The Night Before Christmas in New York
Christmas holds many traditions from family to family, region to region and country to country. New York and the Capital Region have strong traditions that are celebrated worldwide. Nyup.com has a great list of 10 Christmas traditions that are tied to New York and some started in the Capital Region.
The movie "It's A Wonderful Life" took place in the fictitious town known as Bedford Falls. It is said the movie producer Frank Capra took inspiration from Seneca Falls, New York after a visit and created Bedford Falls to look very similar for the movie. Ironically the movie was filmed in Culver City, California on a set built by RKO Radio Pictures.
I am originally from Connecticut and my family had pretty straight forward traditions. In October we would tag a tree at the local tree farm and return between Thanksgiving and Christmas to cut it down and take home.
My Hungarian relatives (Dad, Aunt and Grandparents) had a much different approach to the tree ceremony. The Hungarian tradition finds Christmas Eve as the night where much of the magic of the season happens. It is said that, when you return from a walk, the family, especially the children, would find the surprise of the tree decorated with glass ornaments as well as handmade ornaments featuring Hungarian designs. (See headline picture) Some would suggest that angels would do the décor while you were away. I would say they are right.
Back to New York for America's first Santa School founded by Charles Howard in Albion, NY around 1937. It originally cost $15 to learn how to act as one of Santa's helpers. Not certain how much actor James Cagney paid but he was a graduate of the school and a long time resident of Stanford, NY.
Although there is some controversy, it is accepted that the poem "'The Night Before Christmas", also known as "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was first published on December 23, 1823 in the Troy Sentinel.
Whichever traditions you and your family celebrate I hope you enjoy health and happiness this season and next.
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