Massachusetts December 16, 2017
7 Weird And Wacky Holiday Traditions You’ll Only Get If You’re From Massachusetts
Massachusetts is known for its pretty colonial buildings, charming cobbled streets and beautiful seascapes. With assets like that, Christmas here can feel positively Dickensian. However, we have our fair share of truly strange holiday traditions that might not make sense to anyone from out of state.
1. We argue over who gets the last wobbly chunk of canned cranberry sauce.
If you're from New England, you know the bizarrely delicious holiday treat that is a can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. Though there is something disturbing about a "sauce" that's actually a solid, jiggly tube, every Bay Stater knows that nothing tastes quite like a holiday dinner than a mouthful of this stuff.
2. We can get a little out of control with our holiday lights.
Neighborhoods in places like Somerville, Saugus, Amherst, Springfield and Attleboro are known for their over-the-top Christmas light displays. Driving through some of these neighborhoods is a holiday tradition for many local families, and people come from far and wide to check out the sparkle throughout December.
3. We think it’s cool to build Christmas trees out of lobster traps.
The most famous one is probably in Provincetown, but other lobster trap trees can be found along the coast. It's just our way of injecting a bit of Bay State nautical flair into the holiday. Are they weird-looking? Yes. Will we ever stop? Unlikely.
4. And there’s that time we actually made Christmas illegal.
The Puritans were the ultimate wet blankets. When they threw off the control of King Charles I in 1647, they declared that Christmas was a sinful celebration and made it an actual crime to celebrate the holiday. If a person was discovered to be celebrating, feasting or decorating, they would be heavily fined. Instead, the Puritans suggested that December 25 should be a day of "fasting and humiliation," and that everyone should use the day to reflect on their sins. Amazingly, it took until 1856 – over 200 years later – for Christmas to finally be a recognized as a public holiday in Massachusetts.
5. Forget Starbucks. We get way more excited over Dunkin’ Donut’s holiday flavors.
It may be an international chain now, but Dunks started out right here in Massachusetts and its still our coffeehouse of choice. We wait with bated breath for those holiday cups to come out and this season’s gingerbready and pepperminty flavors to drop.
6. We celebrate like it’s 1692.
Places like Plimoth Plantation (no, that’s not a typo) and Old Sturbridge Village bring Massachusetts history to life, and they know how to do Christmas right. These immersive museums celebrate with old-fashioned feasts, caroling, stories and plenty of wassailing. It’s a great way to experience what the holidays were like when the Bay State was just getting started.
7. We swear we’re going to hit the road early but end up stuck in traffic anyway.
Massachusetts is small enough that holiday travel usually involves piling in the family car rather than flying. This means that the roads can get downright nightmarish around Thanksgiving and Christmas. If we have to travel anywhere around Boston or (gulp) Cape Cod, holiday traffic can be as traditional as eggnog. Even though we always plan on missing the worst of the traffic with careful timing or early driving, it somehow never works out in Massachusetts due to unexpected snow, construction or a fender-bender.
Spending the holidays in Massachusetts comes with equal parts fun and weirdness, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are some things that no one tells you about
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