Adam Ruins Christmas

Adam Ruins Christmas

Ho, ho… huh?! In this instant holiday classic, Adam reveals the creepy origins of kindly old Saint Nick, explains why gift-giving is actually bad for the economy and exposes the truth behind beloved holiday traditions. Here are his sources.

Sources

“In December, Romans celebrated a holiday called Saturnalia to mark the end of harvest. It was a wild party involving gambling, singing and even cross dressing.”

“Did the Romans Invent Christmas?” BBC Religion and Ethics. British Broadcasting Corporation, 17 Dec. 2012. Web.


“And in Northern Europe, a drunken festival called Yule celebrated the birth of the sun. Families would burn the biggest log they could find and celebrate around evergreen trees to ward off winter depression.”

Purdue, A.W. “Tracing the Festive Light Fantastic: Resources.” Times Educational Supplement. TES Global, 14 Dec. 2012. Web.


“Putting Christ into these winter festivals was basically a civic compromise: make the party about Jesus, and you can keep getting jiggy with it.”

Bowler, Gerry. Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Print.


“And that’s where ornaments come from.”

Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas. Dir. Alison Guss. The History Channel, 1997.


“Mobs would bang on rich people’s doors and demand to be served the best food and drink they had. And if they refused, they were threatened with Christmas violence.”

Strutt, Joseph. The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England. London: Methuen & Co., 1801. Web.


“In some communities, if you exhibited Christmas spirit, you were forced to pay a fine.”

Woolf, Christopher. “America’s First ‘War on Christmas.’” PRI’s The World. Public Radio International, Dec. 23, 2015. Web.


“A nonsensical, asinine, moronic absurdity. ... These Lutherans [are] worshipping a tree [and] groveling before a shrub.”

Rein, Ziggy. “America’s “First” Christmas Tree.” The Lakewood Observer. Lakewood Observer, Inc., 13 Dec. 2011. Web.


“Now, sometimes you’ll get it right and buy the perfect gift. But on average, we get it wrong often enough that every gift we buy loses 13% of its value.”

Waldfogel, Joel. Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.


“And according to Joel’s research, it doesn’t get much worse than the dreaded AUNT.”

Waldfogel, Joel. Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.


“In the early 20th century, Coca Cola was going through a series of PR scandals, including the fact that their soda was literally made with cocaine.”

Pendergrast, Mark. For God, Country and Coca-Cola: the Unauthorized History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It. New York: Scribner’s, 1993. Web.


“And in 1874 Mississippi, there was even a Santa-themed KKK parade.”

Bowler, Gerry. Santa Claus, A Biography. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2007.


“A lot of early Santa’s were way weirder. Before 1880, Santa didn’t even live at the North Pole. That idea was invented by illustrator Thomas Nast, who drew Santa recording kids’ behavior from a giant telescope.”

Kennedy, Robert C. “On this Day: Santa Claus and His Works.” Learning Center, New York Times. The New York Times Company, 25 Dec. 2001. Web.


“Accompanied by a demon named Krampus who dragged bad kids to hell.”

Handwerk, Brian. “St. Nicholas to Santa: The Surprising Origins of Mr. Claus.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, Dec. 20, 2013. Web.


“But instead of an elf, he was accompanied by a literal slave named Black Peter -- often portrayed by a white person in black face.”

Noel, Melissa. “The Fight Against ‘Black Pete’, a Holiday Blackface Tradition.” NBC News. NBC Universal, 23 Dec. 2015. Web.


“He would sneak into their home in the middle of the night and hide gold in their stockings so they wouldn’t become prostitutes.”

Handwerk, Brian. “St. Nicholas to Santa: The Surprising Origins of Mr. Claus.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, Dec. 20, 2013. Web.

 For More on This Topic

 Gerry Bowler’s book on the history of Santa Claus is the most comprehensive look at how we ended up with the jolly, benevolent fatso we know today.

 This 2009 episode of NPR’s Planet Money discusses Joel Waldfogel’s humbug-y argument about Christmas gift-giving.