The Halifax Christmas Disaster of 1917

The Halifax Christmas Disaster of 1917

By B. Francis Morlan Editor’s Note: Every December the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to the City of Boston, Massachusetts. This story explains how that came about. December of 1917 was a time when the world was in transition. The horrors of World War I were known and the prospects of a merry Christmas were subdued in communities across the world as men and women left the safety of home to engage in the world’s first truly modern war. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the cares of the world felt a bit distant. A busy seaport, itRead more

The Christmas Tree Ship

The Christmas Tree Ship

By B. Francis Morlan The year of 1912 was tough for sailors. Dominating the news was the tragic voyage of the Titanic, which went down in April of that year off the Newfoundland coast. But another maritime tragedy struck in November of 1912. It is a story of superstition, ghosts and Christmas trees. At the helm and lost in this tragedy was a man known affectionately as Captain Santa. Herman Schuenemann was born in 1865 in the mostly German community of Ahnapee, now known as Algoma, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Herman was born at a pivotal time inRead more

Who Put the X in Christmas?

Who Put the X in Christmas?

In recent years many retailers have come under fire for using the word “holiday” in substitution for the word “Christmas” in their advertising. But some have problems with the term “Xmas” as well. Just ask gift shop owner Trent Wilson. He meant no harm when he used the term “Xmas” in a 2007 ad he placed in a local newspaper. But one simple letter to the editor unleashed a torrent of bad publicity that nearly wiped out his business. “We simply ran out of room in the ad,” Trent explains. “I didn’t mean to offend anyone. The ad was supposedRead more

The True Story of Santa Claus

The True Story of Santa Claus

Santa Claus is real. And this is his true story. Born nearly 2000 years ago, not too long after the days that Jesus Christ walked the earth, Nicholas was born to wealthy parents in a tiny village in the country we today call Turkey. Though Nicholas was a child of privilege, he was raised a Christian and at a very young age was devoted to the faith. Nicholas’ parents died while he was yet a boy. And not knowing what to do with himself or the fortune he inherited, he turned to his Bible and read the words of admonishmentRead more

Christmas in the 1930s

Christmas in the 1930s

By Tomm Larson “Grandpa, why is there an orange in my Christmas stocking?” “Cause when I was a little boy. . .” “You were a little boy? That must have been a loooong time ago.” “It was, I was little way back in the thirties.” “What’s the thirties?” “That was a time called the Great Depression.” “Why was it called that? Was everybody sad?” “No. . ., well there were a lot of sad times then, but there were lots of fun times too.” “What kind of fun?” “Well, lets see. . .” I poured all the candy and nutsRead more

Christmas at the White House

Christmas at the White House

Christmas of 1924 in the White House was a sad and glum affair. The new tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, started just a year earlier, was the last thing President Calvin Coolidge wanted to do. Though the event had enjoyed widespread publicity he simply lacked the heart to participate. It was only a last minute change of heart that made it come to pass. That Christmas President Coolidge and his family were still mourning the unexpected passing of his youngest son, Calvin Coolidge Jr. It was not the first nor would it be the last difficult Christmas inRead more