Merry Christmas – A Brief History of Christmas Stuff
The origins of the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England. Another story is that it may have derived from egg and grog, a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. Eventually, that term was shortened to egg’n’grog, then eggnog.
In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic eggnog.
Isaac Weld, Junior, in his book Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (published in 1800) wrote: “The American travelers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;…”
The drink came to the English colonies in the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America. When the supply of rum to the newly founded United States was reduced because of the Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon, as a substitute.
The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on 23–25 December 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier.
Eggnog anyone? Somebody…Anybody…?
OK then…how about some jingle bells…?
About 1850 or 1851, James Lord Pierpont was enjoying a little holiday cheer at the Simpson Tavern in Medford, Massachusetts, when Medford’s famous sleigh races to neighboring Malden Square inspired him to write a tune. Pierpont plunked out the song on the piano in the boarding house attached to the tavern because he wanted something to play for his Sunday school class on Thanksgiving. The song was a hit with kids and adults alike, who loved it so much that the lyrics to “One Horse Open Sleigh” were altered slightly and used for Christmas. The song was published in 1857.
So, no jingle bells…how about a Christmas bow…?
I’m not really one of those people that save old Christmas paper and bows. I’ll be throwing this bow away right after I open the present.
Legend has it that in 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out sugar sticks to his young singers to keep them quiet during the long Living Creche ceremony. In honor of the occasion, he had the candies bent into shepherds’ crooks.
In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decorated a small blue spruce with paper ornaments and candy canes. They are represented as white on Christmas cards made before 1900, and it is not until the early 20th century that they appear with their familiar red stripes.
Oh, go ahead…lick a candy cane…you know you want to…
Don’t you just hate how you can never get all those Christmas lights untangled and back in the box?
Merry Christmas – Hope you find everything you want under your tree…