New Year’s Resolutions & Traditions
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 1/5/2021
New Year’s Eve of 1914 would have been the first year that Tom and Olive celebrated the upcoming New Year at their Lucknow Estate, if they weren’t traveling abroad that winter. The Boston Globe is heavy on updates from the war front, and sprinkled with advertisements for Champagne, ale, and New England Telephone rates for you to call your loved ones and wish them a happy New Year! In the 1910s, it was common to celebrate the New Year with parties and midnight toasts to the New Year. It was good luck to enjoy circular foods – symbolic of a year coming full circle – and to kiss someone at the stroke of midnight.
Fast-forward to New Year’s Eve in 1919 – the parties continue! Both The New York Times and The Boston Globe describe alcohol-fueled parties, attended by both Father Time and Baby New Year. This is a stark contrast to New Year’s Eve in 1920 when prohibition was in effect in the U.S., barring the sale of alcohol. The New York Times described this night as “the dullest New York has ever seen” with sober crowds filling out Times Square to watch the ball drop.
There is also the age-old tradition of reflection and resolutions. These traditions are believed to date back to 2000 BCE in Babylonia, and are seen throughout history: in the time of Julius Caesar in Rome, January 1 was determined to be the start of the new year (in 46 BCE), and was named Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings and transitions. This day and month was a time to reflect on the previous year and name your goals and resolutions for the new year. In the mid-1700s, Christianity adopted similar traditions, some sectors even hosting a Convent Renewal Service – a New Year’s Eve night service spent praying and making resolutions for the New Year.
Today these traditions remain largely intact. When we can host parties, we generally do. Often alcohol and snacks are shared, and a champagne toast and a kiss seal the night. Many still take this time to reflect on the previous year and make resolutions and goals to themselves for the upcoming year. 2020 was most definitely a year for the books – the pandemic, the continued conversations and heated conflicts surrounding racial inequalities, Brexit was finalized, Australia faced one of its most devastating wildfires, and so much more. Looking towards this new year, we hope for a more “normal” year in terms of operations, to be open for a full season, to bring you many programs and opportunities to enjoy the Castle and our property, and we are excited to see you in 2021!
How did you ring in 2021? What are some goals or resolutions you have set for yourself?
Here are a couple of downloadable, New Year’s Resolution Goal Sheets:
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, we are not giving medical advice. For the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 please visit the CDC’s website or your local State Department of Health and Human Services website.
The Spanish Influenza (H1N1) pandemic is believed to have wiped out 50 million people worldwide. In 1918 the flu’s effects took over headlines, rating above World War I in placement in local papers. Nearly the entire first two pages of Boston Globe print on September 24, 1918 were dedicated to updating the public on the status of Spanish Influenza in the greater Boston area. Headlines read “Influenza toll in Boston for Day 87” and “F.D. Roosevelt out of danger, say physicians”. With little medical treatment available for the Spanish Influenza, people were limited to “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like quarantine, good hygiene and limited public gatherings. To that point, some schools were closed due to outbreaks and there was a ban on public funerals in Quincy. Image (left) shows Boston nurses in the spring of 1919 (National Archives).
Tom and Olive likely would have read these headlines and stayed abreast on the spread of the ailment. They may have noted who was sick, the treatment methods, the reach of the illness, and the effects on the global politics and economy. They likely would have been very thankful for their isolated home in northern New Hampshire where they were surrounded by nature, and their interactions with the outside world were limited and intentional.
Today, we are inundated with headlines surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Coronavirus spreads both by personal interactions and through contact with infected surfaces. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Centered in China, Coronavirus is spreading globally, people have been quarantined, there are travel restrictions, closed schools, hotels, companies, and rerouted air travel due to the infectious nature of this disease. Currently, the CDC lists the risk of getting the coronavirus in the U.S. as low risk. They recommend covering your coughs and sneezes, clean your hands often, avoid sharing personal household items, clean “high-touch” surfaces, monitor any symptoms you may experience, and stay home if you’re sick. Though we are actively in a “low-risk” area, Massachusetts government has encouraged those who have recently traveled through China to partake in a voluntary quarantine and they have sent updates to schools on how to deal with students and staff who may be exhibiting symptoms. The government encourages the public to remain calm and continue daily life as normal at this time, though they have measures in place in case of pandemic.
