Jean Patterson’s Diary
December 24, 1901, Gateswood, Alabama
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Tuesday – Xmas Eve
Today is Xmas eve and how busy I shall be (have been). No more school for a week. We had an Xmas tree tonight. Our tree came this morning and Miss Susan, Bessie, Susie Nell and I settled at once to work on it. We made long strings of gaily colored papers and threw across it. Also little silver colored balls were put at the top. Father gave us a good many strings of different colored candy, and those we hung on the tree. We then tied the candles on. We intended having strung cranberries but as our tree was holly and covered with red berries we did not need them. Fireworks were put around the trunk of the tree and some were put in the tree. After we had finished decorating the tree we rehearsed our recital that was to be before the tree. Then we hung all the presents on. By this time it was dark, so we went home. We ate supper and then dressed.
The recital was to begin at eight so by the time we were all dressed and had dressed the little ones it was time to begin. Mother was ill at the time and could not go. No one was there but Mrs. Fleming’s family and Mrs. Malone’s. The first on the program was an Xmas carol by Miss Susan, Bessie, Susie Nell, Bertie and myself. Next was recitation by Lilla. Next was a piano solo by Bessie. Then a recitation by me – “The Clown’s Baby.” Then a duet by Bessie and I. Next a recitation by Bertie. Then a panomine – “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” – by Bertie and Susie Nell. Then a recitation by Susie Nell and last a song by Bertie, Lilla and Susie Nell. After this was over Father went to the tree to distribute the presents. It did not take long to do this. Each child got a cornucopia full of candy and other presents. Then we went out in the yard and shot off fireworks and they were very pretty. After this we danced awhile. Miss Susan and I cake-walked and Miss Lewis played. After that it was real late so we came home and went to bed.