A Christmas History Part 2

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia. But what about the 1800s peaked American interest in the holiday?

The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.

In 1818, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status. Irving’s fictitious celebrants enjoyed “ancient customs,” including the crowning of a Lord of Misrule. Irving’s book, however, was not based on any holiday celebration he had attended – in fact, many historians say that Irving’s account actually “invented” tradition by implying that it described the true customs of the season.

Also around this time, English author Charles Dickens created the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. The story’s message – the importance of charity and good will towards all humankind – struck a powerful chord in the United States and England, and showed members of Victorian society the benefits of celebrating the holiday.

The family was also becoming less disciplined and more sensitive to the emotional needs of children during the early 1800s. Christmas provided families with a day when they could lavish attention – and gifts – on their children without appearing to “spoil” them.

As Americans began to embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday, old customs were unearthed. People looked toward recent immigrants and Catholic and Episcopalian churches to see how the day should be celebrated. In the next 100 years, Americans build a Christmas tradition all their own that included pieces of many other customs, including decorating trees, sending holiday cards, and gift-giving.

Although most families quickly bought into the idea that they were celebrating Christmas how it had been done for centuries, Americans had really re-invented a holiday to fill the cultural needs of a growing nation.

Christmas Facts:

  • Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
  • The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.
  • Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.
  • The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
  • Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. They copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
  • Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

A Christmas History Part 1

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of Jesus. Early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days, and extended hours of sunlight.

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth. Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring, Pope Julius I chose December 25th. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today’s Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the “lord of misrule” and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorized them with mischief. Christmas became the time of the year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.

In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

The pilgrims, English separatists that come to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26th, 1870.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Feeling bored? Uninspired by life? Do you need four cups of coffee just to break the monotony of the 9 to 5? Fortunately, there is one special day in December that will alleviate these common maladies. That day, my friend is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on Friday, December 21st!

Lurking in the murky depths of many people’s wardrobe is a colorful, brash and in most cases, highly embarrassing novelty Christmas sweater which, were it not for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day would probably never see the light of day. When Ugly Christmas Sweater Day comes along, it is time to stop being ashamed of the contents of your wardrobe and start busting out the ugly. There is such a thing as “so awful you can’t really hate it’, and Ugly Christmas Sweaters fit the bill.

Launched in 2011, this annual celebration, which is growing in popularity every year among adults and children, is not simply an excuse to parade humiliatingly-unfashionable seasonal knitwear featuring Rudolph, Christmas puddings and Frosty the Snowman; it is a light-hearted and enjoyable fundraising event with a serious aim in aid of Save the Children.

Since then it has been used as an important event to help drive charity funds for organizations that help children around the world deal with illnesses that should be anything more than a minor inconvenience. The firm belief that children should not die from easily treated diseases is what brings this holiday to the fore. It is often speculated that we subject ourselves to a minor harmless ailment, the sight of these hideous sweaters, to help save the children from medically similar situations.

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is about proudly sporting your favorite ugly Christmas sweater for the entire day… regardless of the circumstances. Wear it to school, to work, to your sister’s wedding. Got an important interview on Friday? Oops, tough luck. Worried the judge will increase your sentence if you show up to court in an ugly Christmas sweater? Sorry, no exception.

Share this special day with your friends and spread the word. Also, please send us pictures strutting your stuff in an ugly Christmas sweater.  We can’t leave Dallas out of the awesomeness that is, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Let’s rock this!

 

https://www.savethechildren.org

Wake Up Wednesday News

Technical Genius Solutions

Want a career utilizing A+? Technical Genius Solutions offers free community classes. They will go through, chapter by chapter, with you until you take the certification. This also comes with a possible chance to intern with Technical Genius Solutions

On Wednesday, Technical Genius offers a $10 class on Getting to Know Technology. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about that new Christmas gadget Santa left you under the tree.

