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Christmas in America:
What’s Going on Here?
Edward O’Donnell / College of Holy Cross
Was Christmas really banned in Massachusetts until the 1850s? How did the eight reindeer get their names? Why do we bring pine trees into our houses at Christmas? How did Santa go from a 4th century Turkish bishop, to a tiny elf, to a life-size grandfatherly figure dressed in red? What role did Coca-Cola play in this? Where does the Yule log fit into Christmas? Why are so many Christmas songs like “Rudolph” written by Jewish composers? What’s with the recent trend of upside-down Christmas trees? And is there really a “War on Christmas?” During this talk, Professor O’Donnell will take on these and many more Christmas-related questions.
College of the Holy Cross
Edward O’Donnell is a professor of history at College of the Holy Cross. He is the author of several books, including Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age. He frequently contributes op-eds to publications like Newsweek and The Huffington Post, and has been featured on PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and C-SPAN. O’Donnell also has curated several major museum exhibits on American history and appeared in several historical documentaries. He currently hosts a history podcast, “In the Past Lane.”
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