Imagine you are 6 years old and are told that because you live on the wrong side of the war, there will be no Santa Claus! How heart broken must that have made Confederate children feel during those years when their fathers were away fighting and their land was devastated by war.
The Civil War was a dark and pivotal time in American History, but that didn’t prevent the spread of holiday cheer! During a time of great sorrow and limited resources, the Christmas spirit inspired folks to invent new ways to celebrate the season. Do you know where your Christmas traditions started?
Thomas Nast created the iconic image of Santa Claus we know today in an illustration he drew for Harper’s Weekly around 1863. The billowing white beard, nose like a cherry, and round-bellied figure bearing a sack full of toys soon became synonymous with the secular aspects of the holiday.
Experience the Christmas season at Leesylvania State Park as it was celebrated by Civil War soldiers and their families at home. Take a look at the historical traditions of the season – from decorating a tree the way it may have been in the 1860s, to discussing gifts and favorite holiday foods. This hands-on approach to the history of the Civil War and Christmas traditions features family friendly activities and the chance to interact with costumed interpreters as they share stories and talk about life in the 1860s.
Find Santa at Click here for a Google map.