Celebrations with Christmas Pine

In his book The Battle for Christmas, the historian Stephen Nissenbaum presents the 19th-century reinvention of the holiday as a triumph of New York’s elites over the city’s emerging working classes. New York’s population grew nearly tenfold between 1800 and 1850, and during that time elites became increasingly frightened of traditional December rituals of “social inversion,” in which poorer people could demand food and drink from the wealthy and celebrate in the streets, abandoning established social constraints much like on Halloween night or New Year’s Eve.