Christmas on the Circle C

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Andi’s Journal

December 1882, five months after the events in Thick as Thieves

Right after Thanksgiving (President Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving back in 1863), Mother gets after the boys to go up in the mountains and find some fir branches to decorate the house. and to cut down a tree, of course. I always wanted to go along, but I was never big enough. 
I finally got to go along when I turned nine back in 1877, and that was a Christmas tree adventure I never want again . . . unless I’m much, much older. (Which I am now at age fourteen.) A freak snowstorm came up back then, and Justin, Chad, Mitch, and I were stranded overnight. It was so cold! The tree we went after stayed behind, but Mitch found another. It was not as beautiful as the one I picked out, but once we loaded it down with all the decorations, nobody could tell some of the branches were broken and the top was cut off.

Last year and this year, I went with the boys and not one scary thing happened. Chad, Mitch, and I went up into the mountains, chopped down a beautiful red fir, and came home, all in the same day. It wasn’t as tall as I’d like, but it was awfully pretty, so I agreed to go along with it (like, I had a choice?).

Anyway, Chad and Mitch also always bring home enough branches to make the whole house smell like a pine forest, even though the ranch house is in the valley, where it hardly ever snows. See how beautifully we decorate Mother’s fancy parlor?

For the next two weeks, Mother, Luisa, Nila, Melinda, and I make all kinds of Christmas goodies. Sometimes Aunt Rebecca comes to help. I’ve finally gotten used to that and I just try to stay out of her way.

We visited Justin and Lucy’s small house in town this December, after they were married in September 1882. Lucy showed off their itsy-bitsy Christmas tree. It sat up on a table in their little sitting room. It was fun to visit and see what they did to the house to decorate it, but honestly, our family could never all fit inside their parlor, so I’m glad big brother and Lucy were invited out to the ranch for Christmas day.

We usually string popcorn and cranberries on Christmas Eve day and add these treats to the tree. Nila cooks hard sugar cookies that we decorate and hang from ribbons. Mother brings out all the fine, glass ornaments from long ago. And the branches have candles on them, but we have to watch to make sure they don’t set the tree on fire. Underneath are the presents. 

Later, on Christmas Eve, we gather around the piano (that I can’t play), and Melinda plays Christmas carols and we all sing. Then we attend Christmas service at church much later on Christmas Eve. That is the best time . . . the whole church is lit up with hundreds of candles and everybody is singing. We all sound like the angels in Luke 2 when they gave glory to God about the newborn King!

By the time we get back to the ranch, it’s close to midnight. We always go to bed that night with great anticipation for the Christmas Day festivities. The next morning is Christmas! Mother likes to get all fancy on Christmas Day. Nila and Luisa outdo themselves polishing the silver and setting the table. Many families have goose for dinner and plum pudding. But we’re all-American and have turkey. We also celebrate with our Mexican ranch hands and their families. Tamales are a traditional Christmas food, and Luisa and Nila make the best tamales north of the border!

What do you all do for the Christmas holidays?

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

10 thoughts on “Christmas on the Circle C

  1. Gorgeous pictures and a fun time for Andi and her family. All the land around our home outside Darrington, WA was owned by relatives so we could cut our own Christmas tree each year. There were 10 foot ceilings in our dining room. The kitchen and dining room had once been a one-room school where Mom taught all eight grades (my bedroom had been the cloak room) so we always had really tall trees. We made paper chains, and had a few Christmas balls. Dad punched holes in shiny metal can tops and we fastened on the branches with ribbon. A big star on top reminded us of the wise Men. Special memories. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve Day. Unlike last year, I get to be with my family. I am so glad!

    I wish Christmas blessings for all of you as we again celebrate the coming of Christ, our Lord. Happy birthday, Jesus!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun!! We never do the same thing twice in a row for Christmas so I’m not really sure what to say… Either on Christmas Eve we have an old couple over, and have a candle light dinner with a meat and cheese platter, those little smokies, a cheeseball and crackers, and usually pickles and various assorted nuts. And hot chocolate. That’s always fun. This year we’re going to a cabin with my dad’s family for Christmas. (we leave tomorrow!!!) I’m SO excited for that : )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We always put up Christmas lights outside, decorate the tree, I live in Australia so real trees are not really a thing here, And spend Christmas day either with family or friends, and have foods we don’t have that often, pumpkin pie is a Christmas fav.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!!

    Liked by 1 person

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