Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#43 and final)

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

These are Abby’s last entries for the year 1867.

Thomas Nast's images of Santa first appeared in Harper's Weekly during the Civil War, and by Christmas 1865 had taken on many of the characteristics of the image we know today.

Wednesday December 18: Since last writing E.W.D. has been up 3 or four times. Been to ride with him once. Bob Means came up to invite me to a dancing school party at No. Andover Friday night. E.W. Donald came up to night to make a call with me but I had a cold and did not feel able to go out.

Friday 20: A large wagon carried all the Andover people to No A. It came for me at ¼ to 8. I wore my white tucked muslin, coral jewelry, scarlet sash and fan, and scarlet heels and bows on my white slippers. I had Louise’s white opera cape and lace handkerchief and looked as well as possible. Had a splendid time. Got home at ½ past 3.
Wednesday 25: Willie Donald came up in the afternoon (how nice he is) and took tea. Mother did not get us presents. She says she will New Year’s.

Friday December 27: Spent the evening at Mrs. Morse’s. Had a nice time. Mary M rode down with me. Crowley came for me at ¼ past 10. Was introduced to Mr. Tennis.

In the years immediately following the Civil War, Andover residents celebrated the Holiday Season – which stretched, as it does now, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – in ways that were sometimes faithful to old New England traditions but also increasingly resembled the commercialism of the “Gilded Age” that was to follow.
The dance that Abby attended on December 20th was probably one of a series of holiday galas hosted by the Master Machinists of the Davis & Furber Company at Stevens Hall in North Andover. The Lawrence American described the hall as “nearly filled with gaily dressed ladies and gents” and “tastefully” decorated with “some forty streamers [diverging] from the ceiling and ‘the flag’ displayed from numerous points in the room. The venue, with music provided by various “Quadrille Bands” from the area, allowed as many as 75 couples to stand up for twenty dances each evening.
Christmas itself would not be designated a federal holiday by Congress and President Ulysses Grant until 1870. In Andover, many people (like Abby’s mother, apparently) still favored New Year’s Day as the more significant observance. But new traditions like Christmas trees and the use of Santa Claus as a secular symbol of gift-giving were becoming ingrained.
Local merchants placed advertisements in December 1867 suggesting their merchandise – books, toys, and various “fancy goods” — as suitable for Christmas and New Year’s gifts. One shop explained that “so universal has become the custom of giving to and receiving from our friends some token of remembrance during the Holidays, that all expect something. “ Another emphasized its superior customer service with the assurance that “the great annoyance and loss of time generally experienced in the selection of suitable articles for presents at moderate prices will be entirely obviated,” and further explained that all purchases were fully exchangeable.
Some Andover churches (Baptist, Christ Episcopal, and South Parish) had a Christmas tree hung with gifts for the children of their congregations on Christmas Eve. Others (Frye Village Sunday School, Free Church, West Parish,) held their “Holiday Festivals” on New Year’s Day, complete with a Christmas Tree, and in one case (the North Andover Unitarians) a visit from “Old Santa Claus” himself.
Santa himself was starting to behave in the manner to which we are now accustomed. The Andover Advertiser reported that “after the children had retired. . . the stocking operation commenced. Santa Claus, as usual, visited their abodes regardless of bolts and locks and dispensed favors. It is strongly suspected that some of the little urchins borrowed for the occasion, stockings of such prodigious dimensions that they could not possibly wear them unless they got into them altogether. They were nonetheless well filled, and the stock of the visitor was not entirely exhausted. “


Santa’s Coming to Town!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a Creature was stirring, not even a Mouse.

The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas, would soon be there.

Santa visiting the Andover Historical Society

Join Santa, staff, and members of the Andover Historical Society on December 22nd at 5:30 p.m. for a reading of Twasthe Night before Christmas. Visit with Santa and make reindeer crafts!

To register for this event, call the Andover Historical Society, or register online.

Happy Holidays from the Staff at the Andover Historical Society!


A Colonial Williamsburg Christmas in Andover

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Colonial Inspired Wreath Created by Susan DeLarm-Sandman

Pineapples, oranges, apples, and boughs of holly?

While fruits and natural plant life adorn modern day Colonial Williamsburg wreaths, this was not always the case.  The tradition of decorating Colonial Williamsburg homes with wreaths, swags, and roping embellished with fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs was only recently started in the 20th century.  Although Williamsburg is well-known for its holiday decorations and events, the first year homes were decorated for Christmas in such a splendid fashion was not until 1936.

Holiday Wreath created by Susan DeLarm-Sandman

This year the Andover Historical Society will be celebrating the season with our own event based on the beautiful decorations of Colonial Williamsburg.  Join Susan DeLarm Sandman of Andover’s Spade and Trowel  Garden Club at the Andover Historical Society for a special wreath making workshop on December 15th, 2011 at 7:00-9:00 p.m.  All wreaths will be decorated with natural materials that would have been available to the colonists, a standard rule for the Williamsburg Wreath contest.  The Colonial Williamsburg Wreath Making Workshop will take place at the Andover Historical Society inside the new Christmas tree exhibit with warm drinks and treats as well!

