Christmas In Social Science Inquiry The most thorough examination of the role of Christmas in American life was undertaken by Barnett (1954).By interpreting a diversified collection of documentary evidence, Barnett traced changes in the meaning of the American Christmas festival from early Colonial days to the middle of the Twentieth Century.There were formal religious aspects to this cult, but "Christmas is also nourished by the ties of family life, by affection for children, by a willingness to aid the needy, and even by the profitseeking activities of modem business.
For example, consider the Tree Rule: "Married couples with children of any age should put up Christmas trees in their homes.
Moschetti's conjectures, though intriguing, were based primarily on speculation and ignored other plausible explanations for the asymmetries he observed, for example, altruism, symbolization of inter-personal bonding, and self-effacement, among others.
In contrast to the speculative nature of Moschetti's (1979) paper, are three articles by Caplow and his associate (Caplow 1982; Caplow 1984; Caplow and Williamson 1980) based upon ethnographic data gathered during the Middletown III Project.
Each is associated with a vacation from normal labor; each requires gift exchange activities and the exchange of cards, and each involves family reunions culminating in a celebratory family meal.
The Christmas festival is associated with a rich set of secular and sacred symbols: "Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the holly wreath, mistletoe, and the poinsettia; snow and reindeer; hearths, chimneys and stockings; the yule log; egg nogs and hot toddies; ribbons and bows; tinsel and stars; roast turkey and roast goose; carols and caroling; the major color combination of red and green" compose the secular symbol set.