Welcome To Pilgrims and Pioneers!

After many years of researching my family geneaology I have been lucky enough to discover actual information about my relatives that lived in the Pilgrim Era and the Pioneer Era- while many people also have realtives from those eras- many do not know their names or where they lived- actually seeing the proof in print makes you much more aware of who they really were.
After discovering these relatives it of course made me curious to learn more about the eras that they lived in and what their lives were like as, the history I learned in grade school had long since been forgotten.
I decided to start this blog for others who are also interested in these eras.
Some of the information here will be actual facts about my realtives and some will be information about the eras in general that I have found on the web.
I hope you will enjoy traveling back in time with me!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Typical Pioneer Christmas

Christmas Eve would generally find most families singing carols around the Christmas tree or fireplace. On Christmas Day, most would attend church, return home for the traditional Christmas meal, and spend the day visiting with friends and neighbors.
Many of the homemade gifts, including corn husk dolls, sachets, carved wooden toys, pillows, footstools and embroidered hankies, might have had the family members working on for months ahead of Christmas. Others knitted scarves, hats, mitts and socks. If the family had had a good year, the children might find candies, small gifts, cookies and fruit in their stockings.
For some, there might even be a Christmas tree, gaily decorated with bits of ribbon, yarn, berries, popcorn or paper strings, and homemade decorations. Some of these home made decorations were often figures or dolls made of straw or yarn. Cookie dough ornaments and gingerbread men were also popular. In other places, wood was simply to scarce to “waste” on a tree, if one could be found at all. Other pioneer homes were simply too small to make room for a tree.
At the very least, almost every home would make the holiday a time of feasting -- bringing out preserved fruits and vegetables, fresh game if possible, and for those that could afford it, maybe even beef or a ham. Many women began to bake for the holiday weeks ahead of time, leaving the plum pudding to age in the pot until Christmas dinner.
Though perhaps modest, these hardy pioneers made every attempt to decorate their homes for the holidays with whatever natural materials looked attractive at the bleakest time of year, such as evergreens, pinecones, holly, nuts, and berries.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of the preparations for Christmas on the Kansas Prairie: "Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and r'n'Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon. “That very Christmas, Laura Ingalls was delighted to find a shiny new tin cup, a peppermint candy, a heart shaped cake, and a brand new penny in her stocking. For in those days, these four small gifts in her stocking were a wealth of gifts to the young girl.
Many I know have gone back to a simpler time much like the pioneers by decorating with natural materials, making cookie dough ornamnets & gingerbread men, and buying or making hand made gifts.... and this my firends is a good thing!


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I really enjoyed your post! I like how thrifty and clever the pioneer women were in making a holiday with very little buying involved. It was a whole "process" and not just a single day to them. As you noted, they often spent weeks getting ready for the holidays, and I bet it was hard to find the time and the light to work by.

Debra said...

Thanks Holly! I think you are right - making a ll of their gifts & preparing their holiday meals without the benefit of electricity would have posed a challenge.

KKJD1 said...

Love learning every time I come! It's my history lesson for the day! I know most kids get wants more than needs these days. But maybe with the recission things will go back to similar times. Have a great day! Blessings, Karen

Shellmo said...

I love being taken back in history like this! Being a log cabin dweller - I love hearing about the pioneers. Great post!!

TeresaM said...

I enjoyed reading your story! You have a great blog which I bookmarked!

Debra said...

Thanks Teresa! so glad you enjoyed it!

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