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!
There were 192 tea lovers participating from all over the world.
What a lot of work and
What a lot of Love Stephanie puts into this exchange.
I decided to go all out and take part in both exchanges.
I was lucky that Jill Torres, also a "first timer", sent me a mug. Hard to believe all of this was in one box! Everything was so beautifully wrapped. A lot of effort went into the paper decorations. Almost too pretty to open!
Jill even included mice and cat nip for my kitties. So very thoughtful.
I began to unwrap all the goodies. It quickly became apparent that this was going to be a magical, fun tea!
Jill is from Florida and she enclosed some Florida goodies.
A wonderful Florida souvenir spoon with a pelican. (The pelican just happens to be one of my favorite water birds.) Postcards with recipes. Florida wouldn't be complete without a mention of Ernest Hemingway -- with Highland Select Tea -- "Infused with the author's spirit and passion for life."
More magic with Alice In Wonderland! Fun mug -- drink me! Wonderland Tea - The Official Unbirthday Tea called Topsy Turvy Tea Blend. I'm going to fall head over heels for this tea. Black tea with a delicious citrus and fruity flavor.
And a wonderful book filled with Wonderland ephemera. It's been so much fun going through it all and I find things I think I didn't see before.
The precious little bird frame was another little surprise.
I got out my Alice In Wonderland Tea for One Teapot. I'm all set now to have a cup of tea and open the Ginger Nuts.
Last, but not least, Jill included these beautiful white on white hand made cards.
They are so gorgeous. I think I'm going to keep them and frame them.
What fun this has been!
I'd like to thank Stephanie again and special thanks to the talented Jill Torres for sending such a magical tea.
How lucky am I?? The teacup was just the first of the goodies in the box. A box of Numi organic tea: Gunpowder Green. Must be ESP ... Gunpowder Green is one of my favorite teas.
Wonderful Autumn decor. Perfect kitchen towel for the fall that I put immediately to work! I love owls -- isn't he cute ... look at those big feet! I needed a small pumpkin.
They all look great with the rest of the gang! One more sweet item that is hard to see. Nora sent a plant stake that has a glow-in-the-dark ball. In the evening it looks like the frog is visited by a fairy! Thank you, Nora! I had so much fun opening your box. I love everything you picked for me.
Thanks again to Stephanie for arranging the exchange.
The origin of Halloween and many of its customs can be traced to Samhain(pronounced sow-in, which rhymes with cow-in), an ancient pagan Celtic festival that was celebrated to mark the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the new year. The 2-day celebration began at sundown on October 31. The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain, thereby making it a good time to communicate with the deceased and to divine the future. Samhain is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” a day to bid good-bye to warmth and light as the day length shortens.
Following the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire over Celt-occupied lands in the 1st century A.D., the Romans incorporated many of the Celtic traditions, including Samhain, with their own. This day was formerly known as Allhallowmas, hallow meaning to sanctify, or make holy. All Saints’ Day is known in England as All Hallows’ Day.
Eight hundred years after the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, in honor of all Catholic saints. It was celebrated with a mass, bonfires, and people costumed as angels and saints parading through the villages.
Just as November 1 was once called All Hallows’ Day, October 31 was called All Hallows’ Eve. Over time, All Hallows’ Eve was shortened to Halloween.
Jack-O-Lanterns Turnip lanterns predate pumpkins as jack-o-lanterns. In ancient Ireland, revelers would hollow out large turnips, or potatoes or beets, and carve them a demon's face to frighten away spirits. They would light the turnips from within with a candle or a piece of smoldering coal. They then placed the lanterns in the windows and doorways of their homes, in the belief that the carvings would scare off evil spirits and welcome deceased loved ones inside. Irish immigrants arriving in the New World during the early 1800s found the plentiful, easier to carve pumpkins ready substitutes for turnips. One more interesting fact about Halloween. Did you know that it was once celebrated on Thanksgiving? You can read all about that on Mental Floss here. * I've been so busy knitting that I haven't done a lot of reading, but I did finish THE DEVIL'S DREAM by Lee Smith. It follows several generations of a Southern family living in the Appalachians. From simple hymns, old-time medicine shows, radio barn dances, sleazy rockabilly joints, primitive recording sessions, to the Grand Ole Opry and tales of growing up in the Appalachian south. Lee Smith is a wonderful story teller and the lure of music is something I think anyone can identify with. I even remember some of the songs mentioned. Memories! * Sometimes I think I visit Starbucks too often. The barista knows what I'm going to order before I do! * This little fella flew in from Louisiana from one of my sisters by choice. She knows how much I love owls and enjoy Halloween. He's called a zipper owl. I think you can see why. I've never seen one like him. He's a great addition to the Parliament! Wishing YOU well, much joy and a Haunting Halloween! Willy Nilly Friday Five on Friday Monday Social Mosaic Monday
Remember: "A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween." ~Erma Bombeck
* Information from the Old Farmer's Almanac.
You can see the entire article here.