Westmoreland County Historical Society

Three Centuries of Christmas in America

Three Centuries of Christmas in America

Dec 08th 10:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Saturdays - December 1 & 8

This program visits the evolution of holiday traditions in America during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  Tours begin at the Museum Shop, and you are escorted to Hanna's Tavern to explore Christmas traditions of the 18th century.  Then travel to the German-style Klingensmith House and the 19th century, when many of America's Christmas traditions took shape.  The 20th century wraps up this fascinating and nostalgic look at American Christmas with a return to the Museum Shop annex.

SOLD OUT! Tours begin at 10:30 AM, 11:30 and 1 PM each day Reservations are requested by calling 724-532-1935 x210.

Admission for this special program is $7 per person; $6 for WCHS members.

Child's Christmas craft activity is available for an additional $2.  Indicate this choice when you make a reservation.Santa, Nash.jpg

Christmas is America’s favorite holiday.  A Harris Poll in 2011 confirmed that Christmas is #1 across all demographics (age and gender).  But it wasn’t always.

When people came to America, they brought the traditions from their homeland with them.  In 17th and 18th century America, some honored Christmas Day while others did not.   This divide was often determined by the church you attended because some denominations said there was no Biblical command to celebrate Christmas!  However, over time, various customs were borrowed or melded with the practices of others in the neighborhood, and by the latter part of the 19th century, an American tradition of Christmas began to emerge that united various cultural customs.

Consider how Christmas changed in America over three centuries.  From the attitude of some in the 18th century who considered Christmas a day of prayer and fasting to the evolution of Santa Claus through the 19th & 20th century.