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History As It Happens

Dec 6, 2022

Merry Christmas! Or is it Happy Holidays?! Either way, the most intense shopping season of the year is underway. American consumers' senses are being assaulted by non-stop commercials for Christmas gifts. Songs, movies, and other forms of pop culture lend a secular element to what is for many Christians a religious celebration, too. There's also Santa Claus and Christmas trees and yule logs and more. Our modern version of Christmas is an amalgam of traditions that developed over many centuries with input from an array of cultures. And as historian Ruth McClelland-Nugent tells us in this episode, the commercialization that took off in the 19th century is what made Christmas so popular.