This week only, Technical Genius Solutions is offering a 10% discount on all screen repairs.

https://tgsoregon.net/

 

Washington Street Steakhouse & Pub

Now available is Curb Side pickup (for online orders only)! Their full menu is now available for online orders. When you get to Washington Street Steakhouses designated to-go parking spot, give them a call and let them know the name of your order and that you are outside. They will bring your order out to you!

https://washingtonststeakhouse.com/

 

Columbia Bank

Columbia Bank has been named number one for small business loans in Oregon! Come in and see them, they have money to give away!

https://www.columbiabank.com/locations/dallas

 

MV Advancements

MV Advancements is proud to announce that thanks to our community they were able to place 7 members into jobs last month. They hope to continue this streak with the 3 placements they have had this month, including one placed as a county employee.

https://mvadvancements.org/

 

AdvoCare

Need help with the holiday slump? Coffee just not cutting it anymore? Come talk to Lisa Preston with AdvoCare. AdvoCare also makes great stalking stuffers!

http://youbegreater.com/

 

Washington Federal

The Giving Tree is up! This year Washington Federal will be helping CASA children. If you would like to help a family this holiday season, then stop on by and pick up a tag. Washington Federal Giving Tree will be running until December 21st.

https://www.washingtonfederal.com/locations/oregon/dallas

 

Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce

Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce is providing Christmas Cheer with peanut butter. They help those in need enjoy holiday food shopping Christmas Eve, and is a wonderful program. Drop off your jar of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, before December 21st.

http://business.dallasoregon.org/events/details/chamber-luncheon-2332

 

Dallas Area Visitors Center

Nominated by their peers and selected by an independent committee of business and community leaders, the annual Community Awards Banquet celebrates Dallas’s finest businesses, citizens, and organizations. The annual dinner is a formal community-wide banquet held in February of each year. We are now accepting nominations just follow the link below!

http://www.dallasoregon.org/awards/

Business Ethics

The Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce recently received an email from an involved citizen. We felt it was important to share with our community.

Good morning Mr. Shinn!

I just wanted to send the Dallas Chamber some positive feedback- a student I tutor on the weekends was working on a business project at our session, and she ended up on the chamber website… She thought you would like to know that we explored it and found excellent info for her project, so she says thank you 🙂 And- Sophia and I thought we could return the favor by sharing another educational business resource we found, so she picked one out and I told her I’d send it today… “Guide to Business Ethics” — https://onlinebusiness.northeastern.edu/neu-msf/guide-to-business-ethics/

Sophia thought it would be a good addition to the DACC’s Business toolkit page (this one http://www.dallasoregon.org/business-toolkit/) because “it has really helpful information on business ethics and why it’s important.” I hope you can add it-Sophia would be so proud to see that her research & contribution were helpful… and I’d love to show her at her next tutoring session 🙂 Thanks so much JD and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sincerely,
Sophia & Miss DeCesare

The Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce strives to help grow and educate our business community. It was great to hear how our site was helpful and even more encouraging that Sophia is looking into concepts for business.

The article that Sophia was so kind to recommend discusses the importance of having a code of ethics, and how it can negatively or positively affect a business’s reputation. People want to work with companies, and with people who uphold strong ethics concerning both their customers and their employees.

Businesses will, at times, find themselves needing to validate, and assess their code of conduct. “When there is public trust in an organization’s actions, the company can succeed. And when the employees who participate in creating and sustaining the company culture believe in what the business stands for, then the company can continue to thrive from the inside out…” The Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce strongly recommends following the above link.

We are so grateful to receive feedback from young, involved citizens such as Sophia, and Edith. Thank you again Sophia for passing on this information, and to Edith for helping to educate our youth!

Bentley’s Grill Announces New Executive Chef – The Grand Hotel

Bentley’s Grill is proud to announce that Hans Afshar has accepted the position of Executive Chef.

Working from a wealth of expertise and knowledge, coupled with the support of the entire staff, Afshar is excited and determined in these new chapter of food innovation. Hans is unyielding in trying to make food better, more delicious, more relevant, more singular, and more personal.

He has worked closely with a variety of esteemed European chefs on recipe and menu development, cultivating his devotion of creating food. Afshar purchased his first restaurant, Old Europe Inn, from an old friend in December of 1987.

