1st Day Christmas Past Question and Story

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Christmas Past 2016 | 13 comments

Untitled-2On the 1st Day of Christmas Past, find some other firsts.
Question: What firsts did the Winters family experience one Christmas Day?

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“A Pioneer Christmas”

In the year 1860, three little girls lived in a pioneer home, the daughters of Mary Ann Stearns Winters.  This home had but one room with a big fireplace and a loft where the children slept.  The loft was reached by a ladder.  It was Christmas eve.  Delia was six years old; Gusta, four and the baby, Susie almost two.  It was the first time the little girls had ever heard about Christmas and there was great excitement in this humble home.  It was difficult for the children to go to bed that Christmas Eve, but finally they were persuaded to do so.  Up the ladder they climbed.

Father, mother and grandmother were excited too.  More love than anything else was put into the preparations for there was little to go into the home made stockings.  Father had whittled dresses for each doll.  These were brought out and put in a conspicuous place.  For the first time since leaving their comfortable home in the East, some molasses had been obtained.  With this precious ingredient, the mother made a molasses cake and best of all, on the father’s last trip to Salt Lake City, he had brought home some lump sugar.  There were new little stockings and bright wool dresses hung before the fireplace.  The wool had been carded, spun and woven by the grandmother.  Finally everything was ready.  The little home was spic and span and the fire had burned low.

In the early dawn, Gusta opened her eyes, then she awakened her sisters.  It was Christmas morning and surely Santa had been there.  They began to dress when a shout came from below.  “The first one down gets a prize!”  What a hurry and a scramble.  Delia reached the ladder first and started down with Gusta nearly on top of her.  Then came little Susie crying because the bigger girls had pushed her aside and started down first.  Then she pushed and screamed and in her struggles half way down the ladder, she lost her balance and down through the ladder she went and landed on the hard bare floor below.  It looked at that moment as if the carefully planned Christmas was spoiled.

Father picked up the baby.  “Well, well,” he said, “It looks as if little Susie beat all of you.  She was the first down and she gets the prize.  The tears changed to smiles like magic.  The prize was a lump of sugar – the first the children had ever seen.  While Susie sucked the sugar, the other girls were just as happy.  They were delighted that Susie could beat them down the ladder even if she did make it in one step.  As they went to bed that night Delia said, “I wish it was Christmas every day, even if Susie did get the prize.”

These three little girls became the wives of:  Delia, Judge John E. Booth, Provo City, UT; Gusta, Pres. Heber J. Grant, SLC, UT; and Susie, Heber Bennion, Taylorsville, UT.

What firsts could you try to fill your Christmas preparations with more love?

Taken from:

Kate B. Carter, Treasures of Pioneer History – p. 182-183 “A Pioneer Christmas” from Elinor Brockbank Brimhall


  1. The first Christmas for the Winter’s family contained excitement and most especially love. Gifts of lump sugar, molasses cake and new wool dresses and socks were made with love and were very appreciated by all. Even though this seems so simple to us today where commodities are so easy to come by, true Christmas magic emanates from love. It really doesn’t matter what gifts we give or are given as long as we remember the best Christmas gift – our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  2. They experienced for the first time the magic of Christmas morning.

  3. This was the first time the Winter girls had experienced Christmas. The first one down stairs on Christmas morning would get a prize. Although Delia was first to reach the ladder, baby Susie actually was first downstairs because she fell down.
    I hope I can be first to show my love to my family and friends this Christmas season.

  4. The girls enjoyed their first Christmas and first lump of sugar as a prize.

  5. The girls enjoyed their first Christmas and first lump of sugar as a prize.

  6. This was the first time the girls had heard about Christmas and though simple they felt the spirit through the simplicity that was required due to the circumstances. But that same simplicity is what brought the spirit of love into their celebration. I need to remember that in looking for the truly simple that comes from love at this Christmas time.

  7. It was their first Christmas. Susie was first down the ladder and got a lump of sugar as a prize.

  8. What first could I do to fill my Christmas preparation with love this year would be to feel the love of our Savior not only in my life but to exemplify into the lives of others

  9. The girls experienced a magical Christmas surprise…. molasses cake and a lump of sugar for little Susie. Simple Christmas.. but meaningful

  10. It was the first time the Winter girls had heard of Christmas, and the first molasses that the family had in Utah, and the first one down out of the sleeping loft would get a prize that Christmas. I’m not sure falling down a ladder feels good even if it means winning the sugar.

  11. It was the first time daughters had ever heard about Christmas. There was great excitement the home. Some molasses had been obtained for the first time since leaving coming west. With that molasses, a molasses cake was made. There was prize of a lump of sugar for the first one down.

  12. It was the first Christmas they celebrated, as they had never heard about it. The first one down got a prize. The youngest was first down the ladder, even though she took it one step.

  13. The girls enjoyed their first Christmas and first lump of sugar as a prize.

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