Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lincoln at Christmas

Here’s a mixed bag – or stocking, perhaps, given it is Christmas – of Lincoln-related holiday info. Forgive me for not doing the research myself to share more in-depth information on Lincoln’s Christmas. I enjoyed the company of my family, trying to see the joy of the celebration through the eyes of my grandchildren. That, today, seemed more important.

How Lincoln spent Christmas week
The Snellers at Abraham Lincoln Online website have a nice timeline on their website answering the question “How did Lincoln spend Christmas week as President and President-elect?” The timeline covers the holiday week from 1860 through 1864.

Lincoln holiday images
On the Abraham Lincoln Collectibles website, I found some beautiful images of the Lincoln family at Christmas, created annually by the late Lloyd Ostendorf for more than 20 years. I’ve not done the digging to know for sure how realistic the scenes portrayed in each image are, but they’re quite attractive nonetheless. Many of the images are for sale as prints or postcards via the website.

Nurturing a budding scholar
My six-year-old grandson wanted a biography of Lincoln which had a picture of him with a beard. On a Christmas Eve shopping blitz, I found Abraham Lincoln from the History Maker Bios Series. It’s written by Jane A. Schott and illustrated by Tim Parlin. It looks as if it’s written so that it will hold his young attention, yet provide him with the basics of Lincoln scholarship. It’s nice to know we’re starting our own Lincoln legacy here. Kunhardts we’ll never be, but you have to start somewhere.

Starting a new old tradition
On our trip to the holiday reception at the David Davis Mansion, my granddaughter and I learned of a tradition observed in the Davis home which has roots nearly 130 years ago. David Davis was a Bloomington (Ill.) attorney who rode the Eighth Judicial Circuit with Lincoln, was the primary force in helping him win the 1860 election, served on the Supreme Court in Lincoln’s administration and served as a father figure to Robert Todd Lincoln after the President’s death.

In the gift shop and on the dining room table at the mansion, we saw Peppermint Pigs. We learned this was a Victorian holiday tradition. Those at the holiday dinner passed the Peppermint Pig, shielded in a festive red pouch, around the table. Each guest shared something good from the past year, then hit the pouch with a small hammer to break the pink candy pig into pieces. Once it had been around the table, the pouch was opened, the pig was shared, and it was to bring health and good luck in the New Year.

Both young and old at our table first shared something they were thankful for. The pig wasn’t broken as much as we desired, so we passed it again making a wish for the New Year. Those youngsters amaze me. They get it. Their thanks and their wishes were from the heart and not selfish. I’m pretty proud of and thankful for them. They’re good kids.

Even if you don’t have a Peppermint Pig this year, may you reflect on good things from 2008 and be blessed with good health and good luck in 2009. Thanks for spending time learning about Lincoln with me. Ann

© Copyright 2008 Ann Tracy Mueller. All rights reserved.

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