Castle Preservation Society who owns and manages Castle in the Clouds is working diligently to ensure our offices and public spaces are cleaned properly, hand sanitizer is made available throughout the buildings, employees are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and to stay home if feeling ill.
What are you doing to protect yourself, your family and your friends from the Coronavirus?
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). (2019, March 20). 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html
 The Boston Globe. (1918, September 24). Influenza toll in Boston for day 87. 1-2. From: https://bostonglobe.newspapers.com/image/430650882
 The Boston Globe. (1918, September 24). F.D. Roosevelt out of danger, say physicians. 2. From: https://bostonglobe.newspapers.com/image/430650886
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). (2019, March 20). 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html
 The Boston Globe. (1918, September 24). Influenza toll in Boston for day 87. 2. From: https://bostonglobe.newspapers.com/image/430650882
 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2020, February 18). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). From: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2020, February 18). Coronavirus Disease: Steps to take when sick. From: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
 Freyer, F. (2020, February 26). As CDC warns of coronavirus’s spread in US, officials reveal that more than 600 in Mass. have been monitored for illness. The Boston Globe. From: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/02/27/metro/cdc-urges-preparing-an-epidemic-health-officials-reveal-that-more-than-600-mass-have-been-monitored-coronavirus/
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 3/6/2020
January 6, 1920 The Boston Globe announced with the bold headline: “Red Sox sell Babe Ruth for $100,000 cash” (picture of article left, taken from Boston Globe Archives). The article outlined the cash sale of the “home-run hitter extraordinaire” from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. Mr. Frazee discussed the change to the roster – saying that he believed the Yankee’s investment in Ruth to be a gamble.
With few local newspapers in the New Hampshire Lakes Region in the early twentieth century, Tom – a baseball fanatic- would have found out this news via word of mouth, or the Boston Globe directly. He likely would have had many thoughts about the sale and roster change. A businessman at heart, he would understand the monetary value of Babe Ruth, and how the owner of the Red Sox would not be able to turn it away. He’d be anxious to know who would fill the open spot. Tom likely would’ve talked about this with his wife, Olive, and perhaps wrote letters to his friends from the minor league baseball team he had played for.
Fast forward to early 2020 when New England’s beloved Red Sox announced major changes to their line up including trading players Brock Holt and Mookie Betts. Brock, now playing for the Milwaukee Brewers echoed Babe Ruth’s sentiment – both never thought they’d wear a jersey other than Red Sox. Fans are struggling to come to terms with Mookie being traded to the LA Dodgers. The owners of the Red Sox have tried multiple times to explain the business decision – insisting that the trade was “more about improving the team’s talent base than cutting payroll”, and have tried to appeal to the public with a response from “Big Papi”, David Ortiz. These stories are gaining traction and have caused concern amongst fans who are hopeful for the future of the club – some are going so far as to say that they won’t continue watching the Red Sox without these players.
We know that we’re all waiting anxiously for sports (and life) to resume post-COVID-19 social distancing. With hopeful thoughts we are planning to host a vintage baseball game this fall – check back to our programs calendar for details and updates.
What are your feelings about the trades as the baseball season starts?
 O’Leary, J. C. (1920, January). Red Sox sell Babe Ruth for $100,000 cash. The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/1920/01/06/red-sox-sell-babe-ruth-for-cash/muYGoMdAzCl8WlRHK2LumI/story.html
 Ciccotelli, J. (2020, February). Brock Holt ‘never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform’. The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2020/02/20/brock-holt-never-expected-wear-any-other-uniform-but-red-sox-uniform/3hJnHyMOyUAU2VQJBlOZoI/story.html
 Abraham, P. (2020, February). Red Sox owners insist that Mookie Betts trade was a baseball decision. The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2020/02/17/red-sox-mookie-betts-trade-reasons-john-henry-sam-kennedy/1uMpTbNWk8fZpt9ToOo6yM/story.html
 Abraham, 2020.
