The pioneers didn’t have much and so Christmas could be a challenge. In 1862 we learn from one pioneer journal that the only thing the children received was what?
a. Cut pieces of apple
b. A few nuts
c. Oatmeal with sugar
d. Bread with jam
(C) The best Christmas tree
The following from the journal of Mary Jane Tanner:
Monday December 24th, 1877-I have been very busy all day. I took the buggy about noon and drove around giving a few invitations for dinner tomorrow. I called at the Hall where the Christmas tree was being arranged but as my assistance was not needed Sister Harding and I went to the Second Ward Assembly Rooms to look at their Christmas Tree. It was very pretty but not so expensive as ours. I came home and helped to prepare supper as Maria was busy cooking and churning. We all went to the Exhibition in the evening. The tree was very nice and proved a success. All the children had nice presents. My little girls had shell boxes. Bertrand had a pocket book and knife, and Lewis a horse on wheels.
Tuesday December 25th, 1877-Christmas is over at last. The day so eagerly anticipated by the little folks. Owing to the decoration of the tree Santa Claus had but little for their stockings. There were some cakes and apples and little prize boxes, and some trifles that Bessie had made for her brothers and sister. Bessie had a nice wax doll and Bertrand a pair of skates. I sent the buggy for Mother Billings and Sisters Tyrel and Merit, some of those invited to dinner, I did not care to invite those who had friends and good cheer at home, but remembered the poor and the lonely. About ten oclock the band serenaded us. It commenced snowing about that time and the snow fell all day. The children were disappointed for they wanted a run, but they made their playhouse upstairs. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed ourselves until night when we sent the old people home with a covered carriage it was snowing so fast. I went with Myron to a ball at the Academy Hall. We enjoyed the music and dancing until eleven oclock when we came home thoroughly tired and glad to close the day and sleep until the beams of another day should call us to life and action.
Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Derr, Woman’s Voices-An Untold History of The Latter-day Saints: 1830-1900 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1982), 312-313.