When Massachusetts Banned Christmas
The Puritans get the blame for a great many things that are wrong with America, but the commercialization of Christmas isn’t one of them.
War on Christmas, 17th century:
Even when compared to Ebenezer Scrooge, the Puritans who ruled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s were downright Grinchian. Not only were the Puritans contemptuous of Christmas, they outlawed public celebration of the Yuletide holiday for an entire generation.
The pious Puritans who sailed from England in 1630 to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony brought with them something that might seem surprising for a group of devout Christians—contempt for Christmas. In a reversal of modern practices, the Puritans kept their shops and schools open and churches closed on Christmas, a holiday that some disparaged as “Foolstide.” A Puritan governor disrupting Christmas celebrations.
Why did the Puritans loathe Christmas? Stephen Nissenbaum, author of “The Battle for Christmas,” says it was partly because of theology and partly because of the rowdy celebrations that marked the holiday in the 1600s.