(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
The woman and children posed hanging stockings in front of this 19th century fireplace were performing a holiday ritual that would have been unfamiliar to most early New Englanders. The Puritans purged Christmas from their calendar because they believed the holiday had no scriptural basis and in reaction to its often rough and unruly celebration in England. Observing Christmas Day only gradually made its way into New England, and with it came embellishments from other cultures, including Santa Claus and the hanging of stockings.