Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Homespun Family Christmas

Christmas 1890


The Christmas hopes and dreams of children haven’t really changed much with the passage of the years…


“For some time, we had been talking and dreaming of Santa Claus, as children always do, and what he was going to bring us,” Pauline remembered of the Christmas  she was six years old...

That year, however, things wouldn’t turn out quite as the Udall children wished.


On the day the parents were to make the all-day trip to Becker’s Store in the nearest town for Christmas gift buying, a terrible winter blizzard blew into the northern Arizona territory, making the trip impossible…

“Late on Christmas Eve,” wrote Pauline, “the wind had ceased and the snow was piling down when we children went to bed…”

DSC07213_edited-1 {Young Pauline with two of her brothers}

“We awoke on Christmas morning to find the earth wrapped in a two-foot blanket of snow…we also awoke to find that Old Santa had been unable to make his trip in such weather.”

DSC07226_edited-1 {fat, chunky snowflakes covered with clear German glass glitter}

“Dear Mother had some hand-made tokens for us, but our disappointment was more than obvious”, she said…”What we young ones were missing most of all were goodies!”

Their Father, understanding their disappointment, quietly began working in the kitchen…he began making the “sugar treats” he remembered getting as a boy to suck on in the old pioneer days…


“I remember with what interest we watched his proceedings…He tore clean, white muslin into eight pieces of about three-inches square.  Then he placed on each square a spoonful of sugar, drew up the corners, and tied the sugar into a firm little ball…we had so much fun watching, that we began to have a great time!”

image {the wise & loving parents: Ida and David Udall}

Then Mother Ida stepped in to help things along…”she got out her guitar and had us sing “Christ was Born in Bethlehem”, and other Christmas songs she’d taught us”…(what a beautiful scene plays out in my mind!)

DSC07207_edited-1 {image of a 19th-century guitar found online and vintage Christmas carol illustration from Crafty Secrets’ newest CD}

As soon as the singing ended, father said he was going to take them on a “make-believe sleigh ride” around their property…the horses were quickly hitched up to the wagon, the children were warmly bundled , Mother and Father were seated up front, and off they went into the deep, new-fallen snow!


“We had the thrill of watching the horses break through the deep snow…there was the biting and invigorating air…the babble of happy childish voices.  Over and around it all we had the atmosphere of that unusual paternal love and tender devotion,” she wrote.

DSC07202_edited-1 {background print, journaling print & music from Crafty Secrets’ new “Creating with Vintage Illustrations” CD}

A new page made yesterday for my heritage album.  Lots of little things added to tell a sweet, long ago tale of Christmas…

The Christmas hopes and dreams of children really haven’t changed much with the passage of time, have they?  In the last 111 years, toys, gadgets & technology have changed, but the simple joys—the truly important things—haven’t.


“That day left me with a memory of which I become more fond with the passing of the years.  I have learned to love Mother Nature for what was at that time her cruelty.  All impressions were shut out except that of family love and a happy home.  It left to us the perfect enjoyment of the real spirit of Christmas.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Wishing you the beginning of a very merry Christmas season!

***(A very warm thank-you to the lovely & talented Sheila of Blessed and Distressed for my new blog header & button on the side bar…such wonderful gifts!)***



  1. Oh Julie...what a wonderful layout; this might be one of my very favorites you've done. And oh my, wouldn't it be nice if we all could have the simple holiday joy that sweet family enjoyed that Christmas? You write your family history so well, so interestingly, that I enjoy reading your blog as much as I would a good book! Thank you for sharing!

  2. What a lovely tale about what's really important during the Christmas, togetherness, thankfulness, and family. I love your family's stories...thank you for sharing them with us.

  3. Julie,
    Such a wonderful story...and such a wonderful layout! Gorgeous! Time to drag out my crafty secrets christmas stamps! How I love the sweetness of them!

  4. Your family stories are priceless. I just love each and every one. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas season.

  5. Julie, julie, julie! another wonderful page for your wonderfilled book!

  6. Hi Julie,
    Lovely Christmas family sentiment, cherished in your wonderful heritage page. Love the new blog makeover. So very pretty.

