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History of Christmas traditions presented by John Maietta— Monday, December 09, 2019. Source: James V. Brown Library

Historian John Maietta will present a fun history of our favorite Christmas traditions. 

A native of Williamsport, John Maietta retired from a lifelong public relations career in 2010.  For many years he operated a successful free-lance business in the Harrisburg area, while simultaneously serving as a public affairs officer with the Pennsylvania National Guard.  Starting in 2002, he completed numerous active-duty assignments with the U.S. Army, including long-term deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany, and Iraq.  In 2014 he received a master’s degree in applied history from Shippensburg University.  He is currently on the adjunct faculty at York College of Pennsylvania, where he teaches a course on the foundations of Western civilization.  He is also a popular presenter of public lectures on a wide variety of cultural and historical topics.

On Monday, Dec. 9, from 6 - 7:45 p.m., Maietta will present a program that explores the origins and meaning of many of our favorite holiday traditions, in the Lowry Room of the Library. Beginning as a simple celebration of Christ’s birth, Christmas has evolved over the centuries to embody a wealth of popular secular and religious customs. 

This program explores the origins and meaning of many of our favorite holiday traditions, from cards and carols and creches to fruitcake, poinsettias, and mistletoe. Dominating the festive scene is the iconic figure of Santa Claus- a fourth century bishop reimagined by 19th century Americans and transformed into a magical symbol of hope, generosity and good cheer.