Believe it or not, the Puritans of England hated Christmas. They detested the pagan origins of the holiday and believed that the Bible didn't dictate that pious Christians should observe the day Jesus was born as anything special. Ministers who preached on Christmas Day even faced arrest. Naturally, they brought this same attitude toward Christmas to the New World.

From the New York Times:

The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony went one step further and actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas. From 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in the colony would be fined five shillings.

Well into the 18th century, those who attempted to keep the tradition of wassailing alive in New England often found themselves arrested and fined. Indeed, the Puritan War on Christmas lasted up to 1870, when Christmas became a legally recognized federal holiday. Until then, men and women were expected to go to work, stores were expected to remain open, and many churches did not even hold religious services.

War on Christmas, indeed.

Image: Christmas card circa 1900 via Getty

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