The Ladies' Tea Guild

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How the Christmas Wreaths look in California, ca. 1861

image from

"Notes and Queries: How the Christmas Wreaths look in California.— ‘We are in the midst of the holidays,’ writes one of the best California correspondents, ‘the groceries, the markets, the streets are green with the boughs of evergreens; redwood and cedar, pines and myrtles give forth their fragrance. The churches are redolent of an odor that I never whiffed in the Atlantic states – it issues from a shrub which looks very much like your bayberry or candleberry. The peculiar aroma at first is that of the bayberry, but close behind it comes a faint smell of cinnamon – making together a most delicious perfume. With this shrub the pillars of the churches, the gas-pipes and burners, the galleries and pulpits are hung, while roses, geraniums and fuchsias [sic], all grown in the open air, fill up the spaces between the branches, and give a Juny appearance to the room." from Godey's Lady's Book, January 1861, page 90.

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)