I’ve written before about the fact that the only real war on Christmas was fought by Christians who opposed it because it wasn’t really Jesus’ birthday, was originally a pagan holiday coopted by Christian Roman emperors, and involved entirely too much revelry and happiness (the Puritans weren’t fond of such things). The Week examines that history in some detail:
Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely in 1659. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s, when the Crown managed to exert greater control over its subjects in Massachusetts. In 1686, the royal governor of the colony, Sir Edmund Andros, sponsored a Christmas Day service at the Boston Town House. Fearing a violent backlash from Puritan settlers, Andros was flanked by redcoats as he prayed and sang Christmas hymns…They kept up their boycott of Christmas in Massachusetts for decades. Cotton Mather, New England’s most influential religious leader, told his flock in 1712 that “the feast of Christ’s nativity is spent in reveling, dicing, carding, masking, and in all licentious liberty…by mad mirth, by long eating, by hard drinking, by lewd gaming, by rude reveling!”…
Anti-Christmas sentiment flared up again around the time of the American Revolution. Colonial New Englanders began to associate Christmas with royal officialdom, and refused to mark it as a holiday. Even after the U.S. Constitution came into effect, the Senate assembled on Christmas Day in 1797, as did the House in 1802.
It was only later that the celebration of Christmas began to be widely accepted. Now that’s what I call a real War on Christmas.