I just read this Reuters piece about a new book called “Christmas: A Candid History” by Bruce David Forbes to be published by the University of California Press. The book traces the REAL history of Christmas and reveals some interesting facts like:

  • “Christians did not start celebrating the birth of Jesus for 300 years.”
  • “that birthday wasn’t on December 25. Historians have been unable to establish when Jesus was born.”
  • Christmas started as a “Pagan festival designed to brighten up long, dark winters”
  • “Puritans in England and the early New England colonies made the celebration of Christmas illegal in the 1600s.”
  • “The focus on gifts did not develop until the late 19th and early 20th centuries”
  • Our current version of Santa Claus came from “Coca-Cola advertisements in the 1940s and 1950s.”
  • “The modern Christmas tree was introduced by Germany and popularized by Britain’s Queen Victoria in the 19th century.”
  • The Christmas of past centuries should not be sentimentalized since it was just “a boisterous seasonal party”
  • “The two gospels that relate the birth of Jesus make no mention of a bright shining star, Mary riding to Bethlehem on a donkey, or of oxen or sheep in the manger”

But hey- I think we all knew most of that stuff anyway. It doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the holiday!

Here’s a cute trailer for the book …

  • Great Post! I believe it shows that Christmas is what the individual makes of it.

    For many Christmas is more about presents than the birth of Christ – and there is nothing wrong with that if that is what they want to believe.

    For some it means other things… That is the great thing about Christmas it can mean anything – but the feeling of warmth, friendship, giving for the sake of giving, doing something nice to make someone else feel good.

  • I’ve been wanting to rework my “Winter Solstice” traditions into something more… traditional. But I’m too lazy, and it’s just easier to do what I did growing up.

    No tree this year, tho. We’ve got two new kittens (barn cats rescued from a brutal dog attack), and a new dog with a “whip” tail. It’d never survive.

  • I’m getting a tree tomorrow I think.

    AND hanging lights!

  • But I did spend the extra cash to get LED lights this year.

    I tried them out when they arrived this afternoon and they are REALLY bright- as well using like 1% of the energy of regular lights.

  • I’m still using the old big bulbs on my external lights. When those strings die, I’ll be replacing them with LED lights.

    My boss was telling me about these new window candles that are LED, and battery powered. The first time you turn them on, they stay on for 6 hours and then automatically turn off for 18. And they are only like 3 bucks each! No more running to every window in the house plugging in the candles when I get home from work, and then running around again at bedtime unplugging them!

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