No Christmas in Early America?

     Imagine being in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Now imagine celebrating Christmas in an environment like that. Well, that is what Christmas during the middle ages would have been like. They would go to church in the morning, and party for the rest of the day and into the night. In 1645, Oliver Cromwell got tired of this rowdy behavior and canceled Christmas. As a result, it was not celebrated in early America. It was even outlawed in Boston.

Sketchbook of Geoffrey Cannon.


     Americans didn’t really start celebrating Christmas until the 19th century. It didn’t become an official holiday until June 26, 1870. Around 1819, Washington Irving wrote a book called The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. It describes celebrating Christmas in an English house. Historians say that his book invented the Christmas tradition by describing the true spirits of the holiday. Around the same time, Charles Dickens wrote the classic story A Christmas Carol. The story’s central message (goodwill) caught the attention of the Americans and British. It showed them what the benefits were of celebrating Christmas. Americans basically created a tradition all on their own.