of America.
But communications also were growing during those years. In 1860, the Pony Express connected the East and West Coasts in a way that had not previously existed. The very next year the Pony Express was supplanted by the first intercontinental railway, allowing people to travel from coast to coast in three and a half days. All this happened at the same time as an ever-faster means of communication – the telegraph. The first telegraph lines to cross the continent were strung by the railway right of way.
This increased communication heightened the need for unifying the country, but it was war that found us first. On April 12, 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Four long years later, it ended, and the people of the United States started on the even longer road to healing. A part of that healing process was the unifying of our Christmas traditions.
Solely A European Holiday?
While Christmas existed as a holiday before this time, it wasn’t celebrated by all. Basically, it was a European holiday and so was only celebrated by those whose ancestors had come from Europe. Even then, not everyone joined in the celebration. The early Pilgrims didn’t celebrate Christmas, because they didn’t see it mentioned in the Bible. Of all of the European countries, Germany made the most of Christmas; many of our traditions can trace their roots to that country.
Those early Christmas celebrations weren’t the mass-marketed, highly commercialized festivities we have today. Rather, the Christmas celebration was something done in the family, in the church and in the neighborhood. Church was an important part of the celebration, with many people going to church both on Christmas Eve and then again on Christmas Day.
Gift-giving was always a part of Christmas — for those who could afford it. But the gifts that were given were largely homemade. Being personal, they were considered superior to anything store-bought. As with clothing, store-bought gifts were only for those who couldn’t do any better.
Image source: Pixabay.com
Eating a feast was an important part of celebrating Christmas, much as it is today. Cooking started weeks in advance, as mincemeat and plum pudding needed time to ferment. Christmas cookies and pies were common, as people ate the best of what they had. For those who could afford it, that meant beef or a ham.
Christmas became a very social time, with carolers going from door to door, singing. It would be impolite not to invite them in for a warm cup of wassail, turning every caroling event into a moving party, with time taken at each home to visit and wish the inhabitants a Merry Christmas.
Christmas Gets Commercialized
The commercialism of Christmas didn’t really start until after the Civil War and was stronger in New England — where much of the country’s wealth was concentrated — than it was in other parts of the country. Merchants responded to the needs of those celebrating the holidays first in providing factory-made ornaments for the home, then Christmas cards and finally the gifts that people gave.
Commercial gift-giving also lent rise to the idea of wrapping gifts, increasing the suspense and thereby the recipient’s joy. Large retailers began offering simple wrapping as a way of making those gifts more special, so that they could compete with homemade gifts. Eventually, the tradition of wrapping gifts became the norm and wrappings were developed specially for that purpose.
But even then, gift-giving was much more limited than what we have today. Our English and German ancestors brought to those stores the idea of Father Christmas, who eventually became our beloved Santa Claus. Children hung stockings for Father Christmas to fill, which at that time were real stockings.
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), the creator of Little House on the Prairie, wrote of her Christmas treasures in one year’s stocking. She was delighted to find a shiny new tin cup, a peppermint candy, a heart-shaped cake and a brand new penny. In that time, that was a treasure trove of wealth on Christmas morning.
Image source: Pixabay.com
Christmas cards were a unique American invention, albeit by a German immigrant. Louis Prang (1824-1909) brought the idea to the forefront as a substitute for inexpensive gifts. Originally, these cards were small works of art, intended to adorn the home after the holidays were over. Prang even had art contests every year, seeking our original artwork to put on his cards.
Early Christmas trees weren’t bedecked with commercial ornaments. That didn’t come about until the 1870s and later. Instead, families would decorate their trees with what they had on hand. This often included the bounty they had gleaned from nature, as fruit and berries were the early ornaments, following after the Jewish tradition of decorating the Sukkah for the Feast of Tabernacles. Ribbons, cookies and hard candies were added to the fruit, nuts and berries, making those trees into a multi-colored joy.
The lights on the tree were originally candles. While dangerous, they were normally only lit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The idea was started by Martin Luther, the same man who started the Reformation. He had been in the woods praying at night and saw the beauty of the starlight reflecting off the icicles on the pine trees. Wanting to share this with his children, he put candles on the family tree. When German Christians immigrated to the United States, they brought this tradition with them.
All of these traditions, most of which have survived to today, helped to bring the American people together, not as separate ethnic groups living in the same land, but as Americans. Celebrating a common holiday, with common traditions, helped to make us one common people.
