In her reminiscences of 1922, Ida Dickson Patchen tells of the first Christmas celebrated in their new homes at Gilbert, Idaho. I believe the year was 1896. With the assistance of her little sister Mabel, who was 14 or 15, Ida used her ingenuity to make Christmas gifts for her sisters, Ina and Bertha, and their families.
“I think the best time I ever had working for that
especial time was that very first Christmas “on the hill” [Gilbert] when those little evergreens inspired me to attempt another something out of nothing and I enlisted Mabel’s interests and we put in all those long, long afternoons and evenings that otherwise would have hung heavy on our hands into doing things for the little folks and you remember how it surprised you and Bertha and how after we had come and gone tramping through the snow, Jack had you light the lamp again and together you inspected our handiwork. I think there were some funny-shaped eats in there, too, weren’t there? Well, anyway, it pleased all the biddies and the way you four Dobsons looked when we presented our trees was pay in plenty.
"And last but not least, you kept all those old Christmas things from the “gulch” time for some time. I want to see them. Not long ago I ran across the little piece of perforated cardboard that had the word “Baby” worked in it."
And Ina did keep those things, and she especially treasured the memory of that first Christmas, provided by Ida, in her heart. KW
[The old cardboard Santa was given to my aunt, Myrtle Dobson, about 1900, and was used on the family Christmas tree for many years.]