If a Puritan family could time-travel into a modern-day mall during the holiday shopping season, what would they think? Would the Puritan wife rejoice in her selection of cheap textiles and disposable plastic products from China? Would her Puritan husband wait with the kids in a game store while she shopped? Would this family feel compelled by a patriotic duty to spend?
I think they’d run screaming from the mall, shielding their children’s eyes from the consumerist nightmare - not to mention inappropriately dressed teens.
The celebration of Christmas was banned in the colonies during most of the 17th century. Although the Puritans were devout in their Christian beliefs, they equated the celebration of Christmas with pagan and “popish” (Catholic) rituals. Puritans caught celebrating Christmas were fined. Several colonists, including Thomas Morton, objected to the ban on Christmas celebrations (as well as the bans on dancing, drinking and acting). Morton was banished to an English prison, and when he returned to Massachusetts two years later, his home (Merry Mount) was burned as punishment.
Then Morton was banished again.
The Puritan law prohibiting Christmas celebrations was repealed in 1681 by Charles II, (namesake of Charleston).
You may wonder how our country went from a ban on Christmas celebrations to our modern commercial extravaganza. Wonder no more. America’s holiday shopping season was a marketing ploy devised during the Industrial Revolution as a way to promote mass-manufactured goods.
Upcoming library programs:
PLAY: DIY Arts and Crafts with Ms. Grace (all ages)
Saturday, Dec. 1 from 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Pork Chop Productions: “Holly and the Christmas Kerfuffle” (all ages)
Monday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m.
Ever heard of a kerfuffle? A kerfuffle is defined as a disturbance, a commotion or a fuss, and Holly, the elf, has found herself in the middle of the biggest kerfuffle Santa’s Workshop has ever seen.
Mount Pleasant Reel Club – A book/movie discussion group (adults)
Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.
Read the book, come watch the movie with us, and then participate in a lively discussion.
Book: “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
Movie: “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Rated PG; 96 minutes.
Book Discussion (adults)
Monday, Dec. 17 from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
“Faith: A Novel” by Jennifer Haigh
(Jen McQueen is a reference librarian at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road. She is often mistaken for Ebenezer Scrooge. Her references were found on the Charleston County Library’s databases, available at ccpl.org.)