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Thread: Christmas...pioneer style

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    Default Christmas...pioneer style

    Well, it is that time of year, and what better way to welcome the season than with a photo from days gone by.

    I hope you enjoy it!


    Christmas Celebration - 1897

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    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    And don't forget the pioneer Christmas "stories", too!


    Christmas in the Old West brought joy, comfort amid hardships

    By Old Hoppy on Dec 12, 2009 in Holidays, Pioneers and Settlers
    Pioneers and settlers in the Old West living amid the harsh habitats of the Great Plains and the Rockies found their spirits lifted as they celebrated Christmas.
    To get some feeling for their Christmas celebrations, think of today's recessionary times -- then throw in Christmas WITHOUT money for shopping, WITHOUT special delicacies, WITHOUT modern-day weatherproofing for your home, WITHOUT much resembling today's heating and electricity, and WITHOUT (in many instances) indoor plumbing or indoor running water. (And I won't even ask you to consider the everyday social impact and trauma of post-Civil War living.)
    Given all those circumstances, let me say to you, "Welcome to Christmas celebrations in this Year of Our Lord, 1868."
    Christmas celebrations varied widely depending on whether you were living on a homestead in a rural setting, in or near one of the budding settlements or towns of the era, or in a richer setting like St. Louis, San Francisco, or the up and coming, bustling young city that was Denver. The more rural your lifestyle was, the more homemade and handmade your presents and Christmas decorations were. But whether rural or urban, your brightly lit Christmas tree would have been done with candles, not electric lights. (The first verified electrically lit Christmas tree was done in New York City in 1882.)
    Christmas decorations and exchanging Christmas presents only really caught on in Europe and America under Britain's Queen Victoria. (She wrote in her diary as a 13-year-old princess about the excitement of a brightly lit, well decorated Christmas tree.) In fact, many in America by the 1850s and 1860s were devoted readers of the works of Charles Dickens, notably his classic "A Christmas Carol" -- which was credited with singlehandedly "inventing" much of today's Christmas traditions and cultures.
    Frequently, celebrating Christmas in the Old West meant gathering as a family and as a village to read the Christmas accounts from the Bible and worship together.
    In his fascinating little book about pioneer photojournalism, "Children of the Wild West," writer Russell Freedman captures the charm of an "old-fashioned Christmas" celebrated in the Old West. He says this about Christmas Eve and Christmas in the typical small-town or settler's Christmas observances:
    "On Christmas Eve, the smells of freshly made cakes, cookies, and candies drifted through the house. Long red stockings by the fireplace were stuffed with Christmas taffy and gingersnaps, and with gifts for each child. Friends and neighbors shared a festive holiday dinner. Afterwards they recited Christmas poems and prayers and sang traditional carols as the fireplace glowed and the candles flickered on the tree.
    No one had to tell most folks in those days, whether in the West or the East, that Christ was the reason for Christmas. Even though easier living in the cities may have distracted many from the religious observances of Christmas, pioneer folks and folks in small towns throughout the West knew enough of life's daily hardships that they tended toward a simple, strong faith -- which was at the heart of their Christmas celebrations.

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    Thumbs up

    And don't forget the pioneer Christmas "stories", too!
    THAT was simply awesome...thanks for sharing that.

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