Our house is decorated with evergreen boughs and berries. It smells so nice. We are going to have a little tree on the table in the parlour. I am going to put some wool on the branches to look like snow. When the gingerbread cookies are ready, we will put some of those on the tree too. I wish I could cut out some snowflakes but the bigger girls do that. I cannot make the cuts small enough. The big girls laugh a lot about who they will kiss underneath the kissing ball in the parlour this year. Father tells them to hush in an angry voice but I know that he is jesting.
Some of the boys were talking about Sinter Klaus coming to our house with a gift for each one of us. I think he is the same person as Father Christmas. Josh and Brent told me about Santa Claus.* He brings them gifts too. I can’t figure it out yet. I will ask Mother about it. Everyone is happy and busy. Father sings “The Holly and the Ivy” or “God rest ye Merry, Gentlemen”. I like the first song best. He told Mother that in the capitol there is talk of a New York Historical Society being founded with St. Nicholas as its patron Saint. Father is a Senator in Albany. I do not know what that means but when he goes to Albany he is there for many days. Sometimes for more than a week. He said he will bring me with him one day. I have never seen a city.
The girls are making pomander balls from our apples. They use a fork to poke holes all the apples. Some of the girls make a pattern. Then they insert a whole clove into each hole. When the apple is filled with the cloves, it gets sprinkled with lots of cinnamon. All over the apple. Now you have to keep the apple in an open place for two or three weeks. It will dry up, and get harder and become a little shriveled. When it is all dry, you can wind a ribbon around it so you can hang it. It makes the room smell very nice. Mother even keeps one in her drawer.
*In 1851 a man named Mark Carr brought pine trees from the Catskill mountain region to New York City, where he sold them on the street.
The New York Historical Society was founded in 1804 with St. Nicholas as its patron saint and its members engaged in the Dutch practice of gift giving at Christmas.
In 1773 Santa first appeared in the media as St. A. Claus.