Wednesday, December 15, 2021

How They Saw Christmas in Early Colorado

 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo Property of the Author

As the Christmas Holiday draws nearer, I decided to take a look back at how the people of Colorado saw the day. Sometimes the most interesting and diverse information comes from advertisements. 

I've chosen three short pieces from historic newspapers to share with you. 

This first one is an ad for a company called Ashard & Co. in Golden, Colorado. I find it fascinating that Santa Claus is an old German friend who has had some hard times. Even more fascinating is his clerk is Kris Kringle who has sent a message to the business that 'Christmas was kept in the same good old style as in Days of yore.'

Colorado Miner December 23, 1869

In 1869, the Rocky Mountain News let people know the Methodist Sabbath School would be remembering the Chrismas Tree. Note also, the time is listed as 71/2 o'clock. Note also, those who were giving gifts were to place them 'upon' the tree. How the customs have changed. 

Rocky Mountain News December 24, 1869

For the final piece, I love that the Rocky Mountain News was giving their staff Christmas Day off. They also, as 'writers' would do, encourage their readers to "read Dickens' elegant Christmas story "No Thoroughfare".  For those who'd like to read that Dickens' story, here's a link to a free version from Project Gutenberg: "No Thoroughfare - Novel and Play

Rocky Mountain News December 24, 1867

My novella, "Gift of Forgiveness" is set at Christmas time. Enjoy the excerpt:

Albert stuck out his tongue, only to have Ila return the gesture. This was followed with the two trying to out-bother each other. Nettie was preparing to stop the nonsense when a knock on the back door sent both of them running to answer it. The knock was followed by a deep, "Hello, anyone home?" as the door swung open.

The children squealed as Nettie took in the sight of John, hat pulled down, coat collar up, his warm gray eyes searching for welcome.

"Come on in, John. Breakfast will be ready shortly. Care to join us?" Nettie asked. "There's more than enough," she added, hoping he'd say yes. Perhaps the way to a man's heart really was through his stomach, and she was a good cook.

"If you're sure it wouldn't be a bother. Came into town for supplies for the ranch. Thought Albert might like to help me out, him being such a strong man and all." John smiled at Albert, his eyes holding pride in the young man. "If you don't mind, that is?"

"How about we have breakfast and see," Nettie answered.

"Please, Mom," Albert interrupted.

"So it's Mom now," Nettie said with a smile. "You do have some schoolwork that needs to be done."

"Didn't mean to cause a problem," John quickly inserted.

"You didn't. I think we can probably work something out."

"Thank you!" Albert shouted, running over to give Nettie a big hug.

Smiling, Nettie looked over at John, mouthing 'thank you' as she bustled the children toward the dining room and its other two occupants, Leonard Shiesley, a well-dressed drummer, and Lida Ehbert, the new hire at the mercantile.

Wishing you all the best of the Holiday Season and 2022. I will see you back here next year.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Loved this wonderful insight into a Colorado Christmas in 1869. It looks like a lot of fun and very familiar to us today.

    1. Thank you. I've always found the more we think things change, the more we find they are very similar. I appreciate your comment. Doris