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Paradise, PA
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Marie Ferree Diary - Christmas 1713
diarygreenery

Another Christmas is upon us here in Paradise. The year went quickly and it was a good year for us. This Christmas will be different and much better than last year. We now have better homes to live in, food is more plentiful and more settlers are here in our community. One major event is the new church we now have which was built by the men in our community and just in time to celebrate naissance de notre seigneur. Merci mon dieu nous sommes si reconnaissants.

diarychristmastree
Today we cut down an evergreen tree to adorn our home. The children made garlands from wild berries and scraps of yarn and ribbon. There are not many candles on the tree as they are scarce and we need to save them for our Christmas celebration at our new church, but there are enough candles to made the tree look festive and welcoming.
 
On Christmas eve after church we will gather around the fire, sing carols and open our gifts. The children will put their shoes by the fireplace so Saint-Nicolas can fill them with candy and little surprises. I have been knitting scarves for everyone for weeks now. Pepe Isaac made a wooden rocking horse for young Daniel. Quite a nice job he did for an amateur carpenter and Philip carved a creche from the wood left over which has a special place in our home.
 
I can't help, at times, think about what our Christmas was like in our homeland and how we celebrated it. What a joyous time it was, much merriment and a week long celebration. The stores were decorated so beautifully, the Christmas market, marche de noel, was a place to shop, buy special foods and gifts and meet with friends for our afternoon tea and gateau.
diarygateauandtea
 
We dressed in our very finest clothes. Christmas eve after church we gathered for our special holiday revellion. After supper of traditional goose and fancy trimmings we toasted each other with champagne and ate many different sweets, then opened our gifts. Our tree had many candles and glass ornaments that were made there by our craftsmen.
 
diarysnowstorm
I remember one Christmas many years ago when we had a furious snow storm, the snow was so deep that the horses could not pull our carriage. We were determined to do our traditional Christmas visiting. We all held hands and clung to one another as we walked blocks in the snow singing Christmas carols so softly so as not to be heard but
ourselves. We had to be careful and be back in our homes when it got dark as it was dictated by the law. We were not permitted to carry any firearms for protection if needed. Although being fearful we were still able to enjoy our day.
 
This Christmas, as last year, will be peaceful and joyful. We will worship in the new church with our family and friends. It will be a blessed time for us. Christmas day, revellion, we will have our new traditional meal of wild turkey and venison, corn mush, hardtack and vegetable we were able to keep from the summer crops. I made a special noel pudding so special that we serve it only on holidays.
 
Our Indian friends will again join us. They will always be welcome in our homes. They always love hearing how Christmas came about and how we celebrated this beautiful holiday in our homeland.
 
There are just a few days now before Christmas and so much to do to make this a beautiful and glorious celebration. I pray that the next year and years to come will be even more prosperous and will continue to be peaceful. Un Noel Benia a tous.
 
Article contributed by Shirley Ferree Stilgenbauer
This article was not taken from any diary or journal Madame Marie may have had nor is it to be taken as historically accurate or factual. It serves merely to give an idea of what might have been her thoughts about events in her life and what she may have written about them.