The following excerpt about the age-old material significance of Christmas comes from Pulitzer nominated Prof. Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas, (Random House, 1997):

“If the domestic reform of Christmas began as an enterprise of patricians, fearful for their authority, it was soon being reinforced by merchants, who needed the streets to be cleared of drunks and rowdies in order to secure them for Christmas shoppers; by shoppers who in turn needed to feel secure in the streets; and by newspaper editors whose success depended on their mediating between other businessmen and their own readers (who were shoppers, too). Advertisements for Christmas presents actually began to appear as early as the first signs of interest in St. Nicholas emerged, although they did not become common for several more decades. The first explicit ad for Christmas presents I have found anywhere in the United States comes from a New England…

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