 McWilliams, J. (2020, February). David Ortiz chalks up Mookie Betts trade to the ‘business side’ of baseball. The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2020/02/20/david-ortiz-red-sox-mookie-betts-trade-comments/lQlpg27gs4PS2XRdpg5m1O/story.html?p1=Article_Recirc_InThisSection
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 4/7/2020
King Tutenkahmen’s Tomb was opened in March of 1922 – it dominated headlines thence forth with descriptions of where it was found, the jewels and mummies found in it, and notes on the luxury and opulence. It was mentioned in newspapers throughout the 1920s, and likely would’ve been discussed over the radio and within social circles that eyed artifacts, science and history.
Tom and Olive likely would’ve discussed the findings of the archaeologists, and perhaps discussed what they did or did not want in their own mortuary services. While the Lucknow Estate is steeped in quality, it’s by no means considered opulent, lavish or over the top. Perhaps, the Plants would marvel and scoff at decorating with gems and gilded gold, never mind decorating a tomb so extravagantly.
The collections scavenged from King Tut’s tomb have traveled the world and returned to Egypt to be displayed at the Cairo Museum. In 2019 the exhibition left for a tour once more – this is the last scheduled travels for the collection, and it is said to be the “mummy of all King Tut exhibits”. It showed first in London, then traveled to Los Angeles and will continue through 10 other cities including Boston, Massachusetts. This exhibition in the past has drawn record number of visitors to the museums – this year, Boston’s exhibit actually has an online lottery to order tickets in advance. It’s meant to be on display from June 13, 2020 through January 3, 2021. In response to COVID-19 presale for tickets has been postponed until further notice.
Will you go see King Tut’s exhibit when it opens? If you’re unable to see it in person, here is a link to tour the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 5/5/2020
In late May 2020 civil unrest has erupted across the country – the result of the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer. News headlines and discussion on social media are rightfully angry at the continued mistreatment and injustice that plagues the United States, as well as protests and riots that have turned violent. One of the goals of this blog is to share connections and inspire conversation around the news of the day and similar happenings at the time that Tom and Olive Plant lived at Lucknow.
Despite being a cultural melting pot, the United States of America has a deep rooted history of white supremacy and the distrust and mistreatment of Black and Brown persons. Many believe that slavery was contained in the South, but slavery persisted in the Northern states as well. Slavery disappeared on paper and public notices in New Hampshire in 1833, even though the 1840 census supports that the crude establishment was still in place. In 1859, Mrs. Harriet E. Wilson, a free Black servant living in Milford, New Hampshire published Our Nig; part fiction, part autobiography and an overall recognition of prejudice in the North. There was a distinct hypocrisy in the Northern Abolitionist movements that focused on the South but ignored that “shadows of slavery” also fell over the North. In 1865 the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were freed (please read about Juneteenth), and slavery was federally outlawed in December of that year with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Unfortunately, the freedom of enslaved African Americans did not resolve racial tension, and segregation persisted with Jim Crow laws and a sentiment of separate inequality. At the height of American segregation, academics shifted focus to the root of the idea of slavery, women’s rights, and the psychological effects of it all – series, books and essays were published highlighting racism and the history of slavery in New England including Lorenzo Greene’s The Negro in Colonial New England (1942), his earlier novel co-authored with Woodson, The Negro Wage Earner, and Elizabeth Donnan’s multiple volume set which highlighted the slave trade (1932).
Amongst this, Boston established the first U.S. police force in 1838 as an effort to better control the quickly growing population – harsh and brutish tactics were first targeted to European immigrants but as African-Americans fled the South, fleeing the Jim Crow laws, they too became the victims of punishing policing in the Northern cities where they sought asylum. In 1929, President Hoover established the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (a.k.a. The Wickersham Commission) to investigate crime related to prohibition and policing tactics. Findings were published between 1931 and 1932 in 14 volumes – one titled “Reports on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement”, highlighting the realities of police brutalities.
Racism and police brutality made Boston Globe headlines regularly while the Plants resided at Lucknow. Tom and Olive more than likely would’ve read the headlines of the times. Perhaps they played devil’s advocate and argued all sides of the story. Perhaps they let the upsetting headlines and findings pass unspoken. While we don’t know Tom and Olive’s thoughts and feelings on the matters – we know that they would’ve witnessed the segregation, the racism and the mistreatment either in their New Hampshire community or throughout their travels across the country.
