The National Catholic Register asked me to write an article about how Christmas was banned in England and in the English American Colonies, and so I did:
The English Victorian Christmas is an ideal: the glowing Christmas tree, the carols, figgy pudding, Christmas goose or turkey, special charity for the poor, and the holly and the ivy. Then there’s the more extended English medieval Christmas: wassail, the Yule log and the festive Twelve Days of Christmas until the feast of the Epiphany. There’s a mixture of English, Welsh, German and French traditions in these images.
Even if we have to face the ghosts of Christmases past (or present and future), we want that perfect celebration of family and faith. Between the medieval era and the Victorian, however, the very idea of celebrating the birth of Our Savior with feasting and revelry was banned in 17th-century England. Every December was like Narnia because, although it was winter and it might be cold and snowy, there was no Christmas.
I manage to work in Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, Ulysses S. Grant, and all the trappings of Christmas--it should be in the next print edition.