You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Colonial Christmas

Congratulations, Carol Antley, on winning a copy of Christmas Treasures for participating in the punctuation contest.
You were correct - the comma in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" comes after Merry.

Christmas customs of the late eighteen-century America included going to church (except for Presbyterians who considered going to church on Christmas day – if it fell on any day but Sunday – “too Anglican”), dinner, dancing, and visiting.

Homes were decorated simply with whatever evergreens were available—pine, boxwood, Fraser fir, magnolia leaves, holly, mountain laurel, and ivy, as well as lavender, rose petals, and pungent herbs.

Christmas celebrations were for adults and weren’t centered on children. For example, Philip Vickers Fithian's December 18, 1773, diary entry about exciting holiday events mentions: "the Balls, the Fox-hunts, the fine entertainments..."

At many parties, revelers would sing hymns and beloved songs such as “Joy to the World” and “The First Noel.”

Gift giving wasn’t as common as today. Masters gave their slaves, servants, apprentices, or children cash, little books, and sweets.

Christmas dinners consisted of fresh meat of all sorts, since December was the best time for slaughtering. Besides beef, ham, turkey and goose, some people served fish, oysters, mincemeat pies, and brandied fruit.

The affluent would also serve wine, brandy, rum punches, and other alcoholic beverages.

One year guests at a Christmas banquet hosted by a wealthy Virginia planter named George Washington, who later became the first president, dined sumptuously on the following dishes: turtle soup, oysters, crab, codfish, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, venison, boiled mutton, suckling pig, smoked ham, roast turkey, several dishes of vegetables, biscuits, cornbread, various relishes, cakes, puddings, fruits, and pies. Wines, cordials, and a special holiday drink known as eggnog usually rounded out the plantation Christmas feast. Picture caption found on
Answer the question below and leave an email address for a chance to win a copy of Christmas Treasures, An Anthology of Short Stories.
What is the correct punctuation in this song title?
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen


  1. Hi Susan! My wife and I would love to visit Williamsburg one Christmas. She went when she was younger, but I've never been. Thanks for the post!

    1. Tom, thanks for stopping by. I went to Williamsburg about 20 years ago as a chaperon for my son's school class visit. So, I didn't really get to take the time I wanted. Now that I'm retired, my husband and I have that on our list of places to visit.

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  3. Christmas in Williamsburg is delightful, full of activities from early in December when we celebrate Grand Illumination early through First Night (New Years Eve).

    1. Janet, I would love to visit Williamsburg for Christmas. What's the usual weather there at this time? My husband was concerned about driving in the snow.

  4. It is usually very nice. sometimes as low as the forties, but sometimes it's in the sixties and even 70's.