The issues that sit at the heart of the current situation unfolding in our country are not new and we firmly believe that knowing more about our collective history can help us move together into a brighter, stronger future. We at Castle in the Clouds stand together against racism, for inclusion, and with the entire Black community at this time.
Edit (6/19/2020): Please explore Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire’s website and offerings for more information about the history of POC in New Hampshire.
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 6/2/2020
The modern automobile was founded first in Germany and France by men such as: Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, Nicolaus Otto, and Emile Lavassor in the late 1800s. The 1901 Mercedes was considered to be the first modern motor car with 35 horsepower and reaching 53 miles per hour. At the same time America was mass-producing the Oldsmobile – a single cylinder, three horsepower “motorized horse buggy”. The industry rapidly evolved, by 1908 there were 253 manufacturers in the industry. In this year, Henry Ford released the infamous Model T, and William Durant founded General Motors.
Amidst the height of the early automobile industry – Tom and Olive moved to rural Moultonborough, New Hampshire (1914). Our records reflect that while Lucknow was under construction, Tom would have his private train car attached in New York an follow the line from New York City, New York to Meredith, New Hampshire where would be picked up by his private car and chauffeur to be brought to his property in Moultonborough. On the Lucknow property The Carriage House Restaurant once boasted stables, a five car garage, as well as dormitory style housing for servants working on the property. Having a car or a few cars was simply part of the luxurious life Tom and Olive lived. Olive, herself, even drove the cars around the Lakes Region, and throughout the Ossipee Mountain Range.
Today, the car industry is more varied and accessible than it ever has been. There is a level of environmental sustainability that was not accessible to early models of the automobile, and added technology. Now a car is not only a mode of transportation from one destination to the next, but it’s an experience, a hobby, a sound system, and it often has its own computer – even pushing to self-driving technology.
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 7/7/2020
Throughout history the times and fashions have changed to reflect societal standards. Olive in particular would’ve seen many changes in clothing and shoe fashions while she was living at Lucknow between 1914 and 1941. When the Plants moved to Lucknow, women’s fashion included straight lines, hobbled skirts, along with Balmoral shoes like the ones that Tom made in his factories. Quickly the fashions would’ve changed to include skirts cut above the ankle and V-neck tops paired with Mary Janes which were to make the gap between the top of the shoe and the hem of the skirt more seemly. The style continued to rapidly evolve going into the 1920s, changing to looser fits, boyish shape and straighter skirts. As hemlines continued to rise, and shoes were better displayed they began to evolve away from the neutral colors seen before: white, brown, black and tan. Shoes came out in different colors, and specialized use. We see the word “sneaker” used for the first time in 1917 to describe shoes like Keds and Converse where canvas is glued to rubber to make for a soundless and more flexible than leather boots. Even from there, sneakers had delineation in use, “croquet shoes” and “spectator shoes” for instance. By the 1930s the variety of shoes had expanded yet again to include: pumps, Oxfords, brogues and cork-wedged sandals.
While we don’t know that Olive partook in all of these high fashion changes, we believe she would’ve adopted a smart style of a button down shirt tucked into a wool skirt with a man’s shirtwaist over it when she moved to Lucknow. This was a style that was very popular amongst college educated women. She also would’ve likely had diverted skirts or breeches for riding throughout the property, and eventually, we understand, that she did update her wardrobe to the looser fitting, boyish styles of the early 1920s and the straight skirts that continued into the 1930s. We do believe she would’ve worn Balmoral shoes like Queens Quality brand (the shoes that Tom manufactured and sold), and eventually Mary Janes. She may have also had a pair of sneakers as well for croquet, golf, and enjoying the various sports that Lucknow offered.
Today our fashions are far more varied and versatile. From the 2020 Spring Runway report, key trends include: disco collars, crochet, hot pants/short shorts, highlighter colors, Bermuda shorts, bra tops, tiered layering, 60s wallpaper prints, feathers, vests, colorful/patterned leather, and polka dots.
