The first American Christmas tree can be credited to a Hessian soldier by the name of Henrick Roddmore, who was captured at the Battle of Bennington in 1776. He then went to work on the farm of Samuel Denslow in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, where for the next 14 years he put up and decorated Christmas trees in the Denslow family home.*
The first Christmas tree retail lot was established in 1851 by a Pennsylvanian named Mark Carr, who hauled two ox sleds loaded with Christmas trees from the Catskill Mountains to the sidewalks of New York City.
The first president to set up a Christmas tree in the White House was Franklin Pierce, and the first president to establish the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn was Calvin Coolidge.
In 1882, the first tree lights were sold in New York City.
In 1836, Alabama became the first state to declare Christmas a public holiday, and by 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant designated it a federal holiday, partly as an effort to heal the rift between North and South following the Civil War.
Part of my count down to the big day is sitting down and sending out Christmas greetings.
It's so nice to settle down with a holiday mug filled with tea carols playing in the background on an especially cold and wintry day (for the tropics) and pick out just the right card for the folks on my list. Some have been sharing greetings of the season for years. It's a wonderful time for memories and smiles.
there is not a month one-half so welcome to the young,
or so full of happy associations,
as the last month of the year...."
"All the Year Round: December"
All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal Conducted by
Charles Dickens, 1887 December 10th.
I am hoping our 80 degree temperatures are over,
but I'm not willing to place a bet!
Today the high is expected to be 68
and by the weekend highs will be in the 50s.
On the Texas Gulf Coast -- that means sweater weather!
It also means:
Oatmeal in the mornings
Slipper socks to keep the feet warm
Gloves for my morning walk
Hot chocolate several times during the day
and soup making!
Today I'm making Turkey Vegetable Soup. Have to use up the turkey and stock from Thanksgiving.
The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks:
CAMPBELL'S GREAT AMERICAN COOKBOOK. Amazon does have used copies. I use this cookbook a lot. I like all the "home" style cooking and stories that are included and not a can of soup anywhere!
"Today's improved transportation and preservations techniques make it possible to have virtually any combination of vegetables available any time of year in almost every part of the country. Enjoy this turkey soup with its spring peas and summer tomatoes during any season."
(We've come a long way, baby!)
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 medium onion, chopped 1 medium carrot, sliced (I love carrots so I always put extra.) 1/2 cup slice celery 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves, crushed 5 cups chicken or turky broth 1 can (8 ounces) tomatoes, cut up 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas 1/2 cup diced yellow squash 1 cup diced cooked turkey 1/4 cup raw regular rice
1. In 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, in hot butter, cook onion, carrot, celery and thyme until just tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, peas, squash and turkey. Over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover, simmer 20 minutes.
3. Add rice. Cover; simmer 20 minutes more or until rice is tender.
I hardly ever make a recipe as it is written. In this case, I used olive oil instead of butter. I didn't have squash, so I added more peas and corn and brown rice instead of "regular" white rice. Sometimes I add a pinch of green or red chili powder ... in this case red!
Some soup with sugar cookies for later. Snowman cookies on the list to make when these are all gone.
Speaking of snowmen --
I like snowmen. They can stay out when the holidays are over. And, they make me smile.
Oliver is ready for Christmas. He wore his fancy new collar for all of three minutes.
This will be Oliver's first Christmas. I've decided when I put the tree up to use the unbreakable ornaments. Oliver is a climber!