HOME

Articles

Current Issue

Back Issues

Horse Sale Results

Past Covers

Photo Albums

Calendar

Calendar of Events

CLASSIFIEDS

Classified Ads

MARKETPLACE

Advertiser Links

Stallion Profiles

Business Profiles

Event Profiles

Horse Sale Profiles

Farm & Ranch
    Improvement

Equine & Western
    Mercantile

ABOUT US

Contact Us

History

Green Information

Made in USA

Editorial Guidelines

Subscribe

ADVERTISE

Ad Rates

Distribution area

Camera Ready Req.

CLUB CONNECTION

Club Directory

Calendar

Competition Results

Extra News Section  

EXTRAS

Extra News Section

Health & Emergency Alerts

Horsepeople's Forum

 

Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Pioneer Christmas

By John Brand, Buckaroo Leather, Diamond Springs, CA

 

December 2012 issue

 

 

      When you think of your own holiday celebrations what comes to mind? A house full of family and friends, food (too much!), logs crackling in the fire, festive music.

      But take a moment to think about the holiday celebrations of the American pioneers settling in the Old West. They came to their new homes with whatever would fit in their wagons and a longing for a life and a place to call their own.

      The prairie was cold, unforgiving, and uncivilized. But the pioneers, with their unwavering spirit, did not let the rugged conditions stop them from celebrating the holidays. So they made the most of their tough situation.

      A pioneer, Catherine Haun wrote in 1849, “Although very tired of tent life, many of us spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in our canvas houses. I do not remember ever having had happier holiday times. For Christmas we had grizzly bear steak for which we paid $2.50, one cabbage for $1.00 and, oh horrors, some more dried apples! And for a Christmas present, the Sacramento River rose very high and flooded the whole town!”  

 

      The pioneers also made sure their children experienced the holiday season with the traditions we know today. St. Nicholas Magazine, a children’s magazine published from 1873 to 1940, made Santa Claus very popular in the Old West. It was designed for children in isolated areas, and included stories, poetry, contests, games, and crafts. This journal was also particularly helpful in keeping children entertained during the long winter months on the frontier.

      Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of a Christmas and her family’s preparations for the holiday on the Kansas prairie. Her mother spent the day preparing baked salt-rising bread, Swedish crackers, and a huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. Her mother baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies.  

 

      Laura Ingalls also wrote of being delighted to find a shiny new tin cup, a peppermint candy, a heart shaped cake, and a brand new penny in her stocking.

      Homemade gifts included cornhusk dolls and sachets, and decorations were made from natural materials like evergreen and pine cones. Simple foods like baked beans and canned fruits were humble traditions. But, the pioneers were determined not to let their harsh surroundings spoil their newly-found holiday traditions.

     

Buckaroo Leather has been serving the Western horseman for over 30 years, by manufacturing the highest-quality, American-made horse tack, and providing unmatched customer service. Visit their website at www.buckarooleather.com, or give Buckaroo John a call at 800-873-0781.

 

 

Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

Back to Articles Page

 

 

 

Rocky Mountain Rider Magazine • Montana Owned & Operated 
PO Box 995 • Hamilton, MT 59840 • 888-747-1000  •  406-363-4085 • info@rockymountainrider.com