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!)***