Twentieth-century America often seems obsessed with the idea of Christmas. It is a time of public displays, illuminated department stores, and the showing of popular films such as Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life. This book describes the evolution of Christmas celebration in America since the early 17th century. It looks how there came about such holiday traditions as Santa Claus, Christmas trees and trimmings, gift-giving and charity-giving, Christmas cards and wrappings. The book brilliantly puts this description into the broader context of social and economic change, the influence of women, and the impact of popular entertainment and culture. Did you know...? * The effects of the Civil War helped establish Christmas as a national holiday, as soldiers and their families increasingly saw it as a symbol of 'home'. * During the early years of the nation, Puritan New England hardly celebrated Christmas at all, while in the South it was a sumptuous and rowdy occasion. * The tradition of the Christmas tree was introduced to America by German immigrants.
* A little known clergyman, Clement Moore, largely created the image of Santa Claus with his 'An Account of the Visit from St. Nicholas'.