What was Christmas like in the colonies? Did they even celebrate Christmas in the colonies? Think about it – the Puritans came to the New World in search of religious freedom.
The colonists brought their customs with them. They enjoyed feasting, dancing, and visiting friends and family.
Christmas was illegal from 1659-1681 in New England with the Puritans.
For many others, the celebration of Christmas was deeply rooted in their religious beliefs. Some believed in the giving of gifts, while others used it as a day of attending church. For some, the real celebration was the twelve days of Christmas which lead to the Epiphany. Others celebrated December 6th, the Feast of Saint Nicholas.
Presents were usually given to children and servants. Several faiths believed in St. Nicholas who would bring sweets and small presents, placing them inside shoes.
During the Revolutionary War, the most famous Christmas day was Washington crossing the Delaware River on his way to attack the British.
After the Revolutionary War, Congress worked on Christmas day – holding its first session on December 25, 1789.
The day wasn’t officially a holiday to be taken off for at least 100 more years.