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TOWNSEND — The Townsend Historical Society will be holding its annual meeting and program on Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Congregational Church’s Fellowship Hall, 3 Brookline St. in Townsend Center.

The program is free and open to the public.

Following the brief business meeting, Ken Turino, of Historic New England, will give his presentation “The Spirit of Christmas Past: Four Centuries of Christmas in New England.”

The well-illustrated program traces the development of the celebration of Christmas from the time it was outlawed in 17th century New England through the beginning of the 21st Century when all the trappings of a traditional Christmas were in place. Many will be surprised to learn that customs which we take for granted as part of the holiday festivities and religious celebrations are actually a product of more recent history.

Kenneth C. Turino, manager of community engagement and exhibitions at Historic New England, has published several articles on the history of Christmas and speaks on the topic widely. He will look at how Christmas was transformed from a rowdy celebration to a family-centered event. And for anyone wondering how the Christmas tree became popular, why halls were decked or when Santa Claus came to town, Turino has the answers.

Light refreshments will be served. Everyone’s welcome!

For additional information, please contact the Townsend Historical Society at 978-597-2106.

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