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Then Again: How Christmas came to Vermont

Photo courtesy of Vermont Historical Society Sarah Clement’s letter reminds ... In “mummer plays,” men would dress and act as women and vice versa, and the poor would invade the homes of the rich, expecting to be fed. The wealthy usually accepted ...

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For better or worse, by the mid-19th century Vermonters were celebrating Christmas in a thoroughly recognizable way.Another member of the Clement family, Elizabeth — mother-in-law of Sarah Clement — wrote to her son Wallace in 1861In the letter Elizabeth Clement described how on Christmas Eve, she put Percival, her 10-year-old son (a future Vermont governor) to bed, then she teased his 15-year-old brother, Waldo.“We told him it was a cold night, perhaps Santa Claus would not come,” she wrote.But Waldo knew Christmas meant presents“‘I shall hang up my stocking,’” she quoted him as saying“‘I am not too old to hang up my stocking.’”And in the morning, she continued, the children awoke to find their stockings filled with candy and other gifts.Despite the homey tone of her letter, Elizabeth Clement seemed aware of Christmas’ less demure past.Perhaps worrying what Wallace, who was 26, had done for Christmas, she wrote, “(I)t is always the greatest pleasure to learn that dear ones are enjoying the innocent delights of home.” Share Tweet Share EmailRELATED STORIESThen Again: How Christmas came to VermontThen Again: A former governor’s shady railroad dealingsThen Again: A Vermont prodigy wows the worldThen Again: Ira Allen’s big dreams and big promises for UVMThen Again: A journey among ‘deists & proper heathen’ Why I Support DiggerI rely on VTDigger for the real information: no alternative facts nor fake news– Ginny Walters, Shelburne DONATE NOW If you read us, please support us.Filed under:People & PlacesTags: Christmas, Vermont history Report an Error Upload a DocumentTip DropComment requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last namesInitials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permittedComments should be 1000 characters or fewer.We moderate every commentPlease go to our FAQ for the full policyAbout MarkMark Bushnell is a Vermont journalist and historianHe is the author of Hidden History of Vermont and It Happened in Vermont.Email: [email protected]Latest stories by MarkThen Again: How Christmas came to VermontThen Again: A former governor’s shady railroad dealingsThen Again: A Vermont prodigy wows the worldView all stories by Mark BushnellRecent StoriesEducation

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