Given societal hostilities towards showing skin, and economic limitations to fabric use due to World War I and II, it’s incredibly likely Olive would be appalled by some of today’s fashion trends. She’d faint to see bra tops and hot pants and the amount of skin they show off. Maybe she’d be supportive of the tiered layering, vests and polka dots, though!
Which of the early 20th century women’s fashions do you think you would’ve subscribed to, and are you going to sport any of the 2020 fashion trends?
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 8/4/2020
The 1920 presidential election was the first in American history where women were allowed to exercise their right to vote, under the protection of the 20th amendment. Women in New England, and likely throughout the country, had a habit of showing up at the polls long before 1920 – insisting on their right to vote.
The Women’s Suffrage Association in New Hampshire was founded by Armenia S. White and her husband in 1868. Their movement was based in Concord, NH and an active continuation of their abolitionist movements. Women in New Hampshire, already progressive for the times, supported the Suffrage movement – women started showing up at the polls as early as 1870 demanding the right to vote on the basis of being tax-paying citizens. Women in NH also started running for political positions as early as 1910, both on a state level and an international level .
As of 1871, women in NH were granted the right to sit on school committees, but they didn’t gain the right to vote in school elections until 1878.
Women in NH pushed bills for women’s rights to vote in the late 1880s, failure to have the bill approved spurred women to support the federal suffragette movement. The Women’s Suffrage Association expanded to Manchester, Dover, Warner, Laconia and North Conway.
Women’s clubs throughout New England and the country are thought to be one of the greatest factors in the women’s rights movements – it allowed for space for women to meet, discuss ideas and rally behind specific movements. Women’s Journal (Boston, MA) is also attributed for being a valuable resource to the women’s movement.
Throughout the Suffrage Movement, Tom and Olive were living at Lucknow Estate. Both were raised through the Cult of Domesticity, the time of True Womanhood which emphasized women and men are separate and unequal. This could’ve been taken to the extreme that books on the shelf would’ve been separated by the gender of the author. Olive was considered to be fiercely independent, but also “non-complaining”. Tom on the other hand was considered to be very particular, and stoic. When the 20th amendment passed, and women were allowed to vote in the 1920 presidential election – Olive was likely quietly pleased and would’ve shown support by showing up to vote on November 2, 1920.
A valuable resource to learn more about the American Women’s Suffrage movement is: https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/womens-suffrage-their-rights-and-nothing-less/
 Francis Abbott, One Thousand New Hampshire Notables: Brief Biographical Sketches of New Hampshire Men and Women, Native Or Resident, Prominent in Public, Professional, Business, Educational, Fraternal or Benevolent Work (BiblioBazaar, 2016).
 Harriet Robinson, Massachusetts in the woman suffrage movement: a general, political, legal and legislative history from 1774, to 1881 (Roberts Brothers, 1883).
 Library of Congress.
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 9/1/2020
Once upon a time going to the movies or watching newly released films wasn’t as commonplace or easy as it is today. Especially amidst the global pandemic movies are being released directly to home streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+, sometimes as part of the monthly subscription fee, other times for an additional fee. For instance, the remake of Mulan was released to Disney+ for an additional $20, in addition to the monthly fee of $6.99.
When Tom and Olive resided at Lucknow Mansion, we know that Olive attended the movies in Laconia with her nephews. This would’ve been a day out on the town- requiring planning for transportation as well as timing of the movie release. Laconia had a few theaters to pick from. Silent films in black and white would have been shown, eventually sound was popularized in 1927 and color was eventually added to live action movies and cartoons.
Vaudeville entertainment was also widely popular for the time. The Colonial Theater* was a popular vaudeville theater that sits prominently on the main street in Laconia. Vaudeville theaters were known for theatrical entertainment including comedians, singers, dancers, acrobats and magicians. Tom and Olive may have also attended shows here.
Movies that Tom and Olive may have seen released in theaters include:
- Way Down East
- Over the Hill to the Poorhouse
- The Mark of Zorro
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Watching movies from home as we do today is not something that would have been available to Tom and Olive – at home entertainment at Lucknow was focused on outdoor activities, crosswords, reading, gardening and perhaps a game of bridge.
What movie have you seen recently?