Registrations are required in advance for this event, please call 978-475-2236 or sign-up online.


On the 10th Day of Christmas Trees…

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

The Cub Scouts brought to us… a very boy-ish tree ready to return to the woods!

Decorated by Cub Scout Pack 79

Happy Birthday Cub Scouts! Founded in 1910, the Scouts have had a very long tradition, including here in Andover. Decorating a tree loaded with pinewood derby cars, council patches, earned badges and achievement award ribbons, Cub Scout Pack 79 of Andover is proud to represent Scouting here at the Christmas Tree Exhibit.

Inspired by some of the Cub Scouting gear and uniforms in our collection, you could definitely say that Cub Scout Pack 79 did their best in decorating this scouting themed tree! Like the other scout tree, they worked with with boys from all over the town to create enough ornaments to fill an entire tree. Ranging from pristinely constructed pinewood derby racers to event patches from past museum sleepovers and outdoor adventures – these boys clearly have a creative touch!

The display under the tree skirt has even more great detail with a full camping stove, lantern, sleeping bag – and of course some scouting books – all ready to go on the next big camping trip!


On the 9th Day of Christmas Trees…

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

The Girl Scouts did bring to us… a tree filled with whatchmacallits of every shape and size!

Decorated by Girl Scouts Shawsheen Service Unit

Girl Scouts come in all colors, from all races around the world. Every Girl Scout is a sister no matter where she is from, no matter the language she speaks, no matter the color of her skin. We have a promise and a law. On our honor, we try to do our best to be fair and square.

Some of us are tall, and some of us are small. When we get together, size doesn’t matter at all. Sometimes we are nutty. We love to joke and play. We’d love to put a Girl Scout smile into everyone’s day.

When we get together, we seem to make circles. We sit in circles, play circle games, and make a Friendship Circle. You could say we are well-rounded. Girl Scouts respect all living things. The earth is our home and we want to keep it safe for everyone.

We get a kick out of wearing our uniforms, learning new things, helping others, and being together with our friends. Girl Scouts are “chips off the old block”.

Girl Scouting began in 1912. Since then we have been part of an old tradition, and are proud to be part of the future.

Patricia Harlow (modified)

The Shawsheen Service Unit of the Girls Scouts of Eastern Mass really outdid themselves with this tree! Inspired by the vintage Girl Scout uniforms in the Society’s collection, one troop went out of their way to contact all the other girl scouts in Andover and North Andover and asked them to make swaps or whatchamacallits (a small crafted item that can be traded with other new scout friends) for the Christmas Tree. The ingenuity of these young ladies is outstanding as miniature plates of brownies, smores on sticks, girl scout t-shirts, beaded pins and so much more absolutely cover their tall tree.

Each item has a troop number on it, and in many cases, a scout’s name. They’re all hoping to receive their items back at the end of the exhibit – and wouldn’t you if you put that much energy into making such charming ornaments?


On the 8th Day of Christmas Trees…

Friday, December 17th, 2010

The Friends of the Senior Center did bring to us… a loving and lovely heart filled tree!

Decorated by Friends of the Andover Senior Center

Where did the Valentine Card industry get its start in America?
Right here in Massachusetts!

Sometime in the mid-19th century time period, the tradition crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and Massachusetts is credited with the birth of the commercial Valentine market in America. Esther Howland, of Worcester, MA, received a Valentine card from someone in England. She was a student at Mt. Holyoke College, and when she received this commercially made card from England, she began making cards. Her Father was a stationer, and she began to sell the cards in his store in Worcester. The business grew, Esther hired friends to help her make more cards, and the commercial Valentine Card industry in America began.

Ever since that time, children in American schools have been enjoying and celebrating this holiday by trading cards, sharing treats, and partaking in special school activities. The decorations on this tree represent cards and traditions from this earliest time to the present.

Special thanks to Andover H.S. student Chloe Cabaret- Salameh for the origami decorations found on the tree.

An antique pop-up valentine card from the Society's collection

Board members of the Friends of the Senior Center came together to create their second tree for us – this year with the theme of school Valentine parties and inspired by some of the beautiful Victorian valentines in our collection. Borrowing from teacher’s classroom and constructing new ornaments and trimming – this tree is red, white and pink all over. Some of the special details include bunches of paper roses and small feathered cupids arrows that are just waiting to catch some unsuspecting lover’s heart!

Of course, the best valentines are those that are hand-made and many fond memories will be recalled while viewing the loving detail that clearly went in to creating some of the charming ornaments!

Snoopy loves every holiday!


On the 7th Day of Christmas Trees…

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Atria Marland Place did bring to us… a very yummy and satisfying Christmas Tree!

Decorated by Atria Marland Place

Remember the days when you went off to school sporting your bright and shiny lunch box featuring your favorite cartoon, comic book, TV show or movie character? Maybe you got a new favorite lunch box with a scene from Snow White, Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger under the Christmas tree. Not made today the way they used to be, the “real” lunch boxes were sturdy metal or tin with thermoses, too!

