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 History of Pumpkin and Christmas

The History of Pumpkin and Christmas

When it comes to Christmas the United States can lay claim to few traditional elements of the season. Christmas trees came from Germany, Santa Claus came from Turkey, while Christmas pudding, eggnog and mistletoe all came from various places in Europe. America just adopted them all. Except for pumpkin. Pumpkin is one of America’s greatest contributions to Christmas. Wait, you say – pumpkin has nothing to do with Christmas in America? Well, hold on there, pilgrim. The pumpkin was, from the very beginning, a festive element in the Puritan Christmas. Wait, again, you say – the Puritans didn’t celebrate Christmas,Read more

Mourning Dickens and Recognizing Christmas

Mourning Dickens and Recognizing Christmas

June of 1870 is a month of incredible Christmas history. It was during this month that the Congress of the United States passed a blandly worded law making Christmas a legal national holiday and it was the time that the world mourned the passing of Charles Dickens. Christmas in America was an ancient tradition. Contrary to many modern historians and popular culture that tells us Christmas was a secular invention of the middle part of the 19th century, it is a well- documented  fact that Christmas was celebrated in America from the very beginning. What was the first thing ColumbusRead more

The Next Really Bad Nutcracker Movie

The Next Really Bad Nutcracker Movie

Sad to say this but our tradition of bashing yet-to-be-released movies of a Christmas theme continues. You could say we are compelled to put the screws to the new Nutcracker coming out this fall. Hollywood just gives us no choice. This time, as other times in the past, the maker of a holiday stinker is none other than Disney. Out now are some truly bizarre trailers of a butchered Nutcracker story that Disney calls The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. As discussed in a recently released edition of the Merry Podcast, the Nutcracker is a 200 year old tale writtenRead more

Bruce, how could you?

Bruce, how could you?

Bruce Willis is all over the news this week after he declared that Die Hard, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is not a Christmas movie. This has roiled the ranks of movie fans everywhere because it is one of the classic debates of both Christmas and movies. Let me share with you a true story, a story that takes us back more than 30 years ago before Die Hard was made. Even though I have been writing about Christmas since we began here in 1991 I’ve only shared this story once, last year during an episode of Tim Babb’sRead more

Tis the Season for Christmas Weirdos

Tis the Season for Christmas Weirdos

Once upon a time The Atlantic wrote of our merry website “they’re weirdos”. It was a swipe at the year round celebration of Christmas and of those who “took Christmas to the hobbyist” level. What other holiday, they asked, has such a following? Indeed. The groupies of Christmas are many: there are the Christmas light fanatics, the professional Santas, the Christmas radio geeks, the year-round Christmas music freaks, the Christmas collectors, the Christmas historians, the Christmas foodies, and the Christmas organizers. There are so many sub-groups that embrace the specialties of Christmas we cannot even begin to enlist them all.Read more

Why White Christmas is the Greatest American Christmas Song Ever

Why White Christmas is the Greatest American Christmas Song Ever

White Christmas is the greatest American Christmas song ever written. Many know the tune but few know the story of who wrote it. The world has quietly marked the 130th birthday of the song writer whose contributions to the 20th century songbook cannot be understated. His life, especially in regards to his family, was filled with heartbreaking tragedy. He was born Izzy Baline in 1888, the son of Russian Jews struggling to make it in a country filled with persecution against Jews. He lost his father when he was only 8. That made his life of poverty more difficult thanRead more

Ending Christmas Too Soon

Ending Christmas Too Soon

In a world where “Christmas Creep” has become a thing nary a word is said about the abrupt end of Christmas. Ending Christmas each year happens without warning and absent of ceremony. I was aghast to see on Facebook a friend who had tossed their tree to the curb on the evening of December 25th. Being charitable, my first thought was “maybe it was really dry”. No. They bragged about it! “We are the first to de-Christmasify the house on our street.” they said. To them it was an accomplishment – a badge of honor, a gold star ripped from theRead more

88 Keys + 500,000 Lights + Three Ships = Christmas

88 Keys + 500,000 Lights + Three Ships = Christmas

Jon Schmidt of The Piano Guys replays an old favorite from a long ago solo-album and gives it a fresh spin with, oh, half a million Christmas lights. Take a look and a listen: I Saw Three Ships is an old English carol that makes almost no sense. How can three ships sail into Bethlehem when it is so far away from any body of water? Some believe the song is actually a nod to the Three Wisemen. Regardless, it’s a Christmas tune and it has long belonged to Jon Schmidt who takes it to bouncy new heights in thisRead more

The Story of Porky Pig, Blue Christmas and a Dude Named Seymour Swine

The Story of Porky Pig, Blue Christmas and a Dude Named Seymour Swine

For many years we have been asked for the back story of Porky Pig’s Blue Christmas. In case you haven’t seen this masterpiece, here it is: Editor’s Disclaimer: It seems that no matter what we post we receive contrary opinions and plenty of emails of complaint about the politically correct this or that of Christmas. Porky Pig doing Blue Christmas is going to unleash those demons in force. For the record, we DO NOT CARE, on this one. This is just plain funny. Porky Pig, of course, is a world famous Looney Tunes character who dates to the 1930s. He’sRead more