I feel bad with such a momentous time as Christmas, I have no posts that relate to this holiday. But if you look back in time to Newburyport’s past, you’ll find that Christmas was not a significant event during the Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival eras. Historic New England at the Little Farm has drudged up diaries from farmers in the past with interesting comments such as, “Plowed back field, today was Christmas.” and the Maritime Society has found Ship logs with exciting comments as, “Weather was foul today. Note taken: It is Christmas Day.”
It wasn’t until after the Civil War that Christmas began to grow into this major holiday – basically through the Victorian Era and gaining more momentum in the 20th century.
Most people during those early times, except for a small Jewish population; were Christian. As believers they knew that it was Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that was the cornerstone of the faith. His birth was but a predecessor to His death. Christmas was certainly notable as in attending church services but nothing in which the house would be decked heavily with Christmas ornaments and gift giving would often not even be part of the festivities.
So, yes, Newburyport looks so New England in its Christmas setting and the brick buildings, brick sidewalks and colonial lampposts are so ‘Dickens’ but this is something that is simply for us to enjoy in sights and sounds.
Such pursuits are historical in that we too can enjoy what they also valued: being with family and friends!