Christmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

History of Christmas Lights

By Bill Nelson The world’s first practical light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879, and it was to be only three years later that an associate of his, one Edward Johnson, electrically lit a Christmas tree for the first time. The tree was in the parlor of his New York home, located in the first section of that city to be wired for electricity. The display created quite …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Legends

Clement C. Moore: Father, Patriot, Poet

By Jeff Westover Clement Clarke Moore was one of New York’s wealthiest men. And clearly, one of it’s most highly educated. He was born in 1779 to Benjamin Moore, a patriot and and Episcopalian minister. His mother was Charity Clarke, a fiesty and ardent supporter of the American cause. He inherited from her side of the family a good portion of land that would someday become the Chelsea District in …
Christmas MemoriesChristmas Past

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 …
Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Music

Handel’s Messiah

By Jeff Westover On August 22, 1741 George Frideric Handel sat down and began to compose music to Biblical texts compiled by his friend Charles Jennens. Handel was, by all accounts of the time, a typical creative eccentric. Known for varied mood swings, Handel was prone to excessive eating, a boisterous sense of humor and an intense sense of musical propriety. He could be stern and irritable, especially with musicians …
Christmas History

How the Puritans Nearly Killed Christmas

By Jeff Westover As Martin Luther ushered in the Reformation, celebrations steeped in pagan rituals and holidays featuring religious feasts and riotous behavior were banned. In some places, such as Scotland in 1583, Christmas observance was outlawed altogether. As the political landscape in England changed, and those of Puritan ideals came to power, the very acts of even personal celebration were deemed illegal. Carols were labeled as profane, and churches …
Christmas History

Others: The History of the Salvation Army

By Anna Tatalin It was late in the Christmas season and if it got much later General William Booth would not be in time to send a Christmas greeting to his various command posts throughout the world. As the chief commanding officer of a very frugal organization, Booth, searched endlessly for the shortest message that could be sent by telegraph that would still bear tribute to the Army’s creed and …
Christmas History

Christmas in Colonial America

By Nicole Harms What was a new father to do? Recently married to a wealthy widow, George Washington had an ambitious shopping list for his new step-children that Christmas of 1759. He wanted to get them “A bird on Bellows, A Cuckoo, A turnabout parrot, A Grocers Shop, An Aviary, A Prussian Dragoon, A Man Smoakg, 6 Small Books for Children, 1 Fash. dres Baby & other toys.” His list …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Past

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 …
Christmas at WarChristmas History

Christmas During the American Revolutionary War

By Hollee Chadwick The American Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence was fought between Great Britain and the thirteen British colonies between the years 1775 and 1783. The mutinous colonists declared themselves no longer allied with the crown and kicked off an eight year struggle against the political and economic policies of the British Empire.The Declaration of Independence was signed during the revolution in 1776 and …
Holiday HumorNorth PoleScience of Santa

The Scientific Theory of Santa Claus

By Dr. George Johnson Editor’s Note: Dr. George Johnson is a Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. He’s the real deal — a scientist of the first order. This article is but one of many he writes for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. What do reindeer and little children know that we don’t? Tonight is Christmas eve, and my daughter Caitlin and I are going to sort …
North PoleNorth Pole Top Ten

Top 10 Ways to Avoid Getting Coal in Your Stocking

10. Don’t hang your stocking. 9. Fill your own stocking. 8. Put someone else’s name on your stocking. 7. Sew your stocking shut. 6. Put mousetraps in your stocking. (CAUTION: Could backfire.) 5. Leave all your lights on to make Santa think you’re still awake. 4. Stay up late and plead for mercy when the Coalman cometh. 3. Leave Santa tickets to the next Cardinals game instead of cookies. 2. …