Keeler Notes: Hardly a Holiday Inn
Anna Marie Resseguie’s journal offers surprising insights into how the devout family at the Resseguie Hotel celebrated Christmas from 1851 to 1866.
Simply put, they didn’t. Long after ’Twas the Night Before Christmas entered the lexicon, and Dickens created Scrooge and Tiny Tim, Anna Marie records no festive decorations, family gift-giving, plum pudding, or even religious observance.
In five of those “journal years,” with dozens or hundreds of entries, Christmas passes with no mention at all. On another occasion, the day is “tedious.” The entire entry for Dec. 25, 1858, is a laconic “Col. Burr died.”
The editors of Anna Marie’s journals offer this explanation: Celebrating Christmas conflicted with New England’s stern Puritan tradition. For one thing, it was not expressly authorized by the Bible; for another, conflating Jesus’ birth with the winter solstice smacked of pagan ritual. And, especially offensive to Puritans, secularized Christmas celebrations in Olde England had become merrie to the point of license.
Years later, a film called Holiday Inn offered a very different vision, with Bing Crosby at his own Connecticut country inn caroling White Christmas. At the Resseguie Hotel, the refrain had been more like “What Christmas?”
These days, we’ve created our own holiday inn at today’s KTHC. Join us from Dec. 1 to 15 to celebrate Christmas at the tavern. Visit keelertavernmuseum.org to learn more.