Looking to celebrate Christmas in a ‘Happy Holidays’ America? You’re in luck. America has an opulence of her very own Christmas traditions that are both fun and spiritually fulfilling.
A new Pew poll finds that younger Americans do not practice Christmas the same way as their parents and grandparents. Only 39 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 say they celebrate Christmas as a faith-based feast. In contrast, 66 percent of Americans over the age of 65 celebrate Christmas as a faith-centered holiday.
One reason why younger people may celebrate Christmas in a secular way is: they have not had a chance to experience the season’s beautiful, holy and peaceful traditions. As a young woman, I’m very appreciative to my older relatives for sharing their Christmas traditions with me from the time I was a little girl. I would like to encourage other parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to pass along their Christmas traditions to their younger friends and family members.
American Christmas traditions can make the holiday more festive and pleasurable. More importantly, our traditions will help us find a deeper meaning in Christmas and feel a stronger appreciation for our country; our founding fathers; and each other. Here are some places to start:
Bake Martha Washington’s Christmas Cake
At Mount Vernon, George and Martha Washington celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday. The attended church services and also threw delicious feasts for friends and family. One of their favorite desserts was “Martha’s Great Cake.” Mrs. Washington’s original recipe, which she wrote by hand, calls for 40 eggs; five pounds each of flour and fruit; and four pounds each of butter and sugar. Oh yes, and half a pint of cream sherry and a dash of brandy!
Martha’s recipe yields too much batter for the average American throwing a Christmas party. However, if you do a simple Google search for “Martha Washington’s Great Cake” and you will find many modern (and smaller) versions of the recipe. Consider inviting your grandchildren, nieces, nephews or even neighbor children over to make Martha’s cake. Pour the batter into cupcake tins so they each have their own cake; top with candles, and then celebrate the birthday of Christ—just like our first American President.
Celebrate Customs of Your American Immigrant Ancestors
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