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Historian to discuss Christmas traditions

Historian John Maietta will present “History of Christmas Traditions” at 6 p.m. Monday at the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St. Beginning as a simple celebration of Christ’s birth, Christmas has evolved over the centuries to embody a wealth of popular secular and religious customs.

This program explores the origins and meaning of many of our favorite holiday traditions, from cards and carols and creches to fruitcake, poinsettias and mistletoe. Dominating the festive scene is the iconic figure of Santa Claus — a fourth-century bishop reimagined by 19th-century Americans and transformed into a magical symbol of hope, generosity, and good cheer.

A native of Williamsport, Maietta retired from a lifelong public relations career in 2010. For many years he operated a freelance business in the Harrisburg area, while serving as a public affairs officer with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Starting in 2002, he completed numerous active-duty assignments with the U.S. Army, including long-term deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany, and Iraq. In 2014 he received a master’s degree in applied history from Shippensburg University. He is currently on the adjunct faculty at York College of Pennsylvania, where he teaches a course on the foundations of Western civilization. He is also a popular presenter of public lectures on a wide variety of cultural and historical topics.

The program will be presented in the Lowry Room on the third floor of the Welch Children’s Wing, For more information, call 570-326-0536.

— The James V. Brown Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; and 24/7 at www.jvbrown.edu.

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