Revolutionary Christmas - Christmas during the American Revolution Lecture
A virtual holiday program provided by the National Park Service Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. Dr. Iris de Rode, PhD., will tell us about how American and allied French soldiers celebrated Christmas during the American Revolution.
During the American Revolutionary War, the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and the Christmas Holidays had not made their way to the Thirteen Colonies yet.
Celebrating Christmas depended on religious affiliation and which state one was in. While Puritans considered Christmas a dangerous “pagan tradition” and did not celebrate it, Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Moravians, went to church and decorated their home with holly and mistletoe to receive guests for splendid dinners and balls, and gave each other Christmas gifts. Especially in the Southern colonies, celebrations were grand and festive.
While some were celebrating, American soldiers and officers were fighting for their independence. During the war, for George Washington and his men, Christmas meant crossing the Delaware, fighting at Trenton, surviving at Valley Forge.
For the French allies, this was different, they celebrated Christmas in America as they would have done in France. In the winters from 1780 to 1783, the French allied officers in America organized grand Christmas dinners, the soldiers got special meals, and some went on sleigh expeditions and squirrel hunts.