Carolers sing during Christmas tea at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. In some fancy hotels, Christmas tea has become a refined respite for harried holiday shoppers. But the tradition’s roots are much rowdier: efforts to fight public drunkenness.
Courtesy of the Drake Hotel
Christmas is a time for coming together with family and loved ones. Some 200 years ago, it was also a time to get stinking drunk in public.
“I guess [the way] Christmas used to be celebrated, you’d just get drunk,” says University of California, Santa Barbara historian Erika Rappaport. Indeed, Christmas was one of the few times during the year that working-class men had off, and many would use it to blow their wages drinking and gambling at t…