A Pioneer's Christmas
In the pioneer days, the home was decorated with green branches and homemade decorations. They did not have a big Christmas tree because there was no room for a large tree in their small homes. Pine cones, nuts, berries and popcorn chains were hung on the tree. Figures or dolls out of straw or yarn were made. Cookie dough ornaments and gingerbread men were also hung on the tree.
The Christmas dinner was planned and preparation of the food began weeks ahead of time. The Christmas goose was fattened up and the plum pudding was left to age in the pot until Christmas day. There were chores that began months before Christmas - such as making the gifts for the family members ( corn husk dolls, sachets, carved wooden toys, pillows, footstools and embroidered hankies ). Scarves, hats, mitts and socks had to be knitted. Girls were able to knit before they were six years old. Boys would make boxes for presents.
If there had been a good harvest that year, presents were placed inside stockings . The stockings were hung on the fireplace . Cookies and fruit might also be found in the stockings.
Christmas Eve was a night for singing carols and telling stories around the fireplace. Christmas Day the whole family attended church and returned home to a Christmas meal. Then it was time to visit friends and neighbors.
It is interesting to hear that things really have not changed that much at Christmas time.