Christmas Gift!
Published on: December 25, 2009
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  • Pingback: The Thirteen Blogs of Christmas - Walter Russell Mead's Blog - The American Interest()

  • Sounds like you really know how to celebrate Christmas, in warmth and sun! I don’t understand the masochistic element that talks about cold and snow as though they were good things … incredible!

    Just a question along with this, why on earth is Christmas celebrated as a holiday of cold?

    It was warm year-round when Jesus was born … right?


    • Walter Russell Mead

      We don’t know at what time of year Jesus was born; we think he was born in 4 or 6 BC, but neither the Bible nor any other source gives a date. If by chance he was actually born in December, it could have been cold then. While ancient Judea was a Mediterranean country, it did (and does) sometimes get snow — and winter is the wettest time of the year. So it’s theoretically possible that the First Christmas was a white Christmas but a sunny day with palm trees is definitely more my style!

  • Randy Reynolds

    Enjoy your work. Still recommend your Jacksonian paper to folks interested in politics. As a bonus, my State Dept friends start twitching whenever it is mentioned.
    I just started reading through an 2003 article called Calculating Christmas by William J. Tighe on the Story Behind December 25. He sees other reasons for December 25th being selected rather than just the meme of taking advantage of local customs.

  • Ed

    My southern Missouri family tries to spring a “Christmas gift” on each other each year as well. My late grandfather (born 1906) said he knew the family to do this since he was a little boy. In fact, I called my mom this morning and got in a “Christmas gift!” before she could. She howled with mock frustration.

  • LS


    The date for Christmas was a deliberate choice by the Christian Church, about 1000 years ago. At that time, most of northern Europe was converting to Christianity, but the people insisted on continuing to celebrate their winter solstice festival of Yule. The Church tried to take it over by making it a celebration of Jesus’ birth.

  • Great series.  On Monday are you going to talk about the slaughter of the innocents?

    Regards  —  Cliff

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