(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 nineteenth-century fireplace were performing a holiday ritual that would have been unfamiliar to most early New Englanders. The Puritans erased Christmas from their calendar because they believed the holiday was not religious. They also were against its often rough and unruly celebration in England. Observing Christmas Day only gradually made its way into New England, and with it came practices from other cultures, including Santa Claus and the hanging of stockings.