A Prediction of Christmas Future from 1896

A Prediction of Christmas Future from 1896

In preparing for another episode of the Merry Podcast I came across an editorial from a New York newspaper published in 1896. It contains an amazing prediction of Christmas-yet-to-come. It is interesting to contemplate this being written considering how Christmas was celebrated in 1896 in America. By the end of the 19th century Christmas had become the near all-encompassing celebration it is today of all things seasonally sacred and secular. Then, like now, nobody could escape it. It was embedded everywhere. But it is safe to say that it was still a different Christmas than what we see now. ThereRead more

How Thanksgiving Became Thanksgiving

How Thanksgiving Became Thanksgiving

Like Christmas, the origins of Thanksgiving are hotly debated. Like Christmas, we can thank stories of Thanksgiving passed down through generations by word of mouth, in letters and documents, period media reports, and great literary works for the making of all that we celebrate of the holiday today. Historians these days love to deconstruct “the facts” surrounding Thanksgiving. They tell us we are wrong to think of it as we do. They say the “first Thanksgiving” celebrated in grade school plays likely never happened. But facts are stubborn things, noted President John Adams. Here are some stubborn facts about ThanksgivingRead more

Finding Christmas in Thanksgiving

Finding Christmas in Thanksgiving

A recent survey revealed sharp divisions in when the celebration of Christmas begins. Nearly a third said Christmas begins right after Halloween, a third said Christmas begins right after Thanksgiving and for another third the celebration of Christmas is something done every day. In recent years many have insisted that Christmas so overpowers the calendar that holidays such as Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day are entirely forgotten. Those making the argument are also those who claim Christmas celebration comes in the form of broadcast music, seasonal Starbucks cups and decorations sold in stores. There are even those who blanch and takeRead more

Crazy New Foods of Christmas

Crazy New Foods of Christmas

Food, more than any other thing, is the most common element of Christmas. The aroma of it fills every family gathering, it is the showcase at every Christmas party and it even finds its way under the tree, if not part of the decorations. The trends in Christmas foods this year are surprising. It is more eclectic, more adult and more expensive than ever. Take, for example, this three pound chocolate masterpiece – a festive turkey you don’t have to roast: I know – you’re saying this is a Thanksgiving thing more than a Christmas thing but I remind youRead more

What Sears Meant to Christmas

What Sears Meant to Christmas

The news has been decades in the making: iconic retailer Sears is closing its doors for good this year. The effect of their loss, like that of Toys R Us, will not matter one bit to consumers. But the loss of Sears to Christmas history is worthy of note. Once upon a time Sears was the yearly watch-word for Christmas shoppers and Santa dreamers coast to coast. Kids everywhere marked the day when the Sears Christmas Wishbook would show up in the mail. Generations took their children to Sears to have their pictures taken with Santa. It was the placeRead more

Scary and Merry from Pentatonix

Scary and Merry from Pentatonix

Scary and merry is the theme of the first single to drop from the newest Christmas album coming out soon from Pentatonix. “Making Christmas” is a brilliant theme from the now classic film Nightmare Before Christmas. Coincidentally, that movie celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and the song, of course, is a delightful and frightful mix of both Halloween and Christmas. Watch: Pentatonix, who has made the hottest selling albums of this century (so far), seems to release a new Christmas album every two years. Christmas has been very good to them. But to be honest, Pentatonix has also beenRead more

Christmas on Social Media

Christmas on Social Media

Cecilia Johnson did not mean any harm when she did it. In late November of 2015, as a 9-year-old neighbor boy lay dying of cancer, Cecilia took up the cause of having Christmas cards sent to him. The boy had expressed a desire to fill his walls with Christmas pictures and this seemed a simple task to accomplish. Using her own home address Cecilia took to social media to spread the word. It very quickly worked. Several of Cecilia’s friends shared the post, the word was slipped to a local news station and within days the mailbox was full ofRead more

Great Christmas Gifts in the 1970s

Great Christmas Gifts in the 1970s

Christmas gifts in the 1970s were very different than the decades before. It was an age before computers yet an age when technology affected nearly everything in gift giving. You could give Dad a tie for Christmas. But why would you when you could give him a hot lather shave kit instead? The shaving industry in the early 1970s was rocked by two elements: the long hair and long sideburn trends of the late 1960s and the ever present Norelco electric shaver commercials on television. What could the traditional shave industry do to prop up sagging sales? First they triedRead more

Christmas at Valley Forge

Christmas at Valley Forge

Picture it: George Washington leads his army of 11,000 men – a third of which he estimated did not even have shoes – into Valley Forge just before Christmas 1777. There, just days before Christmas on the 19th of December, the Continental Army and George Washington himself would find a way to reverse the course of the war. That Christmas was just the beginning of both an incredible tale of survival and redemption. Valley Forge was so named thanks to an iron forge owned by a family named Potts. It had been in their family for years. Washington selected theRead more

The Very Merry Dick Van Dyke

The Very Merry Dick Van Dyke

We have known for decades that Dick Van Dyke is a merry soul who can sing. But we have long lacked the great Hollywood Christmas musical or even Christmas music of Dick Van Dyke. We can’t say that any more. Now 92 and soon to be seen in screen again in the remake of Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke released a Christmas song in 2017 much to the delight of fans of all ages. “We’re Going Caroling” is an infectious little tune and the video of Van Dyke proves he still has the moves: The song, performed with Jane Lynch,Read more