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Christmas in the Camp

We did some time traveling on Sunday and went back to December, 1863 to celebrate Christmas the way the Civil War soldiers did. The weather was fairly mild and I was able to work on my second red scarf while chatting with friends, drinking hot chocolate, and trying my best to look “period correct.” Here’s a recap of the day:

We roasted chestnuts on an open fire. I’ve never done this before and it was pretty cool. People loved seeing them cooking and they were absolutely delicious when they were done.

We strung popcorn and cranberries. This is Sarah, my friend Wendy’s daughter. She had a regular “pattern” going with the popcorn and cranberries and managed to finish 2 really pretty garlands before the afternoon was over.

We had a visit from Civil War Santa. During the Civil War the famed cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a rendition of Santa Claus in patriotic attire. Our friend Willy made this outfit himself and he really loves visiting the troops. Those are handknit socks he’s offering to the soldiers!

We even ended the day with a visit to the field hospital! Poor Dale. He’s had an infection in his finger for several days. Little did he know that dinner at Blogless Sharon’s house would include surgery on his finger by our good friend, Dr. Al! But we fortified him with some good bourbon and he handled it with his usual good nature and grace.

It was nice to get together with friends and celebrate in an old-fashioned way. I sure do feel fortified with the Christmas spirit.

This Post Has 48 Comments

  1. What a great day you had. When I grew up in Greece we roasted chestnuts that way as did the street vendors. Very yummy. Dale looks like he’s taking the procedure on his digit in stride. Nothing like a good lancing to set things staight! Hope it heals soon.

  2. I just love reading about your time travels!!! It makes me want to join in the fun, but my husband is always too busy hunting. Or I think that he would enjoy it. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  3. Oh, I am currently reading “Clara Barton, A Woman of Valour” by Oates! I was just reading about Christmas 1863…I think I could even tell you the battle she was nursing the wounded from on that day! Quite a book!

  4. The men must have loved that little bit of cheer in the time of war. Seeing your pictures takes me right back to that era. Sarah looks great in her period clothes. Hope Dale’s finger is healing quickly!

  5. Too cool! I have often wondered what roasted chestnuts tasted like :-).

    Looks like Dale was a brave patient….bet the bourbon helped 🙂

  6. Such a marvelous adventure, though I suspect it wasn’t quite so marvelous for those whose traditions you recreated. I think it’s good to have such reminders of those who came before us, what their lives were like. As a kid, I did at least once string popcorn and cranberries for a garland. Loved it! Never roasted chestnuts though.

  7. I bet bourbon beats novacaine hands down. I hope Dale’s finger is better now.

    I’ve never had a chestnut… roasted or otherwise. I’d love to try that someday.

  8. I LOVE the smell of chestnuts roasting (over an open fire) – what a great thing to do. You must be thankful it has been so warm recently!

  9. Awesome! And even an “authentic” period surgery, no? He should have had cotton bandages only, just for authenticity, heh.

  10. Looks like you guys had a GREAT time! We missed our annual Christmas event this year…too many irons in the fire I guess!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  11. Interesting–the only chestnuts I’ve ever tried are the “water” variety. 😉 They do look good, though!

    Poor Dale. He is a trooper, that’s for sure. He doesn’t even appear particularly unhappy in that last photo. Brave guy!

    Where did the handknit socks come from? Did you make ’em? 🙂

  12. I am so completely jealous. Your photos remind me what I am missing when I don’t go re-enacting. I can almost smell the wood smoke. You looked like you had a fabolous time. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  13. I, too, hope that Dale is healed up quickly.
    It looks like your day was wonderful. How fun that you and Dale share the love of recreating that era. The costumes are amazing.
    Is this done for the public, or just for your own pleasure.. or a mix of both?

  14. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose…” I hope Dale’s doctor waited to hit the bourbon until after surgery!

  15. Seeing the chestnuts roasting brought back memories of my childhood. My Nana always roasted some at Christmas time – only in the oven – she’s been gone for 26 years…doesn’t seem possible. Thanks for the memory…

  16. Oh fun! But poor Dale (I am sure the bourbon helped)! it’s good to know that chestnuts are yummy – I’ve always wondered.

  17. This all looks like so much fun. Well, not poor Dale’s finger but the rest. I’ve never seen real roasting chestnuts. I do wonder what the sight of all those Yankee soldiers would do to the good folks down here! hehe

  18. Sounds like a great time as usual! Your first sentence had thinking all Star Trekky. Really? We went to 1786 cause I just love the attire of the time:) That’s where I’d go anyway. I think you two take the coolest trips and do the awesomest things! I love knowing about the things past that make us what we are today. Seems bourbon also makes for a happy patient!

  19. “Civil War” and “Field Hospital” had me worried there for a minute–I’d hate for Dale to lose a finger! It otherwise sounds like a great weekend.

  20. How fortunate for Dale that there just happened to be bourbon around to get him through his mini-surgery!!

    As always, your photos are so beautifully done, it makes us feel like we’re there with you! Thanks!

  21. I must admit I am a bit jealous with your ‘period’ costume and life. My business partner and I are in the final steps of getting ourselves together to depict the WWI era when we demo and have a booth at events. I knit socks on a LeGare, we both spin, she has animals and we are really having a hard time finding the right clothing. Your era is much better defined…we’ve almost decided to become red cross workers knitting for the troops.
    Happy Holidays.

  22. Dale looks like he’s taking his injury like a man. 🙂 I really enjoy experiencing your hobby vicariously — thanks for sharing!

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