Quote of the Day - Christmas is forced upon a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press; on its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred. - George Bernard Shaw
The Law Banning Christmas
We've banned books, music, television, so why not ban Christmas? Especially Christmas decorations, music and sales before Thanksgiving. But that's a whole 'nother story. I'm talking about banning Christmas altogether.
You think I'm being anti-religious? Not at all.
You see, religious leaders have already banned Christmas. That's right. Christmas was banned in New England. Well, to be truthful, the ban has been lifted, but I think you'll be surprised to learn that it was the Puritans who banned Christmas. You know, those folks who fled England's religious persecution and established the Massachusetts Bay Colony back in the 1600's? Yep. The very folks who gave us Thanksgiving, which makes no sense at all. Why celebrate one holiday, only to ban the next one?
Think of all those presents that weren't given by the people in those funny outfits.
They're the ones who banned Christmas. They even passed a law banning Christmas for the length of a lifetime for some - 22 years in all. Well, like any good lawyer, I've researched the law on this point. In fact, I can even give you the language from the Court order banning Christmas (put on your 1600's thinking cap before you start to read):
For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense of others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like ... shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county.
General Court Orders, Massachusetts Bay Colony, May 11, 1659.
You see? It's official. Christmas was banned, even to the point of handing out fines for celebrating Christmas. And I don't think they looked at the ban on Christmas as a revenue generator like we look at traffic tickets.
Nope, these folks were serious. Even the ministers were against it:
The generality of Christmas-keepers observe that festival after such a manner as is highly dishonourable to the name of Christ. How few are there comparatively that spend those holidays (as they are called) after an holy manner. But they are consumed in Compotations, in Interludes, in playing at Cards, in Revellings, in excess of Wine, in mad Mirth ...
- Reverend Increase Mather, 1687. Wow. "mad mirth." "Revellings." An "excess of wine." Sounds like my house on Christmas Eve. Seriously, though, I think they were trying to make a point that many people today keep trying to make.
Celebrate Christmas for what it is, not for what we've made it. We celebrate Hanukkah for what it is and omit the commercialism, why can't we celebrate Christmas without the commercialism?
Maybe the Puritans had something there.