George Washington as seen at the DAR Christmas Open House, Washington DC.
Religion played the major part in the observance of Christmas by George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon. Occasionally they attended church on Christmas morning at nearby Pohick Church, returning to Mount Vernon for dinner. During his first year as president, George Washington attended Saint Paul’s Church in New York City on Christmas day, which fell on a Friday.
There were no decorated Christmas trees at Mount Vernon as the first one did not arrive in Virginia until 1842, when a German professor at Williamsburg displayed one. Obviously that custom caught on fast. There were no stockings hung by the fireplace awaiting Saint Nicholas, as that was a part of Dutch New York, and not a tradition in Anglican Virginia. However, the Virginians managed to have a happy time bringing together family and friends with good food and a day of respite from work.
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