“From Dickens to Die Hard, running through and making possible all the charming and uplifting stories that have become part of American Christmas is the original Christmas story.”


At the time of the American founding, celebrations of Christmas in America varied widely, from Puritans and Quakers who shunned or ignored it, to other Protestants and Catholics who honored it in their own Christian ways, to those who spent the day in “riot and dissipation,” like an ancient Roman Saturnalia. But E Pluribus Unum—out of many one—was the American motto on the Great Seal, and over the generations, out of many ways of celebrating or ignoring Christmas, came a recognizably American way.