What makes a holiday special?
Holidays are a combination of special family traditions and wider cultural practices. However we celebrate, there's always an excited anticipation for these once a year celebrations. Just like today, the soldiers, officers and their families at remote frontier Army posts in the 1860s eagerly anticipated Christmas. For them it offered a welcome break from the dull routine of garrison duty.
Everyone looked forward to presents, special holiday traditions, and, of course, those favarite holiday foods, Getting the ingredients for a holiday meal could be difficult if stationed at a remote frontier post like Fort Larned. Many Army units and garrisons planned for months in advance to make sure they got the ingredients for these special Christmas foods.
Our Christmas Past event tries to capture that feeling of holiday excitement. We have pictures with Santa, crafts and games for the kids, and a taste of Christmas past with a selection of holiday foods from the 1800s.
Christmas meals were often a mix of traditional Christmas dishes and everyday favorites. The dishes served at our Christmas Open House event were all mentioned in frontier Christmas accounts. The recipes are all from 19th century sources. We invite you do try them out for yourself and enjoy a "taste of Christmas past."