Friday, December 23, 2011

1895 Christmas Circle

During nearly every holiday season, I would come across numerous articles on family get-togethers. The following description of two families' event was found in The Fowlerville Review:

The Van Riper-Hughes Christmas Circle is a regular organization, with a constitution, by-laws, etc., and holds its annual meetings on Christmas at the residences of its members. This year the circle met at the pleasant home of our townsman, F.E. Van Riper, on Second Street, and as usual was a great success, as more than thirty of the direct relatives joined in the social pleasures that go so far toward making this life worth living. It seems to us that the originators touched a chord that many of our older families would do well to emulate and cement a fraternal feeling that will be as lasting as time. As hostess Miss Clara Van Riper did all that the most fastidious could expect and as master of ceremonies, Floyd did exactly what everybody expected he would do and did it with the rare skill that left no chance for criticism. Miss Clara, as chef, performed her culinary labor with the skill of a professional and her tables were loaded with all the substantials and most of the luxuries of the season. The turkeys were done to a turn, and all else upon the spacious tables grew elegant under her magic skill. She not only cooked the choicest and most delicate viands for her friends, but she found time to entertain the relatives by her presence and enliven them with music of the choicest kind. Too much cannot be said of her and her father as entertainers and all joined in the acknowledgement that nothing was forgotten or left undone. From ten in the morning to the wee small hours, the circle clung together and the Christmas evening entertainment consisted of speeches, declarations, readings, recitations, interspersed with music by the young ladies, and the mystic ring was only broken by just such a glorious supper as Clara knows her well how to serve. The circle now consists of 33 members, all being relatives in the two families and by unanimous vote, the next reunion will be held Dec. 23, 1896, at the residence of A.H. Hughes, in the village.

Some years, the circle was a bit smaller, other years, more of a celebration:

A Pleasant Reunion~~The members of the Christmas Circle held their annual gathering at the pleasant home of E.P. Stowe, in this village, on Monday, Dec. 26. The hours passed swiftly and pleasantly, and about 1:20 pm, the roll was called and eighteen members responded to their name with a quotation, after which the company repaired to the dining room to discuss the good things set before them. After dinner, a fine program was rendered, including an address of welcome, readings, recitations, instrumental music, solos, quartettes, etc. All had a good time and returned home with a pleasant anticipation of the next meeting of the Circle, which will be held at D. VanRiper's next Christmas.~~Secretary

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