Sadly, there are those who want to squash some of those traditions, taking Christmas, and especially Christ, out of the holiday. Yet it was the celebration of His birth which helped our country to heal and brought people together after the Civil War. The destruction of such a unifying celebration can do nothing to bring us closer together, but rather the opposite; it could become one more wedge, used to separate the American people into smaller and smaller groups, driving a wedge between us.
Let us continue to celebrate Christmas as what it is. Better yet, let us revive some of the old customs, sharing time with family, friends and neighbors. Let it become once more a unifying force, bringing the nation back together again.
What are your thoughts on Christmas and its celebration? Share them in the section below:
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NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls
New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.
The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.
The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.
“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”
The Ultimate Energizer Review – Does It Really Work?
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does it work? will it be worth your investment, time and energy? all these questions and more are what this review on the ultimate energizer program seeks to help you find answers to.
The ultimate energizer review – is it worth it?
About The Ultimate Energizer guide
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About The Ultimate Energizer Creator
The creator of the complete the ultimate energizer guide is steven perkins. He found the journal of the founder of this technology in his home when his father shifted near quebec city in canada.
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Use it on any electrical appliances from small clocks to big plasma tv screens, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Power the cabins while hiking to the mountains or camping. Other essential features of this complete the ultimate energizer are that it is easy to assemble and does not require a technical background to master engineering.
Pros and Cons of The Ultimate Energizer
I’ve created this honest ultimate energizer review to help you make a well-informed decision. I’ve tested it myself and now i’m going to share with you all the key aspects you may be interested in: how does it work? is it really so powerful and effective? what are its pros and cons?.
It is non-polluting. It remains popular the ultimate energizer guide pros & cons because it is both a renewable and clean source of energy. Harnessing solar energy is more than a fine idea it’s currently a reality in thousands of homes in a lot of nations around the world.
On the review of the ultimate energizer guide, we will be looking into what exactly the program is all about, the details of the energy generator program, the benefits, pros & cons and our conclusion on the program.
Does The Ultimate Energizer really work?
The device is usable during emergencies. It works without fuels and therefore there are no expected fumes. It is weather proof. Cons of the ultimate energizer. You can only download the program from the official website.
But the ultimate energizer reviews that are available from real users online on platforms like google and youtube seem to confirm that the device does indeed work. So, as per my ultimate energizer review answer to the question is the ultimate energizer legit? is definitely yes.
The ultimate energizer guide. The ultimate energizer is said to work for your home and cut electricity by 82%, guaranteed by tomorrow. The ultimate energizer reviews. It can boost any type of electricity by as much as 5 times.
Advantages of The Ultimate Energizer Program
The program can benefit you in many ways. Below we are listing the advantages of using the ultimate energizer program for generating electricity:. This device will help you save up to 60%-70%, without investing money in solar panels which can cost you a lot of money.
There are additional the ultimate energizer guide program advantages too, including advantages at tax time, so do your homework on what you might have for being a solar power pioneer contributed back.
Why The Ultimate Energizer is Useful?
The ultimate energizer is a complete guide and blueprint. With it, you get everything you need to know to build your own free energy generator. This generator can be completed for less than $50 if you have some tools already. But i remember reading another review of the ultimate energizer, and the guy said he took days. Maybe he was crafty. Then, you assemble it and get it to work.
You will be guided step by step, that anybody who can read can build it. You do not need prior building experience or massive strength; it is that easy. Building the ultimate energizer takes under 4 hours if you are slow and definitely a lot less when you have help.
The ultimate energizer has already changed the lives of over 30,000 families who chose to power their homes using this eco-friendly device. This is definitely a good investment that is worth your time and money and if you think it isn’t after trying it out, you can request for a refund.
Is The Ultimate Energizer a Scam?
The ultimate energizer guide really show you how to power your house and save tremendously, or is this just another overhyped scam? this system was created after its owner decided he wanted to have a home power generating system in case of any crises or disasters.
The ultimate energizer pdf. It does not need any conventional electric power. The ultimate energizer scam. In this program, you can also build more generator and sell for profit. This product can also be incorporated into the automobile to power an electric motor.
All you need is an open mind and a desire to try new things to get a life in the field of freedom of energy. So, what are you waiting for? it’s time to say goodbye to major energy companies and start using the ultimate energizer guide today.
Watch this video demonstration of the ultimate energizer guide put into action
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