The Unique American Christmas - A Celebration like No Other

We would probably all agree that 2020 has been among the most obnoxious years in the history of mankind. Craziness abounds and irrational thinking seems to have overtaken reason.

It hasn’t always been like this, we have many warm memories of traditions and faith surrounding our Christmas celebrations. America is unique among all nations and our Christmas celebrations reflect that.

As a much needed respite from the insanity of this past year, we thought that a brief trip through Christmas from the Revolution to today might help smooth the way for a more normal Christmas celebration in your home.

Grab your Nordic mug and enjoy your favorite hot drink as you reflect on the awesome American memories below.


The true meaning of Christmas goes without saying; the entire world knows it's to celebrate the birth of Christ. Beyond that singular consistent element, customs, traditions, geography, and more shape the many unique celebrations around the globe.

When it comes to a variety of traditions, America, the most diverse nation on earth, is likely the most diverse in its Christmas celebrations. After all, most countries don't cover several time zones or have regional climates ranging from Arctic to subtropical.

With no real hope of ever seeing a White Christmas, our warmer states put their own twist on traditional Christmas activities and decorations.


Early America

Interestingly, between 1659 and 1681, celebrating Christmas was illegal in the colonies. In Boston, such offense carried a fine of five shillings (hmmm…sounds like the Puritans were Democrats).

There was little interest in the holiday after the Revolution. In 1789 Congress held its inaugural session on Christmas Day, almost a century before it became a federal holiday.

Deck the Halls was translated from its 16th-century Welsh in 1862, igniting public interest in decorating for Christmas. Finally, in 1870 Congress designated Christmas as a federal holiday, and the rest is history.


The Wild West

People in the sparsely populated wild American West found traditional Christmas trappings and family gatherings in short supply. Their life was a constant struggle to survive and build a future, leaving little time for leisure or entertainment; Christmas was one exception.

Although often separated by great distances, many still found ways to gather and celebrate this special day. The decorations, gifts, food, and all that is Christmas were usually simple items created from whatever might be on hand.

Evergreens, nuts, and berries, along with bows of ribbon and yarn, served as decorations. Practical, useful, and handmade items were the favored gifts at the time.

Meals were much the same, veal often being the main course in this hunting dependent society. The fixins' came from the settler's garden and local indigenous food sources. No doubt, homebrewed beer and some moonshine found their way to the table as well.

Even with such Spartan conditions and basic resources, this break in monotony and struggle of life out West was greatly appreciated and often the highlight of their year.


Developing Traditions

Christmas traditions in America have evolved over time, and nothing has been more influential in that dynamic than marketing and advertising.

Everyone is familiar with the jolly old elf Santa Claus with his ample belly, festive red suit, carrying a bag of toys and goodies slung over his shoulder.

Thomas Nast, a German-American cartoonist working for Harper's Weekly, is credited with creating the Santa Claus image we know today. His Santa began appearing in 1863 and ran for 30 years. Nast changed Santa's costume from tan to red, gave him a pipe, creating the Santa we know today.

Some even credit him with the story of Santa living at the North Pole.

While Thomas Nast is the creator of our modern Santa Claus image, many people credit Coca-Cola for its 1931 advertising campaign and its Santa Claus image. Which brings us to marketing; Coca-Cola has much better marketing than 19th century Harper's Weekly or Thomas Nast, giving them the edge in the public's perception.

Here is an interesting fact about Thomas Nast: he also created the iconic GOP Elephant and Democrat Donkey.


Some Uniquely American Celebrations

Today, Christmas in America and around the world is a retail bonanza and a marketing juggernaut. Old customs still exist, and new ones are created every year. Many communities host Christmas festivals and parades to enhance community spirit and retail activity in local businesses.

Across America, Main Street USA is the venue for countless Santa parades with Jolly Old Saint Nick and his elves tossing treats to children in the crowd. 

But, some communities have taken a more unusual approach to these activities. Chandler, Arizona, has one of those arid American climates where a white Christmas is exceedingly rare. For over 60 years, its residents have celebrated the season by constructing a community Christmas tree from the bountiful local resource of tumbleweeds.

City workers begin gathering about 1000 balls of this rolling thistle in September to build the tree, which is then decorated with over 65 pounds of glitter and strung with countless lights. This uniquely American celebration is among the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona each holiday season.

Another warm and sunny American state has an equally unique take on their Christmas festivities. Florida boasts The Jacksonville Beach Deck The Chairs, which also makes use of a local resource for their Christmas celebration; lifeguard chairs. Each December, the community gathers to decorate the beach's lifeguard chairs for a colorful downtown display and celebration of the season in their community.


A Very Covid Christmas

Christmas 2020 will undoubtedly see even more unusual and innovative approaches to the traditional celebration. We have a feeling that America is up to the challenge. Even with The Wuhan Virus and its power-crazed enthusiasts, Patriots everywhere will celebrate this Christmas season as they choose and in their own traditions.

Stock up on Patriots Cave Christmas goodies while they are still here, and make it an all American, Patriotic Christmas.


After all, this is Christmas in America when we celebrate the origin of our rights; God and his Son Jesus Christ. Celebrate Christmas 2020 by acknowledging this Constitutional promise and that of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


From all of us here at Patriots Cave; We wish America and all of our loyal, patriotic customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Reviews (1 comment)

  • Peggy Erb On

    Merry Christmas to all of you and yours!

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