Christopher Hitchens on why the Puritans found the holiday suspect—and we should, too

Mr. Hitchens, who died on Dec. 15, was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of “Hitch-22: A Memoir” and “Arguably,” a collection of his essays. This is a previously unpublished essay commissioned by the Journal, an abridged version of which appears in the print edition of the Review section.

theweekmagazine
theweekmagazine:

The first “War on Christmas” was waged almost 400 years ago by our Puritan forefathers. The Pilgrims  who came to America in 1620 were outraged by Christmas, partially because it did not originate as a Christian holiday. The upper classes in  ancient Rome celebrated Dec. 25 as the birthday of the sun god Mithra. Beyond that, the Puritans considered it historically inaccurate to place  the Messiah’s arrival on Dec. 25. They thought Jesus had been born  sometime in September. They felt so strongly about the holiday that in New England, they banned Christmas celebrations entirely. Christmas Day was only formally declared a federal holiday in 1870.

theweekmagazine:

The first “War on Christmas” was waged almost 400 years ago by our Puritan forefathers. The Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were outraged by Christmas, partially because it did not originate as a Christian holiday. The upper classes in ancient Rome celebrated Dec. 25 as the birthday of the sun god Mithra. Beyond that, the Puritans considered it historically inaccurate to place the Messiah’s arrival on Dec. 25. They thought Jesus had been born sometime in September. They felt so strongly about the holiday that in New England, they banned Christmas celebrations entirely. Christmas Day was only formally declared a federal holiday in 1870.

The Times reports from the Santa school, where prospective St. Nicks are now being taught how to quickly assess a family’s financial situation before responding to children’s requests in such a manner that leaves them feeling cheerful, but not overly expectant. Some Santas plan to tell kids that times are tough even in the North Pole, while another strategy is to tell kids that not everyone gets everything they ask for.