On the 8th Day of Christmas Past, rekindling history to enhance today’s Light the World – “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad.”
Question: What unusual thing did a pioneer girl create to give her family gladness for Christmas?
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From a Life Sketch of Lorena Eugenia Washburn Larsen – written Dec 25, 1867 in Manti, Utah
When I was seven years old my sister Almeda lived across the street east, and a half a block south from our home. She had a small dog named “Queen”. It was a family pet.
Christmas time was approaching and I longed to do something to add to the pleasure of that good holiday which everybody looks forward to expecting some fine surprise. When I racked my little brain trying to think out some way of getting a small gift for each one of our family. I finally knew that such a thing could not be done; then I thought I must do something which would start the day out with laughter, so I caught Queen, the little dog, and with mother’s measuring tape took the measurements of the length and circumference of her body, and the measure around her neck and head.
I kept my plans a secret. I watched mother’s sewing basket, and saw some white material which I thought was suited to my needs, and after some persuasion mother said, “If you need it for something useful you can have it, but remember not to waste it because it is valuable.”
My playhouse was in the attic, and there with needle, thread, the measuring tape and mother’s best scissors I worked with a will until I had completed a hat and dress or body covering for Queen. The hat was made of a round piece of material gathered to fit Queen’s head, with a ruffle almost two inches wide encircling the hat, and strings to tie it securely under her chin. (While making the outfit I was obliged to capture Queen and hold her down to fit the things to her body and head.) Her dress was a complete covering for her back and sides, from neck to tail, with the two in ruffle all around it and numerous matched tape strings to tie it underneath her neck, and body, and around each leg and her tail.
Bright and early Christmas morning while the family was dressing, I ran to my sister’s home and got Queen, took her to my attic, and dressed her in her new costume. Oh what a comical sight she was, her little eyes filled with excitement peering out from under the ruffles of the white hat, and when I turned her loose in our living room she ran in circles, jumped in the air and almost turned somersaults trying to extricate herself from that costume. She barked and yelped while dancing around the floor with her ruffles waving in the air. The whole family roared with delight.
Someone came rushing from the outside and as the door opened Queen gave a leap and went bounding over the snow in double quick time. There was a cat-hole in my sister’s door large enough for queen to push through. She was through in a jiffy. As she ran home I followed closely behind. And as I came close to the house I heard the laughter of my sister and her husband. Queen was still dancing in her new suit, which was so securely tied she could not dislodge it. When my sister was able to control her laughter she cried, “You young rascal, how could you think of doing such an unusual thing? Why, it’s as good as a circus!”
Pioneer Christmas p. 34-37
“Light the World” is a 25 day Christ-like service celebration from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visit Mormon.org for more information.