Consumer Rites: The Buying & Selling of American Holidays

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Princeton University Press, 1995 - Social Science - 363 pages
3 Reviews

Slogans such as "Let's put Christ back into Christmas" or "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" hold an appeal to Christians who oppose the commercializing of events they hold sacred. However, through a close look at the rise of holidays in the United States, Leigh Schmidt show us that commercial appropriations of these occasions were as religious in form as they were secular. The rituals of America's holiday bazaar that emerged in the nineteenth century offered a luxuriant merger of the holy and the profane--a heady blend of fashion and faith, merchandising and gift-giving, profits and sentiments, all celebrations of a devout consumption. In this richly illustrated book, which captures both the blessings and ballyhoo of American holiday observances for the mid-eighteenth century through the twentieth, the author offers a reassessment of the "consumer rites" that various social critics have long decried for their spiritual emptiness and banal sentimentality.

Schmidt tells the story of how holiday celebrations were almost banished by Puritans and other religious reformers in the colonies but went on to be romanticized and reinvented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Merchants and advertisers were crucial for the reimagining of the holidays, promoting them in a grand, carnivalesque manner, which could include gargantuan fruit cakes, masked Santa Clauses, and exploding valentines.

Along the way Schmidt uses everything from diaries to manuals on church decoration and window display to show in bright detail the ways in which people have prepared for and celebrated specific holidays--such as going Christmas shopping, making love tokens, choosing Easter bonnets, sending flowers to Mom, buying ties for Dad. He demonstrates in particular how women took the lead as holiday consumers, shaping warm-hearted celebrations of home and family through their intricate engagement with the marketplace. Bringing together the history of business, religion, and gender, this book offers a fascinating cultural history of an endlessly debated marvel--the commercialization of the American holidays.

  

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Review: Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays

User Review  - Andrew Miller - Goodreads

Schmidt takes his readers on a cultural history of holidays in America. His text examines the religious and consumer interests of holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day, and others. As a ... Read full review

Review: Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays

User Review  - Susie - Goodreads

This text describes the commercialization of religious holidays. He describes how the market succeeds in standardizing local religious and ethnic customs. Of particular interest is its focus on how ... Read full review

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Contents

List of Illustrations
xi
Introduction
3
The Peddling of Festivity
19
From Sabbatarian Discipline to Romantic Longing
23
National Holidays and the Consumer Culture
32
St Valentines Pilgrimage from Christian Martyr to Patron of Love
40
Of Puzzle Purses Chapbooks and the Valentine Vogue
47
The Marketing of Valentines 18401860
63
Enchantment and Disenchantment in the Modern Celebration
169
The Piety of Protest
175
The Art of Church Decoration and the Art of Window Display
194
Piety Fashion and a Spring Promenade
210
Easter Knickknacks and Novelties
219
Protest Subversion and Disquiet
234
Sources of a New Celebration
246
The Marketing of Mothers Day
256

A Private Charivari
77
A Meaner Sort of Merchandize or A Pleasure without Alloy? The New Fashion Contested and Celebrated
85
From Confectioners Hearts to Hallmark Cards
94
Christmas Bazaar
105
Revels Gifts Resolutions and Watch Night
108
The Birth of the Christmas Market 18201900
122
Women and the Victorian Christmas
148
Wanamakers and the Consecration of the Marketplace
159
Negotiating the Bounds of Church Home and Marketplace
267
The Humbug of Modern Ritual
275
April Fools? Trade Trickery and Modern Celebration
293
Acknowledgments
305
Notes
311
Index
359
Copyright

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Schmidt, le: Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American ...
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JSTOR: Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays
Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays. Scott C. Martin. Journal of Social History, Vol. 31, No. 1, 194-196. Autumn, 1997. ...
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Rituals of the Season - New York Times
Rituals of the Season. By FRED MILLER ROBINSON. CONSUMER RITES The Buying & Selling of American Holidays. By Leigh Eric Schmidt. Illustrated. 363 pp. ...
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For Someone Who Has Everything
Leigh Eric Schmidt, Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. 363pp. $24.95 (cloth). ...
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Books: Commodities, Cash And Christmas (Tucson Weekly . 12-29-97)
In "Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays," historian Leigh Eric Schmidt tells us just how Christmas came to be such a commercialized ...
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Interdisciplinary Studies 1001 Sections 9 and 12
Leigh Eric Schmidt, Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays. Tentative Schedule. Week One. August 30. th. and September 1 ...
www.morris.umn.edu/ academic/ is1001/ syllabus04/ gross.pdf

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Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays. By Leigh. Eric Schmidt. Princeton University Press, 1995. 362 pages. $24.95. ...
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Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture | Young ...
Leigh Schmidt, Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays; Robert Orsi, Thank you St. Jude: Women's Devotion to the Patron Saint of ...
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About the author (1995)

Leigh Eric Schmidt is Edward C. Mallinckrodt University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of numerous books, including "Heaven s Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman", "HearingThings: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment", and "Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays".

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