Commentary

Christmas in the 1800s was rustic and rugged

What if you could go back in time to the 1800’s in Milam County? Have you ever wondered what Christmas was like when the first people settled here?

Homes had no electricity, indoor plumbing, radio, telephones, TV, computers, cell phones, Blackberries (except those on the vine), screens on windows, air conditioning, gas or electric heating.

Families tried to settle as close as possible to a neighbor, who could have been part of an extended family. Houses were crude, made from trees cut to clear the land, hand hued into boards.

Men went to their neighbors to help erect “dog-trot” log cabins with a kitchen on one end, separated by a covered porch with sleeping quarters on the other.

Mercantile businesses did not become popular until the mid 1800’s. That limited the early families to making their own Christmas dinner, which depended on what the men in the family could hunt and kill for food.

Presents might have come from the women who hand sewed garments from material they either brought with them or purchased from traders who frequented the area.

Milam County has cedar trees, so men could cut Christmas trees in the woods while women and children made chains from homemade f lour, glue and strips of paper.

Some had candles to burn on their trees for short periods of time. Wild berries were made into long streamers and hung on the tree.

A wild turkey could be on the table for Christmas if the men were able to find one and kill it in time for the meal.

Now compare that to today, we live in air-conditioned, heated homes, filled with fashionable furniture, watching TV’s, talking on cell phones, using Blackberries, and are aided by a GPS to find our way to our grandparents homes.

We can purchase our Christmas dinner from super markets complete with all the trimmings. Children wish for gifts, talk with Santa before Christmas and usually get many more gifts than they can play with at one time.

Stop and think about the environment around you. With all that we have—roofs over our heads, our family and friends and too much to do or play with at any given time. Think, hasn’t the world changed immensely in the past 100 years?

This Christmas, take a moment to give thanks for the growth of our population, the inventions that provide us with all the luxuries we enjoy and, foremost, our ancestors who made all this possible when they chose to settle in this area.

Have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

marygraham99@yahoo.com


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2009-12-24 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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