The real treat was opening that box at lunch in the school cafeteria to find a special surprise (fresh baked toll house cookies or a candy apple?) lovingly prepared by mom. Maybe you’d swap your peanut butter sandwich for a friend’s turkey on white bread or cheeseburger from the school cafeteria line!

But best of all was gathering together to socialize with friends, sharing the day’s events, interests and activities, telling stories, or making plans for the weekend. And that time together breaking bread with friends, perhaps  sharing childhood memories of a simpler life, remains special for all of our residents at Atria Marland Place!

A tree that features both John Wayne and Yoda (on metal lunchboxes!) is a hit in our book! The Historical Society was thrilled to have Marland Place returning as tree decorator in 2010 especially with such a mouth-watering theme. This year their tree was inspired by the lunch time necessities in our collection, such as plastic trays, thermos and hampers. It features three distinct lunch containers – handled metal lunchboxes of all sizes that many of remember from childhood (including some great vintage Disney pieces), small packed black lunch tins with old-fashioned paper-wrapped sandwiches and fresh fruit, and then, of course, no lunch time tree would be complete without a few brown paper lunch bags!

However, one of the most charming parts of the tree is beneath it.. not on it! A cheery red and white checkered cloth forms the tree skirt and a picnic lunch has been carefully packed in the wicker hamper. But if you look closely, you’ll find some uninvited guests! Luckily they haven’t seemed very hungry during the exhibit…


On the 6th Day of Christmas Trees

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Joan Patrakis did bring to us… a tree filled with everything budding artists could create!

Decorated by Joan Patrakis

The Historical Society has a wonderful collection of school artwork and crafts, including watercolors like the ones on display. In addition, numerous craftmen have lived in Andover and developed their skill in this town – many starting as young children. This tree is inspired by those young crafters and painters and the many techniques they learned along the way from painting and wood-work to stitchery and drawing.

This Bird of Paradise was painted in watercolors by a school girl in the 19th century

Joan Patrakis delved into the collections of the Society, drawing inspiration from the beautiful watercolors that are on display, such as the lovely Bird-of-Paradise at left. At a time when young ladies were expected to be accomplished in numerous fine arts – painting schools, sculpture classes, and even floral workshops were all the rage. Joan pays tribute to the school girl studies by decorating her tree with mini-reproductions of hand-stitched samplers and watercolor studies typically hidden away in our archives and textile storage. She also added a few twists of her own with a fabric wrapped twig star, and samplers and knitting piecework that she stitched herself.


On the 5th Day of Christmas Trees…

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Angela McBrien did bring to us… a tree fit to attend a Christmas Soiree!

Decorated by Angela McBrien

The invention of the sewing machine freed women from the tedium of hand sewing and left women with more time to embellish their dresses. The typical dress of 1870 was a riot of ruffles, bows and frills, all in the intense jewel tone colors that were made possible by the discovery of the artificial dyes.

No, our machine doesn't have chicken pox - there are just lots of those red lights reflecting on the display case!

Angela chose to take her tree to new heights and really ‘dress’ it up for the holiday display! After researching sewing machines from the 1870s, similar to the one on display, and discovered just how much finery, ruffles, and trimmings were being added to gowns as result of the speedier process.  A full display of home economics and sewing lesson tools are on exhibit along side the sewing machine – from thimbles and needle books to displays of antique buttons and sewing sample books.

The red satin and red lights of the tree are truly stunning in our main gallery and it’s getting ohs and ahs from all the ladies, young and old alike! Who wouldn’t want to step out the door to a Christmas Party dressed in such a fine gown?

Angela custom made this beautiful bodice for her tree - the shoulders are wired to remain delicately in their proper place!


On the 4th day of Christmas Trees…

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Andover Fire Rescue Personnel did bring to us… a tree filled with safety tips!

Decorated by Andover Fire Rescue

Fire can strike and drastically, even sometimes tragically affect those of all ages in a very short period of time. Fire can double in size every 30 – 45 seconds by consuming everything in its path. It is due to this rapid destruction that it is necessary to make every attempt to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. Good fire prevention and safety practices should be developed within every home, school and workplace to prevent fires from ever occurring. However, if one were to occur, all should know how to respond to ensure the safety of others.

For the above reasons, and many more not listed, Andover Fire Rescue has chosen to decorate our tree with fire prevention messages and seasonal safety tips that may assist you in preventing a destructive fire from becoming a part of your life. Andover Fire Rescue is committed to educating all to prevent injury and reduce risks while participating in daily activities.

Education is not just about learning how to read, write and do arithmetic, it’s also learning to lead a safe, healthy and fire safe life.

The Historical Society has long collected items related to Andover’s fire fighting history – from early 20th century fire helmets to a fire safety box acquired just two years ago. Inspiring the Fire Safety tree are just some of these items, plus some beautiful engraved metal badges that any firefighter would be proud to wear.

Every child knows the familiar sound of the fire alarm and has learned the common catch saying like “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” or “Don’t play with matches,” and it’s almost always the local fire department and their brave, yet tireless staff, that we have to thank for those lessons!

Happy Holidays from Andover Fire Rescue!