Christmas Festivities Banned?

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I struggled for many days over this blog—my first post as a crew member of Writing Prompts.

Being part Irish, I could talk about my ancestry as Christina did last week. Except I don’t know much about being Irish. I’ve never had the privilege of visiting the Emerald Isle, though I’d like to. My ancestor—both my paternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather descend from the same Murphy (many generations removed)—came from Ireland in the 1700s. In fact that’s about the only information I have on him. Even his first name is unknown.

However, since I have already done a bit of research for my first historical novel, which is set on the outskirts of Struy, Scotland in the year 1650, I decided to share about the one thing I found that surprised me the most.


Until the late 1950s, Scotland had not formally celebrated Christmas for around 400 years.

Surprised? Maybe, maybe not. I sure was. So I read more. I had to know why.

It turns out that when the church was reformed in the 1580s, Christmas festivities were banned because they were seen to be too “Popish” or too supportive of Romanism. The church outlawed the day that remembered the birth of the Savior. 


Today Christmas in Scotland is celebrated much like we do in the US with Christmas trees and presents, but with a more sedate feel. The days are quite short—sunrise around 8:45 am and sunset around 3:45 pm—so the extra lights add cheer to otherwise dark days.

Their food selections are a bit different than our typical turkey supper. Their first course would probably include some sort of soup or smoked salmon. The main course would be roast turkey, beef, pork, goose, venison, salmon, chicken, or pheasant served with roasted potatoes or parsnips, stuffing (made from forcemeat (liver, bacon, breadcrumbs and spices) and/or chestnuts), bacon rolls, chipolata sausages, and a variety of vegetables including brussel sprouts, and carrots, all served with gravy, bread sauce, and cranberry jelly. The dessert, according to, would be Scottish Christmas pudding served with rum sauce, brandy butter, fresh cream or custard.

I would like to try some of these dishes, but they could keep the brussel sprouts (ewww!) and the forcemeat  😛

Writing Prompt: Tell us about one tradition that is important to your family. It doesn’t have to revolve around Christmas. It could be birthday celebrations, or summer vacations. How did it get started?  Do you see yourself continuing this tradition for many years to come?

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4 thoughts on “Christmas Festivities Banned?

  1. I agree. At least I hope they kept honoring our Lord in that manner. If nothing else, it probably drew them closer to Him without the extra distractions.

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