Arthur’s Home Magazine, 1868
The long, cold evenings of winter, and the time for merry in-door sports, has come again. The young people can no longer have the croquet out of doors, the little ones can no longer frolic on the pavement or lawn. About this time there begin to be very mysterious looks, and head-shakings, and incomprehensible talks among the different members of the family.
Up-stairs there is a wonderful bureau, which could reveal volumes of secrets if it could talk, or if it could only let you peep into the dim recesses of its drawers. There the Christmas gifts are laid away, not to see the light of day until the dawn of the Christmas morning.
Such wonders as have found their way into the bureau during the last few days. Pretty pin-cushions, scarfs, shawls, mittens, slippers, sofa cushions, caps, and the dear knows what besides of home manufacture, all made by loving hands. And there are toys for boys, and dolls for girls, which are going to delight little hearts ere many days. In the sitting-room, the bow-window is veiled from the vulgar gaze of the family in general, and inside there is sometimes heard a mysterious driving of nails, an omen of an unusual preparation for the coming holiday.
What a revelation there will be on Christmas morning! Oh, the fairy splendors of the Christmas-tree! Glittering with bright toys and blazing tapers, little elves peeping out between the branches, little fairies perched on all the twigs, a fairy queen in dazzling array crowing the top-most point. Beneath, a wonderful rural scene–a tiny cottage, with yard around; a peaceful lake, with little ducks upon it; shrubs and flowers in the cottage yard, and old Kriss Kringle at the gate, nodding his white head, bowing everybody a welcome to his hospitable retreat.
Then comes a merry time, lasting the livelong day. The Christmas dinner, with all the absent ones at home again, around the festal board. Then the evening, with its games and bonbons, its dancing and merry-making.