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Holiday Speeches - Christmas

( Originally Published 1901 )


The Day of Good-will葉o The Cold Weather with-out and the Warm Hearts within葉o The Christmas Tree, which grows in a Night and is plucked in the Morning by the gladdest of fingers葉o The Day in which Religion gives sweetness to Social Life佑hristmas Gifts; may they bless the Giver not less than the Receiver葉o The Oldest of our Festivals, which grows mellower and sweeter with the passage of the centuries葉o St. Nicholas [or Santa Claus], the only saint Protestants worship葉o A Merry Day that leaves no heart-ache葉o A Good Christmas, may sleighing, gifts, and feasting crowd out all gambling and drunkenness.


The good cheer enjoyed on this merriest day of the year. How the little people look forward to it. It comes to the older ones as a joy, and yet tender and sad with the memories of other Christmases. The religious and the secular elements of the day. The countries where it is most observed. The long contest between the two days, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The compromise that Massachusetts and Virginia, New England and the South, have unanimously agreed upon; namely, to keep both days.


The speaker assumes that the observance of the day is becoming obsolete, and that there are persons who wish it to die out. The assumption, though rather strained, affords the opportunity to demolish this man of straw. "All other kings may go, but no one can spare King Christmas, or St. Nicholas, his prime minister. School-rooms and nurseries would rebel. And plum pudding is too strongly entrenched in Church and State to be dislodged. Washington Irving, with his Sketch Book, would protest. Best argument of all is the worth of the Christmas entertainments. Here's to the Festival of Festivals, and long may its honors be done by such hosts as entertain us to-day."

Coming at the beginning of the farmer's rest, when the harvest is all gathered, this is a very joyous festival, and more than any other abounds in family reunions. Any toast therefore is appropriate which tells of the harvest, of fertility, of the closing year, of the family pride and traditions, of pleasure to young and old. At dinner, turkey and mince or pumpkin pie will of course be served, and these national favorites must not be forgotten by the toast-maker.

This day, too, has an official and governmental flavor given to it by the State and national proclamations which fix the date and invite its observance, Usually, these enumerate the blessings enjoyed by the whole country during the year, and suggest topics peculiarly fitting for toasts. It is perhaps not too much to say that Thanksgiving is distinctly the American Festival, and should be honored accordingly.


To The Inventor of Pumpkin Pie葉o Peace with all Nations葉o The Rulers of our Country葉o The Farmer葉o Full Stomachs and Merry Hearts-to their Excellencies, the President and the Governor; may we obey all their commands as willingly as when they tell us to feast輸bounding Plenty; may we always remember the Source from which our benefits come涌ur two National Fowls, the American Eagle and the Thanksgiving Turkey; may the one give us peace for all our States and the other a piece for all our plates裕he Turkey and the Eagle; we love to have the one soar high, but wish the other to roost low裕he Great American Birds; may we have them where we love them best, the Turkeys on our tables and the Eagles in our pockets.

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