‘Christmas in America’ Celebrates Weird and Wonderful Holiday Traditions

Photographer Jesse Rieser created this "unvarnished examination of the ways people mark the holiday’s meaning."

Hi there Sunday Afternoon’ers, @jesserieser here taking over for the inaugural Sunday Afternoon 12 Days of Christmas. I will be sharing images and anecdotes from my long running project, “Christmas In America: Happy Birthday, Jesus.” Christmas In America is an unvarnished photographic exploration in to the Nation’s largest holiday. The images shared will give you insight in to the project’s origin and seven year evolution. ・・・ 1. Wirschern Sisters’ Christmas Dinner. Phoenix, AZ. 2010. 
Here we see two sisters living together with an affinity for the holidays and collecting stuffed teddy bears. This dinning room table was set in front of a bay window, giving neighbors and passers by the illusion of an almost idyllic Americana place-setting but shortly after their portrait sitting, they microwaved their frozen dinners and sat in a back room to watch re-runs of “Cops,” leaving their dinner room place setting untouched. ・・・ 2. Pacific Furs Tree Lot. Glendale, AZ. 2010 The first 29 years of my life were celebrated in my home state of Missouri. My parents relocated to the Phoenix area in 2009 and our new holiday setting allowed me to see the season with new optics. This large, 4 story inflatable Santa Claus is the initial inspiration for “Christmas In America.” I was driving in to Phoenix from Los Angeles, and as I looked back in my rearview mirror, the giant Santa appeared to wave hello as he appeared to be guarding a tree lot in a Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man sort of way. #jesserieser #christmasinamerica #christmasinamericahappybirthdayjesus

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