His passion for Italian food later moved him to open Da Vinci Ristorante with his brother in downtown Salem. After years of using a variety of cooking techniques, local ingredients inspired him to open “Orupa,” a European-American restaurant where he was awarded Best Innovated Chef in a poll conducted by the Statesman Journal. He also received the Best Restaurant in the Mid-Willamette Valley by people’s choice.

In regards to Bentley’s, Afshar is excited to add and develop a new class of dining experience to Salem. When asked about his outlook, he stated, “I attempt to cook in service to the place in which I find myself – hoping that if I succeed in doing well, I may cement my legacy within this greater thing.” He actively strives for seriousness, for meaning, and for permanence in his cooking.

His philosophy centers on the authenticity of the guest experience; each time a guest arrives to dine at Bentley’s, Afshar wants that experience to be different and equally as unique as the last. He plans to change the menu often, adding surprisingly-delicious combinations of flavors in every dish.

He stated of his work; “I hold the thread of the multitudes of collaborators and of a history shared by the chefs and cooks that have preceded me. I try to do things right in how I shop and cook; how I approach the sanctity of the products that I grow and procure; how I teach and mentor and support this team. I’m smart enough to know that this is a forever-task, yet impetuous enough to try to still do it all today. My food is what I give of myself. It is at once my daily efforts and my culmination.”

 

https://www.grandhotelsalem.com/

Walmart

From their humble beginnings as a small discount retailer in Rogers, Ar., Walmart has opened thousands of stores in the United States and expanded internationally. Through innovation, they are creating a seamless experience to let customers shop anytime and anywhere online, through mobile devices and in stores. They are creating opportunities and bringing value to customers and communities around the glove. Walmart operates over 11,200 stores, one in our humble town, under 55 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites in 10 countries. They employ approximately 2.2. Million associates around the world. – 1.5 million in the United States alone.

Everyday low prices on a broad assortment – anytime, anywhere. Every Day Low Price is the cornerstone of their strategy, and their price focus has never been stronger. Today’s customer seeks the convenience of one-stop shopping that Walmart offers. From grocery and entertainment to sporting goods and crafts, they provide the deep assortment that their customers appreciate – whether they are shopping online at Walmart.com, through one their mobile apps or shopping in store. Walmart currently operates three primary store formats in the United States, each custom tailored to its neighborhood.

A job at Walmart means an opportunity to build a career. About 75% of their store management teams started as hourly associates, and last year, they promoted about 200,000 people to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay. In the United States, the average, full-time hourly wages is $14.03. Walmart has even committed to hire 250.00 veterans.

Walmart gives back to every community in which it serves. Most recently Dallas area Walmart donated needed miscellaneous supplies for both Freedomfest, and Summerfest. Thanks to their aide we were able to better invest funds to ensure our community had the best city events possible.

Walmart is the largest onsite green power generator in the United States. Working with others, Walmart aspires to reshape the way they work to achieve significant and lasting improvement in environmental and social outcomes, in a way that also improves their business. Their approach accelerates them towards their three aspirational goals: to create zero waste, operate with 100% renewable energy and sell products that sustain our resources and the environment. Walmart is using their strengths to not only further work in their own operations, but to also help create a more sustainable value chain.

If you are looking for one-stop shopping, with a great value be sure to visit our local Walmart store.

 

https://www.walmart.com/store/2315/dallas-or

Wall Insurance

Insurance you can trust. Wall Insurance is proud to serve the insurance needs of Dallas and all of Oregon. Let them help you find the right insurance to meet your needs.

Wall Insurance is independently owned and locally operated to handle your insurance needs. They believe that local insurance agencies can best serve your insurance needs. As your local insurance agency, they will assist you in finding just the right combination of tailored, personalized insurance coverage at just the right price.

Wall Insurance invites you to complete an online quote or call to speak with a local agency to review coverage options for auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business insurance, commercial insurance, renter insurance, boat insurance, and more. Wall Insurance provides free, no hassle and no obligation quotes to let you see what they have to offer.

Insurance tailored for you. Wall Insurance strive to offer you quality insurance coverage, a high level of professional service and long-term relationship.

