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Uncommon Knowledge: Should you hide from carolers?

Mik - Amplifying iPhone Case | UncommonGoodsAh, the charming holiday tradition of singing carols door to door. It’s actually an ancient practice, once linked more to Twelfth Night (January 6) than to Christmas, and the word “wassail” comes from a Middle English wish of good health. All of that seems benign enough, except that sometimes wassailing was less than polite. Crowds of drunken young men would go from house to house, demanding food, drink or money in exchange for their songs. If the homeowner was less than hospitable to these “friends,” the crowd might simply continue to make noise outside their windows until given what they came for, or they might resort to acts of vandalism or even violence. And this was not strictly an Old World problem. In 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore was penning A Visit from St. Nicholas, with the words “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” there were similar bands of rowdy Christmas drunks terrorizing the neighborhoods of New York City where he lived.

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Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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