- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Sutton Publishing; Revised edition (October 25, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0750921366
- ISBN-13: 978-0750921367
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,698,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Making of the Modern Christmas Paperback – October 25, 2000
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What do we mean by a 'traditional' Christmas? Were old Christmases that much better than modern celebrations? This book traces the history of Christmas from pagan mid-winter festivals to its establishment as a Christian feast in the 4th century, through Puritan disapproval and the Victorian revival and refurbishment of old customs to the present day. En route we find The Times in 1912 already lamenting the separation of 'the secular from the sacred part of Christmas'.
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Here are some other quotations from the book:
"The English Puritans certainly disapproved of much that went on at Christmas but only a minority wished to abolish the festival itself. It was pressure from their Scottish Presbyterian allies brought about the ordinance of 1644, proclaiming that Christmas Day should be kept as a fast and a penance rather than as a feast. For a dozen years the traditional Christmas festivities were prohibited: Parliament sat on Christmas Day, its soldiers attempted to ensure that shops were open, and the churches remained closed while evergreen decorations were prohibited." (Pg. 33)
"By 1900 Christmas was THE holiday in both Britain and the United States. Most of the main characteristics of the modern Christmas had been established but it was a very different festival from the one which the early Victorians had remembered and envied. Mumming and guising were little more than folk memories save in some country districts, while many of the special seasonal foods and drinks which had enjoyed great regional variations had almost disappeared. The new Christmas in Britain and America was more standardised and more national." (Pg. 81)
"The trouble with Christmas is that we expect so much from it. There is always the gap between expectation and the event itself, between ideal and reality. It's easy to be cynical about Christmas, to emphasize the bells of the cash registers instead of the churches and to point to the paradox of the celebration of the transcendental with plum puddings and brandy. Few of us would wish with Charles Dickens 'that Christmas lasted the whole year through.' Yet, within a few months, we shall be anticipating and preparing for next Christmas. We will remember only the best things about the Christmas just past: the beauty of the midnight service, the excitement of Christmas morning and the heightened sense of fellowship and family unity. Perhaps next year Christmas will be like it used to be!" (Pg. 141)