Over the River and Through the Wood

Over the River and Through the Wood

“Over the River and through the wood” is a phrase endeared to many that evokes the memory of Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. Many know it as a poem first, many more know it as a Christmas song. Christmas was never it’s original intention. It was always, from its title forward, meant to be a tribute to Thanksgiving. It was written by an extraordinary woman named Lydia Maria Child in 1844 – decades before Christmas and Thanksgiving became federal holidays. Despite that fact, the poem was based on a nostalgic longing for the Thanksgiving holiday celebrations of her New England youth.Read more

Pumpkin Pie Poetry

Pumpkin Pie Poetry

The Thanksgiving of old America included a serious reverence the people of the 18th and 19th centuries had for pumpkin pie. Said the editor of the Philadelphia Ledger in 1837 “that he should like to be thrown into a pumpkin pie as large as Lake Superior, only deeper, and obliged it eat his way out.” Some historians and foodies would have you to believe that pumpkin was a staple of the early American diet. But don’t you believe it. There was nothing normal or routine or regular about it. It has been, from the very beginning, a harvest food foreverRead more

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing has become for many an anthem of Thanksgiving — as close to a Thanksgiving carol as there can be. The song was written in the mid-18th century by a 22-year old theology student. His name was Robert Robinson. As a youth, Robinson was a bit of a wild child, having lost his father when he was just 5 years old. As he entered his teen years he became too much for his mother to handle so she shipped him off to London to apprentice for a barber. At 17, Robinson set out on aRead more

Ode to Joy to the World

Ode to Joy to the World

Tis the season for new Christmas videos and the Piano Guys just released their newest Christmas tune titled Ode to Joy to the World. Yes, it’s a mash-up as only the Piano Guys do it and it’s a great, if not joyful, set-up to the season ahead. Take a look and a listen: Joy to the World is actually a hymn, written by one of the most prolific hymn writers in history, Isaac Watts. As a child, Watts showed remarkable propensity for rhyme, much to his father’s chagrin. After the family prayer time, one day, the sober minded elder WattsRead more

The Thanksgiving History You Never Hear

The Thanksgiving History You Never Hear

Modern media is flooded each Thanksgiving with tales of the myths and distortions of America’s most widely celebrated holiday. That is the most amazing thing about Thanksgiving. It is full of ironies and falsehoods and ignored facts. On one extreme you have those who cling to the Charlie Brown version of Thanksgiving. This is what most of us were taught in grade school – that the pilgrims walked off the Mayflower, made nice with the Indians and enjoyed a festive meal. On the other extreme you have those who say the Thanksgiving at Plymouth of 1621 never happened at allRead more

Josiah, His Turkeys and His Sweetheart

Josiah, His Turkeys and His Sweetheart

(Editor’s Note: This Thanksgiving story was published sometime in the early 19th century. Like A Visit from St. Nicholas it was published as a tradition year after year in many newspapers. We found it in the Boston Traveler from 1836, though we noted it dating back as far as 1824 in another newspaper. This is a delightful look an old American Thanksgiving traditions – as well as a great story of love.) Have you ever been in Windsor, Vermont? If so, you have heard of Josiah Baker. Indeed, you have heard of him even tho you have not been inRead more

A Christmas Story of 1887

A Christmas Story of 1887

Editor’s Note: This Christmas story originally appeared in a Columbus, Ohio newspaper on December 24th, 1887. It was subtitled ‘As Compared to the Ordinary Christmas Day’. It is shared here in its complete form, with punctuation, spelling and vocabulary exactly as it was printed in the original. Such humorous stories were very common in local newspapers of the era. What was funny then is just as funny now. For more about Christmas of the 19th century, take a listen to the latest episode of the Merry Podcast. It was the 24th of December; from a force of circumstances that renderRead more

Loving Both Thanksgiving and Christmas

Loving Both Thanksgiving and Christmas

Thanksgiving and Christmas are seemingly at odds with each other these days. The politically correct thing seems to be “honoring Thanksgiving” by not doing Christmas too early. We must avoid the nefarious thing called “Christmas Creep“. Target made a splash in the news by announcing they were not going to “give in to Christmas Creep” by eschewing Thanksgiving. (Although they still have aisle after aisle of Christmas stuff you can buy while you notice their Thanksgiving signs and listen to their moralizing politics). Other retailers are getting in the act, too. Plenty have made it widely known that this yearRead more

Calling Santa for Free

Calling Santa for Free

Can you imagine the kinds of messages Santa must get? Calling Santa is easy — and now free. In a new video released today by the North Pole Santa shares a few of the messages he receives on his toll free number. They are, to say the least, adorable: Most published phone numbers you see for Santa are not toll free. In fact, most calls to Santa not only require you to pay the long distance or cell charges — they have their hand out in selling something else. Not this one. Maybe that’s because it comes from the realRead more

Five Reasons to Skip the Christmas Eve Box

Five Reasons to Skip the Christmas Eve Box

Trending over the past several years is the idea of giving kids a “Christmas Eve Box” top open on Christmas Eve morning. The box can be filled with anything but typically they contain the kind of stuff you might find in a Christmas stocking. But now the trend is starting to catch some flak. Some call it just an extension of the commercialization of Christmas – and yet another way to spoil children over the holiday season. Other parents suggest it is “just one more thing” to get done in creating the perfect Christmas for their families. “I did itRead more