Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America.

It does not seem to matter if it is gray and snowy in the mornings or bright and full of sun.  Mother is up and about and singing or humming. She likes to sing “Joy to the World” and “The First Noel” best of all.  Without all the gardening and preserving to do, Mother has time to bake.  She loves to bake the cakes and cookeys of Christmas. Sometimes I join in and sing with her.  I like to sing.  Even Josh and Brent know the words to those songs.  I am the only one that hears them.  Josh is very loud and Brent hums when he forgets the proper words.

Father was laughing at the table this morning when he was teasing Mother.  He was reminding her of a piece in the Baltimore weekly magazine from December 20, 1800.

He pulled it from his pocket and read

“Get married, a wife is cheaper than a housekeeper, her industry will assist you many ways, and your children will soon share and lighten your labor.”*

Mother makes a ”tish, tish” sound and asks Father “if just anyone will do?”   My older sister whispered to me that Father does this every year.

Then he reads:

Sinterklaas, good holy man!
Put your best robe on,
ride with it to Amsterdam,
from Amsterdam to Spain,
little apples of orange,
little apples from the trees
Sinterklaas shall come!

*Boydston, Jeanne.  Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic.

+Virginia Almanac  Joesph Royle in 1765

by Mary Beekman

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Sheilah Tacy

Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!


Katie, I can only imagine how beautiful they are and how they must scent the room as they warm. I shall ask Mother if I can

hang one on our tree.


I have just finished studding some bright orange tangerines with cloves..dusted them lightly with spices. They sit glowing like jewels in a crystal compote under a lamp.


Teri, I wish the very same for you. You are a good friend to

us all. Mother and Father tell us all to treasure our

friends and their presence in our lives.

margaret thall

S0-my irish hertiage goes back to the spainish armada that was sunk off the coast of IRELAND -some of the spainards swam to shore thats why there is whats called *dark irish*-will have to do more research on the christmas tradiations of spain


My neighbors are from Holland and leave treats on our doorstep every December 5th from Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (Santa Claus and Black Pete). Zwarte Piet is a traveling companion of Sinterklaas who arrives by boat in the Netherlands on December 5th from Spain, with treats (often apples and oranges) for the children. In our inner city urban oasis, with few children around, it has evolved into the first round of Holiday cookies, and treats for all the pets in our neighborhood. 🙂

margaret thall

When I was young in the 1940's in our Christmas stocking we got 1 apple/ 1 orange /walnuts & a shiny new penny- never heard that song before – has me wondering if this is why we got what we did.