Saturday 1 December 2018

And so it begins . . .

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.  

German settlers brought with them the German custom of decorating an evergreen tree for Christmas. The tiny candles were lit for only a few minutes at a time because of the danger of fire. On Christmas Eve, a neighbour often dressed up in a mask as Belsnickel and visited households, bringing candies for good children and a switch to frighten bad children. On Christmas morning, the children hoped to find candies shaped like animals waiting on their plates.

As Christmas approached, English settlers bought raisins and spices at the general store so they could make mince pies and plum pudding. They dragged a huge oak log in and kept it burning for the Twelve Days of Christmas. This yule-log custom goes back to early pagan times. English settlers fattened several geese through the fall to be ready for Christmas Dinner. Children looked forward to presents of oranges (precious because they could only be bought at this time of year) and candies. Gifts weren't exchanged, but mother might knit new mittens or hats for the younger ones, and father might carve a toy for the baby. 

Irish settlers had their own customs. On Christmas Eve the youngest child placed a lit candle in the window to welcome Mary and Joseph. The Mary of the family (almost every family had a Mary) would snuff out the candle on Christmas Day. Irish families also made small nativity scenes to help children understand the Christmas story.

Santa Claus first came to North America with Dutch Settlers, who first called him Saint Nicholas, then Sinter Klaas and finally Santa Claus.

Scottish settlers were surprised to find their neighbours celebrating Christmas. In Scotland, it was a day to spend quietly in church. Their festive day was New Years Eve, Hogmanay. 

As the years passed, settlers in the backwoods and in the towns borrowed ideas from their neighbours and soon, instead of a German or Irish, English or Scottish Christmas, there was a distinctly North American Christmas.

I think it must have been very special to be a child back in the pioneer days at Christmas time. It must have been a wonderful time for families to reflect on their many blessings of the past year and look forward to their dreams for the coming year . . . a time when they could forget all the work and hard times and enjoy a special moment with family, friends and neighbours. A simple time, yes . . . but, it seems to me, it was a wonderfully rich time, steeped in tradition, both the old and the new . . .  

Hello December!  Is it just me, or did December sneak up on us?  I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by.  I know it is impossible for time to speed up, but it sure seems like time is flashing by at the speed of light!  I have bought my Christmas cards, but haven't gotten any of them out into the post yet, and I have some Birthday cards to post out as well, and a package to my mom to get ready and in the mail also.  Is Canada Post still on strike?  I am a bit reluctant to put anything into the post if it is.  Things get lost in mail strikes. 

Please keep my mother in your prayers.  She has a really bad ulcer on her baby toe and with such poor circulation in her feet, if it gets infected and they need to amputate, they will take her leg at the point where her circulation is good as healing would take far too long elsewhere.  I am not sure how my mother would deal with that.  I called her yesterday and it was a struggle day for conversation.  Some days are diamonds and other days . . . break my heart.

My dad facetimed me yesterday also.  I had tried to facetime him a few times over the past weeks, but with no luck. We finally connected late yesterday afternoon. It was really good to talk to him! He's doing really well, and in pretty good shape mentally for 84.  He has all his marbles and is very mobile, still drives, etc.  He is type 2 Diabetic and has a pacemaker, but all told he is much healthier than my mother.  That is the difference smoking makes.  My mother smoked until about15 years ago.  My father quit when he was in his 20's.   I am so glad that I quit smoking a long, long time ago.  Hardest thing I ever did, but it was the best thing to do for myself.

And with that I will leave you with a thought for today  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Keep looking up.
That's the secret of life.
~Snoopy  •。★★ 。* 。 

Apple & Mincemeat Pudding 

I spoiled Todd yesterday with this lucious Apple & Mincemeat Pudding.  He really enjoyed it.  It is simple to make and oh so delicious served warm with lashings of custard spooned over top! 

Have a wonderful Saturday!  We have a service project at the chapel and two Baptisms to attend.  I may or may not be on tomorrow morning. A lot depends on my time.  If not, don't worry.  Enjoy today and don't forget! 

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And I do too!



  1. Fingers crossed for your mom..

    As far as Canada Post goes the were ordered back to work as far as I know..but we are warned the backlog is great.

    Christmas and it's commercial side.I love decorations but am getting a bit turned off by THE GRANDEUR of it all on IG w/ $1500 trees and several..and gift lists and swipe ups..OHMGEE..chaching chaching chaching.
    Too much way too much..
    IMHO. much enters into play..
    A conundrum and one of life's mysteries..
    Bonne journée!!

    1. I hate it when Christmas becomes a big PR money thing too Monique. I think simple is best! I have cards to go out and a couple packages. It is hard to know what is best to do with the post. Happy weekend! xoxo

  2. I have no idea what all is being done for your mom but there are several good things one can do at home that can help a person to heal (we are diabetics too so have to pay attention to what is going on in the lower regions of our bodies). One thing is Manuka honey...quite expensive but one just uses a tiny bit at a time. Also, soaking in epsom salts helps...and good ole vitamin E oil helps with healing. Hubby and I sometimes also use some MSM cream. Hubby and I take MSM pills daily too...our doc says it helps with all sorts of things in the body. I hope your mom feels better soon...sounds like maybe the infection is not helping her mentally either...
    Elizabeth xoxo

    1. Its hard to know for sure Elizabeth. The VON nurses come every second day or so and clean and dress it to keep it from becoming infected. Thankfully mom isn't Diabetic. She is like a clock winding down. It's sad. xoxo

  3. I’d wait a bit until the mail gets up to speed. They’re ordered back but not happy

  4. Your description of Christmas history was fascinating and inspiring. It reminded me of the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder when they had their Christmas on the Prairie.

    The pudding you served looks wonderful. I also noticed your cookbook on the sidebar and think it looks amazing!

    I hope your Mother is doing better and that your Father is well too. God bless you all!

    1. Thanks very much Mrs White! Blessings to you and yours also! xoxo

  5. I loved reading all your thoughts on Christmas's past. I love Christmas and I especially love stories in the era of the 1800's I loved learning about what the Irish did and others. It was a lovely and similar time. Now it seems that the season speeds by way to fast and we are into another year.
    Send me your mother's full name and I will put her name on the temple prayer roll and I will pray for her too. What she is facing is scary and I pray she will heal quickly. I am so happy that you had a great moment with your Dad. Treasure all the moments with your parents.
    I hope you had marvelous moments with your service projects and baptisms.
    Have a blessed Sabbath day my sweet friends. Sending loving thoughts and hugs!

    1. Thanks very much LeAnn! We need all the prayers we can get. My mother's name is Mary Villeneuve! Thank YOU! xoxo

  6. I will be praying for your Mom. I'm sure it is a hard time for you living so far away. Glad that your dad is doing well and keeps in tough too. Family is so important. Hope your Sunday is a wonderful one. It's a bit warmer here and so far the sun is shinning.

    1. Thanks very much Pam. Love and hugs to you! xoxo

  7. This is LOVELY, Marie! And a love all the pretty images too! :) I can't believe it's December already either--and that Christmas is just a few short weeks away. I have a card on its way to a friend in Canada, I sure hope it reaches her in time! Wishing you all there a beautiful Advent season... And hope all will be well for your Mom!! LOVE YOU HEAPS!! ((LOVE & BIG HUGS)) P.S. Thanks for visiting so often during my Thankful November! :)

    1. I hope so too Tracy. My grandson and son did get their cards eventually, so hopefully the mail isn't too backed-up with the strikes! THanks for your prayers for my mom. Love and hugs to you! xoxo


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