LIVERMORE – The Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls Dec. 2 Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting was held at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center.

Members had a country breakfast in the mansion kitchen warmed by the wood cookstove.

Widow Clara Howard (Willie Irish) shared with the group how holidays were celebrated in the 1870s. The New Year was celebrated with a special meal, such as tripe. Fast Day in March or April was taken from the Bible and was a day of fasting and prayer.

Decoration Day at the end of May was when families decorated soldiers’ graves. The Fourth of July featured townspeople gathering for parades and picnics. Thanksgiving Day was a feast celebrating the completion of the harvest and all preparations for the arrival of winter.

The celebration of Christmas depended on whether a person lived in the village or in the country, financial standing and religion. The area was first settled by Baptists, Methodists and Universalists, so there was no Christmas celebration.

In 1875, when the Catholic families began settling in the area, celebrations in public buildings began. In the 1900s families began to bring a tree into their homes and practical tagged, unwrapped gifts were hung on a tree. Gifts included diaries, wooden toys, mittens, wristers, stockings, handkerchiefs, books, games, hair ribbons and combs, wooden-penny dolls and taws (clay marbles.)

The chamber will hold the annual meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Carriage House Cafe rather than a breakfast meeting.

Invitations will go out after the holidays.

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