The Charm Of Christmas Past

It is one measure of the changes that occur in a dynamic society that Christmas, which the Puritans regarded as an idolatrous feast not to be celebrated or even tolerated by Godfearing men, became by the nineteenth century the quintessential expression of all that was dear to the pious Victorian generation. Here, with all the fringes and doodads and with all the clutter and the sentiment, is a memento of that time and of that era’s décor which —as someone has said—like Nature, abhorred a vacuum.• In making up this album, or découpage , of old cards and scraps and drawings for AMERICAN HERITAGE , Leslie Dorsey, a New York design consultant, has captured with considerable fidelity the spirit of an age only recently past (as history moves), yet already widely regarded as “the good old days.” How good were they? There are many answers, but one thing is certain: Christmas, beginning so many shopping days before and ending so many overfed nights later, was a mighty festival.