This past week was filled with even more Christmas activities with the family. Saturday my family and I visited an historic village that was putting on a Christmas tour of what the season looked like for those who lived in 1849—the year New York State declared Christmas Day a holiday. It was interesting to learn that a lot of people weren’t happy with that decision because it didn’t explicitly say that Jesus was born on December 25th.
Previously, December 25th was a day the pagans celebrated the winter solstice and so the Christians feared that the government was forcing pagan beliefs on them. Also, non-Catholics were upset that the Catholic tradition of celebrating Christmas would be forced on the other religions. Another fear was that the holiday would become too secular. People would go into debt to buy Christmas gifts or decorate their homes without remembering the true meaning.
The tour stopped at eight different places: a family home of those who were upset about the declaration of a holiday, two stores, an inn, a church, a mansion—where we were read A Visit from St. Nicholas (or, as it’s more popularly known today, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas), a meeting house where young people were looking for mates and participating in a dance, and finally, a house where a family had decided to put up their first Christmas tree, complete with candles and everything. It was a nice trip, and the houses were warmer than I expected.
After the tour, we went to a restaurant that we always visit around the holidays since it’s completely decorated for Christmas. Each year they have a contest where they choose an object and put it everywhere and guests have to guess how many there are. This year the object was stockings and the winner will receive $500 cash.
Sunday we made cookies. Sugar and chocolate cherry. Of course, we won’t be able to eat them until Christmas Eve, and we’re not done making them—two more batches this coming weekend!
Enjoy the last week before Christmas! Soak up the season as much as you can!