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Christmas History reads

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princess garnet
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Christmas History reads

Post by princess garnet » Sun December 25th, 2011, 2:35 am

From the archives of "History Today" magazine, here's a selection about Christmas past. Enjoy!

annis
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Post by annis » Sun December 25th, 2011, 5:21 am

Thanks, PG. The article about the Puritan campaign to stamp out Christmas is particularly interesting. It's easy to think that Christmas has always been celebrated in the same way, but in fact Christmas as celebrated during the medieval and Tudor periods (a happy mix of pagan and Christian elements) was killed stone dead by the Puritans. It was only in the 19th century when people became obsessed with all things medieval that the old customs were revived- and of course Charles Dickens was hugely influential with his Christmas-themed stories. The Christmas tree is a German custom and was introduced to England by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, making it immediately fashionable.

SGM
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Post by SGM » Sun December 25th, 2011, 6:20 am

[quote=""princess garnet""]From the archives of "History Today" magazine, here's a selection about Christmas past. Enjoy![/quote]

Another fan of History Today. I have been delving into these magazines since I was at school and although i don't read them consistently any more, I still find that when I am passing a pile of them in a library that I get stuck in for several hours catching up on them. And, of course, their website is a really useful tool as quite a few articles are available free and I can also use it locate articles I am interested in and then go and dig out the hard copy when in the library either in hard copy or through one of the online services. The articles are written mostly by really serious academics who nevertheless make their content accessible to readers of all ages.

In this case, I am glad to sets the record straight about Prince Albert popularising the use of the Christmas tree rather than its introduction. The Hanoverian kings were not popular in the UK (even if their rights had been far more curtailed than of William of Orange and Mary) until Victoria's reign and so the public were not receptive to their German traditions. With Victoria and Albert came the royal embodiment of family values that the middle classes of the Victorian reign were happy to absorb and with the publicity given to Victoria's family Christmas came the new popularity of the Christmas tree. The traditional Trafalgar Square tree naturally added to this.

Apparently, due to us living in smaller houses here today, we are using Canadian trees more than Norwegian ones because they are slimmer and a better fit.
Last edited by SGM on Sun December 25th, 2011, 10:26 am, edited 3 times in total.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon December 26th, 2011, 10:04 pm

Thanks for the link, Princess_garnet! I have a book about the history of Christmas in America but that's a relatively short history of the holiday. I'm going to have fun reading about the older traditions.

Ash
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Post by Ash » Tue December 27th, 2011, 1:08 am

The article about the Puritan campaign to stamp out Christmas is particularly interesting.
Indeed, especially as there are some commentators (esp on Fox News) who use the Pilgrims supposed love for Christmas as proof that the way some people choose to celebrate or not celebrate the holiday is sacrilidge.. It would be so nice if some of these tv folk (on all sides of the aisle ) would to a bit of fact checking before they open their mouths.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Tue December 27th, 2011, 8:36 pm

[quote=""Ash""]It would be so nice if some of these tv folk (on all sides of the aisle ) would to a bit of fact checking before they open their mouths.[/quote]

That would be beyond nice. At this point I'm thinking it would be a miracle. :D

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