Where did the lump of coal Christmas tradition start?

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Lump of Coal Tradition Theory:
  • It started in Holland. When a child was bad they got a lump of coal, but if they were good they got a small toy, cookies or candy.
  • There was a pervasive belief in the mid 19th century that if you were poor it was because you or your ancestors did bad things. They were poor because God was punishing them.
  • Most of England and Europe was powered by coal. Most household furnaces were coal burning. They would take coal and put it in pans under the bed to stay warm at night. So coal had value. If you were a poor kid, you were lucky to get coal that you could use to keep yourself warm on cold winter nights. The rich had nice warm houses and lots of goodies in their stockings but the poor, who were so as punishment from God for being bad were lucky to get coal.
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