The “Can Dos” were all sitting around at their classroom tables, during recess, talking about what they hoped to be getting for Christmas.
Miss Pat couldn’t help but overhear their conversations. She decided to make a history lesson out of celebrating Christmas in colonial days. She thought the class would be surprised to learn a few things about the giving and getting of presents.
Miss Pat called the class to order and said she had a story to tell them. Since the “Can Dos” love her stories, they sat quietly and listened as she began her story.
“A long time ago, before our country was a country, the first settlers celebrated Christmas very differently than we celebrate today. In some of the colonies, where our original settlers lived, they didn’t celebrate Christmas at all! In the colonies where Christmas was celebrated it was a holiday that lasted 12 days, with a big party on the last day called 12th night. The parties were mostly for adults.
Children got to participate in special meals that were eaten during the holiday time but they usually didn’t receive Christmas gifts.
In the southern part of our country, colonists made giving presents a part of the Christmas celebration when they gave gifts to servants and others who worked for them. In some southern colonies children also received gifts. It wasn’t like today though. Each child got only one gift. It was usually something practical or considered special treat that a child would enjoy. It was rarely a large gift.
As the years went on and more immigrants from different countries came to our country they brought with them their Christmas customs. One such custom that we all love is displaying and decorating a Christmas tree. Immigrants from Germany made this custom popular in our country. Gift giving, especially gifting children, became more popular and children began to receive more than one gift in celebration of Christmas.”
The “Can Dos” all sat quietly, looking at Miss Pat, then Hector raised his hand and, when called on, said,”Boy I’m glad I didn’t live in colonial days”!