(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Washington, Jan 2nd, 1866.
have answered your letter before
but thought I would wait till
after Christmas, and then I should
have more to write about.
Saturday evening I went to a
Christmas tree, that was at the
Sunday school I go to.
I got when I was at the tree a very
pretty little packet Testament, and
a little glass ball which was so fragile
that when I was coming home I got
tripped down and it broke it all to
I got and apple too.
Father had two presents from his
One present was handsome silver
Contact us for information about using this image.
In early New England, Puritan leaders tried to repress rowdy Christmas festivities which were rooted in pagan tradition and offensive to the region's pious Protestants. In this period, presents were given to people of low social rank who walked the streets demanding gifts from gentlemen which were usually granted in the form of food and drink. By the early nineteenth century, clergy began promoting Christmas's Christian elements and encouraged holiday celebrations that centered on the family. Around the same time, middle and upper class children came to be viewed as "gifts from God," rather than being primarily valued for the labor they provided the household. This transformation corresponded with an emerging commercial society in America where manufactured goods became increasingly available. As Christmas traditions began to focus on the family and children's role in the family changed, little ones were particularly indulged with store-bought gifts. Eunice Tabor's letter illustrates this change in describing the "good many things from Father and Mother and other people" that she received that Christmas as well as her visit to a Christmas tree at her Sunday school.
top of page
Letter to Emily Bartlett from cousin Eunice Sherman Tabor regarding Christmas
| author Eunice Sherman Tabor
| date Jan 2, 1866
| location Washington D.C.
| width 6.5"
| height 8.0"
| process/materials manuscript, paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L05.139
Send an e-Postcard of this object