Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Changing holiday traditions...

Children 250 years ago were viewed differently than children today. They were expected to work hard, speak little, and perform tasks as if they were miniature adults. However, the family became a little less disciplined and more sensitive to the emotional needs of children during the early 1800s. Christmas and Chanukah provided families with opportunities to lavish attention—and gifts—on their children without appearing to "spoil" them.

As settlers began to embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday, old customs were unearthed. People looked toward recent immigrants and Catholic and Episcopalian churches to see how the day should be celebrated. In the next 100 years, Americans built traditions all their own that included pieces of many other customs. Although most families quickly bought into the idea that they were celebrating Christmas how it had been done for centuries, Americans had really re-invented the holiday to fill the cultural needs of a growing nation.

Did you know? French settlers started the “romance season” with taffy pulling on November 25. Huge taffy pulls, or bees, allowed young men and women to meet each other before the start of the holiday season. The taffy pull ended with dinner and dancing.

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