  7. Your blog looks great Julie!!

    I loved reading this story of a magical Christmas - and thank you for your kinds words to me on the coming year!

  8. Oh Julie, this is such a beautiful and heartwarming post... you know me and memories... I love how you have told Pauline's story... you are so blessed to have so many family photos. And your new page is just precious. Christmas really has not changed, other than technology and such as you said... also, your new header and blog layout is so pretty!... xoxo Julie Marie

  9. What rich glimpses you share into the lives of your family. It is exciting that you write these stories down. They have the power to transport us to what we think of as simpler times when in reality they show strong resilience and love.

    Thank you Julie.

  10. Hello Julie!
    What a Lovely Piece and such a Wonderful Post!
    Just by to say Hi to my Pinterest Partner in Crime!Lol!
    Have Wonderful Week!

  11. What a wonderful story and a gorgeous layout to go with it. I love your new blog look too. Looking forward to getting my hands on that Crafty Secrets CD after seeing your great examples.

  12. Julie this is such a beautiful post!I thin you just gave me an idesa for a mini book! Lovely lo!

  13. Dear Julie,
    A most wonderful story- made me think of the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder- which I loved reading and still does.
    Love your beautiful page, and your christmas blog background-and header.

  14. Hi Julie,
    This is precious!! And I adore your header with your picture--so adorable!!!

  15. I am loving the new look here Julie and of course your new header is just darling! Love this newest page in your heritage book as well, but most of all I love your words, which always make my heart feel warm. You are so blessed to have all these family stories to share. Love and hugs from what looks to be maybe a sunny today UK! xxoo

  16. Okay, Julie. You have me CRYING like a lil' kid at 8:18 A.M.! LOL! I love everything ABOUT Christmas, and I grew up with the Little House Books as my 'best friends.' So this REALLY touched me and made me smile! THANK YOU for the beautiful, inspiring post!

  17. yes lovely words and you put this together so beautifully Julie.

  18. What a neat story Julie..loved it! Love your header too, and that last picture is my very favorite Christmas picture1 ;D

  19. Julie!!!
    Now THAT's a Christmas Story! Hallmark needs to make that into one of their "Special Presentation" Christmas movies!!!! It would become a real hit! A real light into the true meaning of Christmas and a Father's love (and their Mom)! Something we ALL (young and old) need to remember.

  20. OH MY....I LOVED that. You have such great heritage stories to share with us. This one was very meaningful and pure. I could just "feel" all of it.

  21. I just want to say, I absolutely love all your posts, and your creations are simply beautiful. I adore your blog so much.

    It upset me earlier when I thought I'd lost the link, because of having to do a computer recovery. . . & then I found you through google.

    Anyway, Hope you have lovely holidays. <3Maggie

  22. Julie,
    What a beautiful story! Your love of family, alive and passed on, always touches me deeply! And, as always your art is just stunning! Thanks again for you ever- present support.
    Big hugs,

  23. Sweet Julie, another amazing story & page. How truly blessed you are to be the story keeper & how blessed we are that you share with us.

    I had to laugh at your comment of us being big foot girls together. I have the name of some good catalogs if you need them I'd be happy to send you the links. IT IS A CHALLENGE! Being 6'1" tall I guess I would look funny with tiny feet. My mother tried to comfort me as a child telling me "If your feet didn't match the size of your body you would blow over when the wind blew". Somehow, that never made me feel better. Thanks for starting the Chritsmas season off with so much love & beauty. HUGS!

  24. I forgot to tell you above... I LOVE your new banner & header!

  25. What a heartwarming story. The most important thing at Christmas time, spending it with your loved ones, sharing happy memories. What a gift it would be if all of us could experience a Christmas just like the one they shared so many years ago! That truly is the gift. Love your page, that added little bag of sugar. How sweet in more ways than one!
    hugs Lynn

  26. Oh dear friend...thank you for all your sweet comments...what a blessing you are. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story..I so love coming over for a joy joy xoxoxox.

  27. Oh Julie this post is precious! I love all the written words of the past. How blessed you are to have her writings. Beautiful page Julie. As always, pricless.
    Merry Christmas sweet Julie!