*Colonial Theater is currently undergoing extensive restoration to restore the theater to its 1930s era appearance. This gold-gilded theater was complete with painted plaster walls, murals and delicate filigree. As time continued, the theater was split into two smaller theaters to show modern movies. It was left in disrepair for a number of years before the current restoration took hold.
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 10/6/2020
The 1920 election was the first major election that Olive would have been able to vote in, thanks to the 19thamendment (read “Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote” below). Olive would’ve joined Tom at the polls – to either vote for Republican Candidate, Warren Harding or Democratic Candidate, James Cox.
Harding was a career politician from Ohio. He campaigned on the grounds of “return[ing] to ‘normalcy’”, pleading “America’s present need is not heroics but healing: not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration…not surgery but serenity”. Warren ran with Calvin Coolidge, the Governor of Massachusetts who was considered to be a reserved, uncommunicative New Englander.
Cox was a tradesman earning his living first in teaching, then in journalism, ultimately working his way into politics as a secretary and eventually Governor of Ohio. He campaigned on the continued support of President Wilson’s programs of domestic reform and increased participation in the international community. His running mate was Franklin D. Roosevelt who was well known (at the time) for his comments on ending World War I. At the time, FDR was widely seen as immature despite his rank – Senator Lodge described him as “a well-meaning, nice young fellow, but light…”.
Since this was the first election cycle women could vote in both parties sought prominent women to speak on behalf of the party and politics, most notably, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson played an important role in Harding’s campaign – attracting female voters and supporting the Republican party as President Theodore Roosevelt’s sister.
Today, November 3rd, 2020 is Election Day. President Donald Trump (Republican) is running against former Vice President Joseph Biden (Democrat) for presidency of the United States of America. President Trump is running with his current Vice President Michael Pence – they are campaigning on their “America First” platform for lowering taxes, appealing the Affordable Care Act, strengthening military and law enforcement and renegotiating international cooperation. Former Vice President Biden is running with Kamala Harris, they are campaigning to support domestic reform, restart the economy post COVID-19 and re-enter the global community as a leader in industry and science. Both parties are focused on how to handle COVID-19 and minimize the impact of the global pandemic.
No matter who you support, it’s important to exercise your right to vote in the election. In many states you may register to vote at the polls. For the most up to date, unbiased information regarding the election and voting process please visit www.vote.org.
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 11/3/2020
This holiday season, in concert with our Very Virtual Christmas, Chronicles of the Castle: The Blog will focus on various holiday traditions, the evolution of décor, and seasonal joys.
The tradition of gift giving and stockings dates back for centuries. But, stockings as we know them today were not always hung “by the chimney with care” rather they were true socks or knee high stockings that were left out for St. Nick, and filled with an apple, an orange, varied nuts and some small candies. Gifting prior to the 1920s wasn’t the all-out affair that it is today – it was gifting homemade items such as gloves, mittens, hats and scarves. Popular toys were the Raggedy Ann doll and dyed metal toys, roller skates, bicycles, trains and wagons also grew in popularity during the 1920s. Adults were increasing their spending post World War I. Gifts included new kitchen gadgets, silk hats and umbrellas, Persian rugs, fountain pens, and gourmet chocolates. Today, Christmas gifting is often an extravagant affair in many families including toys, clothes, jewelry, trips, etc. Articles are published each year discussing how to not go into debt during the holiday season.
Gingerbread houses and gingerbread men date back to the Middle Ages. Gingerbread men and cookies were often found at fairs and gatherings. Queen Elizabeth I is thought to be the source of decorating the cookies as we do today when she decorated a batch of gingerbread men to look like visitors she had a court. It’s possible that Tom and Olive had made gingerbread men and houses while they lived at Lucknow. They would’ve had to make a special trip out to the store for materials like molasses that wouldn’t necessarily be used in day to day cooking.
Religious ceremonies would take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in addition to regularly scheduled services. Carolers would meander around neighborhoods on Christmas Eve. Tom and Olive likely never received carolers at their remote Lucknow mansion – but it’s possible that they attended a church service at Wolfeboro Congregational Church.
Next week we’ll discuss decorating for Christmas.
What holiday traditions do you have with your friends and family?
By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 12/1/2020