Of course, New York did not invent Christmas. However, New York is responsible for how the holiday is actually celebrated today. A number of works emerging from 19th-century literature revolutionized the American idea of Christmas. Washington Irving, a renowned writer from New York City, wrote “Diederich Knickerbocker’s History of New York” in the early 1800s. In the story, he depicts Santa Claus riding through the skies in a horse and wagon, shimmying down chimneys to deliver presents to children.
In 1821, a children’s book called “The Children’s friend” later switched Santa’s horse and wagon to reindeer and a sleigh, creating the image of Santa Claus as we know today. Then in 1823, another New York writer named Clement Clarke Moore wrote one of the most famous Christmas poems of all time, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” Moore is credited with naming each of Santa’s eight reindeer. New York merchants harped on these ideas, pushing the New York tradition of decorations and gift-giving come Christmastime. The tradition eventually spread across the country, ultimately shaping the picture of Christmas we have today.