The Journal of American Culture CFP  

Theme Issue: American Christmas


Guest Editor: Sue Matheson, University College of the North


Throughout the nineteenth century, Americans reinvented and embraced Christmas, creating a family-centered, cultural and commercial phenomenon that became a federal holiday in the United States. Washington Irving’s The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent. (1819) is said to have “invented” many of the Yuletide traditions we know today. Clement Clarke Moore’s iconic version of Santa Claus in “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” (1822), more popularly known as “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” was immortalized in 1881 by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. During the twentieth and twenty- first centuries, Christmas expanded into a “season” of its own that has become more than shopping, blending religious and secular customs with family traditions that incorporate food, decorations, and rituals from other places. For many Americans, Christmas is a period of general goodwill and an occasion for charitable and volunteer work.

This special issue of The Journal of American Culture considers the culture of the American Christmas. Potential topics range from the beginnings of Christmas in America to the present day and could include, but are not limited to, papers that consider the outlawing of Christmas, Christmas riots, the beginnings of the family-centered Christmas, religious rituals of the American Christmas, Yuletide fashions and styles, Christmas costumes, Christmas comestibles, the history and manufacturing of Christmas toys, commercialism and the holiday season, consumption patterns and trends of Christmas shoppers, Hollywood’s contribution to the Yuletide spirit, the history and traditions of the American Christmas tree, regional celebrations of Christmas, beloved Christmas characters, Yuletide icons, Christmas cult films and television shows, unsung Christmas heroes, the material culture of the American Christmas, Christmas rituals, and the music of Christmas in America.


Authors of manuscripts accepted for publications must subscribe to JAC for at least one year at the time of the acceptance. Subscription includes membership in the American Culture Association.


Manuscript submissions should be 4000-6000 words in length, double-spaced, and in current MLA format. The issue will be published in December 2024.  We would like to begin vetting potential articles starting at the end of 2023.  The deadline for articles to be submitted is February 1, 2024. Send an email attachment, in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format, to Sue Matheson, smatheson @ucn.ca.