Tuesday, December 17, 2013
CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS
Just as the populace was varied in cultures in our nation, the various traditions came from differing cultures. Santa Claus was originally a Turkish bishop; the Dutch brought hanging of the green; the Christmas tree was originally a German custom brought to Virginia by a German immigrant. The Scandavians introduced the mistletoe "kissing ball" to us.
In 1861 as the war was just beginning, the first Christmas for the Confederates was a relatively celebratory
By 1862, the cost of food had skyrocketed, so the men in the field didn't get the generous portions of meals as they did the year before. Even the cost of coffee had risen to the point of being almost prohibitive. There was widespread drunkenness among the troops. The men were missing home. They'd watched many of their friends die. They were ready for the war to be over. Children were afraid that Santa Claus would not be able to get through the blockades. Most of the gifts were handmade and were for the children.
When the Christmas of 1863 rolled around, the price of a turkey had risen to $100. Eggnog was $100 a gallon. The men were growing glum finding very little to celebrate. The visions of home with family around a Christmas tree, a cracking fire, stockings hung on the mantel, waiting for Santa Claus, tables laden with lavish feasts and drink served to seal the memories of Christmas into a vivid reality.
The last Christmas of the Civil War in 1864 dawned upon a weary nation. General Sherman had recently taken the city of Savannah, which he presented to President Lincoln as a Christmas present.
In June of 1870, Christmas was officially made a national holiday largely due to the sentiment of the men returning to their homes after the Civil War with their longing for the warmth of family and home.
Aren't we blessed that as we approach this Christmas season and celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, our nation is free. The War Between the States was a horrible conflict of brother against brother. May it never happen again.
Visit my website at www.goldenkeyesparsons.com and Merry Christmas!
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Ginger has recently been reading about Victorian-era traditions and learned that the Victorian notion was that putting lots of decorations on the Christmas tree was considered gauche and "common" (what her mother used to call "vulgar"). Likewise, too many presents was a sign of greed. Each person got a very small table that was set up next to the tree and only as many presents as would set on the table. I am dismayed when I compare that with the piles and piles of bigger and costlier presents considered de rigueur today.ReplyDelete
Isn't it interesting how customs evolve? I heard someone say the other day that what one generation tolerates, the next generation embraces. And what that generation embraces, the next demands. That is so true about something as trivial as sparse Christmas decorations, to government programs which have fostered a philosophy of entitlement. Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Jeff!Delete
I enjoyed your post on Civil War Christmases. Oh, for the simple life!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comment, Sharon. I think we all long for a simpler life from time to time. I know I do!Delete
Gosh, and I think grocery prices are too high today! Thanks for a great post Golden! Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
Can you imagine? It was a terrible time for our country and the devastation, especially for the South, was unimaginable. Thanks for commenting!Delete
Hi Golden. The Civil War time is very interesting time for stories.The Bible talks about the time when brothers will fight against fathers and brothers. Certainly happened then. And a lot of it going on now in our society. I enjoyed your post and would love to read your book. Life was much simpler in the earlier years. Not always easy putting food on the table. But people were nicer with their help, and family relations, and manners. Kids were more respectful. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)comReplyDelete
I enjoyed so much doing the research for this book. I hope you will put it on your TBR stack and then let me know your thoughts. Thank you for your input!Delete