For nearly two centuries, millions of Americans have been celebrating Christmas with a tree and Thanksgiving with a turkey, yet despite that depth of experience, an enduring ambivalence remains: Which type of tree and which type of turkey should enter the home? Real or artificial? Heritage breed or factory farmed? “American Holidays, American Nature” tells the story of how these questions came to be asked in the first place. It’s a story of consumerism, but also of republican and progressive traditions in thinking about nature and society.
Neil Prendergast is Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he teaches United States environmental history. His work has appeared in the Western Historical Quarterly and Environmental History. In 2015, he was awarded the University Award for Teaching Excellence.
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Forest History Society