St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ghost of Christmas Past

As I was wrapping the gifts to place under the Christmas tree the
other day, I stopped and wondered. Wondered how it is that we feel
the need to give so much to our families. Wondered how it is that so
many of have forgotten the past.

Christmas about 200 years ago was quite different from today. There
was no big turkey, stuffing and excessive eating of sweets. The
women baked and got ready for the day. However, they usually did
spend a good amount of their time baking as most families were mostly
self sufficient. The men would go out in search of meat. Bear and
deer were commonly found on the table.

There was certainly no over spending on frivolous toys. Toys were
hard to come by, and who had the time anyway? Our early American
ancestors were busy surviving. Yes, they celebrated the holiday.
They didn't work that day. If they lived near family, they would go
and visit for a few days. I can just hear the excitement as the
sleigh bells rang and the carriages carried cousins back forth.

Small gifts might be exchanged and children were thrilled to be given
a small cake, a penny, some sweetmeat, or even a new hat or dress.
Excess was something the majority of American settlers did not have.

The children might lock out their teacher thus demanding a treat
before the teacher could come back in. This practice appears to have
been quite common with the school aged and teenagers with both
schoolteachers and Sunday School teachers. The family may go to
church to spend time worshiping.

The family spent the time together, thanking God for His Gift to them
and thanking Him for their freedoms.

Hmm.. Maybe we can learn something from the past after all. Perhaps
it's time for history to repeat itself this season.

Merry Christmas!

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