Who invented Christmas?

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According to the 2017 film, who is The Man Who Invented Christmas?

When you can't ask Santabecause he is too busy finalizing his holiday listsBruce Peel Special Collections can help to answer your Christmas questions! 


What do we mean by "Christmas spirit?"

Since the first edition appeared in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has offered—in print, and in stage and film adaptations—a compelling expression of many of the core values associated with Christmas spirit. These values—such as kindness,
Title page and frontispiece,
Dickens' A Christmas Carol
generosity, and strong family ties—are not at all unique to Christian thought. The universality of these values may help to account for the enduring popularity of Dickens’ tale. It may also help to explain the statistics that tell us that most North Americans celebrate Christmas whether or not they are practicing Christians.
Dickens' Christmas books

Bruce Peel Special Collections is home to several copies of A Christmas Carol, including first editions. What many people may not know is that, following the publication of A Christmas Carol, Dickens penned four more Christmas books. The Peel library has first editions of all of them: The Chimes (Christmas 1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (Christmas 1845), The Battle of Life (Christmas 1846), and The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain (Christmas 1848). (PR 4552 1843 Vol. 1-5)


Has Christmas become too secular?

Songs of Christmas (1885)

There are people who say that Christmas has become too secular, but it is worth noting that traditional sacred music is still very much in evidence throughout the holiday season. We hear traditional Christmas carols on the radio, in malls, in concerts, at parades, and in many other public places. And, how old is this sacred music? 

Following the “Golden Age” of Christmas carols, around 1350–1550, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that Christmas carols became popular again and many of today's favorites were written at that time, including "Silent Night" (1818). Two of the interesting items in Bruce Peel Special Collections that show something of this history: Songs of Christmas, published in 1885 (PR 4759 H8 S6), and A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (ML Z881 E5 S985 1861). Both include some Christmas carols that are rarely, if ever, heard today.


CPR ad, Christmas 1893

Has Christmas become too commercialized?

What do you think? Perhaps Christmas has become too commercialized, but this is nothing new! Check out these Christmas ads from more than a hundred years ago: a CPR railway advertisement (HE 2810 C67 1893) offering discounted travel rates over the holidays and an advertisement that tells him that the time is right: "This is the Christmas as never before, / You should give lingerie to the girl you adore" (Z 239 G7 A13 V.136 folio). 

Christmas ad for lingerie

Visitors and researchers are welcome to view these special items in the reading room in Bruce Peel Special Collections during regular hours (Monday-Friday 12-4:30pm), provided that the materials are requested in advance using the online Retrieval Request Form.


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