Monday 13 December 2021

There was a time Christmas was banned - Was it all Cromwell's Fault?

By Cassandra Samuels

Believe it or not, back in 1647, Christmas celebrations were forbidden by law. No festivities were allowed and there were big consequences for disobedience, but how did it happen?

Care of Creative Commons

The parliament won the Civil War in England, and Oliver Cromwell and his mates decided to incarcerate King Charles at Hampton Court. The Church of England was abolished and replaced with the Presbyterian Church. They had strict ideas about how the people should behave. The Presbyterian Church believed the religious holiday was for prayer, not parties.

"Oliver Cromwell statue outside Parliament" by UK Parliament is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

They brought in new restrictions that did not go down well with the populace. These new restrictions included no more than 12 days of Christmas celebrations. All the shops had to stay open on Christmas Day, and no decorations were allowed.

by Sister72 is licensed under CC BY 2.0   

The people were not happy and all throughout England, Scotland and Ireland they refused to conform. Armed forces had to be brought in to control the people and stop festivities. Even the church wardens at Westminster Abbey were arrested for not stopping the celebrations. The Mayor of London was verbally abused for trying to take down decorations of holly and ivy that adorned the shops. The Mayor of Norwich turned a blind eye and was summoned to explain himself. It all ended in a riot that culminated in an explosion, and the death of forty people.

care of creative commons

 In the following years, there were more riots that ultimately led to the second civil war after King Charles was executed. Revolution followed. 

Christmas was reinstated and the people were happy. So, although it wasn't solely Oliver Cromwell's fault, he was part of the parliament that brought in the Puritan restrictions and caused such drama.

Love to Love: Christmas movies and books including our own Breathless Anthology.

Buy here

Love to Laugh: at the joy of my grandsons when decorating the Christmas tree.

Love to Learn: That when things are bad, I have so much love and support from friends and family.


  1. Such an interesting time in English history! Thanks Cassandra, and merry Christmas!

  2. Oh my goodness, I had no idea! Sad when a church can't celebrate Christ's birth! How fortunate we are in these days when you can see tinsel and decoration explosions and hear Christmas carols in shopping malls and everywhere you go. I'm all for it, I love it. Needless to say as I write this my Christmas tree is twinkling away in the corner of the room. Have to say, I also love all the Christmas movies like you, Cassandra. I've really enjoyed so many new ones already, plus classics like Love, Actually and Elf. Bring it on, let the festivities be joyful! Happy Christmas Cassandra.

  3. I have noticed that a lot of the protagonists in Christmas Movies are writers with thier editors or agents always asking for pages. lol

  4. What a fascinating period in history, Cassandra. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing this with us.


We love getting comments. Why not leave one?!