November 28, 2012

Cold indifference to Christmas

Christmas in 1812 was much different than today. Christmas was treated as a significant day to those living in British North America, but it did not have much pomp and ceremony as today.
Kissing under the mistletoe
Most British subjects would celebrate the Christmas holiday with simple decorations along with dinner and a church service. However, it appears that most Upper Canadians did not treat Christmas as a major event. One English immigrant to Upper Canada in the 1820s observed: “I was much surprised at the cold indifference which most people showed in their observance of Christmas day - with the exception of the then few residing English families, the church was scantily attended.”
In the United States similar attitudes prevailed in certain areas. In the nation’s capital, it was not uncommon for politicians to be working throughout the holidays and even sessions of Congress were held on Christmas Day. It wasn’t until much later that the U.S. government recognized Christmas as a national holiday.
In many ways Christmas during the early 1800s was similar to today in that most families choose to celebrate with their families.
For anyone looking to add some 1812 themed activities to their Christmas holidays, you can visit OldFort Erie and McFarland House, to name a few, for their annual Christmas event this weekend.

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