When it grew to dark to dance. . . . we conversed til half after six; Nothing is now to be heard of in conversation, but the Balls, the Fox-hunts, the fine entertainments, and the good fellowship, which are to be exhibited at the approaching Christmas.But Christmas was considered so strongly a Catholic or even Anglican tradition (Christmas does, after all, come from the term "Christ Mass") that many denominations either didn't think it worthy of notice (Peter Kalm notes that the Quakers ignored the holiday at first) or because of doctrinal differences, felt it ungodly to indulge in the frivolity of the holiday. David DeSimone mentions how after sharing eastern Virginia's lavish Christmas celebrations, Philip Fithian must have been disappointed while serving in the backcountry of Virginia the following year:
Christmas Morning--Not A Gun is heard--Not a Shout--No company or Cabal assembled--To Day is like other Days every Way calm & temperate-- People go about their daily Business with the same Readiness, & apply themselves to it with the same Industry.
|Robbie Shade - Fireworks over Edinburgh (Wikipedia)|
We really don't have any way of knowing how extensively Scottish settlers held to the old traditions, but in recent years Colonial Williamsburg has included Hogmanay in its New Year's celebrations. With such a rich history of Advent, Christmas, and New Year's combined, is it any wonder that the month of December often feels like one long party?