The Battle for Christmas
--The New York Times Book Review
Anyone who laments the excesses of Christmas might consider the Puritans of colonial Massachusetts: they simply outlawed the holiday. The Puritans had their reasons, since Christmas was once an occasion for drunkenness and riot, when poor "wassailers extorted food and drink from the well-to-do. In this intriguing and innovative work of social history, Stephen Nissenbaum rediscovers Christmas's carnival origins and shows how it was transformed, during the nineteenth century, into a festival of domesticity and consumerism.
Drawing on a wealth of period documents and illustrations, Nissenbaum charts the invention of our current Yuletide traditions, from St. Nicholas to the Christmas tree and, perhaps most radically, the practice of giving gifts to children. Bursting with detail, filled with subversive readings of such seasonal classics as "A Visit from St. Nicholas and A Christmas Carol, The Battle for Christmas captures the glorious strangeness of the past even as it helps us better understand our present.
"Christmas . . . too often fails to wholly satisfy the spirit or the senses. How and why the yuletide came to this is the subject of historian Stephen Nissenbaum's fascinating new study. "
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - etxgardener - LibraryThing
I just re-read this book over the Christmas holiday after it sitting on my shelf for 14 years. This should be required reading for everyone who complains about either "the War on Christmas" or "what a ... Read full review
THE BATTLE FOR CHRISTMASUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
A masterful account of Christmas's transformation from a rowdy bacchanalian revel to a child-centered, domestic celebration, with all its attendant commercial glitter. It's unusual that a work of ... Read full review
New Englands War on Christmas
Revisiting A Visit from St Nicholas
The Parlor and the Street
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