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Christmas—wasteful, extravagant and immoral

On this date 360 years ago, Oliver Cromwell was made Lord Protector of England. What does that have to do with Christmas, you may ask? Well, the parliament of puritanical Protestants that he led tried to ban Christmas for being un-Christian.

In 1645, four years before the execution of King Charles I, which ushered in the Cromwellian republic, a group of MPs created the Directory of Public Worship to purge the calendar not only of Christmas but of all holy days, while enforcing strict observance of Sunday worship. This hard-assed animosity toward Christmas (and human revelry in general) did not arise in a vacuum; it reflected a distaste among the more austere elements of British society for festivities and general human enjoyment.

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