[dropcap]A[/dropcap]labamians invented Christmas. Did you know that? Hell, I didn’t. I thought the only thing they invented was giblet gravy.
But it’s true. In 1836, the old boys in Montgomery were the first to make Christmas a public holiday.
Eighty-eight-year-old Charles B. McBrite, un-notable Alabama historian, is a self-proclaimed expert on such matters.
“Alabama gets a bad name in today’s world,” McBrite told me. “But folks don’t understand, Alabamians have a long lineage of fighting for their beliefs.”
I asked him to explain.
“Damn glad to,” he said. “Long ago the rest of the world thought Christmas was utterly ridiculous. Puritans almost made it illegal. Northerners hated the South altogether. They thought we were just a bunch of shotgun-toting men with long beards who liked ham and collards.”
Don’t forget biscuits, Charles.
McBrite went on, “Alabamians practically own Christmas. Today’s American version of Christmas comes straight from the South. Because while the rest of the world was building factories, going to war, we were baking holiday pies. It’s no coincidence our nation’s most popular Christmas foods are Southern ones.”
McBrite’s got a point. The highest ranking dishes this Christmas are as follows: Virginia ham, fried chicken, coconut cake, sweet potato pie, pecan pie, oysters, and cornbread dressing. Which will all be found in my refrigerator in the next few days.
Probably yours, too.
McBrite rolled up a sleeve to show me a tattoo of the state of Alabama. He explained, “It’s Christmas in Dixie. It’s the time of year everybody pretends they’re from Alabama. They sing songs, read the Bible, visit family, eat big, then go home to watch football.”
He winked at me.
“Hell, son. We do that every Sunday.”