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Consumer Rites

The Buying and Selling of American Holidays.
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Titel: Consumer Rites
Autor/en: Leigh Eric Schmidt

ISBN: 0691017212
EAN: 9780691017211
The Buying and Selling of American Holidays.
Sprache: Englisch.
Princeton University Press

16. November 1997 - kartoniert - 380 Seiten

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Slogans such as "Let's put Christ back into Christmas" or "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" hold an appeal to Christians who oppose the commercializing of events they hold sacred. However, through a close look at the rise of holidays in the United States, Leigh Schmidt show us that commercial appropriations of these occasions were as religious in form as they were secular. The rituals of America's holiday bazaar that emerged in the nineteenth century offered a luxuriant merger of the holy and the profane--a heady blend of fashion and faith, merchandising and gift-giving, profits and sentiments, all celebrations of a devout consumption. In this richly illustrated book, which captures both the blessings and ballyhoo of American holiday observances for the mid-eighteenth century through the twentieth, the author offers a reassessment of the "consumer rites" that various social critics have long decried for their spiritual emptiness and banal sentimentality.

Schmidt tells the story of how holiday celebrations were almost banished by Puritans and other religious reformers in the colonies but went on to be romanticized and reinvented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Merchants and advertisers were crucial for the reimagining of the holidays, promoting them in a grand, carnivalesque manner, which could include gargantuan fruit cakes, masked Santa Clauses, and exploding valentines.

Along the way Schmidt uses everything from diaries to manuals on church decoration and window display to show in bright detail the ways in which people have prepared for and celebrated specific holidays--such as going Christmas shopping, making love tokens, choosing Easter bonnets, sending flowers to Mom, buying ties for Dad. He demonstrates in particular how women took the lead as holiday consumers, shaping warm-hearted celebrations of home and family through their intricate engagement with the marketplace. Bringing together the history of business, religion, and gender, this book offers a fascinating cultural history of an endlessly debated marvel--the commercialization of the American holidays.
List of Illustrations Ch. 1Time Is Money Church Festivals and Commercial Fairs: The Peddling of Festivity "Enterprise Holds Carnival, While Poetry Keeps Lent": From Sabbatarian Discipline to Romantic Longing A Commercial Revolution: National Holidays and the Consumer Culture Ch. 2St. Valentine's Day Greeting St. Valentine's Pilgrimage from Christian Martyr to Patron of Love The Handmade and the Ready-Made: Of Puzzle Purses, Chapbooks, and the Valentine Vogue Remaking the Holiday's Rituals: The Marketing of Valentines, 1840-1860 Mock Valentines: A Private Charivari "A Meaner Sort of Merchandize" or "A Pleasure without Alloy"? The New Fashion Contested and Celebrated Expanding Holiday Trade: From Confectioners' Hearts to Hallmark Cards Ch. 3Christmas Bazaar The Rites of the New Year: Revels, Gifts, Resolutions, and Watch Nights The Birth of the Christmas Market, 1820-1900 Shopping towards Bethlehem: Women and the Victorian Christmas Christmas Cathedrals: Wanamaker's and the Consecration of the Marketplace Magi, Miracles, and Macy's: Enchantment and Disenchantment in the Modern Celebration Putting Christ in Christmas and Keeping Him There: The Piety of Protest Ch. 4Easter Parade "In the Beauty of the Lilies": The Art of Church Decoration and the Art of Window Display Piety, Fashion, and a Spring Promenade "A Bewildering Array of Plastic Forms": Easter Knickknacks and Novelties Raining on the Easter Parade: Protest, Subversion, and Disquiet Ch. 5Mother's Day Bouquet Anna Jarvis and the Churches: Sources of a New Celebration Commercial Floriculture and the Moral Economy of Flowers: The Marketing of Mother's Day Pirates, Profiteers and Trespassers: Negotiating the Bounds of Church, Home, and Marketplace The Invention of Father's Day: The Humbug of Modern Ritual Epilogue: April Fools? Trade, Trickery, and Modern Celebration Acknowledgments Notes Index
Honorable Mention for the 1996 Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Book in Popular Culture "Conceptually sophisticated, wide ranging; [Schmidt] treats Valentine's Day, Easter, and Mother's Day as well as Christmas all within a delicately balanced framework of tensions between market rationality and romantic sentiment... [A] fresh and timely alternative to contemporary academic fashion."--Jackson Lears, The New Republic "Filled with interesting facts and nascent ideas."--Fred Miller Robinson, The New York Times Book Review "[A] richly documented, smoothly narrated, and lavishly illustrated [study] by a cultural historian who knows his stuff and tells it with panache. Consumer Rites is good history and good reading... A brilliant chronicle of the American tale where domesticated remnants of Protestant religion, not nationalist identity alone, drove developments, and where capitalist expansion was in the driver's seat."--Lawrence A. Hoffman, Cross Currents "Its that time of year again: holiday shopping, and lots of it. Ever wonder how this American tradition got started? In this enlightening book, Leigh Eric Schmidt looks at holidays in our country and how they've evolved over the past 150 years into highly commercialized events... Consumer Rites is without question a true holiday gift, and it makes for fascinating reading."--Washington Post Book World "Consumer Rites is good history and good reading... a terrific story terrifically told... richly documented, smoothly narrated, and lavishly illustrated by a cultural historian who knows his stuff and tells it with panache... Give it as a gift next Christmas, Mother's Day or Father's Day! It's the American thing to do."--Cross Currents
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