The Man Who Invented Christmas

Charles Dickens is largely responsible for the way we celebrate Christmas today; before the publication of A Christmas Carol in 1843 Christmas seemed to be dying out in Britain. The old-style 12-day Christmas had been observed in the large households that typified agrarian England; urbanised industrial revolution period households had less use for them.

The world’s largest gathering of Santa Clauses in Newtown, Wales, in 2004 ended in a mass brawl.

Southey, Walter Scott, and Washington Irving all lamented the demise of Christmas in their time. Dickens kicked off a nostalgia boom for the family Christmas by publishing Christmas Specials of the various periodicals for which he wrote, and created the Christmas book trade with A Christmas Carol. Amongst the traditions associated with Dickens is the ‘White Christmas’. These have always been intermittent at best in southern England, but there happened to be snow every Christmas of the first eight years of Dickens’ life, and they’re a consistent feature of his stories.

Czechs eat fried and breaded carp with potato salad or plum sauce for Christmas.

In the Early Middle Ages, the big festival was Epiphany, but Christmas was the key day during most of the later Middle Ages. Oliver Cromwell’s mob regarded it as a decadent holiday, and its celebration was banned outright in 1644 – even Mass was forbidden, as well as mince pies and holly, and shops were required to stay open. These laws were repealed in 1660. But even in 1849, the headmaster of the Quaker-run Bootham School postponed breaking up until after December 25 and declared that he would rather have no holidays at all than call the period ‘Christmas holidays’.

2 thoughts on “The Man Who Invented Christmas

  1. Reblogged this on myatheistlife and commented:
    We tend to forget where our traditions come from or outright ignore them. When we remember the history of celebrations at this time of year, remember, it’s not the grouches that didn’t celebrate – it was the pious. The real reason for the season is anything (and almost everything) but the christ of Christianity.

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