Affordable, reliable insurance choices. Wall Insurance offers several of the top insurance companies to choose from when selecting your insurance plan. They will research the rates and coverage for you to find you the best option that fits your needs. You no longer need to call around town or search all over the Internet to find the best rates – Wall Insurance does the shopping and comparing for you to save your time and money!

“Excellent service. Excellent people. I recommend everyone check with them for all their insurance questions and needs! I was a long time State Farm customer, however the people and service at Wall Insurance was well worth the switch. They worked with me to find a policy that was perfect for me and I intend to be a customer for a long, long time!”

“Wall Insurance is a family business. They treat you as part of the family. When I moved to another state they made a phone call to another agent they knew in my new area to take care of me. Now I am back in Oregon and I am happy to be back with Wall!”

 

http://wallinsurance.com/

Chamber Luncheon

For our December Chamber Luncheon our CEO, JD Shinn, will be presenting “The State of the Chamber.” This is a great opportunity to not only learn about what we have been doing for you in the year 2018 while you are at work, but also learn what Chamber resources are available to you.

New members to the Chamber, or if you are taking over for a former business representative, you are highly encourage you to attend this Luncheon. We will be reviewing your Chamber Login, and how best to encourage your SEO, and get more click to your website. If you are not a Chamber member, but are considering becoming one “The State of the Chamber” is an excellent one to attend. We will cover what is a Chamber, and how we help you and the Dallas community. We also encourage any former Chamber members to attend and see what changes we have made to our organizations, thanks to conversations with you!

The Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce is designed to be a Catalyst, Convener, and Champion. We spark growth in business through programming and services that keep your business engaged in activities that move the Dallas Area towards a successful future. We provide unique opportunities for business leaders to influence civic, social and business initiatives that support community growth. We help build a strong community by connecting our broad and diverse members to people, entities and issues that are important to business success.

Before coming to Dallas, JD spent time on staff with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, where he participated in a workforce development project called the Career Achievement Network. While serving at Salem Chamber he went back to school to finish his Bachelor’s degree. Shinn earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Management & Organizational Leadership from George Fox University. He is tasked with leading the Chamber and Visitor Center into casting a new vision. JD is a Dallas High School Graduate. He brings a passion for people and an attitude of servant leadership to the community.

This year we are very excited to share with you what we have done in the year 2018, what we see happening in the future, and hearing from you what you want to see.

“Improving Our Community, One Business at a Time.”

 

http://www.dallasoregon.org/

Gingerbread House Day

Gingerbread houses are a favorite holiday pastime with families, be it with parents, grandparents, or even both! But these delicious, decorative bread houses have always been a staple of the holiday season for as long as people can remember. Where did they come from? Who came up with the idea? To answer those questions, we must follow the ghost of holiday’s past into the history of Gingerbread House Day!

Food Historians, yes there is such a thing, ratify that ginger has been seasoning foodstuffs and drinks since antiquity. It is believed gingerbread was fist baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century when returning crusaders brought back the custom of spicy bread from the Middle East. Ginger was not only tasty; it had properties that helped preserve the bread. According to a French legend, gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 A.D. by the Armenian monk and later saint, Gregory of Nicopolis, or Gregory Makar. Ginger bread figurines date back to the 15th century and baking human-shaped biscuits was practiced in the 16th century.

The gingerbread bakers were gathered into professional baker guilds. In many European countries, gingerbread bakers were a distinct component of the bakers’ guild. Gingerbread baking developed into an acknowledged profession. In the 17th century, only professional gingerbread bakers were permitted to bake gingerbread except at Christmas and Easter. In Europe, gingerbreads shaped like hearts, stars, soldiers, trumpets, swords, pistols and animals were sold in special shops and seasonal markets.

The tradition of making decorated gingerbread houses started in German in the early 1800s. According to certain researchers, the first gingerbread houses were the result of the well-known Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In modern times the tradition has continued in certain places in Europe. In Germany, the Christmas markets still sell decorated gingerbread before Christmas.

To celebrate Gingerbread House Day, take the family out for a shopping trip and pick up the supplies necessary to make a gingerbread house. Then let the younger members of the family pick out the decorations that they want to add to the gingerbread house. Finally, pick out the decorations that you want and add them to the house.