Along with its multi-cultural background, the United States of America has many diverse traditions and ways of celebrating Christmas. Many practices are comparable to those found in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Mexico.
Turkey or ham with a cranberry sauce is the typical holiday dish for Western European households. Turkey with fixings, kielbasa (a Polish sausage), cabbage dishes, and soups are popular among Eastern European families, whereas lasagne is famous among Italian families.
Popcorn strung on a string had been used by some Americans to decorate their Christmas trees. Making and eating gingerbread houses is also a favorite Christmas activity! In the United States, eggnog is a “traditional” Christmas drink, even though it originated in the United Kingdom.
Most Americans, mainly Christians, would most attend church on Christmas Day to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Many churches provide Christmas Carol services and celebrations in which they narrate and showcase Christmas stories.
There exist stores called ‘Christmas Shops’ in New England that solely offer Christmas decorations and merchandise throughout the year! People in the United States also mail out Christmas cards, recite Christmas carols, and have a peculiar Christmas Pickle tradition!
People in America enjoy putting lights and even figurines of Santa Claus, Snowmen, and Reindeer outside their homes. Several cookies and a cup of milk are frequently set out as a treat for Santa on Christmas Eve!
Christmas lighting is used widely to decorate roadways in towns and cities. But the most well-known Christmas street illumination in the United States is found at Rockefeller Center in New York. It features a massive Christmas tree and a large ice skating rink in front of it during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
German settlers in Pennsylvania became the first to decorate Christmas trees in the United States. As early as the 1750s, there were some community trees. On the other hand, trees would have been considered strange outside these societies!
Christmas was only a religious celebration for the Puritans who created much of New England and the eastern United States. In 1659, a Massachusetts court deemed it illegal to celebrate December 25th in any way other than going to church!
Charles Follen of Boston was a German political refugee. He planted the first tree in his home in the United States in 1832. His wife’s memoirs, written ten years later, documented this. And we can find earlier American tree records in diaries and letters dating back to 1842 in Virginia, 1847 in Ohio, and 1851 in South Carolina and Mississippi.
In 1851, a Mark Carr hauled two sleds with trees from the Catskill Mountains and marketed them in New York, the first recorded Christmas tree lot in the United States. Towards the 1890s, the Catskills supplied the New York area with over 200,000 trees every year!
Andrew Jackson, the first president of the United States, was photographed with a Christmas tree in 1835. This tree, though, was a little sugar-frosted pine. When Franklin Pierce was president in 1856, he put up the first Christmas tree in the White House.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many people began to have trees in their homes, and towns began to have shared illuminated trees. Then, Grover Cleveland was the first to use electric lights on a tree at the White House in 1895.
Calvin Coolidge initiated the custom of placing a tree on the White House lawn in 1923. The trees popped up everywhere. There were trees in San Diego in 1904, Pasadena in 1909, New York, Boston, and Cleveland in 1912, and Philadelphia in 1914.
In 1880, Frank Woolworth began to sell glass decorations in his store. The Sears catalog began selling decorations by mail order in 1910. Among all the holiday celebrations, the tallest cut Christmas tree, as per Guinness World Records, was a 67.36m (221 ft) Douglas fir put up in December 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle Washington, USA.
Certain unique customs in the Southwest United States are identical to those seen in portions of Mexico. ‘Luminarias’ or ‘farolitos’ are paper sacks partially filled with sand and then have a candle placed inside. They are lit and placed along the walkways’ margins on Christmas Eve. They symbolize ‘lit the path’ for Mary and Joseph to find a place to rest.
During Christmas Eve in the south of Louisiana, households in tiny communities along the Mississippi River built bonfires along the embankments to aid ‘Papa Noel’ (the French term for Santa because Louisiana has a long history with France) to make his way to the children’s houses!
You may occasionally witness choir groups, but what’s keeping us from getting together to spread the joy ourselves? However, now, it’s unusual to receive a knock on the door and be greeted by a live chorus of ‘Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer.’
Popcorn and cranberries garlands were a thing! Although the procedure is time-consuming, it has been one of the best ways to spend quality time with your family and work on a project together.
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February 11, 2022 | 4 Minutes to Read