Christmases Past: what happens next?

With the close of the 18th century, we run into a sort of black hole of information about how people celebrated Christmas. The next big era everyone looks at is the Victorian era, when Christmas trees come into vogue and many of the “Christmas Traditions” we take for granted are first introduced. None of this …

Christmases Past: the Eighteenth Century

Fans of the eighteenth century who are curious about Christmas in the American colonies have a number of excellent resources: colonial-era historic sites have dug into records and primary sources to try and find a historical way to interpret Christmas. I’m briefly going to try and describe what Christmas was (and wasn’t) in the 18th …

A Bit of Dickens’ Christmas

I do have more coming about the history of the celebration of Christmas, but this weekend my time was taken up with the actual activities of the season (decorating, a party, attending church, writing Christmas cards). So, in lieu of a proper post, here’s a quote from one of the stories I read every year …

Christmases Past: Knox, Cromwell, and Co.

When considering the history of Christmas in the early American republic, it’s essential to understand the history of Christmas in Britain. Not all of the population of the first states were British in origin, but the government had been. What most people do not know is that Christmas was banned in England in the 17th …

A Christmas Quote

(possibly the first of a few) One of the fun aspects of working with historic documents is seeing annual events through other people’s eyes.  I initially found this quote from an 1834 Christmastime letter to be entertaining in a macabre way (I first read it shortly after Halloween). On reflection, it seems to parallel a …

Short take on the news: shared beds

There’s a story on the BBC today wherein a Doctor suggests that married couples not share a bed because sleeping apart is healthier. The article says “Dr Stanley, who sleeps separately from his wife, points out that historically we were never meant to share our beds. He said the modern tradition of the marital bed …

Quick thoughts after THATCamp Day 1

Spent today having good conversations and listening to good conversations at THAT Camp.  The twitter buzz on the camp hashtag (#thatcamp) has been pretty busy; one of the points which kept coming up in twitter was how conversations kept coming back to tools more than implementations.  My thought, in the final session I attended today, …

County Planning Meeting – WalMart and Wilderness

Tonight, for better or worse, I am attending the Planning Commission meeting for Orange County, Va.* I have read the staff report regarding MalWart’s request for permission to build on the edge of the county, and the conditions for approval. I do not want the WalMart in this county.  I object to it on social, …