The Birth of
"The Official Flag of American Christmas"
The American Christmas Flag
The American Christmas Flag was born in Wenonah, New Jersey, in 1980. It could have been the summer of 1980, we're not exactly sure. I would like to think that the flag's idea was the product of divine inspiration, as it certainly would have made a better story. In reality, the notion of the flag formed during some idle banter between the two guys in the picture below: Stewart DeHart (on the left) and Jack Brangan (on the right), seen as they were in 1980. Two friends who were raised as kids in a small town in southern New Jersey called Wenonah, New Jersey, and are still friends to this day. But as hard as we try, neither one of us can recall the precise moment when we came up with the idea.
Stu DeHart and Jack Brangan Woodbury Daily Times - Christmas, 1980:
Always thinking of ways to make money, we felt that combining Christmas with America might be a winning combination. Let's face it. Who doesn't like Christmas and who doesn't like America?
So, the plotting began.
We talked about its design, the number of stripes, the number of stars and of course, the Christmas tree and the gold star. It seemed like a pretty good idea. But frankly, it was the best we had at the moment. And maybe, just maybe, we could sell this thing!
In the end, this was the result of our plotting and planning:
The design of the flag has the traditional Christmas tree in the center on a field of white. Surrounding the tree are 13 blue stars in a semi-circle symbolizing our 13 original colonies.
The flag's border has 50 red and white bars, one for each state of the Union.
In each corner is a white star representing the four sections of our great country...the North, South, East, and West.
We found a flag company in Collegeville, Pa. (the Collegeville Flag Company, of course), and had 20-30 flags made. We had a friend who was a pretty good photographer, and he agreed to take some shots. We had a friend's girlfriend pose in front of the flag.
We put a sheet as a background …
… and started taking pictures.
At the time of the VFW publication, both of us were married with children. Before we knew it, domestic responsibilities overwhelmed our American Christmas Flag plans and by mid-1981 everything came to a halt. The remaining American Christmas Flags were packed into boxes, moved into basements, and stored out in garages. Over the years, the flags fell deeper and deeper into the farthest, most isolated recesses of our cellars. Out of sight and out of mind, we went about life, moved to different states, and dealt with raising kids, putting them through school, high school, and colleges. By 1981, The American Christmas Flag,
and its associated dream,
was officially dead.
Somehow, this little flag managed to escape banishment into the basement and survived being boxed up every time we moved. Over the many years, it found a safe harbor on a shelf or on the top of a bookcase. The flag remained there quietly, minding its own business, year after year after year. That is, until Christmas night, 2019!
While we were all gathered at the house for Christmas celebration, our grand-daughter spotted this little flag perched on a bookshelf. Although the flag escaped the basement for many decades, it could not escape the grasp of a curious 3-year-old. Always in the mood for a parade, she picked it up and, waving it about, began marching around the den with this small American Christmas Flag in hand.
Her father (my son-in-law) asked, "What is that?"
His wife (my daughter) got a good laugh remembering Dad's old folly, laughed, and said, "Ha! That's one of Dad's old American Christmas Flags!"
This is when my son-in-law said, 'Hey! Let me see that thing ….we can sell this!"
Well, yes, of course!
And the more I thought about the flag, it seemed like an even better fit in 2020!
And after 40 years, the dream of the American Christmas Flag began to stir once again.
What could have been 40 years ago may still be, again!
The Legend Lives On
So, Stewart and I, along with my son-in-law Stephen, decided to breathe new life into an old idea.
Stephen had a thriving food business before COVID. But with 2020's pandemic, he lost his entire business, closing his doors to the business he built over the years and releasing his entire staff. We started thinking that maybe, just maybe we could make a go of The American Christmas Flag once again!
We have our fingers crossed!
This time around, though, we have the internet to help.
And, this time around, we have www.TheAmericanChristmasFlag.com.
So, I am grateful to our grand-daughter for picking up that little flag and starting her parade!
And personally, I think the flag is much prettier now than it was in 1980!!
How often does one get a second chance in life? Hardly ever!
So we’ll gladly take this second chance with The American Christmas Flag.
And, we'll see where it leads, and we’ll have a ball doing it …!!!
... Jack Brangan, 11/2020