Sunday, December 14, 2014

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Bayberry Candle

As I have posted about for the past several months, the kids and I have been using Prairie Primer as our main unit study for this year. We have read the first three books in the Little House on the Prairie series and will continue to read the rest of the books throughout the year. 

For the past two weeks we have taken a break and done an author study on Tomie dePaola, specifically reading many of his Christmas books. I posted all about that study yesterday.

In 2010, the kids and I read a book by Tomie dePaola called An Early American Christmas.

I loved that book. It is all about how Christmas traditions came to America. So that year we based our entire Christmas around it, especially our decorations. I posted a series that year called "The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas" and each day I highlighted one of our simple traditions from that year.

Since we have been reading about the simple and homemade traditions of the pioneer Christmas in the Little House series, I thought I might share that series of posts again. Although many of the traditions were based on Colonial times, they are still relevant traditions for the American prairie of the late 1800's and would work wonderfully for a prairie Christmas if you choose to have one. I realize I am posting this a little late from a planning perspective, but I just came across these this week. If you are planning a simple Christmas this year based on your studies in Prairie Primer, then perhaps this series of posts will be helpful to you.

Each day between now and Christmas Day I will publish a repost of a day from that series. For me it will be fun to look back at our simple Christmas of 2010 and give me a chance to reminisce with the kids.

"A Bayberry candle that is burned to the socket puts luck in the home, food in the larder and gold in the pocket."

"Bayberry candles are believed to bring good luck for the coming year.  The tradition dates back to the colonial days.  Bayberry candles burned much better than standard beeswax candles so they were highly sought after.  They were also much more expensive and harder to make.  Because of this, most families only burned their Bayberry candles at special times, such as Christmas.  From this the tradition of burning Bayberry candles at Christmas was born." ~ from the Shelburne Country Store website. (It doesn't appear that Shelburne Country Store sells these candles any longer, but I found several places that do, including THIS Etsy shop. Or you could make your own.)

I ordered a set of tapered Bayberry candles for us to burn on Christmas Eve. This is the first step in our Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Our Bayberry candles burning in Mason jars on Christmas Eve, 2010
Instead of making our own bayberry candles, which was the Colonial custom, we made Lacey candles. You can read about that in the coming days.

Come back tomorrow when I tell you all about boxwood swags and wreaths.

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