Outlawing the celebration of Christmas sounds a little extreme, but it has happened. The ban existed as law for 22 years in Massachusetts. The Puritans who immigrated to Massachusetts to build a new life had several reason for disliking Christmas. </font> It reminded them of the Church of England and the old-world customs, which they were trying to escape.</font> They didn't consider the holiday a truly religious day. December 25th wasn't selected as the birth date of Christ until several centuries after his death.</font> The holiday celebration usually included drinking, feasting, and playing games - all things which the Puritans frowned upon. One such tradition, "wassailing" occasionally turned violent. The older custom entailed people of a lower economic class visiting wealthier community members and begging, or demanding, food and drink in return for toasts to their hosts' health. If a host refused, there was the threat of retribution. Although rare, there were cases of wassailing in early New England.</font> The British had been applying pressure on the Puritans for a while to conform to English customs. The ban was probably as much a political choice as it was a religious one for many.</font> In 1659, the ban became official. The General Court banned the celebration of Christmas and other such holidays at the same time it banned gambling and other lawless behavior, grouping all such behaviors together. The court placed a fine of five shillings on anyone caught feasting or celebrating the holiday in another manner. (All adapted from Massachusetts Travel, C. Danko) Anyone for the ban today? We still see the same attitude, only add commercialism and greed to the list of Dr. Mather's condemnation . .