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Gather to celebrate George Hormel’s birthday

We will be celebrating George Hormel’s birthday Dec. 4 with a party for our members.

Everyone is welcom — you can pay your 2006-07 membership at the door. We will have a short program about George and the year of his birth,1860. That will be followed by birthday cake. I hope you can join us at 1:30 p.m. for a fun afternoon.

Did you know that Americans didn’t always celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25?

Some celebrated on the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6) and others on Epiphany (Jan. 6). In 1836, Alabama passed legislation to designate Dec. 25 as a legal holiday. Many other states followed suit in the years after. When George was born in 1860, about 15 states had declared Dec. 25 as Christmas Day.

It’s likely that the Hormel family celebrated with a Christmas tree in their home in the 1860s. This was a German custom that had become widespread in America by that decade. Modest table-top trees had given way to larger, more elaborate trees on the floor. According to a women’s magazine at the time, an ideal Christmas tree was festooned with strings of holly berries, candles, bouquets of paper flowers, strings of beads, tiny flags of ribbons, stars and shields of gilt paper, lace bags filled with colored candies, and presents.

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Another custom cropped up in the 1860s: "Public trees" were set up in private homes and owners charged an admission fee to anyone who wanted to view the tree. Kind of reminds me of the Hormel Historic Home Christmas Open House! Next week I’ll share more about the history of Christmas in America.

Calendar of events

Monday: League of Women Voters at 5 p.m.

Travel Notes with Evie Mohrfeld

As we all know, Christmas starts earlier every year. Our travelers are still talking about our Christmas trip to the Wisconsin Dells newest dinner theater. This was our second trip there, and we are planning another trip to the Dells in 2007.

"White Christmas" at the Ordway on Dec. 10 in St. Paul and our New Year’s Eve overnight will finish out the travel schedule for 2006. Again, we encourage you to sign up on waiting lists for trips that are full. That way, if we get a late cancellation, we can call you.

We are making our plans for 2007 travel. Your membership to the Hormel Historic Home provides discounts on selected trips for you and is a tremendous boost to funding the preservation of our beautiful Hormel Historic Home.

Call me at (507) 438-3946 for more information.

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