We trace the history of Christmas from the birth of Jesus and the writing of the Christian gospels to the celebration of Christmas Day and the Christmas Season, the setting of the date on the Roman calendar, and the slow addition of traditions about the Magi, St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. Along the way to the commercial extravaganza we now know, we take some side trips to ask how the Reformers and the Puritans celebrated, how Charles Dickens got involved, what happened in the ’50s, and what the war on Christmas is all about. Join us for three weeks of cultural and historical contextualizing about our favorite holiday.
How did Christmas gain such an outsized purchase on our imaginations and our bank accounts? A quick course from Saturnalia to Santa!