December 2018 – Holiday Traditions

RCHS Facebook Posts from December 2018 – Holiday Traditions

Explore history with these snippets from past Facebook posts from the RCHS page.

Posts, event announcements, etc. have been edited for clarity and relevance.

Join us this December as we deck the Facebook halls with holiday event announcements, traditions and rich MN history. Let us celebrate how we each have unique traditions. These holiday decorations were once up in the longtime businessman’s club lobby on Washington Street in St. Paul. (Photo from the RCHS Collection)

Chag Sameach! (Happy Holiday in Hebrew) in honor of the eighth and last day of Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah or the Festival of Lights. This is a shining moment in time when the entire menorah is lit. Do you have a favorite way to light up your own family traditions? RCHS & Gibbs Farm wishes you the brightest of holiday seasons!

This is Alice Todd Tisdale, one of RCHS’ founding members, next to towering MN evergreens (pre-decorated). Did you know that it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the first glass tree ornaments were introduced to the U.S. from Germany? Before this time, trees were usually decorated with apples, gilded nuts and paper strips.

Many of us like to get outside and have some fun in the sparkling Minnesota snow. “Slede” or “slee” are the original Dutch words for sled and sleigh. The dogs having fun in this photo, according to record, are the family pets of the Theodore Griggs family. Photo taken ca. 1926 when daughter Mary Griggs Burke was 8-10 yrs. of age. (Photo from the RCHS Collection)

Can you imagine over 10,000 people gathered at the steps of the State Capitol to watch a tableau of five nativity scenes? The Women’s Institute in St. Paul staged just this along with 2,200 choir singers and group carol singing in 1939. They continued to draw huge crowds to the steps each year they continued this high-spirited event. For more on the Women’s Institute, see the “Ramsey County History” article @

Holiday gift-giving flourished in western society after Charles Dickens published his novel “A Christmas Carol” in 1843—and nothing’s changed! This slushy photo is from the corner of 7th and Robert Streets around 1940, and we continue the holiday shopping bustle today. Many of us have stories or memories of making holiday trips to that “special” shop in downtown St. Paul! (Photo from the RCHS Collection)

Holiday decorations didn’t appear as early in turn-of-the-century St. Paul stores as they do today. By Thanksgiving, however, the newspapers would be filled with festive ads and promotions. Holiday shopping is still incredibly popular, with the average American spending $700 for seasonal goods. Happy gifting, Twin Cities! (Photo from Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper Archives)

It’s our greatest pleasure to wish you all a warm and happy holiday season! Way before greetings on social media, the first U.S. Christmas cards were printed in Boston in 1875 by Prussian immigrant printer Louis Prang and the first standard size folding cards we use today were printed in 1915 by Hallmark Company. Did you get your cards out in time? See more historical greetings @

Curling! Are you into it? It’s claimed that the first curling match in St. Paul was played on the frozen Mississippi river on Christmas Day in 1885. The sport is most popular with our northern Canadian neighbors and is nicknamed ‘chess on ice’, but it’s still popular in Minnesota! Use these facts to impress your friends! For more on the St. Paul Curling Club, visit

It’s never too early to get excited about the St. Paul Winter Carnival. As we look ahead, let’s look back on the ice castle of 1886. Using ropes, pulleys and horse power, ice blocks harvested from the Mississippi River were hauled up where workmen swung the blocks into place. A bucket of water was poured onto the top as the new block was lowered, freezing instantly—One. Level. At. A. time. More to learn here @

It’s been a truly wonderful year at RCHS and Gibbs Farm filled with events, tours and conversations enjoyed by members and visitors in 2018. Thank you for helping make it special with your passion and support for history as we continue to learn from our Minnesota past. If you’re not a member yet, we welcome you to join in 2019 @! (Postcard from the RCHS Collection)

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We’d like to thank our partner, Augeo Marketing, for their sponsorship and assistance with our Facebook posts.